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Useful Temperate Plants

Agave brunnea

S.Watson

Asparagaceae


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[
1855
Title
Two new species of Manfreda Salisb. (Agavaceae) from the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
Publication
Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 135(2), 2008, pp. 168-177
Author
Hernández-Sandoval L., Orellana R. & Carnevali G.
Website
http://dx.doi.org/10.3159/08-RA-023.1
Publisher
 
Year
2008
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

+ Synonyms

Manfreda brunnea (S.Watson) Rose

Polianthes brunnea (S.Watson) Shinners

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Agave brunnea is a stemless, evergreen perennial plant growing from a bulbous rootstock with fleshy roots. It forms a cluster of narrow leaves around 10 - 33cm tall with flowering stems around 70 - 130cm tall[
1844
Title
Agave Agavaceae
Publication
Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons, pp 21-311
Author
Thiede J.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-56486-8_111
Publisher
Springer Nature
Year
2020
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and a soap. The fleshy roots of this and several other closely related species used to be highly valued for their use as a soap. They were sold in large quantities in local markets all round Mexico[
1852
Title
Huaco and Amole: A Survey of the Uses of Manfreda and Prochnyanthes
Publication
Economic Botany, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1978), pp. 124-130
Author
Verhoek S.
Website
http://www.jstor.org/stable/4253919
Publisher
 
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The plant is grown as an ornamental.

Known Hazards

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[
1846
Title
The Agaves of Baja California
Publication
Occasional Papers of the California Academy of Sciences, No. 130,
Author
Gentry H.S.
Publisher
California Academy of Sciences; San Francisco
Year
1978
ISBN
0068-5461
Description
 
].

Botanical References

1844
Title
Agave Agavaceae
Publication
Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons, pp 21-311
Author
Thiede J.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-56486-8_111
Publisher
Springer Nature
Year
2020
ISBN
 
Description
 
,
1856
Title
Sistemática del género Manfreda Salisb. (Agavaceae)
Publication
 
Author
Castillejos-Cruz C.
Publisher
Texcoco (MX): Colegio de Postgraduados, Campus Montecillo
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
An unpublished Ph.D. thesis.

Range

Southern N. America - northern Mexico (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango)

Habitat

Dry hills or desert plains, volcanic or alluvial alkaline soils (sandy or gravelly clay), in desert scrub, grasslands, and low pine forests; at elevations from 1,000 - 1,700 metres[
1844
Title
Agave Agavaceae
Publication
Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons, pp 21-311
Author
Thiede J.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-56486-8_111
Publisher
Springer Nature
Year
2020
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Properties

Medicinal Rating *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitBulb
Height0.25 m
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details


Requires a sunny position, succeeding in most soils of medium-fertility so long as they are well-drained. Most sspecies are undemanding as to the soil pH, though those found in the wild on limestone soils will grow better in neutral to alkaline conditions. A moderately drought-tolerant species, it grows best with moderate amounts of rain, especially in the growing seasonl[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
].
The plant definitely requires a dry winter to early spring rest[
1844
Title
Agave Agavaceae
Publication
Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons, pp 21-311
Author
Thiede J.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-56486-8_111
Publisher
Springer Nature
Year
2020
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

The plant has been used as a remedy for snakebites[
1852
Title
Huaco and Amole: A Survey of the Uses of Manfreda and Prochnyanthes
Publication
Economic Botany, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1978), pp. 124-130
Author
Verhoek S.
Website
http://www.jstor.org/stable/4253919
Publisher
 
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The bruised leaves were put into aguardiente (any distilled liquor) and the alcohol extract applied externally. Another version of this same treatment called for a powder to be precipitated from the extract and the powder used as a plaster over the wound[
1852
Title
Huaco and Amole: A Survey of the Uses of Manfreda and Prochnyanthes
Publication
Economic Botany, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1978), pp. 124-130
Author
Verhoek S.
Website
http://www.jstor.org/stable/4253919
Publisher
 
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
 
].
The leaves, corm and bulb have been used as an antidote to snake bites[
1844
Title
Agave Agavaceae
Publication
Illustrated Handbook of Succulent Plants: Monocotyledons, pp 21-311
Author
Thiede J.
Website
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-56486-8_111
Publisher
Springer Nature
Year
2020
ISBN
 
Description
 
].

Other Uses

A liquid soap can be made from the saponin-rich rhizome[
1852
Title
Huaco and Amole: A Survey of the Uses of Manfreda and Prochnyanthes
Publication
Economic Botany, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1978), pp. 124-130
Author
Verhoek S.
Website
http://www.jstor.org/stable/4253919
Publisher
 
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The rhizome was cut into pieces and soaked for several days. The rhizomes and water together were used, especially for washing woollens[
1852
Title
Huaco and Amole: A Survey of the Uses of Manfreda and Prochnyanthes
Publication
Economic Botany, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1978), pp. 124-130
Author
Verhoek S.
Website
http://www.jstor.org/stable/4253919
Publisher
 
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
 
]. The rhizomes can be dried for storage and then grated as needed[
1852
Title
Huaco and Amole: A Survey of the Uses of Manfreda and Prochnyanthes
Publication
Economic Botany, Vol. 32, No. 2 (Apr. - Jun., 1978), pp. 124-130
Author
Verhoek S.
Website
http://www.jstor.org/stable/4253919
Publisher
 
Year
1978
ISBN
 
Description
 
]
The crushed corm is used as a laundry soap or as a substitute for shampoo[
1856
Title
Sistemática del género Manfreda Salisb. (Agavaceae)
Publication
 
Author
Castillejos-Cruz C.
Publisher
Texcoco (MX): Colegio de Postgraduados, Campus Montecillo
Year
2009
ISBN
 
Description
An unpublished Ph.D. thesis.
].

Propagation

Seed - surface sow in a light position, mid spring in a warm greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 15 - 20°c[
133
Title
Growing from Seed. Volume 1.
Publication
 
Author
Rice. G. (Editor)
Publisher
Thompson and Morgan.
Year
1987
ISBN
-
Description
Very readable magazine with lots of information on propagation.
,
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained soil when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse until they are at least 15cm tall. Plant out at the beginning of the growing season, and give some protection from the cold for at least their first few winters[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Division in the dormant season.
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2024-02-21. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Agave+brunnea>

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