Stingy and Itchy Beauty

The American Aloe (Agave americana) is a good example for erroneous common names given to plants: to begin with it has nothing to do with the Aloe plants.Secondly, the other  common names it receives,  Sentry or Century Plant, are missleading because it newer lives up to 100 years but just 10 to 30.

It is native to Mexiko and the USA but has been introcuced to other parts of the world like the mediterranean basin where this picture was taken. It has good defenses with a prickly margin on the sides of the fleshy leaves and a heavy spike on top which is a dangerous thing if you run into it. Not enough with that the juice its leaves contain is very itchy on the skin and eyes. I tried one day to trim the leaves of an Agave with a chainsaw and the resulting flying fibers caused an amazingly strong allergy on my skin, from that day on I have treated Agave plants with a lot of respect.

What called my attention however when I took the photo below was the contrast of the yellow stripes with the green leaves and the forms and silhouettes formed by them.

American Aloe close-up
© Photographer: Joan Egert | Agency: Dreamstime.com