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Agave
Agavaceae
Agave americana


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb



Agavaceae Family

Agave Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Century Plant, Maguey (in Mexico), American Aloe (it is not, however, closely related to the genus Aloe), Foxtail Agave


Location

In the southern and western United States and in central and tropical South America. Has escaped cultivation and become established in the Mediterranean region of Africa and Europe

Physical Description
The plants have a large rosette of thick fleshy leaves, each ending generally in a sharp point and with a spiny margin; the stout stem is usually short, the leaves apparently springing from the root. Along with plants from the related genus Yucca, various Agave species are popular ornamental plants.

Each rosette is monocarpic and grows slowly to flower only once. During flowering a tall stem or "mast" grows from the center of the leaf rosette and bears a large number of shortly tubular flowers. After development of fruit the original plant dies, but suckers are frequently produced from the base of the stem which become new plants.

It is a common misconception that Agaves are cacti. Agaves are closely related to the lily and amaryllis families, and are not related to cacti.




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Agavaceae
Asparagales
Asparagales
Monocots
Monocots
One First-Leaves (Monocots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

Agave americana, century plant, was introduced into Europe about the middle of the 16th century and is now widely cultivated for its handsome appearance; in the variegated forms the leaf has a white or yellow marginal or central stripe from base to apex. As the leaves unfold from the center of the rosette the impression of the marginal spines is very conspicuous on the still erect younger leaves. The tequ plants are usually grown in tubs and put out in the summer months, but in the winter require protection from frost. They mature very slowly and die after flowering, but are easily propagated by the offsets from the base of the stem

The sap of century plant is used as a diuretic and a laxative. The juice of the leaves is applied to bruises and taken internally for indigestion, flatulence, constipation, jaundice, and dysentery. Steroid hormone precursors are obtained from the leaves.

Agave syrup (also called agave nectar) is a sweetener commercially produced in Mexico. Agave syrup is sweeter than honey, though less viscous. To produce agave nectar, juice is expressed from the core of the agave, called the piña. The juice is filtered, then heated, to hydrolyze carbohydrates into sugars. The main carbohydrate is a complex form of fructose called inulin or fructosan. The filtered, hydrolyzed juice is concentrated to a syrup-like liquid a little thinner than honey and ranges in color from light to dark depending on the degree of processing. The syrup naturally contains quantities of Iron, Calcium, Potassium & Magnesium which contribute to the resulting color

The flower stalk and heart of century plant are sweet and can be roasted and eaten. The seeds are ground into flour to make bread and to use as a thickener for soups. Pulque is a beer-like drink made from the fermented sap of century plant or (more commonly) the closely-related Agave salmiana. Tequila is distilled from the sap of blue agave (A. tequilana) and mescal is made by distilling fire-roasted agave. Mescal, with its distinctive smoky aroma, is often sold with a worm (actually the caterpillar of the agave moth) in the bottle. A company in California is marketing agave nectar, a sweetener made from the fruit of blue agave.

Nutritional Value: Amount per 1 ounce serving
Calories 19 Carbohydrates 5 g

Fat 0 Dietary Fiber 2 mg

Cholesterol 0 Sugars 1 g

Sodium 4 mg Protein 0 g

The agave is considered the Mexican Tree of Life and Abundance, probably because the people of that region have had so many uses for it

According to legend, the plant lives for hundreds of years before it flowers, which is why it acquired the name of "Century Plant". In reality, the plants live no more than thirty years, but the fatal flowering can be spectacular. In some species, a shoot two stories high, will produce an enormous cluster of white or yellow flowers.

The Bandianus Manuscript of 1552 was the first herbal to list the plants of the New World, describing an Aztec treatment for diarrhea and dysentery. In it, agave juice, combined with freshly-ground corn and extract of bladderwort was given as an enema, using a syringe made from the bladder of a small animal and a hollow bone or reed.

The 18th century Spanish botanist, Luis Née, was so impressed with the usefulness of the plant that, in his report to the crown, declared that Spain should not be without it. The plant was soon taken there, where it can still be found growing.

The plant figures if the coat of arms of Don Diego de Mendoza, a Native American governor of the village of Ajacuba, Hidalgo





Agave


Comment: Agave, Agave americana

Page Posts: 1

gardengeek
gardengeek
June 11, 2010
That is one mean looking Agave plant.

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