The Liliidae

Family Overview - Liliales

Agavaceae  - the Yucca, Century-Plant, Maguey or Agave Family

Diversity:  perennial and often xerophytic herbs (sometimes with shrubby or arborescent habit) with basal or terminal aggregations of linear, often sharp-pointed, leaves - ca. 18 genera and about 550 species.   The ethnoflora includes many foliage ornamentals (Cordyline, Dracaena, Sansevieria) and, from the type genus, fiber (Agave sisalana), pulque, mescal and tequila.

Distribution:  Worldwide.  The Texas flora includes 4 genera and 33 species.

Floral structure:

Agavaceae Floral Formula
Significant features:  Erect, climbing, or scapose perennial herbs with linear, 'monocot-like' leaves and various shoot features of the herbaceous perennial (buld, rhizome, corm, etc.).  Flowers usually perfect, actinomorphic, and showy with petaloid calyx and either a capsular or berry-like fruit.   This large group of showy monocot genera, as treated by Cronquist, includes groups that are often treated at the family level (see Amaryllidaceae).

Agave lechuguilla 

rosette
whole plant
flowers
Basal  rosette

Plant in flower
Inflorescence

Hesperaloe parviflora

daylily flower
plant
flower-front
flower-side

More information on the Agavaceae 


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