agave, century plant, hemp plant, sisal, sisal agave, sisal hemp • Afrikaans: garingboom • Chinese: 剑麻 jian ma • Fijian: ndali • French: agave sisal • German: sisalagave • Hawaiian: malina • I-Kiribati: te rob’, te robu • Italian: canapa di sisal • Portuguese: sisal • Spanish: sisal;


Agave americana L. from Barapani (Shillong):
I think attached images may be Agave americana L.
Name : . Century Plant
Genus & species : Agave americana L.
Family : Agavaceae
Time of collection : 19/10/2012
Location : Barapani ICAR Campus (Meghalaya)

Pl. check prickles on the margins of the leaves. Lack of these will mean, it’s Agave sisalana Perrine as per link
Pl. see the keys at Lucid Central


20-TSP-ID-05JAN2016-1: Agave-like plant for ID : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (7)
Kindly identify this Agave-like plant. 
Habit: Shrub
Habitat: Cultivated
Sighting: Tumkur in Karnataka, about 800 msl
Date: 17-11-2014

Agave species in eFloraofindia (with details/ keys from published papers/ regional floras/ FRLHT/ FOI/ Biotik/ efloras/ books etc., where ever available on net)

Most likely to be Agave sisalana Perrine, as per keys and comparative images at Agave

I agree with you, Sir ji, it is very much like my species – efi thread. And thanks to …, pic 6 clearly shows 3-lobed stigma, as described in FoP.


Article on Ramkand from Times of India Pune edition. 11May2011:
The link may not work so I have copied the contents of an article related to one interesting plant we had discussed earlier. I think .. has more knowledge on this.
Green group conducts DNA barcoding of Ramkand Kalyani Sardesai TNN
Pune: Sahyadri Genes, a Kolhapur-based environmentalcum-research group, and the department of botany, Shivaji University, have carried out DNA barcoding of the Ramkand plant, which, according to popular legend, was consumed by Lord Rama while in exile.
The study, which establishes that the plant is a monocot and not a tuber, has been published in the recent issue of ‘Current Science’.
Speaking to TOI, Mansingraj Nimbalkar, president, Sahyadri Genes, said, “For several years, the exact identity of Ramkand has remained a mystery for both plant researchers and students. Though the tuber is being sold for several years, especially at places of pilgrimage, its source is one of the best kept secrets by vendors. The name and information provided by vendors give an impression that the tuber was eaten by Lord Rama during his days of exile. Previous efforts to identify the plant have proved unsuccessful. The only material available for study are the thin slices sold by vendors.”
    During the study, the team initially found it difficult to establish its identity as a monocot. “Though the anatomical study showed a cell structure typical to the monocot, it only confused us further. This is because, monocots have adventitious roots and not a tap root.”
The DNA was extracted from the slices obtained from a vendor at Jyotiba hill temple at Wadi Ratnagiri in Kolhapur district. The slices were approximately 4.5 inches in size and two to three mm in thickness.
The sequence was used to find similarities with the other submitted sequences. The search showed that the sequence was 89 per cent similar to the Agave sisalana — a monocot.
“To confirm this further, we checked more plants of the Agave genus. The leaves enclosing the rosette and juvenile inflorescence (soft middle portion of the plant) were removed, which exposed the core of the rosette. The core was soft and similar in dimension to that of the Ramkand plant,” said G B Dikshit, professor, department of botany, Shivaji University.
Taxonomist S R Yadav explained the significance of the DNA barcoding. “It is a major step forward as the plant has proved to be difficult to place. Over the last 25 years, I have approached leading botanists in the country to help me identify the Ramkand, but they could not,” he said.
Moreover, the study dispels the myth about the plant being a tuber. “The origin of the plant is being carefully concealed by vendors, but Ramkand, which is sold to devotees in the name of Lord Rama, is actually not
recommended for human consumption. In fact, it can prove to be poisonous,” he said.
“One variety of the Agave genus is used to make a syrup for diabetic patients, but, by and large, the species are not meant to be eaten. Since it is sold in thin slices and people consume it in small quantities, it may not have had any noticeable after-effects. But it is important that people know the facts,” Yadav said.
The Ramkand plant

We have already discussed about this plant (in Feb’10), and its id is also established few years back by Dr.Narasimhan. Please check this link.I am glad that it has now been published with a scientific evidence.

Just saw this article in Current Science. (pdf file attached)

The interesting but If you are using PCR in your experiment then you should always mention the “primers” used. The paper seriously lack the information. Next with partial amplification of a gene you cant be sure that its from A sisalana !!

As you said, they could have cited the reference for the primers. But matK is a quite conservered region and some papers even suggest it to be a suitable region for DNA barcoding like coxI for animals. Manytimes a partial
matK region is enough for phylogeny. I am sure, matK would be accurate upto the genus level, but after getting the clue we can look for morphological similarity between the Agave sisalana stem and Ramkhand for further

agave/ramkand : 5 posts by 4 authors. 2 images.
what is special in the image, it is so small; I can’t comprehend please

Some Zigsaw ?

yes my question same as … what is this

incomplete pictures? and botanical name etc?????


Is this really Maerua oblongifolia ? : 12 posts by 4 authors.
there is a certain large root which gets sold sometimes in Indian streets which goes under the name `bhoo chakra (or sakre) gadde ‘ in Kannada and Telugu and most websites identify it as root of Maerua oblongifolia (of Capparaceae family). For images and description of this root please see:
Even Elfora website gives the same info:
Is this true? Does this arid region plant grow to have such large roots? I contacted some experts, but received conflicting opinion. Some like Prof. Pullaiah, whose book is quoted in Eflora website think that this is root is of ipomoea mauritiana with common name `giant potato’. See:
Can somebody please confirm as to what is the correct identification of this root.

I think it’s Agave root

Thank you.  I suppose this is only a guess. Some of these roots are 4-5 feet long. I have never seen any Agave with that kind of thick and long root/stem

In A.P also the tuberous root of Maerua oblongifolia is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a tonic. But I didn’t see such big tubers. In A.P also it is called Bhuchakra gadda only.

Yes this is really Maerua oblongifolia tuber; I am also eating last two months back in Nallamala forest (Buggavagu base camp area). This tuber more like Wild boars.

Yes it is agave root only, it will be burnt in the fire, cleaned, usually sugar or saccharine solution is added to the fibrous starchy tuber in order to get sweet taste. Even in Chennai market it is being sold.

thank you for the information. If this root/stem is Agave and not Maerua oblongifolia  can one identify as to which species of Agave it is?
Further, shouldn’t one be making corrections in Eflora website, Wikipedia etc., where it is identified as Maerua oblongifolia.

The best option to confirm the species is to contact the the vendor (seller) and find out the place where from he collected,  locate the plant and then identify.

I am not saying by my own it is observed by reading DNA fingerprint paper published by dept. of botany  Shivaji University Kolhapur.
The root of Agave known  as ‘Ramkand’.

Sir, Thanks. I think you are referring to the paper at the link provided. Current Science

thanks. The paper Current Science, more or less settles the issue that this root is not Maerua oblongifolia but an agave. Search for ‘rama kandmool’ gives several images/videos of the root/stem. It would be good to video record the processing of agave, but perhaps it is difficult to persuade these vendors to oblige.

Media query about tuber sold on streets: 1 image.

This is …, a freelance journalist from Bangalore. It’s nice to make your acquaintance.
I am attaching the photo of the tuber I saw in Bangalore.
Can you please help me with the contact of the following?
1. Contact number of your scholars who have seen this plant extracted? It’s critical for me to speak to somebody who has seen the plant and seen it extracted too.
2. Can you connect me to a botanist in Kerala/Karnataka/Western Ghats who may have information about this?
3. Would you know any local seller family that sells it?
4. Can you connect me to anybody from a tribal welfare department/NGO that may use this as an agro-forestry product?
Looking forward to hearing from you.

Here is a query about a large tuber Bhuchakragadda.
Please put this in the group for identification.

Agave sp.

Maerua oblongifolia

Bhuchakragadda: Check this link : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maerua_oblongifolia

Also check :
Wikimedia Commons image

Maerua oblongifolia 

Capparaceae member.
We have collected from many place’s in Andhara Pradesh for preservation.
And Have seen also wild boar diggings for tuber.

Agave root as per earlier discussions at Is this really Maerua oblongifolia ?

Also see discussions at Article on Ramkand from Times of India Pune edition. 11May2011


Sagar Upvan, Mumbai, MH :: Agave for ID :: ARK2019-124 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)

This was another Agave in Sagar Upvan, Mumbai clicked in Feb 2013.
It looks different from the one posted earlier today.
Request to ID if possible.

This should also be Agave sisalana Perrine as I do not find any prickles on leaf margins.

Sagar Upvan, Mumbai, MH :: Agave for ID :: ARK2019-123 : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (1)
I saw this Agave in the Sagar Upvan, Mumbai in Feb 2013.
Keys at Agave page in efi indicate A. sisalana or A. angustifolia.
Request to ID if possible.

Yes, appears to be Agave sisalana Perrine as per keys.


Agave?-180709-RK-1 : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3)
Please ID this plant-with Fam. ID. The flowers are those of the plant on the right. Had to cut the lower section out of the picture since the plant was in a sorry condition. Pic taken in Lalbagh, Bangalore on 12-07-09.

I think it to be Agave sisalana, native of Mexico, widely cultivated elsewhere, commonly known as sisal, sisal agave, sisal hemp … but I am not sure if there is OR are any other close species.
I have one photo at http://www.flickr.com/photos/dinesh_valke/2095496158/

the agave in your picture [beautifully taken !] looks to be the same as in mine. Will wait for any further comments.. Thank you for helping out.

Pl. check if their are prickles at the margins of the leaves to determine the species as per keys available under Lucid Central

Most likely to be Agave sisalana Perrine, as per keys and comparative images at Agave


18/05/2021 : surajit : Please Help Me Understand Agave: 4 images.
I have a few questions, typed on the attached plates (two) of an Agave sp.
I have confusions over the nature/characters of those “leaves”, “spines” and “prickles”.
Please, help me understand those characters.
I agree that image quality is poor, but I have no alternative. In addition to those two plates I attach here two more photographs of the leaves of the concerned species.

Please, ignore this thread containing sets of questions. Because :- the would be answers are no more relevant for the species I was looking for.

Could you finally reach the id as per details at 18/05/2021 : surajit : Agave in “Botany of Bihar and Orissa” ?

Sir ji, I couldn’t give time to this one!
I suspect it is none of A. cantula Roxb., A. americana L., A. vivipara L. or A. angustifolia Haw.
It is probably Agave vera-cruz Miller, syn A. cantula Beng. Pl. (now what “Beng. Pl.” was meant by Haines?). But I need time to check that thoroughly.

Please check- efi thread

Probability of Agave angustifolia Haw. var. angustifolia :-
  1. leaves are not stiff even rosette (as in KEW and eFI) = probability NIL
  2. tepals different from my species, as in GBIF herb. = probability NIL
  3. tepals similar, but tube longer; as in another GBIF = some probability
  4. marginal prickles often sharply recurved (Haines) as in above GBIF = probability again NIL
  5. flowers greenish-yellow (Haines) = probability NIL
Agave sisalana Perrine :-
  1. leaves different as in KEW (outer leaves at right angle in this species) = NIL
  2. inflorescence not 3-chotomous in KEW  (3-chotomous in my species)  = NIL
Agave cantula Roxb.
  1. no acicular spine, neither conspicuous prickles in my species = NIL
  2. inflorescence branches neither slender nor flexuous = NIL
Agave americana L. :-
  1. no reflexed prickles in my species = NIL
  2. neck of leaves not constricted in my species = NIL
Agave vera-cruz Mill. :-
  1. everything looks similar to table efi thread except marginal prickles (which are similar to A. sisalana)
  2. tepals linear-lanceolate, pale amber tint
So, I think this species is Agave vera-cruz Miller.
4 images.

Leaf type, leaf orientation, inflorescence character, flower colour are relevant only when leaf margin bears conspicuous prickles. My earlier ID was wrong, it is Agave sisalana, as in many other in the group site,

2015april_sk24/24 : Agave sp. : 10 posts by 5 authors. Attachments (4)
Recorded in Oct, 2009.

nice. did it die off after the flowering. what happened to the tall stalk…and seeds?

I do not know Didi if the plant is still there in that private garden.

Agave die after producing large inflorescence which exhaust the energy of the plant. But before death a plant produce numerous bulbils in place of flowers which when fall on ground root out and grow as new plants.

Thank you …, didn’t know, sounds interesting.

yes … happens all over sw usa every few years

Agave species in eFloraofindia (with details/ keys from published papers/ regional floras/ FRLHT/ FOI/ Biotik/ efloras/ books etc., where ever available) 

What about Agave americana?

Thank you very much …

I think it is Agave cantula Roxb., presently A. vivipara L. – POWO

I think Agave angustifolia Haw. is more likely as per comparative images and keys at Agave.

Thanks a lot, Sir ji, I didn’t even bother to check when I wrote the only entry of Agave in “Bengal Plants”!

Explanation of ” didn’t even bother” –
  1. I made a lot of mistakes!
  2. I make a lot of mistakes!
As per KEYSERVER – Lucid Central
Agave angustifolia Haw.
Note: the Queensland Herbarium currently recognises this species by the name Agave vivipara L.

as per KEW – POWO
Agave cantula Roxb. is a syn. of Agave vivipara L.

To tell you the truth, is that, these days it makes no difference to me if any of my uploads turns out to be Xyz.abc instead of Abc.xyz, for I did, I do make a lot of mistakes all the time.

Here is the difference between the two as per The confusion of Agave vivipara L. and A. angustifolia Haw., two distinct taxa- January 2003 Brittonia 55(1):82-87 :
Leaves broad or curved, fleshy. Plants moderately large, suckering, bulbiferous. Leaves green, transiently glaucous; spine acicular, involutely grooved; prickles rather close together. Flowers and seeds medium-sized. Native to the West Indies. (Viviparae) …… A. vivipara
Leaves narrow, spreading, firm. Plants moderately large, suckering, bulbiferous. Leaves numerous, grayish; spine conical; prickles rather distant. Flowers and seeds large. Introduced (into the West Indies). (Sisalanae) …… A. angustifolia 

OK, Sir ji, this is A. angustifolia, not A. vivipara.

Identified by … in another thread as Agave vera-cruz Mill.
Hi, …, May I request you to pl. have a look at our other posts, if you find any similar plant.

Sir ji, I am not fully satisfied with the id Agave vera-cruz, because the marginal prickles should be “spreading or decurved, black or dark coloured”, which is not in this case (as I mentioned in the other thread, you referred).

While in A. sisalana, marginal prickles, if present, are “weak, scattered and pale.”
In A. angustifolia var. angustifolia, marginal prickles have interesting character!
So, I will only check if there is any better Agave vera-cruz specimen in our database.
3 attachments

Sir ji, my earlier determination was wrong. After seeing all Agave uploads in our group, I think this species is also Agave sisalana, perhaps the commonest species next to angustifolia.

With a minor modification lucidcentral is the KEY –
  1. stout and conspicuous prickles = americanavera-cruz and cantula (vivipara)
  2. prickles relatively weak, but present and with special character (screenshot Haines_03) = angustifolia
  3. prickles absent or if present weak, not dark coloured, straight, intermittent or not = sisalana


Agave sisalana : 2 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (2)
Agave sisalana from Shantiniketan West bengal January 2010

As there appears to be prickles on leaf margins, it may be Agave americana L. as per keys at Lucid Central

I think Agave sisalana only.

Yes, Sir, I noticed … post earlier, but at that time I myself was hesitant.


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