Sisal agave

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Sisal agave
Sisal agave (Agave sisalana)

Sisal agave ( Agave sisalana )

Order : Asparagales (Asparagales)
Family : Asparagaceae (Asparagaceae)
Subfamily : Agave family (Agavoideae)
Genre : Agaves ( agave )
Subgenus : agave
Type : Sisal agave
Scientific name
Agave sisalana

The sisal agave ( Agave sisalana ) is a type of plant from the subfamily of the agave family (Agavoideae). It is an important fiber plant. The epithet of the species refers to the Mexican port city of Sisal on the north coast of the Yucatán .


The sisal agave is a hapaxanthe rosette plant . The plants can be stemless or stemmed, in the latter case the trunk can be between 40 and 100 centimeters high, the rosettes have a diameter between 1.5 and 2 meters. The sword-shaped leaves are 60 to 150 centimeters long and 2.5 to 5 (rarely up to 9) centimeters wide. When young, they are light green and finely toothed, older leaves are shiny green and imperforate. The final sting is 2 to 2.5 inches long, dark brown and conical to awl-shaped.

The inflorescence axis can be 5 to 6 meters long, the elliptical inflorescence is a panicle , bracts are present. In the inflorescence, which consists of 10 to 25 flowers , the plant bears brood buds . The flowers are 4 to 6.5 inches long and green-yellow. The bracts are linear-lanceolate, 17 to 18 millimeters long and 5 to 6 millimeters wide and of the same shape and size. The stamens are 50 to 60 millimeters long and set in the upper half of the flower tube, the anthers are 23 to 25 millimeters long, the ovaries are 15 to 25 millimeters long and 8 to 9 millimeters wide.

The number of chromosomes is 2n = 138, 147, 149 or 150.


The exact origin of this species is not known. Through culture it has been brought to numerous tropical and subtropical countries. It may come from the Mexican province of Chiapas .


Since the majority of all plants are not fertile and wild occurrences are not known, it is assumed that the sisal agave is of hybridogenic origin. It may come from a cross between Agave angustifolia and Agave kewensis .


In addition to ropes, ropes, yarn and carpets, the fibers (formerly also called sisal hemp ) are used in numerous other products, e.g. B. as a filler for mattresses, as a polishing agent or as a material for dartboards.

The sisal agave was domesticated by the natives before the Spanish conquered Central America and used to produce pulque . The plant spread in North America through the displacement of the natives. The Spanish and Portuguese exported the plants to other countries and continents, where they were used as ornamental plants in the 18th and 19th centuries.

In 1893 Richard Hindorf introduced bulbils from Florida to Tanzania, and in 1903 Horácio Urpia Júnior brought the plant to Brazil. In 1951 Brazil was the second largest producer country after Tanzania, but from 1964 the market for sisal collapsed due to the increasing competition from synthetic fibers. Production fell, but has been recovering since the turn of the millennium. Measured by the mass of fiber production, the sisal agave is now the fifth most important fiber plant worldwide; in 2006 the world production of sisal fibers was around 428,000 tons.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Sterling Evans: Dependent Harvests: Grain Production on the American and Canadian Plains and the Double Dependency with Mexico, 1880-1950 . In: Agricultural History . Volume 80, Number 1, 2006, p. 40, JSTOR 3745103 .
  2. a b c d Flora Mesoamericana . ( online ), accessed June 26, 2008.
  3. ^ Agave sisalana in the Flora of North America.
  4. cf. J.Merritt Matthews, Walter Anderau, HE Fierz-David, The textile fibers: their physical, chemical and microscopic properties, Berlin 1928, p. 653, reprint 2013 ISBN 978-3-642-91077-7
  5. The dartboard - dimensions, material and dimensions. In: Dart Club Directory. Retrieved on March 27, 2020 (German).
  6. a b c F.A. Suinaga, ORRF da Silva, WM Coutinho: A História / History. In: O Sisal do Brasil / Brazilian Sisal. Brasília 2006, pp. 16-22.
  7. R. Koslowski, M. Rawluk, J. Barriga-Bedoya: Ramie. In: Robert Franck (Ed.): Bast and other plant fibers. Cambridge / Boca Raton 2005, ISBN 1-85573-684-5 / ISBN 0-8493-2597-8 , p. 209.

Web links

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