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Useful Temperate Plants

Agave virginica

L.

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

Agave alibertii Baker

Agave conduplicata Jacobi & C.D.Bouché

Agave lata Shinners

Agave pallida Salisb.

Agave tigrina (Engelm.) Cory

Agave virginica Baker

Allibertia intermedia Marion ex Baker

Aloe caroliniana Hill

Aloe virginica (L.) Crantz

Manfreda alibertii (Baker) Rose

Manfreda conduplicata (Jacobi & C.D.Bouché) Rose

Manfreda tigrina (Engelm.) Small

Manfreda virginica (L.) Salisb. ex Rose

Polianthes lata (Shinners) Shinners

Polianthes virginica (L.) Shinners

Common Name:

No Image.

General Information

Agave virginica is a drought-deciduous, succulent, herbaceous perennial plant growing from a rhizomatous rootstock and forming a cluster of leaves 8 - 47cm tall and 1 - 5cm wide. The flowering stems are up to 150cm tall[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
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 source of a soap. Manfreda virginica is semi-hardy, produces green, sweet-smelling flowers, and seems to have some possible merit as a rock garden plant[
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
 
].

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

270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
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
 

Range

Central and southern N. America - Missouri and Illinois to Ohio and Virginia, south and west to northeast Mexico and Florida

Habitat

Glades and open woods, pine-oak woods and tropical deciduous woodlands, growing on rocky and sandy soils (subspecies lata is found mainly on clay soils), often on slopes; at elevations up to 600 metres[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
,
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 *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.00 m
PollinatorsMoths
Cultivation StatusOrnamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Agave virginica has a very wide distribution, from the temperate climate of southern central USA (where it can experience temperatures falling as low as -20°c) to the semi-arid, subtropical climate of northeast Mexico.
Often found on alkaline soils in the wild[
352
Title
KemperCentreForHomeGardeningPlantFinder
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://www.mobot.org/gardeninghelp/plantfinder/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic cultivation details, plant uses, habitat etc for several thousand species of plants, mainly from the temperate zone.
]. 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[
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 flowers hav a sweet, fruity aroma[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
]. The flowers have a fragrant banana - like scent[
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
 
].
Pollination in the wild is primarily by sphinx moths[
270
Title
Flora of N. America
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/fna/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
An on-line version of the flora with an excellent description of the plant including a brief mention of plant uses.
].

Edible Uses

None known

Medicinal

Water in which the mashed rhizome has been soaked is considered a remedy for snakebite, to be both drunk and
applied topically to 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 pounded root, in a glass of water with a tablespoon of whiskey added, was used as a remedy for dropsy[
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 procedure may have had some merit since cardiac-stimulant glycosides are often found in association with saponins[
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
 
].
In the southern United States the rhizome has also been employed as a remedy for colic and dyspepsia, as well as a
stomachic and a bitter tonic[
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
 
,
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.
].
Carminitive and antispasmodic properties have been attributed to the plant. None of these remedies has been analyzed for efficacy but the author can vouch for the bitterness of any tonic that might be made from the 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 powdered seed, applied to the teeth, is said to relieve toothache and evacuate mucus[
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
 
].

Other Uses

The root is rich in saponins and when crushed in water produces a lather. This has long been used as a soap for washing clothes etc[
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
 
].

A wash made from the roots is used as an insecticide[
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
 
]

Propagation

Seed -
Cite as: Temperate Plants Database, Ken Fern. temperate.theferns.info. 2023-02-03. <temperate.theferns.info/plant/Agave+virginica>

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