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Agave cactus
Leuchtenbergia principis.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Cactaceae
Subfamily: Cactoideae
Tribe: Cacteae
Genus: Leuchtenbergia
Species: L. principis
Binomial name
Leuchtenbergia principis

Leuchtenbergia principis (agave cactus or prism cactus), the sole species of the genus Leuchtenbergia, is a species of cactus. It is native to north-central Mexico (San Luis Potosi, Chihuahua). The genus is named after Maximilian Eugen Joseph (1817–1852), Duke of Leuchtenberg and amateur botanist.

It is very slow-growing but can eventually grow up to 70 cm high, with a cylindrical stem which becomes bare and corky at the base with age. It has long, slender, grayish-green tubercles 6–12 cm long, with purplish-red blotches at their tips. The tubercles are topped with papery spines, making the plant resemble an agave; old, basal tubercles dry up and fall off. After four years or so, yellow, funnel-shaped flowers 5–6 cm diameter may be borne at the tubercle tips. The fruit is smooth and green, 3 cm long and 2 cm broad. It has a large, tuberous taproot.


It is related to the genus Ferocactus, and hybrids have been created between these two genera.


  • Huxley, A., ed. (1992). New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. Macmillan.