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FNA | Family List | FNA Vol. 26 | Agavaceae

9. Manfreda Salisbury, Gen. Pl. 78. 1866.

[For Manfredus de Monte Imperiale, fourteenth-century Italian writer on medical simples]

Susan Verhoek

Agave Linnaeus sect. Manfreda (Salisbury) Bentham & Hooker f.

Plants perennial, scapose, rhizomatous; rhizomes upright, globose, or cylindrical. Roots fleshy or fibrous. Stems subterranean. Leaves in rosettes, flexible, thin or succulent; blade linear-lanceolate to oblanceolate, often glaucous, sometimes mottled, base membranous [fibrous in species of s Mexico], margins entire, papillose, or dentate, with cartilaginous teeth, apex a soft point. Inflorescences racemose or spikate, bracteate; proximal flowers occasionally pedicellate. Flowers usually solitary at node, nocturnal; tepals connate basally into tube, green, sometimes tinged with brown, or pale yellow, or white to pink; perianth tube narrowly to broadly funnelform; limb lobes erect or recurved, oblong; stamens 6; filaments inserted on tube, in bud straight or bent, usually exserted at anthesis; ovary inferior; style usually exserted at maturity; stigma capitate, 3-angled and furrowed, or 3-lobed with lobes reflexed. Fruits capsular, globose to cylindrical, dehiscence loculicidal. Seeds flat, triangular, 0.3–0.6 cm on radial margins. x = 30.

Species 26 (5 in the flora): se and sc United States, nw Mexico to Honduras and El Salvador.

Most Manfreda species occur in Mexico. All species grow in rocky or sandy ground, frequently on slopes. At anther maturity, the style is shorter than the filaments, or bent downward away from the anthers. By stigma maturity on the third day, the style has elongated (and straightened). Manfreda has been included in both Agave and Polianthes in other floras.


Verhoek, S. E. 1975. A Study of the Tribe Poliantheae (Including Manfreda) and Revisions of Manfreda and Prochnyanthes (Agavaceae). Ph.D. thesis. Cornell University. Pina L., I. 1985–1986. Consideraciones sobre el género Manfreda. Cact. Suc. Mex. 30: 27–32, 56–64, 84–90; 31: 12–18.

1 Limb lobes erect; leaves semisucculent; se and c United States.   1 Manfreda virginica
+ Limb lobes spreading or recurved; leaves succulent; s Texas.   (2)
2 (1) Perianth tube funnelform-campanulate; filaments and styles exserted by 3 cm or more; stigmas clavate, lobes not reflexed; tepals green or brownish.   (3)
+ Perianth tube funnelform; filaments and styles included or shortly exserted to less than 2.2 cm; stigma not clavate, deeply 3-lobed, lobes recurved; tepals white or pale yellow to pink.   (4)
3 (2) Leaves erect-arching, blade linear-lanceolate; inflorescences lax; flowers spreading; filaments wide-spreading.   2 Manfreda variegata
+ Leaves spreading, blade broadly lanceolate; inflorescences crowded; flowers nearly erect; filaments nearly erect.   3 Manfreda sileri
4 (2) Filaments exserted; ovary 6–19 mm; perianth tube not narrow, 0.6–2.6 cm; leaf margins minutely denticulate.   4 Manfreda maculosa
+ Filaments included; ovary 4–6 mm; perianth tube narrow, 2.3–3.6 cm; leaf margins coarsely denticulate.   5 Manfreda longiflora

Lower Taxa


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