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[
Common Name: Amole
Agave schottii is an evergreen, stemless, clump-forming succulent plant forming a rosette of leaves that can be 30 - 60cm tall and 60 - 120cm in diameter. The leaves on mature plants can each be 20 - 40cm long and 7 - 25mm wide near the base. After several years of growth, a flowering stem that can be 1.6 - 4 metres tall is produced, after which the rosette will die. However, the plant usually produces a number of young plants around its base that will develop as new plants[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a source of soap. The plants have little if any value as ornamentals.
Agave schottii is widespread, is relatively common across its range and even though it has threats in parts of its range, it occurs in several protected areas and the overall population is stable. The plant is classified as 'Least Concern' in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(2020)[
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[
Southwestern N. America - Arizona, New Mexico, northwestern Mexico (Sonora, Chihuahua)
Gravelly to rocky places, mostly in desert scrub, grasslands, juniper and oak woodlands; at elevations from 900 - 2,000 metres[
|Conservation Status||Least Concern
|Other Uses Rating||
|Pollinators||Bats, Bees, Hummingbirds
Agave species are found mainly in the arid and semi-arid regions of southwestern N. America, especially in Mexico. Many species can withstand at least a few degrees of frost and will succeed outdoors in warm temperate climates, but only in drier regions and where soils are very well-drained.
Agave species generally require a sunny position, succeeding in most soils of medium-fertility so long as they are very well-drained. Most species are undemanding as to the soil pH, though those found in the wild on limestone soils will grow better in neutral to alkaline conditions. Plants are generally very tolerant of dry conditions and of drought[
Most Agave species are monocarpic, individual rosettes living for a number of years without flowering before sending up an often very large flowering stem and then dying after flowering and setting seed. This species, however, produces a number of new rosettes from suckers or offsets during its lifespan and these new plants will continue to grow after the death of the parent plant. Over time, some species can form extensive clonal colonies by this means[
Individual plants take about 7 - 15 years in their native habitat, considerably longer in colder climates, before flowering[
Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer[
They are not eaten because of the insignificant size of the ''heads'' (stems) or because of bitter constitutents[
The leaves were found to contain 0.5 - 1.2% sapogenins, mainly gitogenin and chlorogenin[
The plants are so abundant on some areas of southeastern Arizona that they contribute a great deal towards building and holding soil on the steep, rocky slopes they inhabit[
The plants are rich in saponins and are employed locally for washing clothes and hair[
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[
]. 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[
Offsets and suckers can be potted up at any time they are available. Keep in a warm greenhouse until they are well established[
Bulbils, where produced, are an easy method of propagation. Simply pot them up and plant out at the beginning of a growing season when they are 10cm or more tall.