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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Derivation of specific name

americana: American
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Source: Flora of Zimbabwe

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Distribution

National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Distribution: Mexico, naturalized in the Mediterranean region, India and Pakistan.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Stem reduced. Leaves forming a rosette, curving outwards, the ends drooping, more than 1 m long, widest about the middle, neck not sharply constricted. green, sometimes glaucous, often with pale yellow borders or otherwise variegated, shallowly channelled only at the apical region. Apical spine c. 1 cm, dark reddish brown-black, marginal spines pointing downwards.
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Description

Stems indistinct. Leaves usually 30--40 or more, in a massive basal rosette, oblanceolate, 1--2 m × 15--20 cm, fleshy, margin spiny, apex recurved and tipped with a dark brown spine 1.5--2.5 cm. Panicle many branched, 6--12 m, usually bearing few bulblets after anthesis. Perianth greenish yellow; tube ca. 1.2 cm; lobes 2.5--3 cm. Stamens ca. 2 × as long as perianth. Capsule oblong, ca. 5 cm.
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Description

Plants acaulescent or short-stemmed, commonly suckering, trunks less than 2 m; rosettes not cespitose, 10–20 × 20–37 dm. Leaves erect, spreading to ascending, occasionally reflexed, 80–200 × 15–25 cm; blade light green to green or glaucous-gray, sometimes variegated or cross-zoned, narrowly to broadly lanceolate, smooth, rigid; margins nearly straight or undulate to crenate, armed, teeth single, 5–10 mm, 1–4 cm apart; apical spine dark brown to grayish, conical or subulate, 2–6 cm. Scape 5–9 m. Inflorescences paniculate, not bulbiferous; bracts persistent, triangular, 5–15 cm; lateral branches 15–35, horizontal to slightly ascending, comprising distal 1/3–1/2 of inflorescence, longer than 10 cm. Flowers erect, 7–10.5 cm; perianth yellow, tube funnelform to cylindric, 8–20 × 12–20 mm, limb lobes erect, subequal, 20–35 mm; stamens long-exserted; filaments inserted above mid perianth tube, erect, yellow, 6–9 cm; anthers yellow, 25–35 mm; ovary 3–4.5 cm, neck constricted, 3–6(–8) mm. Capsules short-pedicellate, oblong, 3.5–8 cm, apex beaked. Seeds 6–8 mm.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat & Distribution

Widely cultivated. Naturalized in S China [native to tropical America].
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Agave americana

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Agave americana

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 4
Specimens with Barcodes: 8
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: GNR - Not Yet Ranked

Reasons: Ampliamente conocido, ubicada en valles mesotérnicos interandinos (3100-3700 m). Se encuentra en Bolivia.

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Management

These species are introduced in Switzerland.
  • Aeschimann, D. & C. Heitz. 2005. Synonymie-Index der Schweizer Flora und der angrenzenden Gebiete (SISF). 2te Auflage. Documenta Floristicae Helvetiae N° 2. Genève.   http://www.crsf.ch/ External link.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Uses

Uses: Beverage (non-alcoholic), Folk medicine

Comments: Hierba a la que se le atribuye propiedades tales como purificadora de la sangre, diurética, antiséptica, laxante, tónica, para la conjuntivitis, afecciones hepáticas, renales, sífilis. Los botones florales son comestibles, utilizados en la preparación de bebidas nutritivas.

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Wikipedia

Agave americana

Agave americana, commonly known as the century plant, maguey, or American aloe (although it is in a different family from the Aloe),[2] is an agave originally from Mexico but cultivated worldwide as an ornamental plant. It has since naturalised in many regions and grows wild in Europe, South Africa, India, and Australia.[3]

Contents

Description

The misnamed century plant typically lives only 10 to 30 years. It has a spreading rosette (about 4 m/13 ft wide) of gray-green leaves up to 2 m (6.6 ft) long, each with a spiny margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce to the bone. When it flowers, the spike with a cyme of big yellow flowers may reach up to 8 m (26 ft) in height. Its common name likely derives from its semelparous nature of flowering only once at the end of its long life. The plant dies after flowering, but produces suckers or adventitious shoots from the base, which continue its growth.

Cultivated varieties include the "marginata" with yellow stripes along the margins of each leaf, "medio-picta alba" with a central white band, "medio-picta aurea" with a central yellow band, "striata" with multiple yellow to white stripes along the leaves, and "variegata" with white edges on the leaves.[4]

Taxonomy and naming

Agave americana was one of the many species described by Carl Linnaeus in the 1753 edition of Species Plantarum, with the binomial name that we still use today.

Subspecies

Uses

If the flower stem is cut without flowering, a sweet liquid called agua miel ("honey water") gathers in the heart of the plant. This may be fermented to produce the drink called pulque. The leaves also yield fibers, known as pita, which are suitable for making rope, matting, coarse cloth and are used for embroidery of leather in a technique known as piteado. Both pulque and maguey fibre were important to the economy of pre-Columbian Mexico.

Mezcal and tequila are different from pulque, they are distilled spirits. In the region of Tequila, agaves are called mezcales, and the high-alcohol product of their distillation is called mezcal. Tequila is made from Agave tequilana, comonly called "blue agave". Mezcal may contain the mezcal worm, which pulque and tequila do not.

Agave nectar, also called agave syrup, is marketed as a natural sugar substitute with a low glycemic index that is due to its high fructose content.

The sap is quite acidic and can be quite painful if it comes in contact with the skin. It can form small blisters.




Pictures

Heraldry

The plant figures in the coat of arms of Don Diego de Mendoza, a Native American governor of the village of Ajacuba, Hidalgo.[1]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Agave americana L.". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2005-05-23. http://www.ars-grin.gov/cgi-bin/npgs/html/taxon.pl?1690. Retrieved 2010-01-12. 
  2. ^ Bailey, L.H.; Bailey, E.Z.; the staff of the Liberty Hyde Bailey Hortorium. 1976. Hortus third: A concise dictionary of plants cultivated in the United States and Canada. Macmillan, New York.
  3. ^ Irish, Gary (2000). Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants: A Gardener's Guide. Timber Press. pp. 94–97. ISBN 9780881924428. http://books.google.com/books?id=YbVYuq73I0wC. 
  4. ^ Vermeulen, Nico. 1998. The Complete Encyclopedia of Container Plants, pp. 36-37. Netherlands: Rebo International. ISBN 90-366-1584-4
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Notes

Comments

Various chromosome numbers have been reported for Agave americana under a variety of names, typically without regard to the plant’s origin or its precise taxonomic disposition. Nonetheless, the species is most certainly a polyploid complex based on x = 30, with reports of n = 30 and 2n = 60, 120, and 180 documented by S. D. McKelvey and K. Sax (1933), H. Matsuura and T. Sutô (1935), E. B. Granick (1944), A. K. Sharma and U. C. Bhattacharyya (1962), M. S. Cave (1964), S. Banerjee and A. K. Sharma (1987), Huang S. F. et al. (1989) and B. Vijayavalli and P. M. Mathew (1990). Various dysploids have also been reported (A. F. Dyer et al. 1970; J. L. Strother and G. L. Nesom 1997). See H. S. Gentry (1982) for details.
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Comments

The century plant or the American aloe is cultivated in gardens throughout Pakistan. It is not naturalized here and not grown for its fibre. This species is monocarpic, flowering after about 10 years of growth.
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Comments

The leaves are used medicinally and as a source of fiber.
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