Century Plant(Agave utahensis eborispina)

Botanical Name :Agave utahensis eborispina
Family : Agavaceae
Genus  : Agave
Synonyms: Agave eborispina – Hester.
Common names: Clark mountain agave, Utah agave

Habitat : Native to California and to Arizona, to Nevada, to Utah [Lum/Walker].South-western N. America .  Dry stony limestone slopes, 1000 – 1500 metres. Calcareous outcrops with desert scrub at elevations of 1100 – 1900 metres in California and Nevada. Cultivated Beds; South Wall By;

Description:
Agave utahensis, an evergreen Perennial  a monocot, is a shrub growing to 4m by 2m.  It is hardy to zone 9 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf all year. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Moths, bats.

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The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

Cultivation:
Requires a very well-drained soil and a sunny position. Plants are only hardy on the south coast of England, where they succeed from Torbay westwards. A monocarpic species, the plant lives for a number of years without flowering but dies once it does flower. However, it normally produces plenty of suckers during its life and these take about 10 – 15 years in a warm climate, considerably longer in colder ones, before flowering. This plant is widely used by the native people in its wild habitat, it has a wide range of uses. Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer.

Propagation:
Seed – surface sow in a light position, April in a warm greenhouse. The seed usually germinates in 1 – 3 months at 20°c. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained soil when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny position in the greenhouse until they are at least 20cm tall. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give some protection from the cold for at least their first few winters. Offsets can be potted up at any time they are available. Keep in a warm greenhouse until they are well established

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Edible Parts:
Leaves; Root; Sap; Seed; Stem.

Edible Uses: Drink.You
The heart of the plant is very rich in saccharine matter and can be eaten when baked. Sweet and delicious, but rather fibrous. It is partly below ground. Can be dried for future use or soaked in water to produce a flavourful beverage. Seed – ground into a flour. Flower stalk – roasted. Root – cooked. Sap from the cut flowering stems is used as a syrup. The sap can also be tapped by boring a hole into the middle of the plant at the base of the flowering stem. It can be fermented into ‘Mescal’, a very potent alcoholic drink.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:-
Antiseptic; Diuretic; Laxative.

The sap is antiseptic, diuretic and laxative.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Other Uses
Brush; Fibre; Miscellany; Needles; Paper; Pins; Soap; Thatching.

The leaves contain saponins and an extract of them can be used as a soap. It is best obtained by chopping up the leaves and then simmering them in water – do not boil for too long or this will start to break down the saponins. A very strong fibre obtained from the leaves is used for making rope, coarse fabrics etc. To make hair brushes and brushes for cleaning, the dried matter of a dead and rotten leaf was knocked free from the fibres, which were then bent in two. the upper end of this brush was wrapped with a cord and the bent portion was covered with a cloth. The loose fibres were cut to the right length and hardened by burning the ends. A paper can also be made from the fibre in the leaves. The thorns on the leaves are used as pins and needles. The dried flowering stems are used as a waterproof thatch and as a razor strop.

Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Agave+utahensis+eborispina
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Agave_utahensis
http://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=116

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