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:
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 Amazon.com)
- The Southwestern Agave Project is a great web site with tons of information about the uses of Agave.
- The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum has a nice section on the genus Agave, an excerpt from the book A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert by Mark A. Dimmitt.
- Those interested in tequila, mezcal, and pulque production should definitely visit the very comprehensive In Search of the Blue Agave website. Agave tequilana is the only species in this genus that can be used to produce tequila in Mexico.
- Information and photos of the making of pulque can be found at the Herb Videos web site.
- The lecture outlines for Botany 3100 at the University of Wyoming include a discussion of many different types of fibers, including A. sisalana, from which Sisal fiber is made.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
Current Genus of the Week
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