Manfreda virginica

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: American agave 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asparagaceae
Native Range: Southern United States, Mexico
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 4.00 feet
Bloom Time: July to October
Bloom Description: Yellow-green
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Tolerate: Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil


Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Plant in a protected area in USDA Zone 5.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Manfreda virginica, commonly called American aloe, false aloe, Virginia agave, or rattlesnake master, is a Missouri native plant which occurs most often in alkaline soils on rocky glades and in sandy open woods in the Ozark region. A rhizomatous perennial which forms large, basal rosettes of nearly flat, soft, fleshy, sword-shaped, dark green leaves (6" to 20" long and 2" wide). Leaves may be flecked with red. From the center of each rosette rises an erect flower stalk to 4-5' tall (less frequently to 6'). Up to 30 solitary, fragrant, pale yellowish-green, tube-shaped, three-lobed flowers (1" long) are loosely arranged on the flower spike. Long summer bloom occasionally extends into fall. Flowers give way to capsule-like fruit. This plant is also sometimes sold as Agave virginica.

Genus name honors Manfredus de Monte Imperiali, an ancient writer.

Specific epithet means of Virginia.


No significant insect or disease problems.


Good plant for informal settings, such as wild gardens or native plant gardens or as part of a naturalized planting. Also may be used in a dry corner of the perennial border.