Agave decipiens Bak.


                                                                          (LilyFamily)                                                                                                        Florida

False Sisal  

                                          June Photo


Plant Characteristics:  Perennial plant to 3 m., arborescent; lvs. to 100 cm. long, 10 cm. wide, green fleshy, spreading to recurved, narrowly lanceolate, acuminate, concave, with enlarged, thickened bases, teeth to 3 mm. at 2 cm. intervals, dk brown, terminal spine to 2 cm., dk. brown, conical, not decurrent; infl. to 5 m. tall, a panicle, with some 12 umbellate branches above, branches with many adventitious plantlets; fls. to 8 cm., green-yellow; perianth tube to 13 mm., infundibular, fleshy, furrowed, tepils to 22 mm. long, 4 mm. wide, subequal, thickened, linear, incurved, hooded at apex; filaments to 5 cm., unequally inserted in tube, anthers to 2.5 cm., yellow; ovary to 48 mm. long, 14 mm. wide, thickened, narrowed below, furrowed; fr. to 5 cm., oblong to ellipsoid, stipitate.           


Habitat:  Arid and semiarid tropical parts of the Western Hemisphere.  (Bailey 238).  The specific habitat of this plant is unknown, as it is an escape from cultivation.  (my comment).


Name:  Agave, from the Greek word for admirable.  (Bailey 238).  Latin, decipien, to deceive or deceiving.  (Jaeger 77).  I do not know to which characteristic of the plant that the species name refers, possibly it alludes to the fact that this plant resembles the true sisal, Agave sisalana. (my comment).


General:  Rare in the study area with only one colony known and this near the bluff top on the south facing slope of lower Big Canyon.  It appears that the colony spreads because of the rhizomatous rootstock rather than from the bulblets produced at flowering.         (my comments).      In Mexico, where agaves are many, several species have great economic importance, yielding the liquors pulque and mescal, the fibre sisal, or henequin, and other products.  (Bailey 238).     Agave and Yucca species produce important hormonal substances used in contraceptive pills.   Eighteen genera, 580 species.  (Huxley, et al. Vol. I 83).        With the publication of the 1993 Jepson Manual, Agavaceae is now included in Liliaceae.  (my comment).

Comparison of the DNA sequences for various genes, usually those found in the chloroplast of the plant cell has led biologists to propose many changes in the plant families as they are now known.  It is proposed to move the genus Agave from Liliaceae back to Agavaceae.  (Kelch, Dean G. “Consider the Lilies” FREMONTIA, A Journal of the California Native Plant Society Vol. 30 No. 2 April 2002 pp. 23-29).


Text Ref:  Bailey, Manual of Cultivated Plants 238; Bailey, Hortus Third 37; Huxley, et al. Vol. I  85; Munz, Flora So. Calif. 864.

Photo Ref:  June 99 #18; July 99 #12; Aug 99 # 17,20,21,23.

Identity: by John Johnson, confirmed by R. De Ruff.

First Found:  June 1999.


Computer Ref: Plant Data 519.

No plant specimen.

Last edit 5/27/04.


                       August Photo                                                     July Photo