Agave lechuguilla

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Agave lechuguilla
Agave lechuguilla.jpg
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Monocots
Order: Asparagales
Family: Asparagaceae
Subfamily: Agavoideae
Genus: Agave
Species:A. lechuguilla
Binomial name
Agave lechuguilla
Torr. [1]
Synonyms [2]
  • Agave lechuguilla f. glomeruliflora (Engelm.) Trel.
  • Agave poselgeriSalm-Dyck
  • Agave heteracanthaJacobi, illegitimate
  • Agave multilineataBaker
  • Agave lophantha var. tamaulipasanaA.Berger
  • Agave univittata var. tamaulipasana(A.Berger) Jacobson

Agave lechuguilla (common name in Chihuahua: lechuguilla, meaning "big lettuce") is an Agave species found only in the Chihuahuan Desert, where it is an indicator species. [3] It typically grows on calcareous soils. [4] The plant flowers once in its life, then it dies. The flowers are a source of nutrients for insects, bats, and some birds.

<i>Agave</i> A genus of flowering plants closely related to Yucca (e.g. Joshua tree). Both Agave and Yucca belong to the subfamily Agavoideae.

Agave is a genus of monocots native to the hot and arid regions of Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Some Agave species are also native to tropical areas of South America. The genus Agave is primarily known for its succulent and xerophytic species that typically form large rosettes of strong, fleshy leaves. Plants in this genus may be considered perennial, because they require several to many years to mature and flower. However, most Agave species are more accurately described as monocarpic rosettes or multiannuals, since each individual rosette flowers only once and then dies ; a small number of Agave species are polycarpic.

Chihuahuan Desert desert

The Chihuahuan Desert is a desert and ecoregion designation covering parts of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. It occupies much of West Texas, parts of the middle and lower Rio Grande Valley and the lower Pecos Valley in New Mexico, and a portion of southeastern Arizona, as well as the central and northern portions of the Mexican Plateau. It is bordered on the west by the extensive Sierra Madre Occidental range, along with northwestern lowlands of the Sierra Madre Oriental range. On the Mexican side, it covers a large portion of the state of Chihuahua, along with portions of Coahuila, north-eastern Durango, the extreme northern part of Zacatecas, and small western portions of Nuevo León. With an area of about 362,000 km2 (139,769 sq mi), it is the third largest desert of the Western Hemisphere and the second largest in North America, after the Great Basin Desert.

Calcareous an adjective meaning mostly or partly composed of calcium carbonate

Calcareous is an adjective meaning "mostly or partly composed of calcium carbonate", in other words, containing lime or being chalky. The term is used in a wide variety of scientific disciplines.

The leaves are long, tough, and rigid, with very sharp, hard points which can easily penetrate clothing and even leather, giving the colloquial name "shin-daggers". Mexican people have used fibers from the leaves (commonly called ixtle )."


Ixtle or tampico fiber is the general name for a hard plant fiber obtained from a number of Mexican plants, chiefly species of Agave and Yucca. ixtle is the common name of the plants producing the fiber. Ixtle is also the common name of a species of bromeliad, Aechmea magdalenae, grown in southern Mexico for its silky fibers.

The water stored in the flowering stalks of this plant, rich in salts and minerals, is sold in Mexico as a sport drink. The plant makes up a large part of the diet of the collared peccary (javelina) in some areas. [5] It is toxic to cattle and sheep, however. [6] Roots of the plants were used as soap by Native Americans. [7]

Mexico country in the southern portion of North America

Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.

Collared peccary species of mammal

The collared peccary is a species of mammal in the family Tayassuidae found in North, Central, and South America. They are commonly referred to as javelina, saíno or báquiro, although these terms are also used to describe other species in the family. The species is also known as the musk hog. In Trinidad, it is colloquially known as quenk.

Cattle domesticated form of Aurochs

Cattle—colloquially cows—are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos taurus.

The plant reproduces most often through underground offshoots, creating large colonies. [7] It also can flower anytime after the plant has reached three to twenty-one years of age, producing a leafless stalk that can reach 12 feet in height. [7] The flower clusters are located at the top and are funnel shaped in purples, reds and yellows. [7] The plant dies after flowering. [7]

Charles Wright first collected the plant in 1849 and it was described by John Torrey in 1859. [7]

Charles Wright (botanist) American botanist

Charles Wright was an American botanist.

John Torrey U.S. botanist (1796–1873)

John Torrey was an American botanist, chemist, and physician. Throughout much of his career, Torrey was a teacher of chemistry, often at multiple universities, while at the same time pursuing botanical work. Dr. Torrey's botanical career focused on the flora of North America. His most renowned works include studies of the New York flora, the Mexican Boundary, the Pacific railroad surveys, as well as the uncompleted Flora of North America.

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<i>Agave americana</i> species of plant

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<i>Agave parryi</i> species of plant

Agave parryi, known as Parry's agave or mescal agave, is a flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae. It is a slow-growing succulent perennial native to Arizona, New Mexico, and northern Mexico.

Sotol is a distilled spirit sourced from Dasylirion wheeleri, Asparagaceae, a plant that grows in northern Mexico, New Mexico, west Texas, and the Texas Hill Country. It is known as the state drink of Chihuahua, Durango and Coahuila, and is also currently produced in Central Texas. There are few commercial examples available. It is produced in a manner similar to the more common artisanal mezcals of central Mexico. The flowering stem of sotol is one of the best materials for making a friction fire, as it is straight, light in weight, and strong. As it is straight, the stem requiring little to no straightening prior to use, it was commonly used as a lance and spear, the latter with an attached stone or metal point.

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<i>Hesperaloe parviflora</i> species of plant

Hesperaloe parviflora, also known as red yucca, hummingbird yucca, redflower false yucca and samandoque, is a plant that is native to Chihuahuan desert of west Texas east and south into central and south Texas and northeastern Mexico around Coahuila.

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<i>Yucca faxoniana</i> species of plant

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<i>Dasylirion leiophyllum</i> species of plant

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<i>Flourensia cernua</i> species of plant

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  1. "Agave lechuguilla". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2011-05-02.
  2. Kew World Checklist
  3. West, Steve (2000). Northern Chihuahuan Desert Wildflowers. Globe Pequot. p. 44. ISBN   978-1-56044-980-5.
  4. Turner, Matt (2009). Remarkable Plants of Texas: Uncommon Accounts of Our Common Natives. Austin: University of Texas Press. pp. 109–113. ISBN   978-0-292-71851-7.
  5. Corn, J. L. and R. J. Warren. (1985). Seasonal food habits of the collared peccary in South Texas. Journal of Mammalogy. 66:1 155-59.
  6. Lechuguilla. Archived April 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine . Toxic plants of Texas. Texas A&M.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Morey, Roy (2008). Little Big Bend : Common, Uncommon, and Rare Plants of Big Bend National Park. Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press. p. 37. ISBN   9780896726130. OCLC   80359503.