7. Agave Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 323. 1753.
龙舌兰属 long she lan shu
Plants perennial or monocarpic. Stems very short or indistinct. Leaves in a basal rosette, large, stout, leathery-fleshy or somewhat woody, containing many fibers, margin usually spiny, rarely entire, apex tipped with a spine. Flowering stems branched or simple, tall, stout. Inflorescence terminal, a spike or panicle, mostly very large. Perianth tube short; lobes narrow, subequal. Stamens inserted at throat or in tube of perianth; filament filiform, usually longer than perianth; anther versatile. Ovary with many ovules. Style slender; stigma 3-lobed. Fruit a capsule, oblong, 3-valved, loculicidal. Seeds numerous, black, thin, flattened.
About 200 species: arid and semiarid regions of the W hemisphere; two species (introduced) in China.
Additional species of Agave, e.g., A. angustifolia Haworth and A. cantala Roxburgh, are cultivated as garden plants in China but are not described in this account.