Genus of the Month


This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources for a particular genus.
If you like this page, you might also want to visit the Land of the Glandular Trichomes , a microscopic look at plants in the Lamiaceae family. Also, you can see my contribution to the Conservation New England web site, entitled "The Introduction of Non-Native Plants into Massachusetts".

This month's genus:


Subclass: Monocotyledoneae
Superorder: Liliidae
Order: Liliales
Family: Agavaceae
Number of Species: about 300
Root: From a Greek word meaning "illustrious" or "highborn".

Many species in the genus Agave are prized for their economic usefulness. Those with stiff leaves can yield fibers with which ropes and nets are made, while other species with succulent leaves are harvested to produce both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Those who are not familiar with plants may recognize Agave as the source of the drink tequila. Some species are also grown as ornamentals.

Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Agave species:

Recommended reading: Agaves, Yuccas, and Related Plants: A Gardener's Guide by Gary and Mary F. Irish, Timber Press, 2000. (See excerpts from this book at


  1. Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.

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