Agave arizonica was first discovered in 1959 in the New River Mountains of Arizona (Gentry 1970, 1982). It has been described as one of the rarest and most beautiful agaves in Arizona. The Arizona agave is a member of a prestigious family of plants, the Agavaceae. Within this family are numerous century plants that have been cultivated by humans for food, fiber, and alcohol uses. The Arizona agave is considered to be a hybrid, reportedly from a cross between Agave chrysantha and A. toumeyana v. bella. This means that A. arizonica may be just starting down the path of evolution. (Nabhan 1989, Hodgson & DeLameter 1988, DeLameter & Hodgson 1987a, 1987b). Agave arizonica is native to a small area in central Arizona, occurring on open rocky slopes in chaparral or juniper grassland at elevations from 1100 to 2750 m (3600-5800 ft). The distinctive bright green leaves of this species have mahogany margins and are generally arranged as single rosettes. This is a small plant, with a rosette of leaves reaching only ca. 30cm tall and 40cm broad at maturity. (Gentry 1982) Rosettes produce offsets sparingly in their native habitats, but when grown in cultivation plants produce clones prolifically in this manner. In May or June, a lucky observer may catch a glimpse the small, yellow jar-shaped flowers of this species that grace the top of 3-4 m long, slender stalk rising from the leaf rosette. Unfortunately, cattle grazing in areas where this species naturally occurs has severely impacted the ability of the Arizona agave to successfully produce flowers. In 1988, only 12 of 41 mature plants were able to produce flowers due to trampling and grazing from cattle in the area. (Hodgson & DeLameter 1988) Because plants are of hybrid origin, seeds produced are not necessarily representative of the typical taxon. Plants are reportedly of hybrid origin, with A. chrysantha, a relatively large agave, and A. toumeyana v. bella, a diminutive plant, as the parent species. Only 50-60 clones or plants have been located from distinct locations in Arizona where populations of the two putative parent species overlap. The Desert Botanical Garden has a long history of study associated with A. arizonica, the majority of which has been conducted by W. Hodgson, Herbarium Curator and research botanist, in association with R. Delamater. All of the in situ controlled crosses, and subsequent seed collection was completed by Hodgson and Delamater.