The Argave plant (cactus) on Crete.
The Argave plant is more known as the small cactus on the window-sill. Here these plants are about one metre high. They were brought from Mexico to Crete about 300 years ago and are nowadays spread over the whole island.
The plant only flourishes once and that only happens after 7 years. A 2 to 3 metres long stem, shaped like asparagus, rises from the base of the plant. This stem will create smaller stems that will get small yellow flowers.
After flourishing the plant itself will die, but in the meantime it has made sure that new Argave plants are growing around the original plant, that have started their seven years of life.
In some villages the leaves of the Argave plant are still being stripped and dried to braid little baskets.
Also a kind of rope is made of the plant, called ‘sisal’ rope, which is similar to hessian.
In other countries, but especially in Mexico, the roots of this plant are used in the production of Tequilla.
Also the plant contains Aloë Vera that is used in many different cosmetic products.