Ajuntament de Barcelona

Agave salmiana var. ferox

Mossèn Costa i Llobera Garden

    Catalan name: 
    Spanish name: 
    Maguey, maguey manso
    Botanical synonyms: 
    Agave ferox
    Species characteristics
    Sunny and warm places at low lands in arid and semidesertic areas

    Succulent plant up to 1.5 m tall, without stem and with a rosette composed by 20-30 big (1-2 m long and up to 35 cm wide) dark green or greyish leaves.

    The leaves are corrugated and folded towards the apex. Their margin is undulating and covered by black hook-shaped stings 3 cm long with a dark brown (grey when aging) rigid and long terminal prickle, up to 10 cm long.

    The flowers, red-tinted yellow when buds, appear into inflorescences 6-10 m tall with many branches (15-20).

    Flowering time: 
    Uses and properties: 

    The Agave has three main uses: as a raw material for fabrics, in the production of liqueurs such as tequila and for decoration purposes.

    In Mexico, it was already used for fabrics before the Conquistadores, when it was used to make dresses to peasants, since nobility used cotton. Very resilient to drought, it lives in arid environments.

    History and curiosities: 

    The scientific name Agave salmiana consists of the genus name Agave, dedicated to the mythological character Agave, daughter of Cadmus, king of Thebes, and Harmonia, and the term salmiana, in allusion to Joseph de Salm-Reifferscheid-Dyck (1773-1861), botanist and author of a book about succulent plants. The term ferox, that differentiates this variety, comes from the Latin ferox, “fierce”, in allusion to the leave tips.

    The blooming happens very late in the plant life (the plant dies after blooming).

    For further information: 

    LÓPEZ GONZÁLEZ, Ginés A. Los árboles y arbustos de la Península Ibérica e Islas Baleares. (2 vol.) Madrid: Mundi-Prensa, 2001

    THE ROYAL HORTICULTURAL SOCIETY. Enciclopedia de plantas y flores. Barcelona: Grijalbo, 1996