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 hanburyi Baker
Agave kerchovei inermis Baker
Agave rigidissima Jacobi
Agave triangularis is an evergreen, stemless, succulent plant forming a rosette of leaves that can be 60 - 70cm tall and 80 - 100cm in diameter. The plant suckers widely, forming open clusters of rosettes, Mature rosettes can produce around 30 - 50 spiny leaves that can each be 30 - 55cm long and 5 - 8cm wide near the base. After several years of growth, a flowering stem that can be up to 3.5 metres tall is produced, after which the rosette will die. However, the plant usually produces a number of young plants around its base that will develop as new plants[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of fibre. It is often used as a living fence and is grown as an ornamental.
Agave triangularis has a small range and extent of occurrence, it is known from only seven to ten locations and there are ongoing declines in the extend and quality of habitat, which is being converted to small scale agriculture and ranching affecting numerous subpopulations. The plant is classified as 'Vulnerable' 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[
Southwestern N. America - western Mexico (Oaxaca, Puebla))
Tropical dry forest and shrublands, growing on arid limestone soils; at elevations from 1,550 - 2,350 metres[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Ornamental, Wild
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. 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 plant is grown in living fences[
A fibre obtained from the leaves is used to make rope, cord etc[
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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