Manfreda virginica (L.) Rose

False Aloe

Manfreda virginica plant

Family - Agavaceae

Stems - Plants acaulescent. Leaves and flowering stems from a bulbous herbaceous caudex.

Leaves - In a basal rosette, sessile, succulent, glabrous, glaucous, with denticulate margins, typically folded lengthwise, acuminate, to +/-20cm long, +/-5cm broad, often with purplish spots near base. Leaves of flowering scape reduced to bracts.

Manfreda virginica leafLeaf of aerial stem.

Inflorescence - Scapose spike to +2m tall. Axis of inflorescence slightly "zig-zag" in flowering portion. Each flower subtended by a single bract. Bracts to -1cm long, scarious, subulate.

Manfreda virginica inflorescenceInflorescence.

Flowers - Tepals 6, united into a 6-lobed tube. Tube glabrous, green, to +3cm long. Lobes acuminate, to 6mm long. Stamens 6, adnate near base of corolla tube, exserted. Filaments to +3.5cm long, green at apex, brown and white basally, clavate, glabrous. Anthers to +1.5cm long, yellow to brownish. Style glabrous, exserted, equaling or shorter than the stamens. Stigma 3-lobed, 3mm broad. Ovary inferior, 3-locular. Placentation axial. Ovules many.

Manfreda virginica flower

Flowering - June - August.

Habitat - Glades, open rocky woods with alkaline soils.

Origin - Native to U.S.

Other info. - This species can be found in the lower 1/3 of Missouri and is common throughout the Ozarks. The flowers of this species are not very showy but the plant is interesting and worthy of cultivation. This is one of the few true succulent plants found in the state.
A synonym is Agave virginica L.

Photographs taken off Hwy H., Shannon County, MO., 7-18-03.