Century Plant, or Sentry Plant?

One of the agave in our yard sprouted a shoot last week. It happened overnight. The asparagus like shoot was there one day, but not there the day before.

RIP our agave.

The plant is an Agave Americana – American Agave if you didn’t get the translation. It is also known locally as a Century Plant, or a Sentry Plant.

It is known as a Sentry Plant, because the spear looks like the spear of a Roman Sentry. It is known as a Century Plant because it has a long life, its end portended by this shoot. Of course they do no live 100 years, more like 30 or 40.  But a “Four Decades Plant” is not a catchy name.

At the end of its life, the agave grows this shoot, which can grow up to 35 feet tall. It will flower soon. Then it will die.

The shoot looks like an asparagus shoot on steroids. One of the reasons is that is it of the asparagus family.Fortunately this plant has several off shoots, three more to take its place. The cycle of life.


  1. I have one of these plants. I think they are beautiful but I believe they will reach out and grab you. You think you are clear of it, then you get stuck and are bleeding. I think they are great below windows to prevent breakins.

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