Red Rock Canyon A to Z

U: Utah agave

When hiking in rocky areas around Red Rock Canyon, look for this low to the ground yet very spiny Utah agave (Agave utahensis) plant. This heat and drought tolerant plant has toothed leaves to protect itself from other animals & plants looking to steal its water & nutrients. About 7 to 10 years into its life, the Utah agave will shoot up a tall stalk (up to 12 feet high) to produce brilliant yellow flowers. These flowers will turn into seeds after pollination by hummingbirds. Once Utah agave has gone to seed, the plant will die off as it has spent all of its energy reproducing. Natives roasted and ate agave similar to how artichokes are prepared today. Look for these plants around Sandstone Quarry, White Rock Spring, and Willow Springs.

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