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Agave americana – Century Plant, American Aloe

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Scientific Name

Agave americana L.

Common Names

Century Plant, American Aloe, Maguey

Synonyms

Agave ingens varpicta, Agave zonata, Agave virginica, Agave variegata, Agave americana var. theometel, Agave theometel, Agave subzonata, Agave spectabilis, Agave ramosa, Agave picta, Agave altissima, Agave rasconensis, Agave milleri, Agave communis, Agave complicata, Agave felina, Agave fuerstenbergii, Agave gracilispina, Agave ingens, Agave melliflua

Scientific Classification

Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave

Description

Agave americana is a solitary or slowly clumping, large leaf succulent with a basal rosette up to 13 feet (4 m) wide. The leaves are gray-green, up to 6.6 feet (2 m) 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 26 feet (8 m) in height.

Agave americana

Hardiness

USDA hardiness zone 8a to 11b: from 10 °F (−12.2 °C) to 50 °F (+10 °C).

How to Grow and Care

Agave is not a difficult plant to grow. They’re slow-growing and dramatic and will even thrive on a bit of neglect. If you’re the type of person who likes to fuss with houseplants and water a lot, Agave is probably not the plant for you. If, however, you’re the type of person who likes to set it and forget it, and you have a sunny window, Agave might the way to go. Be aware that some of the large varieties will eventually outgrow your room (unless you have a large greenhouse), and Agave can be aggressive. They have irritating sap and sometimes very sharp thorns that can cause injuries to small children and even pets… – See more at: How to Grow and Care for Agave.

Uses

Man has been harvesting and utilizing Agaves for approximately 9,000 years. The huge plant comprised a huge part of primitive man’s diet. Closely related to lilies there are three major parts which are edible: flowers, stalks or basal rosettes, and the sap. Leaves are a lesser edible part of the plant… – See more at: Century Plant – Edible Agave.

Agave americana has antiseptic, wound-healing and anti-inflammatory properties, which explain its uses externally as a medicinal herb to treat burns, bruises, minor cuts, injuries and skin irritation caused by insect bites … – See more at: Therapeutic Uses, Benefits and Claims of Agave americana.

Origin

Native to Mexico, naturalized in many regions and grows wild in Europe, South Africa, India, and Australia.

Subspecies, Varieties, Forms, Cultivars and Hybrids

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