Botanical Name: Agave salmiana
Species: A. salmiana
*Agave atrovirens var. salmiana (Otto ex Salm-Dyck) Maire & Weiller
*Agave atrovirens var. sigmatophylla A. Berger
*Agave chinensis F.P.Sm.
*Agave coarctata Jacobi
*Agave cochlearis Jacobi
*Agave compluviata Trel.
*Agave dyckii H.Jacobsen
*Agave jacobiana Salm-Dyck
*Agave lehmannii Jacobi
*Agave mitraeformis Jacobi
*Agave quiotifera Trel. ex Ochot.
*Agave salmiana var. cochlearis (Jacobi) A.Terracc.
*Agave tehuacanensis Karw. ex Salm-Dyck
*Agave whitackeri H.Jacobsen
Common Names: Maguey pulquero, Green maguey,Pulque Agave, Giant Agave
Habitat: Agave salmiana is native to southern and central Mexico, it was introduced into gardens with a Mediterranean climate in Europe and sometimes escaped into the wild, thus becoming naturalised in some parts of southern Europe.
Agave salmiana is an evergreen Perennial spiral-shaped rosette, growing to 2 m (6ft) by 2 m (6ft) at a medium rate, with large flared and erect leaves. These leaves are thick, dark green with a large point at the tip and strong spines on the edges. When a leaf has unfolded, it leaves an imprint on the leaf underneath.
Like most agaves, the species is monocarpic, that is to say it only flowers once and then dies. This flowering occurs after 15 to 25 years producing a vertical floral stem, typically up to 4 m (13 ft) long and bearing greenish-yellow flowers. The largest specimens have been significantly taller. One specimen growing at the Strawberry Canyon Botanical Garden on the campus of U. C. Berkeley, Berkeley, California in 1974 produced an inflorescence with a total height of 52 feet (16 m) of which the scape or peduncle was about 39′ 4″ (12 m) and the panicle per se was 13 feet (4 m). Hermann J.H. Jacobsen states that the inflorescence of A. salmiana has reached an overall height of 62 feet (19 m), making the inflorescence of A. salmiana the tallest of any known species of plant.
Old plants reach 1.8 m in height and the leaves form a rosette 3.6 m in diameter.
The variety A. salmiana var. ferox (K.Koch) Gentry is often encountered in cultivation. The epithet ferox is due to the hard and long (up to 8 cm) spines.
Cultivation is easy in a well-drained sandy soil with sunny exposure. For a pot culture, it requires a container of very large size to remain in an harmonious appearance. It can be used to stabilise a slope. It can withstand a light frost if it is completely dry. It is multiplied more easily by planting shoots than by seedlings.
The sap is fermented to make the alcoholic drink ‘pulque’. As soon as the inflorescence bud appears (at an age of about 7 years), it is excised. The sweet juice which then exudes for the next 3 – 4 months is collected and fermented. Sometimes a brandy is produced by means of distillation of pulque which contains 4 – 8% ethanol. It is also possible to produce sugar or vinegar from the sugar-containing juice. The flowering stems are cut into sections and then chewed like sugar cane. The cuticle of the young leaves of the central spike is used as a translucent wrapping for the Mexican dish ‘mixiote’, which is prepared for festive occasions.
The leaves, especially the youngest ones, provide fibres suitable for the production of laces, fine clothes and foodwear. The roots contain saponins and can be used as a soap substitute. An architectural succulent. Deer Tolerant.
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