agave family


agave family

Family Agavaceae of the lily order (Liliales), comprising more than 700 species of short-stemmed, often woody plants found in tropical, subtropical, and temperate areas. They have narrow, lance-shaped, sometimes fleshy or toothed leaves, which are clustered at the base of the plant. Most have large flower clusters. The fruit is a capsule or berry. Plants of the genus Agave are important primarily for the fibres obtained from their leaves. Sisal hemp, from A. sisalana, is the most valuable hard fibre. Some species of Agave contain a sap that is fermented to produce the intoxicating drinks known as tequila, pulque, and mescal. Many species of yucca are popular as ornamentals; other ornamentals in the agave family include plants of the genera Dasylirion, Nolina, Cordyline, Dracaena, and Sansevieria.

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