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Eastern Agave, Virginian Agave, Eastern False Aloe, Rattlesnake-master - Manfreda virginica


Family: Agavaceae - Agave family Genus Common Name: Tuberose Native Status: NativeMonocot Perennial Herb Subshrub
Manfreda virginica - Eastern Agave, Virginian Agave, Eastern False Aloe, Rattlesnake-master. There are 26 species of Manfreda (Tuberose) in the world - all from Mexico, Central America, and 5 in the southwestern United States (specifically Texas) except for this one. Manfreda virginica, Eastern Agave, is also found in Texas, but its range continues north and east thru southern Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, and on to the southeastern coastal states. Some authorities include Manfreda in the Agave genus, but the stem of Agave is above ground, while that of Manfreda is subterranean (although the flowering scapes would appear as stems to most of us.) Manfreda virginica flowers from early to late summer in glades, barrens, and dry woodlands and roadsides.

Found in:
AL, AR, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV
Manfreda virginica

Distribution of Manfreda virginica in the United States and Canada:
USDA Plants Distribution Map temporarily unavailable.
Blue=Native; Grey=Introduced

Map from USDA Plants Database:
USDA, NRCS. 2017. The PLANTS Database (http://plants.usda.gov, 23 Jul 2017). National Plant Data Team, Greensboro, NC 27401-4901 USA.

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Site: Hamilton County, TN Date: 2014-July-12Photographer: Cindy Williamson
Nikon D5100
The flowers of Eastern Agave are anything but showy, being a green tubelike shape from whence the stamens and pistil are exserted. The stigma of the pistil is white and 3 lobed, and is on a style which is shorter than the stamens.
Manfreda virginica

Site: Hamilton County, TN Date: 2014-July-12Photographer: Cindy Williamson
Nikon D5100
The inflorescence of Eastern Agave has from 10 to about 60 flowers which are held more or less erect on the peduncle. The flowers may be sessile or they may have short pedicels. The flowering scape may be well over 4 feet high. From this specimen, it appears that the plants may have multilple scapes, perhaps rising from different spots on the subterranean stem.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Manfreda virginica

Site: Hamilton County, TN Date: 2014-July-12Photographer: Cindy Williamson
Nikon D5100
The leaves of Manfreda virginica are variable, depending on the soil, amount of shade, and climate. They are semisucculent, and could be mistaken for Yucca at first glance in most of its range. They may be entire, or may have some prickles on them. Some may be spotted, which has been recognized by some authorities as var. tigrina or even the separate species Manfreda tigrina. While the leaves are basal, there are leafy bracts on the flowering scape.
Click on the photo for a larger image
Manfreda virginica

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All content except USDA Plants Database map Copyright Gerald C. Williamson 2017
Photographs Copyright owned by the named photographer