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Family Agavaceae

Description: Predominantly large rosette herbs or trees with a stout trunk, often long-lived; rootstock usually a rhizome.

Leaves usually crowded at base or at top of stem, ± succulent, apex mostly spinose, base not sheathing, margins entire or with marginal spines; stipules lacking.

Inflorescence racemose, paniculate, spicate or a thyrse, terminal, usually on an elongate bracteate scape. Flowers actinomorphic or slightly zygomorphic, 3-merous, bisexual [or unisexual]. Tepals 6, equal or unequal, in 2 whorls, free or united in a tube. Stamens 6; filaments free; anthers introrse, dehiscing by longitudinal slits. Ovary superior or inferior, 3-locular; placentation axile; ovules 1–many per loculus; style short or long; stigma small and capitate to 3-lobed.

Fruit a berry or a capsule; seeds 1–many.


Distribution and occurrence: World: c. 8 genera, c. 370 species, America. Australia: 3 genera, 6 species (naturalized), Qld, N.S.W.

External links:
Angiosperm Phylogeny Website (Family: Asparagaceae, Order: Asparagales)
Wikipedia

Text by G. J. Harden
Taxon concept:

 Key to the genera 
1Leaves mostly less than 1 m long and less than 6 cm wide; scape 1–3 m high; ovary superiorYucca
Leaves usually more than 1 m long and more than 6 cm wide; scape 2–6 m high; ovary inferior2
2Stamens much longer than tepalsAgave
Stamens shorter than tepals
                       Back to 1
Furcraea

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