Agave americana is a rosette-forming perennial succulent that is native to Mexico. It has been introduced and has naturalized in a number of tropical areas around the world.
Each plant typically forms a large, evergreen basal rosette of thick, succulent, lanceolate, gray-green leaves. Each rosette typically matures over time to as much as 6' tall by 8-10' wide. Each leaf has a waxy bloom, spiny tip, and sharp marginal spines. This plant is also well-known for its infrequent but spectacular flowering spikes.
Plants are monocarpic (bloom only once and then die).
Common name of century plant suggests the plant will live 100 years before flowering. In reality, outdoor plants typically bloom between the 10th and 25th years. Indoor plants rarely flower.
When an outdoor plant blooms, it sends up a single, stout, erect flowering stalk from the center of the basal rosette of leaves to 15-30' tall or more. The flowering stalk resembles a narrow telephone pole with horizontal branching near the top.
Greenish-yellow flowers (each to 3-4" long) bloom in panicles at the branch ends. Suckers/offsets root at the base of each rosette over time, often forming a colony of new plants. Once a plant flowers and dies, the offsets around the base of the plant continue to grow.