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Furcraea foetida



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Giant rosette plant from South America with leaves up to 8 feet long, the stem elongating only when the tall (15-30 feet) flowering stalk is produced . Widely cultivated for fiber.

Common Names

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Click on the language to view common names.

Common Names in English:

Furcraea, Giant Cabuya, Giant false agave, Green-Aloe, Maguey, Mauritius Hemp, Mauritius-Hemp, Sisal

Common Names in French:

Aloès Vert, Chanvre De Maurice, Choca vert

Common Names in German:


Common Names in Polish:

Furkroja olbrzymia

Common Names in Portuguese:


Common Names in Spanish:

Cáñamo De Mauritania, Pita Floja, Pita Gigante

Common Names in Tonga (Tonga Islands):



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Genus Furcraea

Plants massive multiannuals, scapose ; trunks usually absent, to 6 m when present. Stems aboveground. Leaves up to 50, broad or narrowly lanceolate, to 3.3 m, rigid or flexible , very fibrous , margins with small or large corneous teeth, mature apex a firm, blunt point . Inflorescences paniculate , to 13 m, frequently producing bulblets. Flowers in clusters of 2-5, drooping ; tepals spreading , distinct except at base , greenish or white, ovate to oblong , longer than stamens and styles; filaments abruptly expanded below middle ; ovary inferior; style dilated and 3-lobed proximal to middle; stigma 3-lobed. Fruits capsular , globose to cylindrical, to 8 cm, infrequently produced . Seeds many, black, flat, 2 rows per locule. x = 30.

Species ca. 22: introduced ; Mexico, Central America, West Indies, South America.

A number of Furcraea species are cultivated in warm climates worldwide as ornamentals and for cordage from leaf fibers. Reproduction by bulblets from the inflorescence is common.

Furcraea was divided by J. R. Drummond (1907) into three variable groups based on leaf margins. Plants of two of these groups are reported to persist or reproduce locally in southern Florida. Specimens are scarce. Within Furcraea there is a large synonymy , including names that are difficult to apply with certainty because they are based on incomplete specimens or European cultivated material .[1]

Physical Description

Species Furcraea foetida

Leaves lanceolate, to 2.4 m × 20 cm, thick, firm, smooth or striate ; margins hard and smooth, usually entire at least in distal half. Flowers 4-5 cm; tepals greenish white, 2.3-3 cm; ovary 1.2-1.5 cm. 2n = 60. [source]

Specimens from Florida referred to in the literature as Furcraea cabuya Trelease with entire leaf margins (var. integra Trelease) probably belong here. [source]

Habit: Subshrub , Forb/herb

Flowers: Bloom Period: August, September, October, December. • Flower Color: green, near white, white


Size: 24-36" tall.


Old homesteads in disturbed areas; 0 m ; introduced [2].


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Duration: Perennial


Culture: Space 36-48" apart.

Sunlight: Sun Exposure: Sun to Partial Shade.

Moisture: Drought Tolerance: High

Temperature: Cold Hardiness: 9b, 10a, 10b, 11. (map)


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Agave foetida L. • Agave foetida Linnaeus • Furcraea gigantea Ventenat


Name Status: Accepted Name .

Last scrutiny: 06-Jan-2005

Similar Species

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Members of the genus Furcraea

ZipcodeZoo has pages for 11 species, subspecies, varieties, forms, and cultivars in this genus:

F. andina (Fique) · F. foetida (Furcraea) · F. foetida var. mediopicta (Mauritius Hemp) · F. foetida 'Mediopicta' (Furcraea) · F. hexapetala (Cuban Hemp) · F. macdougallii (Furcraea) · F. macrophylla (Big-Leaf Sisal) · F. parmentieri (Furcraea) · F. roezlii (Furcraea) · F. selloa (Wild Sisal) · F. tuberosa (Female Karata)

More Info

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Further Reading

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Data Sources

Accessed through GBIF Data Portal November 24, 2007:



  1. Susan Verhoek "Furcraea". in Flora of North America Vol. 26 Page 413, 414, 461. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
  2. "Furcraea foetida". in Flora of North America Vol. 26 Page 461, 462. Oxford University Press. Online at [back]
Last Revised: 2015-01-30