henequen


henequen
/hen"euh kin/, n.
the fiber of an agave, Agave fourcroydes, of Yucatán, used for making ropes, coarse fabrics, etc.
Also, henequin.
[1875-80; < AmerSp henequén, earlier geniquén, jeniquén, heniquén, perh. < an indigenous language of Hispaniola, where the word was allegedly first used]

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plant
      (Agave fourcroydes), plant of the family agave ( Agavaceae) and its fibre, third in importance among the leaf fibre (q.v.) group. Varieties of A. fourcroydes include ixtli, longifolia, minima, and rigida. The henequen plant is native to Mexico, where it has been a source of textile fibre since pre-Columbian times. It was introduced to Cuba in the 19th century, becoming the country's chief fibre crop by the 1920s. The fibre is sometimes referred to as Yucatan, or Cuban, sisal.

      The plant stalk, growing to 1.8 m (6 feet) in the wild state, averages about 0.9 m under cultivation. Its grayish green, lance-shaped leaves, up to 1.8 m long and 10–15 cm (4–6 inches) wide at the widest point, grow directly from the stalk, forming a dense rosette, and are edged with thorns. The flower stalk, reaching a height of 6 m, bears greenish white flowers about 7.6 cm across and with an unpleasant odour. Henequen plants yield about 25 leaves annually from about the 5th through the 16th year after planting. As they reach their full length, the outer leaves are cut off close to the stalk. The fibre is freed by machine decortication, which crushes the leaf between rollers and scrapes the resulting pulp from the fibre. The fibre strands are then washed, dried in the sun, and brushed.

      The lustrous, white or yellow fibre strands average about 1.2 to 1.5 m in length; they have fairly good strength, an ability to stretch, and fair resistance to deterioration from microorganisms found in saltwater. Henequen fibre is made into twines used in agriculture and shipping and is also made into rope. Coarse henequen-fibre fabrics, produced locally, are employed in such products as bags, hammocks, and shoe soles. Mexico is the only important producer.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • henequen — [hen′i ken΄, hen΄i ken′] n. [Sp henequén, jeniquén < native (Taino) name in YUCATÁN] 1. a tropical American agave (Agave fourcroydes) cultivated for the hard fiber of the leaves 2. the fiber, similar to sisal, used for making rope, twine, rugs …   English World dictionary

  • Henequen — (Hennequin), s. Agave und Agavefaser …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Henequen — Henequen, die Faser der Agave (s.d.) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • *henequen — ● henequen nom masculin Nom mexicain du sisal …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • henequén — sustantivo masculino 1. Variedad de pita, planta …   Diccionario Salamanca de la Lengua Española

  • henequén — (Quizá de or. maya). m. Planta amarilidácea, especie de pita1 …   Diccionario de la lengua española

  • Henequén — ► sustantivo masculino México BOTÁNICA Planta amarilidácea de hojas largas, estrechas y rígidas con espinas pequeñas en los bordes, de la que se extrae una fibra con la que se fabrican cuerdas y esteras. (Agave fourcroydes.) * * * henequén (¿de… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • henequen — jukataninė agava statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Agavinių šeimos pluoštinis augalas (Agave fourcroydes), paplitęs Meksikoje. atitikmenys: lot. Agave fourcroydes angl. henequen agave; Yucatan hemp; Yucatan sisal; Mexican sisal; white… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • Henequen — Taxobox name = Henequen image width = 250px regnum = Plantae divisio = Magnoliophyta classis = Liliopsida ordo = Asparagales familia = Agavaceae genus = Agave species = A. fourcroydes binomial = Agave fourcroydes binomial authority = Lem.Henequen …   Wikipedia

  • henequen — noun Etymology: Spanish henequén Date: 1880 a strong yellowish or reddish hard fiber obtained from the leaves of a tropical American agave (Agave fourcroydes) found chiefly in Yucatán and used especially in making twine and rope; also a plant… …   New Collegiate Dictionary


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