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[
The nomenclature of this species needs to be reviewed[
Agave albicans Jacobi
Agave bollii A.Terracc.
Agave botterii Baker
Agave bouchei Jacobi
Agave celsii Hook.
Agave densiflora Regel
Agave ehrenbergii Jacobi
Agave goeppertiana Jacobi
Agave haseloffii Jacobi
Agave macrantha Tod.
Agave micracantha Salm-Dyck
Agave ousselghemiana Jacobi
Agave rupicola Regel
Agave sartorii oblongata (K.Koch) A.Terracc.
Common Name: Maguey de Peña
Agave mitis is an evergreen, stemless, succulent plant forming a rosette of leaves with axillary branches and developing into a large, long-lived dense clump of rosettes. The leaves on mature plants can each be 30 - 70cm long and 7 - 13cm wide near the base. After several years of growth, individual rosettes will produce a flowering stem that can be around 150 - 250cm tall, after which that rosette will die but the plant itself will continue growing[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and source of materials. It is grown as an ornamental in gardens[
Agave mitis is wide ranging, abundant and it grows on cliffs where it is protected from threats, it also occurs in several protected areas along its range. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2013)[
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[
Southern N. America - central to northern Mexico (Puebla to Coahuila and Tamaulipas)
Calcareous rock cliffs in Pine, Pine-Oak and cloud forest, in tropical deciduous forest and in xerophyllous scrub; at elevations from 849 - 3,084 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Pollinators||Bats, Bees, Hummingbirds
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
Agave mitis is found in the warm temperate to tropical zones of central Mexico, where it is often found at quite high elevations[
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[
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[
Individual plants take about 7 - 15 years in their native habitat, considerably longer in colder climates, before flowering[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
The leaves are used as a wrap when cooking foods in a traditional 'hole oven'[
]. This report probably refers to the tough semi-transparent outer skin of the young leaves of the maguey, which are used to wrap small parcels of food that are then baked or barbecued. This gives the food a unique flavour
The plant is a source of saponins and is used locally for making soap[
Seed - surface sow in a container in a light position. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15 - 20°c[
]. 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.
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