Agave sisalana
Scientific classification edit
A. sisalana
Binomial name
Agave sisalana
  • Agave amaniensis Trel. & Nowell
  • Agave rigida var. sisalana (Perrine) Engelm.
  • Agave segurae D.Guillot & P.Van der Meer
  • Agave sisalana var. armata Trel.
  • Agave sisalana f. armata (Trel.) Trel.

Sisal (əl/,[2] Spanish: [siˈsal]), with the botanical name Agave sisalana, is a species of Agave native to southern Mexico but widely cultivated and naturalized in many other countries. It yields a stiff fibre used in making various products. The term sisal may refer either to the plant's common name or the fibre, depending on the context. It is sometimes referred to as "sisal hemp", because for centuries hemp was a major source for fibre, and other fibre sources were named after it.

The sisal fibre is traditionally used for rope and twine, and has many other uses, including paper, cloth, footwear, hats, bags, carpets, and dartboards.


The native origin of Agave sisalana is uncertain. Traditionally it was deemed to be a native of the Yucatán Peninsula, but there are no records of botanical collections from there. They were originally shipped from the Spanish colonial port of Sisal in Yucatán (thus the name). The Yucatán plantations now cultivate henequen (Agave fourcroydes).

H.S. Gentry hypothesized a Chiapas origin, on the strength of traditional local usage. Evidence of an indigenous cottage industry there suggests it as the original habitat location, possibly as a cross of Agave angustifolia and Agave kewensis. The species is now naturalized in other parts of Mexico, as well as in Spain, Libya, Morocco, the Canary Islands, Cape Verde, many parts of Africa, Madagascar, Réunion, Seychelles, China, the Ryukyu Islands, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, the Solomon Islands, Queensland, Polynesia, Micronesia, Fiji, Hawaii, Florida, Central America, Ecuador, and the West Indies.[3]

Plant description

Sisal plants, Agave sisalana, consist of a rosette of sword-shaped leaves about 1.5–2 metres (4.9–6.6 ft) tall. Young leaves may have a few minute teeth along their margins, but lose them as they mature.[4]

The sisal plant has a 7–10 year life-span and typically produces 200–250 commercially usable leaves. Each leaf contains an average of around 1000 fibres. The fibres account for only about 4% of the plant by weight. Sisal is considered a plant of the tropics and subtropics, since production benefits from temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius and sunshine.[5]

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Garingboom
አማርኛ: ቃጫ
العربية: أغاف سيزال
azərbaycanca: Sizal aqavası
বাংলা: সিসাল
Bikol Central: Sisal
български: Сизал
català: Sisal
čeština: Agáve sisalová
chiShona: Gonje
dansk: Sisal
Deutsch: Sisal-Agave
español: Agave sisalana
Esperanto: Sisalo
euskara: Sisal
فارسی: سیسال
français: Agave sisalana
hornjoserbsce: Zizalowc
hrvatski: Sisal
Bahasa Indonesia: Agave sisalana
íslenska: Sísallilja
italiano: Agave sisalana
עברית: סיסל
Kiswahili: Mkonge Dume
Kreyòl ayisyen: Pit
lietuvių: Sizalinė agava
magyar: Szizál
മലയാളം: സൈസൽ
Bahasa Melayu: Pokok Agav Sisal
Nāhuatl: Nequēnnetl
Nederlands: Sisal (vezel)
norsk: Sisal
português: Sisal
română: Sisal
Runa Simi: Sisal
slovenčina: Sisal
svenska: Sisal
தமிழ்: கதலை
Türkçe: Sisal
українська: Агава сизальська
Tiếng Việt: Thùa sợi
粵語: 劍麻
中文: 剑麻