Botaniical Name: Furcraea foetida
Species: F. foetida
Agave bulbosa K.Koch Agave commelyni Salm-Dyck Agave foetida L. Agave gigantea (Vent.) D.Dietr. Agave madagascariensis (Haw.) Salm-Dyck Aloe foetida (L.) Crantz Fourcroya gigantea (Vent.) Hook. Funium piliferum Willemet Furcraea atroviridis Jacobi & Goeff. Furcraea barillettii Jacobi Furcraea commelyni (Salm-Dyck) Kunth Furcraea gigantea Vent. Furcraea madagascariensis Haw. Furcraea viridis Hemsl. Furcraea watsoniana Sander
Common Names: Giant Cabuya, Green-aloe or Mauritius-hemp
Furcraea foetida is native to the Caribbean and northern South America. It is widely cultivated and reportedly naturalized in many places (India, parts of Africa, Portugal, Australia, Thailand, Florida, New Zealand, and many oceanic islands). It grows on the Tropical highlands.
Furcraea foetida is an evergreen perennial subshrub, stemless or with a short stem up to 1 m tall. The leaves are sword-shaped, 1-1.8 m long and 10–15 cm broad at their widest point, narrowing to 6–7 cm broad at the leaf base, and to a sharp spine tip at the apex; the margins are entire or with a few hooked spines. The flowers are greenish to creamy white, 4 cm long, and strongly scented; they are produced on a large inflorescence up to 7.5 m tall.
The plant is cultivated in subtropical and tropical regions for products and as an ornamental plant for gardens. Its leaves are used to produce a natural fiber similar to sisal.
Seed – rarely produced. Plants frequently produce large numbers of bulbils, which root and grow into new plants when they fall to the ground. These bulbils have the capacity to remain viable for a number of years, even in unfavourable conditions.
The root has been used as blood purifying remedy. An infusion with sweet oil is drunk as a treatment for syphilis. The root is mixed with gin and used as a treatment for back pain. The leaves are febrifuge. They are used in a preparation with molasses or honey to treat children’s obstinate colds.
Agroforestry Uses: Used as a hedge plant in desert gardens. A strong, good quality fibre is obtained from the leaves. It is thinner and softer than sisal. The fibre is usable for ropes and sacks. The long, soft fibre is used alone or with other fibres in twine, sacks, hammocks, and other products. It breaks down in salt water but withstands fresh water. The macerated young leaves are used as a hair shampoo and a soap.
Known Hazards: The leaves are used as a fish poison. This is probably due to a high content of saponins in the leaves
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.