Sisal

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For the programming language, see SISAL, and for the town, see Sisal, Yucatán.

Sisal
Missing image
Agavesisalana1web.jpg
Agave sisalana


Scientific classification
Kingdom:Plantae
Division:Magnoliophyta
Class:Liliopsida
Order:Asparagales
Family:Agavaceae
Genus:Agave
Species:A. sisalana

Template:Taxobox section binomial botany

Sisal or sisal hemp is an agave Agave sisalana that yields a stiff fiber used in making rope. (The term may refer either to the plant or the fiber, depending on context.) It is not really a variety of hemp, but named so because hemp was for centuries a major source for fiber, so other fibers were sometimes named after it.

Sisal plants consist of a rosette of sword-shaped leaves about 1.5 to 2 meters tall. Young leaves may have a few minute teeth along their margins, but lose them as they mature. Sisals are sterile hybrids of uncertain origin; although shipped from the port of Sisal in Yucatán (thus the name), they do not actually grow in Yucatán, the plantations cultivating henequen (Agave fourcroydes) instead. Evidence of an indigenous cottage industry in Chiapas suggests it as the original location, possibly as a cross of Agave angustifolia and Agave kewensis.

In the 19th century, sisal cultivation (the plant being propagated via offsets), was spread worldwide, from Florida to the Caribbean islands and Brazil, as well as to countries in Africa (especially Tanzania) and Asia. Sisal constitutes the majority of natural fiber production worldwide.

Reference

  • G. W. Lock, Sisal (Longmans Green & Co., 1969)
  • Howard Scott Gentry, Agaves of Continental North America (University of Arizona Press, 1982) pp. 628-631

Template:Commonsda:Sisal de:Sisal es:Sisal fr:Sisal pt:Sisal sv:Sisal

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