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Useful Tropical Plants

Agave vivipara

L.

Asparagaceae


The genus Agave is treated here in a wide sense to include taxa previously treated as belonging to the genera Manfreda, Prochnyanthes, Polianthes and Pseudobravoa. Not all botanists are happy with this treatment, with some feeling that these genera should remain distinct, at least until further studies have been carried out. In addition, given the high species diversity found in Agave, some feel that an alternative approach could be the recognition of several smaller genera within the current circumscription of Agave[
1855
Title
Two new species of Manfreda Salisb. (Agavaceae) from the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Publication
Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 135(2), 2008, pp. 168-177
Author
Hernández-Sandoval L., Orellana R. & Carnevali G.
Website
http://dx.doi.org/10.3159/08-RA-023.1
Publisher
 
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
There has been considerable confusion between this species and Agave angustifolia. We have followed the treatment of Garcia-Mendoza and Chiang (Brittonia Vol 55 No.1 pp82-87. 2003)[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
] who treat Agave angustifolia as a distinct species, separate from Agave vivipara and with a distinct range[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. By this treatment, all references for Agave viviparum with a range covering central America should refer to Agave angustifolia since this species is native only to the islands of the Caribbean[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

+ Synonyms

Aloe vivipara (L.) Crantz

Common Name:

Agave vivipara
Cultivated plants in Maui, Enchanting Floral Gardens of Kula
Photograph by: Forest and Kim Starr
Creative Commons License
Agave vivipara Agave vivipara Agave vivipara

General Information

Agave vivipara is a stemless, evergreen, succulent plant forming a large, rosette of leaves up to 100cm tall and, eventually, a flowering stem that can be up to 5 metres tall.
Many, if not all, of the reports on the uses of this species actually refer to Agave angustifolia. To date we have not found any reports that definitely refer to this species. Since Agave angustifolia is very similar, it is quite possible that both species have similar uses[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Agave vivipara is being threatened by urban and tourism development and its habitat is being reduced. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Known Hazards

Many Agave species have strong, sharp spines on the leaves and leaf tips.
In theory at least, the flowers, nectar, immature flowering stem and the centre of the rosette of all Agave species is edible and, with proper preparation, can provide a sweet, tasty foodstuff. Some species, however, contain relatively high levels of saponins (which makes them taste bitter) and some other compounds which can cause bellyache, and so these would only be eaten in times of desperation. In addition, many people may find these foods to be strongly laxative the first few times they eat them[
1846
Title
The Agaves of Baja California
Publication
Occasional Papers of the California Academy of Sciences, No. 130,
Author
Gentry H.S.
Publisher
California Academy of Sciences; San Francisco
Year
1978
ISBN
0068-5461
Description
 
].

Botanical References

1844
Title
Agave Agavaceae
Publication
Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons, pp 21-311
Author
Thiede J.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-56486-8_111
Publisher
Springer Nature
Year
2020
ISBN
 
Description
 

Range

Southern Caribbean - Aruba, Netherlands Antilles, Venezuelan Antilles

Habitat

Xxerophytic scrub, at elevations from sea level to 200 metres[
338
Title
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.iucnredlist.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A list of plants under threat and facing possible extinction, usually with brief details of the threats and information on habitat.
].

Properties

Conservation StatusVulnerable
Edibility Rating *
Medicinal Rating *
Other Uses Rating *
HabitEvergreen Perennial
Height1.00 m
Cultivation StatusWild

Cultivation Details

Agave species are found mainly in the arid and semi-arid regions of southwestern N. America, especially in Mexico, extending from the warm temperate zone to the tropics often at moderate elevations. Many species can withstand at least a few degrees of frost, but only in drier regions and where soils are very well-drained.
Agave species generally require a sunny position, succeeding in most soils of medium-fertility so long as they are very well-drained. Most species are undemanding as to the soil pH, though those found in the wild on limestone soils will grow better in neutral to alkaline conditions. Plants are generally very tolerant of dry conditions and of extended periods of drought[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
Most Agave species are monocarpic, individual rosettes living for a number of years without flowering before sending up an often very large flowering stem and then dying after flowering and setting seed. This species, however, produces a number of new rosettes from suckers or offsets during its lifespan and these new plants will continue to grow after the death of the parent plant. Over time, some species can form extensive clonal colonies by this means[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
Individual plants take about 7 - 15 years in their native habitat, considerably longer in colder climates, before flowering[
11
Title
Trees and Shrubs Hardy in Great Britain. Vol 1 - 4 and Supplement.
Publication
 
Author
Bean. W.
Publisher
Murray
Year
1981
ISBN
-
Description
A classic with a wealth of information on the plants, but poor on pictures.
].
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
233
Title
Perennial Garden Plants
Publication
 
Author
Thomas. G. S.
Publisher
J. M. Dent & Sons, London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0 460 86048 8
Description
A concise guide to a wide range of perennials. Lots of cultivation guides, very little on plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

Many, if not all, of the reports on the uses of this species actually refer to Agave angustifolia. To date we have not found any reports that definitely refer to this species. Since Agave angustifolia is very similar, it is quite possible that both species have similar uses[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Below are the uses listed for Agave angustifolia:-

Flower buds and flowers[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

Young flower peduncles[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

Stems[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

Leaf bases[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

Fruit[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

The flowering stems are cooked and their juice extracted, fermented, and distilled into alcoholic beverages[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].
The sap can be concentrated into a sweet syrup known as 'Agave Nectar' or 'Agave Syrup'[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
].

Medicinal

Many, if not all, of the reports on the uses of this species actually refer to Agave angustifolia. To date we have not found any reports that definitely refer to this species. Since Agave angustifolia is very similar, it is quite possible that both species have similar uses[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Below are the uses listed for Agave angustifolia:-

The juice of the cooked leaves and stems, and a root infusion, are taken internally or used as poultices for both internal and external swelling, as well as for bruises, liver and kidney diseases, arthritis, and dysentery[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

The roots are diaphoretic and diuretic[
360
Title
Philippine Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.stuartxchange.org/CompleteList.html
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
A lovely site, giving brief details on the medicinal uses of several hundred (over 400 at the last count) plants in the Philippines, plus a picture of each plant.
].

Agroforestry Uses:

Many, if not all, of the reports on the uses of this species actually refer to Agave angustifolia. To date we have not found any reports that definitely refer to this species. Since Agave angustifolia is very similar, it is quite possible that both species have similar uses[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Below are the uses listed for Agave angustifolia:-

Often planted in hedges[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

Other Uses

Many, if not all, of the reports on the uses of this species actually refer to Agave angustifolia. To date we have not found any reports that definitely refer to this species. Since Agave angustifolia is very similar, it is quite possible that both species have similar uses[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. Below are the uses listed for Agave angustifolia:-

A fibre from the leaves is used for making rope[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

The leaves are used for thatching[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

The spines on the leaves are used as nails or needles[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

The flowering stem can be used as posts, rafters, and fences[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

The root contains saponins and can be used as a soap substitute[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

The sticky sap of the leaves is added to whitewash to make it adhere to walls[
331
Title
Flora of Guatemala
Publication
 
Author
Standley P.C. & J. A. Steyermark
Website
http://www.archive.org/
Publisher
 
Year
1946 - 1976
ISBN
 
Description
A superb reference, though somewhat dated. Gives lots of plant uses as well as information on plant habit and habitat. The entire flora (13 volumes) can now be downloaded from http://www.archive.org/
].

The dried plant is burnt for fuel[
662
Title
The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa.
Publication
Brittonia Vol 55 No.1, pp 82-87
Author
Garcia-Mendoza A.; Chiang F.
Publisher
Brittonia; New York
Year
2003
ISBN
 
Description
An article setting out the reasons why Agave angustifolia should be treated as a distinct species with a different range to Agave vivipara..
].

Propagation

Seed - surface sow in a container in a light position. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15 - 20°c[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained soil when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny position until they are at least 10cm tall before planting out.
Offsets and suckers can be potted up at any time they are available.
Bulbils, where produced, are an easy method of propagation. Simply pot them up and plant out at the beginning of a growing season when they are 10cm or more tall.
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2022-08-17. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Agave+vivipara>

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