century plant

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century plant:

see amaryllisamaryllis
, common name for some members of the Amaryllidaceae, a family of mostly perennial plants with narrow, flat leaves and with lilylike flowers borne on separate, leafless stalks.
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A desert emergency food used for production of sugar and syrup. Common landscaping ornamental plant, looks like Aloe, but thicker leaves, (not related to aloe) sometimes more bluish or grey-green, or whitish sharp spikes. When it flowers, a thick vertical stem shoots out of the middle straight up, (sometimes to 40ft!) (12m) with clusters of tubular yellow-green flowers which are edible. They take a long time until they flower, sometimes years. These center stalks are edible when young. Leave a hole where the stalk used to be and it will fill with sap, “agave syrup”, a sweetener. The “heart” is edible- the clump between leaves and root. Leaves can be eaten but aren’t that great NOTE: juice is caustic and can cause skin rash and burn eyes. Best to cook or roast the leaves, then eat, spitting out the fiber. Juice can be boiled to make soap that lathers. Sap is antiseptic, used for diarrhea, dysentery, constipation, diuretic. Root can be boiled and eaten but handle carefully when raw- quite caustic. Roots used to treat syphilis. Unlike other plants, agaves are better the older they get. Seeds, roots, heart can be ground into flour. Water in which agave leaf fiber has been soaked for a day can be used as a scalp disinfectant and tonic for people losing hair. Steroid drug precursors are obtained from the leaves. Edible ones- americana, atrovirens, cantala, chrysantha, complicata, crassipina, deserti, palmeri, paryi, salmiana, scabra, shawii, sisalana, tequilana, utahensis. Non edible- A. lechuguilla.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Century Plant


any one of several succulent, rarely blossoming ornamental plants of the genus Aloe or, less commonly, the genus Agave.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nigel Brown with the century plant he planted 28 years ago which has burst through the greenhouse roof at Bangor University's Treborth botanic garden Picture: GERALLT RADCUFFE RAD110907CenturyPlant-1
The Agave Americana 'Marginata' commonly known as the Century Plant, has reached the stunning height of 25ft 9in.
The Agave americana marginata, commonly known as the century plant, has reached a stunning height of 25ft 9ins at the gardens in Edgbaston.
But it also needs solid form from plants like fuchsias, camellias, rhododendrons, and the sculptural century plant (Agave americana) with its huge cutlass-shaped leaves.
Has: mesquite, white crepe myrtle, pink crepe myrtle, mimosa, McIntosh ash, silver maple, chinaberry, century plant, mount laurel, red bud, live oak, red oak, morning glory vines, bluebonnets, holly
Scientists at the University of Wales, Bangor, have waited 28 years to see the Century Plant (Agave americana) blossom.
Dear Editor, -Following the story on the flowering of Agave americana marginata at Birmingham Botanical Gardens (Post, May 20), I was bemused to read in your Comment section the question 'What is the point of the Century Plant?' I am surprised that your writer has led such a sheltered life.
Nigel was away for the weekend when his Mexican Agave Americana Century Plant put on a six-foot spurt, sending a flower stalk with 3,000 blossoms through the glass.
We are often said to be a nation of gardeners but even the greenest-fingered expert would baulk at growing the Century Plant.
THE TOWN'S Bersham Ironworks will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Mill Building this month on the site of John Wilkinson's 18th century plant, which is now a museum.
The Sotol is very similar to the Century Plants and other cacti that abound in the Desert Southwest.
Other exotica lurk in every corner of the garden: huge century plants, their spiky leaves like swords of blue steel, giant native grasses like urchins undulating undersea.