home   about   search

biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Agave americana (Century plant, Maguey, American aloe)

Garingboom [Afrikaans]

Life > eukaryotes > Archaeoplastida > Chloroplastida > Charophyta > Streptophytina > Plantae (land plants) > Tracheophyta (vascular plants) > Euphyllophyta > Lignophyta (woody plants) > Spermatophyta (seed plants) > Angiospermae (flowering plants) > Monocotyledons > Order: Asparagales > Family: Asparagaceae > Genus: Agave

Agave americana, Grootfontein ADI, Middelburg, Eastern Cape, South Africa. [images Loraine van den Berg, Grootfontein Agricultural Development Institute , featured on iNaturalist]

Native to Mexico. Called Century plant because of the mistaken belief that it only starts flowering after 100 years. In fact it starts flowering after 10-20 years. Grown extensively in the karoo, South Africa where it is harvested for the productions of agava, which is an alcoholic drink produced in a similar manner to tequila.


  • van Wyk, B.-E. 2005. Food Plants of the World - Identification, Culinary Uses and Nutritional Value. Briza, Pretoria.