Plantae > Tracheophyta > Liliopsida > Asparagales > Asparagaceae > Agave > Agave americana

Agave americana (American century plant)

Synonyms: Agave spectabilis; Aloe americana

Wikipedia Abstract

Agave americana, common names sentry plant, century plant, maguey, or American aloe, is a species of flowering plant in the family Agavaceae, native to Mexico, and the United States in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas. Today, it is cultivated worldwide as an ornamental plant. It has become naturalized in many regions, including the West Indies, parts of South America, the southern Mediterranean Basin, and parts of Africa, India, China, Thailand, and Australia. Despite the common name "American aloe", it is not closely related to plants in the genus Aloe.
View Wikipedia Record: Agave americana


Invasive Species

Agave americana is a large, rhizomatous succulent that grows in a wide range of conditions including cliffs, urban areas, woodlands, grasslands, riparian zones, beaches and sandy areas, and rocky slopes. A. americana is tolerant of wind, salt, high temperatures, and extreme drought. It can grow in shallow, very dry, low fertility soil and can colonise bare sand. It is grown for many reasons- ornamental, medicinal and agricultural. In South Australia Agave americana mainly invades disturbed sites, road sides and coastal vegetation. It may also harbour introduced animal species, such as rabbits, making feral animal control more difficult.
View ISSG Record: Agave americana


Allergen Potential [1]  Medium-Low
Screening - Summer [2]  Dense
Screening - Winter [2]  Dense
Bloom Period [2]  Indeterminate
Drought Tolerance [2]  High
Edible [3]  May be edible. See the Plants For A Future link below for details.
Fire Tolerance [2]  Low
Flower Type [3]  Hermaphrodite
Frost Free Days [2]  10 months
Fruit/Seed Abundance [2]  Low
Growth Form [2]  Single Crown
Growth Period [2]  Spring, Summer, Fall
Growth Rate [2]  Slow
Hazards [3]  Contact with the fresh sap can cause dermatitis in sensitive people; The plants have a very sharp and tough spine at the tip of each leaf. They need to be carefully sited in the garden.
Leaf Type [3]  Evergreen
Lifespan [3]  Perennial
Pollinators [3]  Lepidoptera, Bats
Propagation [2]  Bare Root, Container, Seed, Sprig
Regrowth Rate [2]  Slow
Root Depth [2]  30 inches (76 cm)
Seed Spread Rate [2]  Slow
Seed Vigor [2]  Low
Seeds Per [2]  15000 / lb (33069 / kg)
Shape/Orientation [2]  Semi-Erect
Structure [4]  Shrub
Usage [3]  The plant contains saponins. An extract of the leaves is used as a soap; The roots are used according to another report; It is likely that the root is the best source of the saponins that are used to make a soap; Chop up the leaves or the roots into small pieces and then simmer them in water to extract the saponins. Do not over boil or you will start to break down the saponins; There is a report that the plant has insecticidal properties, but further details are not given; A very strong fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making rope, coarse fabrics etc; A paper can also be made from the leaves; The thorns on the leaves are used as pins and needles; The dried flowering stems are used as a waterproof thatch; The plants are used in land-reclamation schemes in arid areas of the world;
Vegetative Spread Rate [2]  None
Flower Color [2]  Yellow
Foliage Color [2]  Green
Fruit Color [2]  Brown
Fall Conspicuous [2]  Yes
Height [3]  25 feet (7.5 m)
Width [3]  8.2 feet (2.5 m)
Hardiness Zone Minimum [2]  USDA Zone: 8 Low Temperature: 10 F° (-12.2 C°) → 20 F° (-6.7 C°)
Light Preference [2]  Full Sun
Soil Acidity [2]  Neutral
Soil Fertility [2]  Infertile
Water Use [2]  Low
View Plants For A Future Record : Agave americana

Protected Areas

Name IUCN Category Area acres Location Species Website Climate Land Use
Canaveral National Seashore II 9090 Florida, United States
Everglades and Dry Tortugas Biosphere Reserve   Florida, United States  
Isles of Scilly Complex 66350 England, United Kingdom    
Parco Del Somma-Vesuvio e Miglio D'Oro National Park II 33648 Italy



S. U.S.A. to Mexico;

External References

USDA Plant Profile



Attributes / relations provided by
1Derived from Allergy-Free Gardening OPALS™, Thomas Leo Ogren (2000)
2USDA Plants Database, U. S. Department of Agriculture
3Plants For A Future licensed under a Creative Commons License
4Kattge, J. et al. (2011b) TRY - a global database of plant traits Global Change Biology 17:2905-2935
5Jorrit H. Poelen, James D. Simons and Chris J. Mungall. (2014). Global Biotic Interactions: An open infrastructure to share and analyze species-interaction datasets. Ecological Informatics.
6Ben-Dov, Y., Miller, D.R. & Gibson, G.A.P. ScaleNet 4 November 2009
7Biological Records Centre Database of Insects and their Food Plants
8del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.
Protected Areas provided by Biological Inventories of the World's Protected Areas in cooperation between the Information Center for the Environment at the University of California, Davis and numerous collaborators.
GBIF Global Biodiversity Information Facility
Natura 2000, UK data: © Crown copyright and database right [2010] All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100017955
Abstract provided by DBpedia licensed under a Creative Commons License