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Useful Tropical Plants

Agave applanata

K.Koch

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
 
].

+ Synonyms

Agave cinerascens Jacobi

Agave spectabilis Tod.

Common Name: Maguey de Ixtle

No Image.

General Information

Agave applanata is an evergreen, succulent plant forming a large, dense rosette of 100 - 200 spiny leaves either on a short main stem or without a stem. The rosette can be 150 - 200cm tall and 250 - 350cm in diameter, with a flowering stem that can be 10 - 14 metres tall[
1207
Title
Flora del Valle de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/118975#/summary
Publisher
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Year
1993 - 2015
ISBN
968-36-3108-8
Description
An excellent flora (in Spanish) of the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán biosphere reserve in southeastern Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].
The plant is harvested from the wild as a source of fibre for craftwork and for making rope and cordage. It has been cultivated on a large scale in the past, but much less so at present due to the availability of plastic alternatives for rope making[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
,
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.
].
Agave applanata has a relatively large range and population. Although it has been heavily used in the past, the period of time over which the reduction of the species range occurred and its rate is unknown. However, it is not used today and subpopulations are not declining as they were historically. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' 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

1207
Title
Flora del Valle de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/118975#/summary
Publisher
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Year
1993 - 2015
ISBN
968-36-3108-8
Description
An excellent flora (in Spanish) of the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán biosphere reserve in southeastern Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet

Range

Southern N. America - central and southern Mexico

Habitat

Temperate and tropical dry forest habitats; at elevations from 1,900 - 2,750 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.
]. Grows on weathering lave flows[
1850
Title
Notes on Agave palmeri Engelm. (Agavaceae) and its allies in the Ditepalae
Publication
Bradleya 28, pp 53-66, 2010
Author
Klopper R.R. et al
Website
http://10.25223/brad.n28.2010.a8
Publisher
 
Year
2010
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Properties

Conservation StatusLeast Concern
Edibility Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitEvergreen Shrub
Height1.50 m
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Wild

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.
].
The species is widely cultivated within its native range and in the states of Zacatecas, Durango and Chihuahua, and in the U.S.A. within Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas[
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.
].
Agave species are monocarpic, individual plants living for a number of years without flowering then sending up an often very large flowering stem and then dying after flowering and setting seed. The plants of most species, however, normally produce a number of new plants from suckers during their lifespan and these new plants will continue the life-cycle[
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.
]. This species produces very few, if any, offsets during its lifetime and usually depends upon seed for propagation[
1207
Title
Flora del Valle de Tehuacán-Cuicatlán
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/bibliography/118975#/summary
Publisher
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Year
1993 - 2015
ISBN
968-36-3108-8
Description
An excellent flora (in Spanish) of the Tehuacán-Cuicatlán biosphere reserve in southeastern Mexico. It can be downloaded from the Internet
].
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.
].

Edible Uses

We have no specific information for this species, but it belongs to a section of the genus Agave (the Ditepalae) that are defined in part by their low content of sapogenins and therefore sweeter flesh that is suitable for use as food[
1850
Title
Notes on Agave palmeri Engelm. (Agavaceae) and its allies in the Ditepalae
Publication
Bradleya 28, pp 53-66, 2010
Author
Klopper R.R. et al
Website
http://10.25223/brad.n28.2010.a8
Publisher
 
Year
2010
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
In particular, the heart of the rosette, after the roots and leaves have been removed, can be slow-baked for several hours This will convert much of the carbohydrates into sugars and the heart can then be eaten, converted into a distilled liquor (mezcal), dried for later use etc. The best species have a very sweet, syrup-like flavour[
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
 
].
The slow-baked leaf bases are also edible, but very fibrous. They are chewed for their sweet flavour, and the fibrous remains spat out[
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
 
].
In addition, the young flowering stem can also be cooked and eaten - it has a sweet flavour, though it can be rather fibrous. The flower buds and the flowers can also be cooked and eaten.
Many Agave species produce copius nectar when flowering, and this was sometimes collected and drunk. Although sweet, it can be rather nauseus, but improves if it is boiled and the froth skimmed off[
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
 
].
A warning to newcomers to these foods, however - many people find Agaves 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
 
].

Medicinal

None known

Other Uses

A very strong fibre is obtained from the leaves[
317
Title
Mansfeld's Database of Agricultural and Horticultural Plants
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://mansfeld.ipk-gatersleben.de/pls/htmldb_pgrc/f?p=185:3:4292127278597336
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Terse details of a huge range of useful plants.
]. It was used traditionally to make a wide range of items including hunting nets, baskets, rope and sandals[
1850
Title
Notes on Agave palmeri Engelm. (Agavaceae) and its allies in the Ditepalae
Publication
Bradleya 28, pp 53-66, 2010
Author
Klopper R.R. et al
Website
http://10.25223/brad.n28.2010.a8
Publisher
 
Year
2010
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
This species is used for fibre; though not nearly as much as it was used in the past when other materials such as plastics were not available[
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.
].

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. 2023-02-05. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Agave+applanata>

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