Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Furcraea
Furcraea macdougalii

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Family: Agavaceae (ah-gav-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Furcraea (fer-KREE-uh) (Info)
Species: macdougalii (mak-DOOG-uh-lee-eye) (Info)

3 members have or want this plant for trade.

Category:
Trees
Cactus and Succulents

Height:
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

Spacing:
15-20 ft. (4.7-6 m)
20-30 ft. (6-9 m)

Hardiness:
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Danger:
Plant has spines or sharp edges; use extreme caution when handling

Bloom Color:
Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer

Foliage:
Grown for foliage
Evergreen
Silver/Gray
Blue-Green

Other details:
Drought-tolerant; suitable for xeriscaping
This plant is monocarpic

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:
Non-patented

Propagation Methods:
From bulbils

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 34 photos.
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Profile:

3 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

RatingAuthorContent
Positive wist On Feb 27, 2005, wist from Cardiff By The Sea, CA wrote:

I inherited my Furcraea macdougalli from a friend who was unsure what it was, other than it was from Mexico. The plant, actually plant(s) had been growing in a shallow bowl for years. The bowl contained 6 individual plants which appeared to resemble an agave with offsets. After stumbling onto a specimen at Rancho Soledad Nursery, I learned it's true name. I am assuming the 6 tightly grouped plants sprouted from a segment of the mother plant's flower stalk. Today I have two of the existing plants growing in my front yard in Encinitas, California. During the summer, the plant can exhibit desiccation where it's leaves begin to slightly prune. The symptoms first appear on the lower basal leaves.

Positive palmbob On Aug 19, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is a relative of the Agaves, and I cannot find much written about this species. It is an impressive plant, though, and many local botanical gardens have one. I first discovered this plant at a nursery in Escondido California where they had a monster growing in the back lot... it had to have about 10' of trunk and 15'+ stiff, spiny leaves shooting out of it in all directions. It looked from a distance like some weird palm/ succulent cross. The nursery was selling small seedlings (in 20 gal pots!). So of course I got one. And it's been a great plant... has an upright growth of blue-green slightly forgiving and only mildly spiny leaves, the texture of a reptile- scaly-smooth. The only problem I've had with it is it's wimpy root system makes it prone to be pulled partially out of the ground if I walk by it too fast and let the spines grab my clothing. But now it's bigger and sturdier, and just starting to form a trunk (5 years after planting). A great curiosity item for the larger xeriscape garden.

Have a seedling in my yard in Los Angeles, and it has been growing well in a raised bed for the last two years. Had a significant freeze Jan 07 and discovered this plants limits- 27F for an extended period of time (5 hours in this case) damaged a lot of the leaves badly- ouch!

Positive palmbob On Jul 25, 2003, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

It indeed does form quite a large trunk (up to 15' in some areas) and looks like some incredible palm tree from a distance. The buds on the flower stalk are called bulbules, and that is one of the main differences between agaves and furcreas in terms of reproduction. Furcreas never seem to sucker, while most agaves do. But hundreds, if not thousands of little bulbules are released once this plant flowers (monocarpic).

Furcreas are great plants, but some have the same vicious spines as their cousins, the agaves, so should be planted away from traffic areas. These are one of may favorite of all the succulents.

Neutral BotanyBob On Jun 7, 2001, BotanyBob from Thousand Oaks, CA wrote:

This is one of the most outstanding Agave-like specimen succulents that can be grown in the warmer areas of the Southwest. It is a very upright, blue-green (with a silvery sheen) Agave-like plant. The leaves are long, thin and tapering to a soft point straight up in the air. The leaves also have scalloped edges with slightly sharp teeth. The backs of the leaves, which is what you touch if you brush up against it, have a soft, pebbly texture almost like plastic. It is one of the more user-friendly Agave-like plants.

Unlike most Agaves, this plant does not sucker (that I know of). It grows in an upright fashion to eventually develop a woody trunk and leaves that grow to some 15+ feet in length. From a distance it looks more like some massive, bizzare sort of Phoenix palm than a succulent. It truly is a giant among succulents.

Unfortunately, like most Agaves, it is monocarpic (dies once it flowers). However, the flowers turn into hundreds of little 'bulbules' which fall to earth hoping to root and start new plants.

I have no idea where in the world it originates. If anyone has more information on this species, it would be much appreciated.

Regional...

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Cardiff By The Sea, California
Encino, California
San Leandro, California
Spring Valley, California



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