views updated

Agavaceae A family of monocotyledons, some of which are woody. Most are robust rosette plants, but a few are trees or climbers. The leaves are crowded, strap-like, many-spined, and succulent. Inflorescences are racemose; the flowers usually bisexual; the perianth united; the ovary superior or inferior and trilocular. The fruit is a capsule or berry. Several produce tough fibres. There are about 18 genera, with some 580 species; they are found in the tropics and subtropics, mainly in arid regions, and especially in America.