This small, compact agave forms a symmetrical rosette. The short, stout leaves are dark green with distinctive white markings. The leaves have smooth edges, but posess a sharp terminal spine. The reddish-purple flowers are densely packed on a 15-foot unbranched spike. This species is very slow growing and long-lived, taking many years to reach flowering size. Plant it in full sun and water sparingly to maintain the tightest form. This species is native to the Chihuahuan Desert, at elevations from 4000 to 5000 feet.