Agaves are succulents with a large rosette of thick, fleshy leaves, with most species ending in a sharp terminal spine. The stout stem is usually short, the leaves apparently springing from the root. Along with plants from the related genus Yucca, various Agave species are popular ornamental plants in hot, dry climates, as they require very little water to survive.
Each rosette is monocarpic and grows slowly to flower only once. During flowering, a tall stem or “mast” (“quiote” in Mexico) grows from the center of the leaf rosette and bears a large number of short, tubular flowers. After development of fruit, the original plant dies, but suckers are frequently produced from the base of the stem, which become new plants.