by Stephen Mifsud
   22 Jun 2024      ()
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Agave americana var. marginata   (Agave)

Agave americana var. marginata  (ASPARAGACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Sep-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Agave americana var. marginata - datasheet created on Sep-2007. Retrieved from on 22-Jun-2024

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Agave americana var. marginataTrel.
Published in Stand. Cycl. Hort. 1: 235 (1914)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

No Main Synonyms

Plant Family :

Asparagaceae Juss. (=Liliaceae) (The Asparagus Family)
33 species from the Asparagaceae family are recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Agave, Century Plant, American Aloe

Maltese name(s) :

Sabbara tal-Amerika, Agave

Status for Malta :

Invasive Alien. Species that was introduced in Malta any time after year 1492 (Columbus' discovery of the New World), and spreads rapidly to form large invasive populations to the detriment of native flora or ecosystems.

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare    Extinct

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Macro-Phanerophyte ( high trees usually over 10 m high )
Germination [info]: Monocotyledon

Legal Protection :

Not legally protected till the last update of this website (2/Mar/2022)

Red List (1989) :

Not listed in the Red Data Book of the Maltese Islands

Flowering Time :

June – September

Colour of Flowers:



May cause allergic reactions or irritation in contact with the skin or mucous membranes

Name Derivation :

Agave: from the Greek 'agauos', meaning admirable or noble, in reference to the supposedly admirable appearance of the century plant (at least when they are in numerous flowers). (Greek origin )
americana var. marginata:

Planting in rural areas :

Cannot be planted in the wild (rural areas) since the species may be invasive (see ERA guidelines)

Remarks :

This variety has a poor taxonomic importance and is often treated within the variable range of Agave americana sensu lato. Introduced as an ornamental plant and naturalised in several wild habitats namely by the coast. Examples include Bahar ic-Caghaq (near Maghtab), Ghar Lapsi and Ta' Cenc. Very similar to Agave americana but this have leaves with yellow margins.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Grows well everwhere where it is cultivated but invades most exposed rocky ground near the coast
Botanical Description: Very robust, stoloniferous herb; stem scarcely developed. Leaves 1-2 m x 15-25 cm, constricted above the broad, sheathing base, glaucous, remotely spinose-dentate, with a stout, blackish terminal spine 2-3 cm long. Differs from var. americana by having leaves with yellow border (or variegated). Scape (including inflorescence) 4-7(-10) m. Peduncle 8-15 cm in diameter, woody at maturity, equal to or shorter than the panicle, bearing triangular, leaf-like bracts. Panicle pyramidal; flowers aggregated in dense clusters at the ends of horizontal branches; leafy buds sometimes present in axils of bracteoles, replacing some or all of the flowers. Flowers (including ovary) 70-90 mm; perianth-segments linear-oblong, obtuse, erect, greenish-yellow. Filaments 70-80 mm, inserted on the hypanthial tube; anthers 30-35 mm. Capsule oblong, trigonous.
Distributional range: to do
Native region outside Europe: to do

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
to do
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
[AE(G) Al Az Bl Ca Co Cr Ga Gr Hs It Ju Li Lu Ma Md Sa Si Tu(A)]

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (4 images)
   Agave americana var. marginata   -   Image Code: AGVMR-0.
   Agave americana var. marginata   -   Image Code: AGVMR-1.
   Agave americana var. marginata   -   Image Code: AGVMR-2.
   Agave americana var. marginata   -   Image Code: AGVMR-3.

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Try to be as concise as possible. Examples: Dingli Cliffs (near chapel), Wied Incita (Zebbug side), Triq il-Kbira (Qormi), Barriera ta' Ghajn Abdul (Xlendi), Fields East of Salib tal-gholja (Siggiewi). GPS co-ordinates are also welcomed!
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