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Agave vilmoriniana

Agave vilmoriniana, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Familia: Asparagaceae
Subfamilia: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave
Subgenus: A. subg. Littaea
Sectio: A. sect. Nizandensae
Species: Agave vilmoriniana

Agave vilmoriniana A.Berger, 1913

Agave eduardi Trel., Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 23: 134 (1920).
Agave houghii Trel., Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 23: 134 (1920).
Agave mayoensis Gentry, Publ. Carnegie Inst. Wash. 527: 94 (1942).

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Northern America
Regional: Mexico
Mexico Northeast; Mexico Northwest; Mexico Southwest

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition

Berger, A., 1913. Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis. Centralblatt für Sammlung und Veroffentlichung von Einzeldiagnosen neuer Pflanzen. [Edited by Friedrich Fedde]. Berlin 12:503. 1913
USDA, ARS, National Genetic Resources Program. Germplasm Resources Information Network - (GRIN) [Online Database]. [1]


Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Agave vilmoriniana in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jan. 06. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Agave vilmoriniana. Published online. Accessed: Jan. 06 2019.
The Plant List 2013. Agave vilmoriniana in The Plant List Version 1.1. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jan. 06.
Tropicos.org 2019. Agave vilmoriniana. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Jan. 06.

Vernacular names
español: Octopus agave

Agave vilmoriniana, sometimes misspelled vilmoriana, and popularly known as Octopus agave, is a species of agave endemic to Mexico. It is known for its untoothed arching and twisting leaves.[3]


Wild plants had been found in 1899 by Joseph Nelson Rose near Guadalajara, Jalisco. The species was named by Alwin Berger in 1913 in honor of Maurice de Vilmorin, based on specimens collected by Leon Diguet and grown at the Jardin des Plantes in Paris.[4]


In nature, the octopus agave prefers the cliffs of barrancas of southern Sonora, Chihuahua, Sinaloa, Jalisco, Durango, Nayarit and Aguascalientes, typically between elevations of 600 to 1,700 meters.[5]
Agave vilmoriniana - Bulbils on the flowering stem

Agave vilmoriniana has one of the highest concentrations of the sapogenin smilagenen, and in parts of Mexico the leaves are cut, dried, and the fibers are beaten to make them into a brush with built-in soap.

The "octopus agave" is cultivated as an ornamental plant for planting in gardens and containers.

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