Henequen is an agaveAgave fourcroydes (Lem. 1864) whose leaves produce a fiber (also called "henequen") suitable for rope and twine, but not of as high a quality as sisal. It is the major plantation fiber agave of eastern Mexico, being grown extensively in Yucatán, Veracruz, and southern Tamaulipas.
The plant appears as a rosette of sword-shaped leaves 1.2 to 1.8 meters long, growing out of a thick stem that may reach 1.7 meters (5 ft). The leaves have regularly-spaced teeth 3-6 mm long, and a terminal spine 2-3 cm long.
Like the sisal, A. fourcroydes is a sterile hybrid; the ovaries never produce seeds. The plant does produce bulbils that may be planted, but commercial growers prefer to use the frequent suckers, which develop more quickly.
Howard Scott Gentry, Agaves of Continental North America (University of Arizona Press, 1982) pp. 573-576
Agaves are succulent plants of a large botanical genus of the same name, belonging to the family Agavaceae.
Agave americana, century plant, was introduced into Europe about the middle of the 16th century and is now widely cultivated for its handsome appearance; in the variegated forms the leaf has a white or yellow marginal or central stripe from base to apex.
Agaves have long presented special difficulties for taxonomy; variations within a species may be considerable, and a number of named species are of unknown origin, and may just be variants of original wild species.
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