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Agave sisalana

AuthorityPerrine ex Engelm.
SynonymsAgave rigida var. sisalana Engelmann
Common namessisal hemp, Bahama hemp, dali, agave, sisal., ndali, natali (Fiji)
Ecocrop code339

BRIEF DESCRIPTION A monocarpic herbaceous plant with a short thick stem and a close rosette of leaves 60-160 cm in length. The roots rarely go deeper than about 35 cm. Towards the end of its lifespan it produces a long stout flowering pole. USES The leaves yield a hard, coarse fiber used in the manifacture of twines, cordage, and sacks. The fiber cannot be spun as finely as jute and ropes tend to break suddenly. Fibers are also used to reinforce plaster boards and paper. The leaves contain hecogenin used in the partial synthesis of the drug cortisone. GROWING PERIOD Short-lived perennial, with a yearly growth cycle of 150-270 days. Harvest can begin 2-4 years after planting, depending on temperature, and can continue up to about the 7-12th or even 20th year. At this stage the plant produce flowers and die. COMMON NAMES Sisal. FURTHER INF Sisal can in the tropics be grown at elevations up to 2000 m. It prefer moderate humidity. The species is indigenous to Central America and Mexico. One ton of fibre removes about 30 kg N, 5 kg P, 80 kg K, 65 kg Ca and 40 kg Mg from the field. Because the fibres themselves contain few minerals, the majority of the nutrients can be returned to the land with the pulp. The average yield is about 0.9 t/ha of dried fibres, on the best plantations in East Africa, yearly yields of 2.0-2.5 t/ha of dried fibres are obtained. Mentioned as a useful agroforestry species.
SOURCES (A. sisalana Perrine)
Sims D (pers. comm.)
Roecklein J 1987 pp 128 [USE]
Rehm S 1991 pp 349-352 [RAIN, TEMP, LIG, TEXT, DRA, PH]
Landon J 1984 pp 280 [TEXT, DRA, DEP, PH, FER, SAL]
Eswaran H 1986
Edwards S 1984 pp 160
Purseglove J 1972 pp 14-29 [LIG, RAIN, DRA, TEXT, FER, TEMP]
Gentry H 1982 pp 652
Nair P 1980 pp 215-222 [RAIN, TEMP, TEXT, FER, DRA, USE]
Onwueme I 1991 pp 3943-399 [TEMP, LIG, RAIN, DRA, FER]
Kirby R 1963 pp 224-254 [RAIN, DRA, SAL, DEP, TEXT, PH, FER, RAIN]
Iwu M 1993 pp 109 [USE, LIG]