The genus Agave is treated here in a wide sense to include taxa previously treated as belonging to the genera Manfreda, Prochnyanthes, Polianthes and Pseudobravoa. Not all botanists are happy with this treatment, with some feeling that these genera should remain distinct, at least until further studies have been carried out. In addition, given the high species diversity found in Agave, some feel that an alternative approach could be the recognition of several smaller genera within the current circumscription of Agave[
This species is probably better known as Polianthes tuberosa L., a name still currently (2020) used by some botanists, especially in Mexico. However, phylogenetic studies have supported the transfer of the genus Polianthes to Agave. See Thiede, J. & Govaerts, R.H.A. (2017). 'New combinations in Agave (Asparagaceae): A. amica, A. nanchititlensis, and A. quilae'. Phytotaxa. 306 (3): 237-240. doi:10.11646/phytotaxa.306.3.7
Agave polianthes Thiede & Eggli
Agave tuberosa (L.) Thiede & Eggli
Crinum angustifolium Houtt.
Polianthes gracilis Link
Polianthes tuberosa L.
Tuberosa amica Medik.
Common Name: Tuberose
Agave amica is a herbaceous perennial plant growing from an underground bulb. It produces a rosette of 6 - 10 leaves, each around 30 - 60cm long and 10 - 15mm wide and a flowering stem that is up to 100cm tall[
Tuberose is one of the most important cut flowers in tropical and subtropical areas, grown commercially for its fragrant
flowers and for the perfume industry It is also widely grown as an ornamental[
Many Agave species have strong, sharp spines on the leaves and leaf tips.
In theory at least, the flowers, nectar, immature flowering stem and the centre of the rosette of all Agave species is edible and, with proper preparation, can provide a sweet, tasty foodstuff. Some species, however, contain relatively high levels of saponins (which makes them taste bitter) and some other compounds which can cause bellyache, and so these would only be eaten in times of desperation. In addition, many people may find these foods to be strongly laxative the first few times they eat them[
Southern N. America - southern Mexico.
Not known in a truly wild situation[
|Other Uses Rating||
|Cultivation Status||Cultivated, Ornamental
Agave amica is native to the tropical regions of southern Mexico and is not a very cold-hardy plant. It can be grown outdoors all year round in almost frost-free regions and can also be grown for part of the year outdoors in temperate areas with long summers, planting out the bulbs in spring, harvesting them in the autumn and storing them in sand overwinter in a cool but frost-free place[
Requires a warm sheltered position[
] and a humus-rich, fertile, well-drained soil[
]. Prefers a sandy soil and a sunny position[
]. Plants require copious amounts of moisture when starting into growth[
]. When grown in pots it is best to use a fibrous loam enriched with compost and some silver sand for drainage[
This species is sometimes cultivated for its edible flowers[
]. They are very strongly scented[
]. The flowers are perhaps the most powerfully scented of all flowers. The perfume is almost intoxicating, especially when the plant is grown in gentle heat when it is heavy and sickly almost to the point of unpleasantness[
]. A double-flowered cultivar, 'The Pearl' has an even more pronounced fragrance[
Flowers - cooked. Used in vegetable soups or added to the substrate of 'kecap', an Indonesian soy sauce[
The flowers are the source of tuberosa-flower water[
]. No further details are given.
An essential oil is obtained from the flowers. It is used in high grade perfumery[
]. 1150kg of flowers yield 1kg absolute essential oil[
Seed - we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in spring in a sunny position in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.
Division of offsets after the plant has finished flowering in late summer.