This group includes many well-known desert and dry zone types such as the agave, yucca, and Joshua tree. There are about 640 species in around 23 genera, widespread in the tropical, subtropical and warm temperate regions of the world.

Species may be succulent or not. In general leaves occur as rosettes at the end of a woody stem, which may range from extremely short to tree-like heights, as in the Joshua tree. The leaves are parallel-veined, and usually appear long and pointed, often with a hardened spine on the end, and sometimes with additional spines along the margins.

Agave species are used to make tequila, pulque and mezcal, while others are valued for their fibers. They are quite popular for xeriscaping as many have showy flowers.

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