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1. a Mexican agave plant, Agave sisalana, cultivated for its large fleshy leaves, which yield a stiff fibre used for making rope
2. the fibre of this plant
3. any of the fibres of certain similar or related plants


A durable natural fiber used as a floor covering, derived from leaves of the sisal plant.



(also sisal hemp), a stiff, coarse natural fiber obtained from the leaves of the agave plant (Agava sisolana), which itself is sometimes given the name “sisal.” The fibers are separated from the fresh leaves without any special treatment; the fiber yield is about 3.5 percent. The elementary sisal fibers are 2-2.5 mm long, whereas the fibers used for industry are 0.6-1.5 m long. The fibers are shiny and yellowish. Sisal is not as sturdy as abaca and is more brittle than hemp. It is used to make ropes, nets, bristles, and other items. World sisal production is gradually being curtailed owing to the increased use of synthetic fibers. In 1972 production was about 604,000 tons. The main exporters of sisal are Tanzania, Kenya, Angola, and Brazil. The leaves of the related species A. fourcroydes yield the fiber henequén, which is produced in Mexico and Cuba.


Siniagin, I. I. Tropicheskoe zemledelie. Moscow, 1968. [23–1053–]


Agave sisalina. An agave of the family Amaryllidaceae indigenous to Mexico and Central America; a coarse, stiff yellow fiber produced from the leaves is used for making twine and brush bristles.


An organic fiber from the leaves of the sisal plant; used in making rope and cordage; sometimes mixed with plaster.


(Streams and Iteration in a Single Assignment Language) A general-purpose single assignment functional programming language with strict semantics, automatic parallelisation and efficient arrays. Outputs a dataflow graph in IF1 (Intermediary Form 1). Derived from VAL, adds recursion and finite streams. Pascal-like syntax. Designed to be a common high-level language for numerical programs on a variety of multiprocessors.

Implementations exist for Cray X-MP, Cray Y-MP, Cray-2, Sequent, Encore Alliant, dataflow architectures, transputers and systolic arrays.

Defined in 1983 by James McGraw et al, Manchester University, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Colorado State University and DEC. Revised in 1985. First compiled implementation in 1986. Performance superior to C and competitive with Fortran, combined with efficient and automatic parallelisation.

Not to be confused with SASL.

E-mail: John Feo <>, Rod Oldehoeft <>.

David C. Cann has written an Optimising SISAL Compiler (OSC) which attempts to make efficient use of parallel processors such as Crays.

Latest version: 12.0, SISAL 1.2.

["A Report on the SISAL Language Project", J.T. Feo et al, J Parallel and Distrib Computing 10(4):349-366 (Dec 1990)].
References in periodicals archive ?
As we speak, I have sisal rug rash on my chin and one side of my nose.
5m basic Sisal rug with a cotton herringbone border costs around pounds 200.
The tapestry theme is continued by a custom tapestry-style border on the room's wool sisal rug.
Casually strewn rugs and mats also look great anywhere in the home, including John Lewis' Sisal Rug in natural, pounds 95, and their Multistripe Rug Ombre from pounds 75.
The sisal rug in the main room is trimmed with dark ribbon to echo the floor.
An island-plantation feel was accomplished with a richly textured diamond-woven sisal rug on the floor, mahogany turned-leg tables from Indonesia and a Moroccan cupboard-styled mirror above the mantel.
If your patio is somewhat enclosed and you want a more-formal ambience, Jarvis says to layer the sisal rug with a lightweight Aubusson or needlepoint rug, but remember that none of these floor coverings can be hosed off like the AstroTurf of the '70s.
ROLL OUT THE RUG We added a natural touch by installing a huge sisal rug with a healthy 8in gap all around and a blue edging strip to tie in with our colour scheme.
For a similar rug try the chocolate sisal rug, pounds 28 from Tesco Direct - click on direct.
A sisal rug covers the floor; the teak Bali chaise and tray ($695), cushion ($170), and side table ($120) are from Tom's Outdoor Furniture in Menlo Park, California.
Do-it-yourself decor: Put together a painted canvas floor cloth or sisal rug.