Rhizomatous, perennial tree-like monocot, to 6 m high, leaves fleshy, spine-tipped. Fl. yellow, Jan or Apr. Sand. Cultivated, occasionally naturalised around old habitations & along roadsides.
Alternative Names. Maguey, American Aloe, American Agave, Wild Century-plant.
General Biology. Growth form. Herb. Life form. Perennial. Reproduction. Primarily seed, also suckers. Dispersal. Wind, water. Toxicity. Can be poisonous to mammals. Sap is irritant and can cause dermatitis.
Notes. Naturalised in Europe, southern Africa, New Zealand and Macaronesia. Can reduce native species diversity. Monocarpic (dies after fruiting), flowering only once after 10 to 15 years. Believed to be pollinated by bats and/or moths. Able to tolerate extremely high tissue temperatures. Reduces water loss by stomatal opening and CO2 uptake primarily occurring at night. Has higher vegetative establishment rates in sandy soils than clay soils. In its native habitat where sandy soils are rare there are low establishment rates, sandy soils outside its native range provide opportunities for rapid clonal reproduction. Although seed has high germination rates, most seedlings have been found to die shortly after germination. In other species of Agave water stress in the seedling stage may be the most important factor affecting establishment. Interspecies crosses with Agave tequilana can produce viable seeds.
Additional information. Origin. Mexico, south and central areas of the United States. History of use/introduction. Ornamental, medicines. Similar exotic species. Agave attenuata, A. sisalana.
Suggested method of management and control. Dig out and/or hand remove small infestations. Stem inject into base of leaves 1 part Tordon®/5 parts diesel. Read the manufacturers' labels and material safety data sheets before using herbicides. For further information consult the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority to determine the status of permits for your situation or state.
Legend: Y = Yes, regularly, O = Occasionally, U = Uncertain, referred by others but not confirmed.