A genus of plants (order Amaryllidaceæ) of which the chief species is the maguey or century plant (Agave Americana), wrongly called Aloe. It is from ten to seventy years, according to climate, in attaining maturity, when it produces a gigantic flower stem, sometimes forty feet in height, and perishes. The fermented juice is the pulque of the Mexicans; distilled, it yields mescal. A strong thread and a tough paper are made from the leaves, and the wood has many uses.
( Agave sp.)-sometimes called a century plant. Several species of the plant were used by Indians in the Southwest and Mexico. The plants vary greatly in size, but are characterized by a cluster of leaves spreading out at ground level from a short central stem. The narrow leaves are long and thick and terminate in a spine. At maturity, each plant sends up one long flowering stalk and then dies. Agaves grow at elevations of 3000 to 8000 feet. Species of agave are used in the manufacture of pulque and tequila, alcoholic beverages popular in Mexico. Raw agave is poisonous.
Genus of spiny-leaved plants yielding various types of leaf fibres, e.g., cantata, henequen, sisal.