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Manfreda virginica (False aloe)
Fannon, Carolyn

Manfreda virginica

Manfreda virginica (L.) Salisb. ex Rose

False Aloe, Rattlesnake Master

Agavaceae (Century-Plant Family)

Synonym(s): Agave lata, Agave tigrina, Agave virginica, Allibertia intermedia, Manfreda tigrina, Manfreda virginica var. tigrina, Polianthes lata, Polianthes virginica

USDA Symbol: MAVI5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

The thick, leathery, strap-like leaves, to 16 in. long, occur in a basal rosette around the 4-5 ft., upright, flowering stalk of this perennial. Unusual, greenish-white, tubular flowers with conspicuous stamens are borne in a spike-like cluster atop the stalk.

Interesting architectural specimen for dry or well-drained garden soils in sun to partial shade.


From the Image Gallery

17 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Cactus/Succulent
Root Type: Fibrous
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate
Leaf Venation: Parallel
Leaf Pubescence: Glabrous
Leaf Margin: Serrulate
Leaf Apex: Acuminate
Leaf Base: Cuneate
Breeding System: Flowers Bisexual
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: scape 7-8 dm high or more
Leaf: green with or without spots
Flower: Flowers 25 mm long
Fruit: Black seeds 2 cm in dia.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Green
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AL , AR , FL , GA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MD , MO , MS , NC , OH , OK , SC , TN , TX , VA , WV
Native Distribution: MD to s. OH & s. MO, s. to FL & TX
Native Habitat: Dry thickets & woods; sandstone outcroppings

Growing Conditions

Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil Description: Dry, sterile, sometime alkaline soils.
Conditions Comments: Drought tolerant.


Use Ornamental: Spotted foliage and striking inflorescence makes the species an interesting element of xeric gardens.
Use Wildlife: Pollinated by sphinx moths.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Interesting Foliage: yes


Description: Can be propagated by seed.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - Austin, TX
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Additional resources

USDA: Find Manfreda virginica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Manfreda virginica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Manfreda virginica


Record Modified: 2013-10-25
Research By: JSC

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