These great succulents grow in a rosette with very sharply pointed leaves. This is what tequila is made of. From this plant such things as soup, rope, and food are made from the fibers.
The plants may send up a fall flower spike every year, and yet some only bloom every 30 - 40 years. Those unlucky varieties will die after they bloom, but new "suckers" will develop at the base.
These plants are native to the warm arid parts of the Americas, and require excellent drainage. They grow well in containers, and are very drought resistant.
The plant should be protected from the frost and rains of winter. It may do better with some shade from a hot and dry desert.
The blooming season is mid-spring to mid-summer. It will grow from 3-6 feet and as wide as 10 feet.
It is best grown in zones 7 - 11.
Sometimes it is susceptible to black spot.
Its grayish blue or light slate color is most attractive.
In her book, "Wicked Plants," Amy Stewart says that "...sharp thorns and highly irritating sap are so forbidding that jailers planted them around Alcatraz to discourage escape attempts.'