Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Cow's Horn Agave, Lechuguilla Verde
Agave bovicornuta

Family: Agavaceae (ah-gav-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Agave (a-GAH-vee) (Info)
Species: bovicornuta (boh-vy-kor-NOO-tuh) (Info)

8 members have or want this plant for trade.

Cactus and Succulents

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
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

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

Bloom Color:
Bright Yellow

Bloom Time:
Late Winter/Early Spring
Mid Spring


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

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; germinate in vitro in gelatin, agar or other medium

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds

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By palmbob
Thumbnail #1 of Agave bovicornuta by palmbob

By palmbob
Thumbnail #2 of Agave bovicornuta by palmbob

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #3 of Agave bovicornuta by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #4 of Agave bovicornuta by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #5 of Agave bovicornuta by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #6 of Agave bovicornuta by Xenomorf

By Xenomorf
Thumbnail #7 of Agave bovicornuta by Xenomorf

There are a total of 45 photos.
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4 positives
1 neutral
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive digr On Jan 19, 2015, digr from Phoenix, AZ wrote:

I live in Phoenix AZ and have had 1 Cow's Horn agave in a container for about 8 years and do consider it my favorite out of all the different agave varieties I have. But it cannot take the full summer sun here. It likes shade or semi shade, and always see them planted under trees in commercial landscaping. Winter sun appears ok though, which so happens to be the case with many other types of vegetation. Also have never seen a pup from a Cow Horn, bummer! That's why I only have 1 plant. But they are quite stunning for an agave.

Positive desertbluegrass On Jun 9, 2013, desertbluegrass from TERLINGUA, TX wrote:

I don't want to offend anyone. I would like to possibly correct a bit of information in regards to the term lechuguilla. Agave lechuguilla and Agave bovicornuta are members of the same genus but not the same species. Agave bovicornuta is not actually a lechuguilla. Lechuguillas are native only to the Chihuahuan desert. If they are found in Arizona they are not a lechuguilla unless it is a transplant. I have thousands of the lechuguilla on my property but no Agave bovicornuta. The Cows Horn Agave is quite the beautiful plant though. I came across this item while researching propagation methods for Agave lechuguilla. I know it sounds strange if I already have numerous of them already. Here in the Chihuahuan desert, as any other locale, elevation, rain amount, and other requirements play a large part in where plants are found. Even within a few yards it may make a large difference. I am attempting to landscape the front of a business here and Agave lechuguilla is one of the species I would like. However, they do utilize runners and can easily end up where you may not want them, so a planter or pot is the best solution for this. I was wondering if anyone has had success with simply digging up one and transplanting it? Do they send down a long tap root or not? Thank you for any advice.

Charlton in Terlingua, TX

Positive baiissatva On Aug 9, 2009, baiissatva from Dunedin
New Zealand wrote:

Zone 9b coastal Otago.

Ive just bought one from the net and it's arrived in very poor condition, busted leaves, screamingly dry barerooted etc. I would rate it as 9/10 in extremis. I'll attempt to revive it and will report back on any success or otherwise.
Nice plant, hope it lives!

Neutral htop On Feb 8, 2005, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The common name for this native Mexican agave is "cow horn agave". The central buds resemble cows' horns. The shiny light-green leaves have contrasting chestnut-brown spines and strong bud imprints.The newly unfurled leaves have a satin sheen and bright-red young teeth. I believe it grows about 4 feet high and 6 feet wide which is in conflict with the information above. A truly unique looking agave.

Positive palmbob On Feb 21, 2004, palmbob from Acton, CA (Zone 8b) wrote:

Got this agave as a small seedling when it had bright bright green leaves and deep red marginal striping. ANd the surprise to me was it kept both traits as it grew into a large Agave. Fortunately it seems to be slow to sucker (in fact, I think it is a nonsuckering species) since it otherwise would have crowded out all the other plants in the area. Striking color for an agave and a wonderful landscape plant.

I have seen quite a number of these in Southern CAlifornia, growing from infancy to flowering adults. Perhaps this climate does not support their ultimate size potential, but never have I even seen one over 3' tall before flowering, though from Xenomorph's photo, I could believe that one is perhaps taller than 3'. Most plants here in So CAl flower at around 2.5'-3', some smaller. I certainly have never experienced one any wider than 4', though. Perhaps in a super hot climate... or perhaps a hybrid with A ferox?


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

Chandler Heights, Arizona
Claypool, Arizona
Mesa, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona (2 reports)
Queen Creek, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Mission Viejo, California
Reseda, California
Thousand Oaks, California
Canton, Illinois
Austin, Texas
Terlingua, Texas

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