''Agave'' is a genus of monocots (the seeds of which contain one emryonic leaf) native to the hot and arid regions of Americas. The succulent leaves of ''Agave'' species have sharp marginal teeth, an extremely sharp terminal spine, and are fibrous inside. As of 2019, plants of about 270 species of ''Agave'' are known.

''Sisal'', with the botanical name ''Agave sisalana'', is a species of ''Agave'' native to Southern Mexico but widely cultivated and naturalized in many other countries. ''Sisal'' plants consist of sword-shaped leaves about 1.5- 2 metres (4.9- 6.6 ft) tall. 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 fibers account for only about 4% of the plant by the weight.

Today Brazil is the major world producer of ''sisal''. Fiber is extracted by a process of decortication. Global production of ''sisal'' fibre in 2013 amounted to 281 thousand tonnes of which Brazil, the largest producing country, produced 150,584 tonnes. The main uses are robust carpets, wire rope, bubbling cloths, cores, handicrafts, flooring. The "sisal" fiber produces xylitol and ethanol, which is used as sweetener and substitute of sucrose.

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