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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 323. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 6/2/2011)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 6/3/2011)
General/Distribution: Represented in Pakistan by 6 species, 3 of which are naturalized, the other three are cultivated and found as escapes. Vegetative characters are important criteria in the delimitation of the species. The species flowers after years of growth and many of them are monocarpic. Propagation is by leaf bulbils on the scape or by suckers.


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Large rhizomatous herb with stolons. Leaves borne in a spirally crowded mass, ensiform, usually with marginal spines, apex spinescent. Scape thick bearing erect flowers in large panicles. Perianth segments ± equalling the hypanthial tube. Stamens exserted; stigma 3-lobed; ovary inferior; seeds black, flattened.

A large and taxonomically complex genus consisting of c. 300 species, distributed in Southern USA and tropical S. America. Introduced and naturalized in many parts of Pakistan. Few species are cultivated in Punjab and Baluchistan for yielding fibres for domestic and small scale commercial purposes.


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1 Leaves not channelled in transvers section (2)
+ Leaves channelled in transverse section 6 Agave decipiens
2 (1) Leaves growing erect (3)
+ Leaves curved upwards at the base and with bent apices (4)
3 (2) Leaves less than 1 m long. Marginal spines hooked upwards 3 Agave wightii
+ Leaves more than 1 m long. Marginal spines absent, only few scattered prickles, present at the bases. Stem obscure 5 Agave sisalana
4 (2) Marginal spines broad at the base, pointing downwards or spreading (5)
+ Marginal spines not broad at the base, pointing upwards or patent 1 Agave cantula
5 (4) Leaf usually variegated, with yellow borders 4 Agave americana
+ Leaf not variegated 2 Agave vera-cruz
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