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[
Common Name: Maguey de Potrero”
Agave scaposa is an evergreen, succulent plant, sometimes with a short trunk, forming a rosette of leaves that can be 170 - 220cm tall and 250 - 300 cm in diameter. Mature plants can produce around 60 - 100 spiny leaves that can each be up to 90 - 120 cm long and 20 - 28cm wide near the base. After several years of growth, a flowering stem that can be up to 13 metres tall is produced, after which the rosette will die[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials. It is grown as a living fence and to delimit boundaries
Although there as some areas where Agave scaposa is declining, it is typically protected by local communities because it hosts a grub which is used as a human food.. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2019)[
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[
Southwest N. America - southwest Mexico (southwest Pueble, northwest Oaxaca)
Tropical dry and temperate oak forests, generally on limestone soils; at elevations from 2,100 - 2,550 metres[
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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[
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.
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 complete leaves are used to cook barbecue[
]. No more details.
The leaf cuticle is used as a wrap to cook the Mexican dish known as 'mixiote'[
]. The tough semi-transparent outer skin of the young leaves is used to wrap small parcels of food that are then baked or barbecued. This gives the food a unique flavour.
The sap from the flowering stem is used as a treatment for gastritis[
The plant is used as living fences and as markers to delimit terrain. It is often included in local agroforestry systems[
The plant is used in the construction of houses[
The dry flowering stems are used in construction as crossbars and to make fences[
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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