Sisal Agave
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Sisal Agave
ntroduced Photo: Dinesh Valke
Common name: Sisal Agave, agave, century plant
Botanical name: Agave sisalana    Family: Asparagaceae (Asparagus family)
Synonyms: Agave rigida var. sisalana

Sisal is an agave Agave sisalana that yields a stiff fiber traditionally used in making twine and rope. Sisal plants consist of a rosette of sword- shaped leaves about 1.5 to 2 meters tall. Young leaves may have a few minute teeth along their margins, but lose them as they mature. Leaves are at first glaucous with a bluish tinge, becoming green, linear-lanceolate, nearly flat, up to 1.5 m long and 10 cm wide, margins smooth or with numerous prickles 2-4 mm long, tip with a dark brown, slightly recurved spine 2-2.5 cm long. Bulbils usually form in the axils of the bracteoles after flowering. Tepals of the flowers are yellowish green, 4.5-6 cm long, with the tube urn-shaped, 1.5-2 cm long. Capsules rarely developing, when present, ca 6 cm long, apex beaked. Sisal agave is native to Yucatan, Mexico, but widely cultivated in tropical areas.

Identification credit: Dinesh Valke Photographed at Sagar Upavan, Mumbai.

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