Carnegiea gigantea, Giant Saguaro

Southwest Desert Flora

Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts

Cirsium ochrocentrum, Yellowspine Thistle

Agave chrysantha, Goldenflower Century Plant

Goldenflower Century Plant is so named because of the beautiful golden yellow flowers in clusters of up to 300 atop a tall fleshy stalk (up to 20 feet or so). Agave chrysanthaGoldenflower Century Plant is a handsome plant that may grow up to 3 feet tall and 5 feet wide. It has linear leaves tipped with a sharp spine. The margins are lined with sharp prickles. Agave chrysanthaGoldenflower Century Plants are rare in the United States where they are known only from central and southern Arizona. They grow in elevations from 3,000 to 7,000 feet. Agave chrysanthaGoldenflower Century Plant flowers once and dies (monocarpic). The flowering stalks emerge from June to August and may reach a height of 20 feet. Agave chrysantha

Scientific Name: Agave chrysantha
Common Name: Goldenflower Century Plant

Also Called: Golden Flowered Agave, Golden-flowered Agave (Spanish: Maguey)

Family: Agavaceae, Agave or Century Plant Family (Reclassified to Asparagaceae)

Synonyms: (Agave palmeri var. chrysantha)

Status: Native

Duration: Perennial

Size: Flowering stalk up to 20 feet more or less; plants 3 feet by 5 feet.
Growth Form: Forb/herb, shrub, subshrub; plants without stems (acaulescent); rosettes.

Leaves: Green, yellow-green, or glaucous, prickles stout; leaves in a rosette; leaves lanceolate; margins dentate, and containing prickles.

Flower Color: Yellow, golden yellow; flowers numerous, congested in panicles, flowers on top of tall fleshy stalk; without bulbs, bracts remain on stalk after stalk dies; fruit is a capsule.

Flowering Season: June to August.

Elevation: 3,000 to 7,000 feet.

Habitat Preferences: Rocky hillsides, common along Apache Trail; sandy to gravelly soils; desert scrub, grasslands, pinyon-juniper and oak woodlands.

Recorded Range: Agave chrysantha is rare in the United States where it is only known from central and southern Arizona. In Arizona it is more abundant in the central part of the state with fewer records towards the southern part of the state. Goldenflower Century Plant is common where found in Arizona.

North America & US County Distribution Map for Agave chrysantha.

U.S. Weed Information: No information available.
Invasive/Noxious Weed Information: No information available.
Wetland Indicator: No information available.

Threatened/Endangered Information: In North America Agave chrysantha and its' sub-species are listed by the State of Arizona as salvage restricted under ARS ยง 3-903(B)(2).

Genus Information: In North America there are 38 species and 38 accepted taxa overall for Agave. World wide, The Plant List includes 200 accepted species names and includes a further 242 infraspecific rank for the genus.

In the Southwestern United States: Arizona has 12 species of Agave, California has 4 species, New Mexico has 5 species, and Texas has 9 species, Nevada and Utah have 1 species. All data is approximate and subject to taxonomic changes.

Comments: Agave chrysantha is known only from Arizona. It is very similar in appearance to, and is known to hybridize with Palmer's Agave, Agave palmeri. This species attracts insects including bees, as well as birds and bats. Use for landscape purposes is risky as A. Chrysantha is a target species for the Agave snout weevil.

In Southwestern Desert Flora also see: Lechuguilla, Agave lechuguilla; Parry's Agave, Agave parryi; Schott's Century Plant, Agave schottii; Toumey's Agave, Agave toumeyana v bella; Toumey's Agave, Agave toumeyana.

The genus Agave is from the Greek word "agauos" translated to "admirable" and "noble" a reference to admirable and often stately appearance of the species. The genus Agave was published in 1753 by Carl Linnaeus.
Date Profile Completed: 12/28/2016, updated 12/16/2019
Arizona Flora, Kearney, Thomas H., Peebles, Robert H., 1960, University of California Press, Berkley and Los Angeles, California.
U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service on-line database and USGS ITIS search - (accessed 12/09/2019)
The Plant List (2013). Version 1.1. Published on the Internet; (accessed 01/03/2020).
Hodgson, Wendy. 1999. Agavaceae. Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science and Canotia; 32(1).:1-21
James L. Reveal & Wendy C. Hodgson in Flora of North America (vol. 26); FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Agavaceae; 24. Agave chrysantha Peebles, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 48: 139. 1935.| Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash. 48: 139. 1935.; Golden-flowered agave, Agave palmeri Engelmann var. chrysantha (Peebles) Little; Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993+. Flora of North America North of Mexico. 16+ vols. New York and Oxford.
SEINet synonyms, scientific names, geographic locations, general information - (accessed 12/23/2016).
ETYMOLOGY: Michael L. Charters; California Plant Names: Latin and Greek Meanings and Derivations; A Dictionary of Botanical and Biographical Etymology; (accessed 12/09/2019)