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[
Agave californica Jacobi
Agave ensiformis Baker
Agave falcata Engelm.
Agave hystrix (Pasq.) Baker
Agave paucifolia Tod.
Agave recurva Zucc.
Agave richardsii Baker
Bonapartea hystrix Pasq.
Common Name: Espadín
Agave striata is an evergreen, short-stemmed, succulent plant forming a rosette of leaves that can be 50 - 100cm tall and 50 - 120cm in diameter. The leaves on mature plants can each be 25 - 60cm long and 5 - 10mm wide near the base. After several years of growth, a flowering stem that can be around 150 - 250cm tall is produced, after which the rosette will die.[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of materials. It is grown in living fences[
Agave striata has a relatively wide range, is abundant, it has no threats and occurs within protected areas. 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[
Southern N. America - northern and central Mexico
Tropical dry forest, xerophyllous scrub and dry forest; at elevations from 700 - 2,300 metres[
Drier limestone valleys, slopes and plains with desert and succulent scrub,; at elevations from 200 - 2,200 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Pollinators||Bees, Moths, Bats
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 striata is restricted in the wild to drier valleys and plains with a mean annual rainfall of less than 500mm[
Plants are found in the wild on sandy coarse rocky soils and limestone[
]. 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[
Agave species are usually 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. However, unlike most Agave species, this species produces branches at the leaf axils and these develop into new rosettes. The plant can become a large dense cluster of rosettes up to 3 metres wide[
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 plant is used locally as a hedge or living fence[
A fibre is obtained from the leaves[
]. Not as high a quality as several other Agave species, but used locally for making ropes etc[
The leaves are used for roofs[
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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