Agave toumeyana var. bella
Family: Asparagaceae, formerly Agavaceae
Common Names: miniature century plant, Toumey’s century plant, Toumey’s agave
Synonyms: Agave toumeyana subs. bella
Origin: Agave toumeyana var. bella is a naturally occurring variant that is restricted to the Sierra Ancha Mountains in Central Arizona. It inhabits rocky hillsides, mesas, desert chaparral, pine forests, and juniper forests from 2,400 – 5,200 feet in elevation.
Description: The miniature century plant is an evergreen succulent that forms colonies of distinctive, dense rosettes. Each rosette stands up to 10 inches tall and includes 100 to 200 long narrow leaves of approximately equal height, giving a flat-topped appearance tipped with apical spines. At the same time, the dark-green leaves possess white margins that are decorated with curling white thread, resembling tight ringlets. From late spring to early summer, a slender but disproportionately large spike will form, bearing the pale yellow-green flowers on a stalk 4-8 feet in height. Capsule fruits will follow, and then the agave will die, as the miniature century plant is monocarpic and will perish after flowering.
The bella variety differs from the straight species by its miniature form, being much smaller and more compact than the straight species. The inflorescence will also be smaller and more compact, and miniature century plants will possess a denser rosette with denticles in the lower half of the leaf.
Cultivation and Care: