Sisal  (henequen or sisal hemp) is a hard, strong fiber from the leaves of a century plant (Agave rigida ). It is cultivated in Yucatan and the Bahamas. Plantations of henequen, or maguey, have been established in Cuba, Hawaii, India, German and British East Africa and the Philippines. The home of the agave plants is Mexico and Central America and this part of the world produces most of these fibers.

On modern plantations machines have superseded the primitive hand methods of cleaning the fiber. Sisal is the chief product of Yucatan and its greatest export. The bulk of the production is used in the United States in making rope, twine and sacking. All of the other agave fibers are of less commercial importance than sisal or henequen.

The fiber of this species is especially valuable for ship cables, as it has been found to resist the action of sea-water better than most other materials.