lijit

Century Plant, Agave americana

Hasn't been watered in ten years.
Useful for : Xeriscaping, Shelter Thatching , Wine, Liquor. Inedible. Non-foragable. Native to : Mexico.
     This large succulent is extremely drought tolerant and can handle full sun. It could be a good plant for a sandy ridgeline where other plants fail to thrive due to low moisture conditions. It has no animal habitat, and nothing seems to thrive on it.
     It is said to bloom only once in its long life, which can be longer than 30 years. After blooming it will produce pups which can be separated and replanted elsewhere. Very slow growing.
     The nectar can be harvested to make a white, fermented alcoholic drink called pulque, and a singly distilled liquor called mezcal, not to be confused with tequila which is made from blue agave. When the century plant matures enough to produce a flower (about 12 years), the flower is cut off and sap is collected to ferment into pulque. A single plant can continue producing sap for up to a year. Mezcal production requires the agave heart to be harvested, roasted, pulled, boiled, fermented, then distilled. Both drinks are largely both produced and consumed within Mexico.
     The leaves can be harvested to make thatching for shelters. Some people harvest the leaves for fibers. Century plant produces pita hemp, while another agave makes the more well-known sisal. Leaves are frequently used in Mexico to make barbeque by lining the roasting pits.

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