Century Plant

Family:
Agavaceae
Origin:
Mexico

General description

Large succulent <2m tall. Large, spear-like leaves in basal rosette formation, sharp hooks along edges and very sharp tips. Yellow flowers on flowering stalk <8m tall. Usually dies after flowering.

Coastal areas, steep cliffs, gardens, and dune land. Tolerant of extreme drought, wind, salt, high temperatures and low fertility.

Spreads from seeds and/or suckers from the base produced after flowering & death of plant, about every 10-15 years. Water, soil movement, dumped vegetation, garden escapes.

Colonises bare sand, can replace vulnerable dune species. Sap can cause irritation, rashes and blistering, spines can cause injury. Observed naturalising on coastal cliffs on Waiheke and Scandretts Regional Park.

Site management

Control before flowering as many small plants are produced. Exclude livestock permanently from sites. Always kill plants before they seed, i.e. before flowers appear on tall flowering stem. Follow up on sites at least annually.

Recommended approaches

1. This species is included because it is one of the species to be researched in the 2007-2012 Auckland Regional Pest Management Strategy.
2. Dig out small plants.
3. Inject stem or leaf with 4-10 jabs of 5mls undiluted glyphosate (depending on size of plant). Leave to rot on site.
4. Slash 4-10 lengthwise cuts (depending on size of plant), apply 5 ml undiluted glyphosate to each cut. Leave to rot on site.
5. If disposal of leaves possible, cut at ground level & stump paint (200ml glyphosate/1L).

Caution: when using any herbicide or pesticide PLEASE READ THE LABEL THOROUGHLY to ensure that all instructions and safety requirements are followed.

Similar species

Furcraea species
Furcraea foetida/ F. selloa

Mauritius hemp's leaf margins have less spines. It spreads from bulbils rather than seed.

RPMS status

Species to be researched (not a Pest Plant) - Whole Region
century plant - Main species image