The morphology and crystallography of precipitates formed in three Mg-Al-Zn alloys containing various Al/Zn ratios, conventionally designated as AZ91, AZ64 and AZ46, were characterized, and the mechanical properties determined. Three morphologically and crystallographically different types of lath- or rod-shaped γ-(Mg17All2) precipitates were identified in AZ91, and needle-like η-(MgZn2) in addition to γ-(Mg17All2) occurred in the alloys containing higher Zn. With increasing Zn content, i.e. with decreasing Al/Zn ratio, the fraction of γ-(Mg17All2) decreased, while that of η-(MgZn2) increased. The peak aged hardness and tensile properties of the alloys were slightly decreased, rather than increased, with increasing the Zn content from AZ91 through AZ64 to AZ46. The mechanism by which the γ-(Mg17All2) and η-(MgZn2) precipitates affected the age strengthening of the alloys was discussed in terms of the morphology, crystallography, interfacial structure, and relative quantity of the precipitates, and of their ability to block dislocation basal slip in the Mg-rich matrix.