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[
Manfreda sileri Verh.-Will.
Agave sileri is a stemless, evergreen, perennial, succulent plant growing from a rhizomatous rootstock and forming a cluster of leaves that are around 25 - 39cm long and 2 0 5cm wide. The flowering stems can be 240 - 260cm tall[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a soap.
Southern N. America - southern Texas, northeast Mexico (Tamaulipas)
Growing separately or in colonies, in open areas, on clay soil; at elevations up to 100 metres[
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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 tolerant of dry conditions and of drought[
The flowers have a smell like cooked onions[
The macerated and crushed rhizomes were used as a source of soap and shampoo in some localities in Texas[
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[