Plants acaulescent, rarely suckering; rosettes usually solitary, not cespitose, 4-13 × 7-13 dm, open. Leaves ascending to spreading, 35-92 × 3.5-19 cm; blade pale to glaucous-green or green, sometimes tinged reddish, not cross-zoned, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, rigid, adaxially concave toward apex, abaxially convex toward base; margins straight or somewhat undulate, armed, teeth single, well defined, firmly attached, 3-6 mm, (0.5-)1-2 cm apart, interstitial teeth 4-6, mostly along distal 2/3 of margins; apex not conspicuously incurved, spine reddish brown to brown, acicular, 3-6 cm. Scape (1.7-)4-6.5 (-7.2) m. Inflorescences broadly paniculate, not bulbiferous, open; bracts persistent, triangular, 1-5 cm; lateral branches 8-26(-32), slightly ascending, comprising distal 1/3 of inflorescence, longer than 10 cm. Flowers 8-16 per cluster, erect, 4.5-7.5 cm; perianth cream to pale yellow or light green, tube not shallow, urceolate, 10-18 × 10-16 mm, limb lobes persistent and often leathery during and after anthesis, erect, strongly unequal, (6-)9-18 mm, apex often flushed with maroon; stamens long-exserted; filaments inserted at 2 levels, above mid perianth tube and near rim, erect, pale yellow or reddish, 4-5.5(-5.8) cm, apex often flushed with maroon; anthers yellow, 11-25 mm; ovary 1.8-3.6 cm, neck slightly constricted, (0.5-)4-6 mm. Capsules short-pedicellate, narrowly oblong to oblong, 3.5-6 cm, apex short- to long-beaked. Seeds 5-7 mm. 2n = 60.
Flowering late spring--summer. Sandy to gravelly places on limestone in oak woodlands and grassy plains; 900--2000 m; Ariz., N.Mex.; nw Mexico.
Agave palmeri hybridizes with A. chrysantha in Arizona.
Plant: Perennial, scapose, rosette herb; Rosettes generally single, 4-13 dm tall, 7-13 dm broad, open Leaves: numerous, 35-92 cm long, 3.5-19 cm wide, linear-lanceolate to lanceolate, widest near middle, acuminate to long-acuminate, ascending to spreading, rigid, somewhat concave towards apex, thick and convex towards base, light glaucous green, pale green to deep green, often with reddish-maroon tinge, the margins straight or somewhat undulate; teeth mostly uniform, slender, firmly attached, mostly reflexed or porrect, the larger teeth 4-6 mm long, closely set, 5-12 mm apart, dark brown or reddish brown, to pruinose gray; interstitial teeth 4-6 on upper - of leaf; terminal spine 3-6 cm long, strong, acicular, openly grooved above base, red-brown or brown to gray, decurrent to first (or second) teeth INFLORESCENCE: with scape (1.75-)4.2-6.5(-7.2) m high, broadly paniculate, of (8-)11-26(-32) lateral horizontal branchlets in upper - of flowering stalk, the longer ones 6-38 cm long, the stalk thick, glaucous-green or purple-maroon Flowers: in congested umbels, reddish in bud, durable, 46-64 mm long, erect, cylindric-urceolate, with a strong musky-sour fragrance at anthesis; tepals persistently erect, clasping the filaments, leathery, cream, pale yellow, light green or pinkish-maroon, becoming darker towards tip, unequal, the outer ones 12-18 mm long, 6-11 mm wide, the inner ones (6.5-)9-14 mm long, 9-14 mm wide; filaments 40-58 mm long, inserted at 2 levels, 5-9 mm and 4-8 mm above base of tube, cream, light yellow or pinkish, with pink or maroon blush, especially towards apex, the anthers 11-25 mm long, yellow; ovary 18-36 mm long, stout, thickish, with slightly constricted neck 0.5-4(-6) mm long, angled to roundish, light to medium green, the style 39-62 mm long when stigma is receptive, cream or light yellow, usually with maroon blush; floral tube 10-18 mm long, 10-26 mm wide, slightly bulging at base of tepals, cream or light to medium green, sometimes with maroon blush Fruit: capsules, 3.5-6 cm long, 1.8-2 cm wide, linear-oblong to oblong or pyriform, short and broadly stipitate, short- to long- apiculate; SEEDS 5-7 mm long, 4-5 mm wide, thin, black Misc: Open hills and slopes of oak woodland and grassland; 1000-1950 m (3300-6400 ft); Jun-Oct REFERENCES: Hodgson, Wendy. 1999. Agavaceae. Ariz. - Nev. Acad. Sci. 32(1).
Gentry 1982, Hodgson 1999
Common Name: Palmer's century plant Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Succulent General: Perennial scapose succulents, rosettes generally single, rarely late-suckering, 50-120 cm tall, 100-120 cm across, open about the conal bud. Leaves: Mostly 35-75 cm long by 7-10 cm wide, narrowed above base, long-acuminate, rather rigid, somewhat guttered, thick and convex at base, concave near apex, pale green to light glaucous green or reddish-tinged; margins nearly straight or undulate; teeth slender and variously flexed; spine at leaf tip strong, 3-6 cm long. Flowers: Panicle deep, broad, open; the scape 3-5 m tall, with triangular bracts and 8-12 horizontal laterals in upper third of shaft; flowers 45-55 mm long, narrow, pale greenish yellow to waxy white, reddish in bud; ovary shiny green, 25-30 mm long with short neck. Fruits: Capsule oblong, 3.5-6 cm by 2 cm, on a short broad stipe, the capsule tip with an abrupt, slender point. Ecology: Found in oak woodlands and grama grasslands from 3,000-6,000 ft (914-1829 m); flowers June-August. Distribution: AZ and NM; south to Sonora and Chihuahua. Notes: One of the larger Agave species in our region, A. palmeri is distinguished by having leaves to 1 m long in a rather loose rosette to 1.5 m tall, each leaf with terminal spine 3-6 cm long; a sparsely- branched inflorescence stalk 3-5 m tall; inflorescence is a panicle with umbellate clusters containing erect, persistent tepals on the fruits. This species is critical for pollinators, bats, hummingbirds, insects; especially for the migratory bat, Leptonycteris, as reported by Gentry. Ethnobotany: The heads, or pinas, were harvested, roasted, ground, and fermented for use as mescal; widely used for fiber, food, and forage. Etymology: Agave is from Greek agauos, admirable or noble, while palmeri is named for Edward Palmer (1829-1911), known for his botanical collections in the region. Synonyms: None Editor: SBuckley 2010, FSCoburn 2015, AHazelton 2015