The root juice is purgative. The leaf juice is slightly caustic. It is antiseptic for the stomach and
intestines. It is seriously disinfectant and will eliminate rotten matter from the intestines. Use it for
pulmonary tuberculosis; do not use it excessively, as it is very laxative. Tonic, disinfective, and stimulating
for falling hair: steep the leaf fibers in water for a day, and wash with the water, and apply to the affected
part. Pound and salt the leaves and apply as a poultice on the wounds of animals. The new growth is astringent and
used to make a syrup against dysentery. Apply the interior of the leaves over the abdomen to promote defecation
and over the bladder to promote urination; this method is dangerous during pregnancy. The consumption of Aguamiel
lends color to the cheeks which is superior to that of rouge.
Agave fiber is woven into cloth and used to make blankets, traps and nets. It has commercial value. The
charcoal was used for tattooing. The leaves are cut and trimmed to feed livestock and flower stalks are eaten by
deer and cattle. Eating the flowering stalk will tend to make the species die out; most species die immediately
after one flowering. What determines whether or not a species will die out is the location of the flower stalk: a
terminal bud or flower stalk will mean a dead plant. If the bud or flower stalk is coming out of the plant dead
center, it is terminal; if it comes out slightly to the side, it is lateral. See
Aloe, Yucca whipplei under Yucca.
A. angustifolia, A. cerulata, A. colorata, A. fortiflora, and A. subsimplex are all classified as Agave, while
A. chrysoglossa, A. felgeri, A. pelona, and A. schottii are classified as Littaea. The Agaves are generally used
as food plants. They are harvested right after winter and eaten as a vegetable; they are quite sweet, and regarded
as a source of sugar. The plants with an emerging inflorescence are selected. The others are bitter. The plants
that will soon flower have smaller and narrower leaves toward the center. The leaf bases and hearts were eaten.
All parts of the plant must be thoroughly cooked before eating, because they are caustic in the raw state. The
flowers and nectar are edible. Roast the hearts in a pit overnight. The young inflorescence is also cooked for
food. The leaves of Littaea are bitter and not considered edible, but the hearts (meristematic tissue) of the
larger ones are edible. The juice of certain Mexican species is emmenagogic, laxative, and diuretic. It is toxic
to livestock. The leaves are poisonous if eaten raw. The juice is irritating to most of the skin, but not
necessarily the hands. Maguey fibers are used for various purposes. The fibers of some species are used to make
A. aktites. Lechuguilla. This species resembles A. pacifica and A. datilyo. It grows on sand dunes near the
ocean. The thick stems or heads, which will form only in this environment, are sweet and good to eat pit baked.
There is a lot of starch in the meristem. The plants contain only a negligible amount of sapogenin.
A. americana (A. abrupta, albomarginata, asperrima, caeciliana, carchariodonta, chisosensis,
complicata, consideranti, convallis, dissimulans, ensifera, expansa, expatriata, felina, fernandi-regis,
franzosini, ghiesbreghtii, glomeruliflora, gracilipes, gracilispina, havardiana, heteracantha, horrida,
huehueteca, ingens, inopinabilis, kerchovei, kochii, lecheguilla, lechuguilla, lophantha, lurida, macroacantha,
marmorata, melliflua, mezortillo, multilineata, neomexicana, nickelsii, noli-tangere, obscura, peacockii, picta,
poselgeri, pumila, purpusorum, rasconensis, roezliana, scabra, splendens, subzonata, todaroi, univittata,
verae-crucis, vera-cruz, vernae, victoriae-reginae, vittata, xylonacantha, zonata): Agave d'Amerique,
American Aloe, Cacaya, Century Plant, Common American Agave, Huiscole, Lechuguilla, Maguey, Maguey Cenisa, Maguey
Curandero, Maguey de Pulque, Maguey Meco, Maguey Pichomel, Mescal, Pisomel, Rabo de Leon (lion slobber),
Saftschopf. Russian: Stoletnik. Mayan: Capulixtl. Nahuatl: Tlalometl, Pitzometl. Ornamental, has pharmacological
properties. All of these plants are combined into one on the basis of the fact that they interbreed. These plants
are related to A. difformis. A. franzosini is rare; its origin is unknown. A. victoriae-reginae is very
cold-hardy. This is a soil binder that will grow on limestone or in caliche and is used on banks. Most varieties
are frost sensitive. Some varieties form suckers readily, which are generally smaller than the parent plant. Some
varieties do not cultivate well. Agave americana requires 18 to 20 years to mature, so it is not very useful.
Caution: the sharp leaves can impale a man or a horse, or puncture the tires of a vehicle.
The flowers are edible. The heads and leaf bases are eaten cooked and charred and are very sweet. The plant
yields one to two gallons daily of saccharine juice which is used, however, to make pulque and mescal. It is also
extracted to make a liquor called Dulce de Cabuya (Chahuarmisqui). The juice, extracted from the leaves after
roasting, is used to make a syrup which is used as a pectoral. These plants are a possible source of steroids.
They contain smilogenin, a steroid precursor. The leaves contain bitter volatile oil, a rubbery resinous
principle, chlorophyll, cellulose, malate acid of lime and other salts. They also contain substances that can be
used for soap. Cut the leaf and pass it point first through rollers, then strain the juice. Put the juice in a
shallow pain in the hot sun until it becomes thick. Then mix with lye ashes and make into balls. The soap will
lather either with salt water or fresh. Or, pound the leaves in a mortar, and boil to reduce the volume of
The fine, strong fibers henequen and sisal are derived from this species. They are also called Istle, Ixtle, or
Tampico Fibre. They are used for rope, twine, net, woven materials, and making brushes. Use the bud fiber, and
both mature and immature leaves. They are extracted from wild plants with hand tools. Bruise the leaves and steep
in water and remove the fiber by beating the leaves. The leaves are used to scour pewter, utensils, and floors.
The spongy material in the decayed stalk makes good tinder. The leaves of some varieties are eaten by cattle;
others not. The ones that contain a saponin, called hepato-nephro-toxin, are poisonous to livestock. The toxin is
activated by sunlight. The plant forms suckers readily, which are generally smaller than the parent plant.
The University of Arizona is experimenting with growing rows of these plants to see if it is practical to farm
A. cerulata (A. deserti, consociata, nelsonii, pringlei, dentiens): Century Plant,
Desert Agave, Desert Mescal, Lechuguilla, Maguey, Mescal. Akimel: Aul. The fruit, which is edible, is called aut.
Coahuila: A-mul: the plant. U-a-sil: sections of flowering stalk. Ya-mil: the leaves. Amul-sal-em: the yellow
flowers. Seri: ?emme or Heme, Xica istj caitic "soft leaved things". Takic: Amul. The leaf is called Amupala, and
the blossoms, Amusalem. This plant resembles A. subsimplex. The chromosome count for A. deserti is n = 30 or
n = 59, the latter polyploid. The plant contains hecogenin, which is a sapogenin and a steroid, manogenin,
tigogenin, and gitogenin. The average sapogenin content is _.66% to 1.5%. The content is _.6 to 1% in the fruit.
The plant is edible but not excellent. It becomes edible after it has formed its pups, so gathering the plant does
not prevent its reproduction. The edible portions of the plant can be harvested year round, but are best in
January. The most delicious were the most fibrous ones. The ones with an oily film on the leaves is said to be
bitter. The flowers, leaves, stalks, and cabbages are all edible. The stems or cabezas are eaten. They are called
Mescales. Leaves at the base of the plant, or yellow leaves, are not eaten. The leaves are poisonous if eaten raw.
They must be pit baked. The larvae of the Agave Skipper Butterfly (Megathymus stephousi) are also roasted on the
leaves and eaten. Cut the tips of the leaves off first to keep from getting stuck with the spines. Then cut out
the inflorescence, and then cut off the leaves, starting with the inner ones, at the base. Macerate the leaves and
cook them in a fire. The flowers should be parboiled to get rid of the bitterness. The flowers, cabbages, and
stalks should be thoroughly dried for storage of up to 5 years. The stalks are first made into cakes by pounding.
The plant has been stored for 60 years, and was still edible. After storage, the flowers can be reboiled for
eating. After April, the cabbages and stalks are full of sap. They are roasted in a pit of hot rocks or in ashes
for a couple of days and then eaten. They should be covered with grass and leaves so that they will steam and
taste better. The stalk sections are called Uasil, and are also roasted and eaten. The short leaves around the
head are called Yamil. The caudex and young flower stalk, when 5 times the height of the plant, is edible raw,
cooked or roasted, and called Mescal. Roast the caudex for two or three days. The base of the plant, called
Maguey, is baked, then mashed to remove the juice and pulp, from which the Indians made a thick dark brown syrup.
Or, it can be stored, sliced, and eaten like candy. It is rich in calcium and other minerals. The cooked plant was
traded. The Cochimi roasted their mescal in mounds instead of pits.
The leaf juice obtained from the caudex can be left to stand for several days, whereupon it becomes fermented;
it is then called Pulque. Add warm water and drink; it is sort of like wine. From this, Mescal, also known as Vino
Mescal, and Tequila are made. Mescal is fermented; Tequila is distilled. Because the process for making Tequila
takes the stalk before it is completely grown, the plant will produce no seeds, and it is causing the species to
die out in certain locations. The Indians used to just cut out the heart of the plant and let it sit; it would
ferment all by itself, and produce very strong drink. For survival water, cut the margin and tip off the leaf and
roast the leaf over a fire until it is charred. Scrape away the black part, and cut the rest up, and put it in a
turtle carapace and pound it. The liquid resembles pineapple juice.
The juice, called Agua Miel in Spanish, is antiseptic and good for the stomach and intestines. It is good for
tuberculosis, but it must be used sparingly because of its cathartic properties. The fibers may be extracted by
mashing the leaf with a rock, working the pulp loose, and washing it in water for a day. They are called Henequen
or Sisal. The water can then be used as a disinfectant for the hair, and a stimulant or tonic. It is applied to
the scalp. The best fibers for weaving come from the leaves. They are also used for making bowstrings, threads,
shoes, clothing, nets, slings, mats, bags for gathering cactus, hairbrushes and cleaning brushes for cooking
water, snares, cradles, and saddle blankets. To make a brush, tie the fibers from the leaves in bunches. Up to 100
pounds can be carried in a net. The thorn can be used as an awl. The dried stalks are used for firewood. This
plant is low in sapogenins, so it will not lather in the same manner as the others. Brooms, hairbrushes, and
lances are also made. See Yucca for weaving methods. For sewing, cut the
needle at the end of the leaf partially off, then strip a few fibers down the length of the leaf. Clean them. The
fibers are also used to make rope. Old rotted fibers are used as fire tinder: fray them by beating with a rock. The
dried flower stalks are also used to construct roofs, with the leaves laid overlapping for shingles. Caution: the
juice of the leaf is irritating to skin, mouth, and eyes. To relieve pain, apply plaintain juice or tea. The stems and
flowering shoots are browsed. The plants protect the small rodents that live around the base. Birds, insects, and
Neotoma, the pack rat, eat the flowers and maybe the seeds. Bighorn sheep and cattle eat the flowering shoots.
A. colorata (A. fortiflora): Lechuguilla, Maguey, Mescal Ceniza. Seri: Haamxo
caacol "large agave". Ornamental. This species probably crossbreeds with A shrevei. It is prepared in the same
manner as A. cerulata for food. It can be pit baked and it is sweet. It is used as a source of sugar. The cooked
hearts are used to make wine. Crush them with a grinding stone on a solid base, add water, and let it stand until
it tastes slightly bitter. After that point, it will turn into vinegar. If water is not added, the wine remains
sweet. Hummingbirds like the flowers.
A. desmettiana (A. miradorensis, regeliana). This species resembles A. sisalana,
A. franceschiana, A. weberi, and A. neglecta. Ornamental in the tropics. The fibers are fine, soft, and weak, and
the saponin content is only _.3%. It is frost sensitive.
A. felgeri: Mescalito. This plant closely resembles A. schottii. It was not used. It contains 1% sapogenins, of
which 67% are chlorogenin and 33% tigogenin, or in other locales, 100% chlorogenin.
A. gigantensis. This plant resembles A. avellanidens and A. moranii.
A. impressa: Masparillo. Exotic. The viscid leaves are used as a paste for curing wounds in horses. They
contain no sapogenin.
A. jaiboli. Warihio: Jaiboli, Temeshi. This species is edible and very sweet. It contains no appreciable amount
of sapogenin. Boil the flowering shoots. The heads can be pit baked over hot stones and coals. This is a rare
plant because the Indians often cut out the shoot prematurely so the rosette will remain green until it can be
used. It propagates only by seed. It is somewhat frost hardy. Animals, especially rabbits and gophers, like to eat
A. macroculmis: Maguey, Maguey Verde. Exotic. The flowering shoot is edible steam cooked. They are sold in one
half inch cross slices. Chew on the fiber to get the sweet juice.
A. mapisaga: Maguey Lisa, Maguey Mapisaga. Exotic. It is used to make pulque. It is related to A. salmiana.
Cultivated. It forms some suckers. A. mapisaga lisa appears to be a clone.
A. margaritae (A. connochaetodon). Related to A. vizcainoensis.
A. mayoensis (A. chrysoglossa, eduardii, houghii, vilmoriniana): Amole, Anoplagave,
Octopus Agave. Seri: Hasot "narrow". Warihio: Hauwe. Ornamental. This plant resembles A. ellemeetiana. The heart
is edible, though it is bitter. Cut off the leaves and bases, and heat the heart thoroughly in an open fire. Then
pierce it in several places and pit-bake it as described above. Most of the bitter juice will drain away. The
plant contains liquid nectar, which is palatable during the dry season.
The raw leaf pulp is used to wash clothes. Cut the dried leaf bases on dead flowered plants 6 to 8 inches above
the base, pound the fibers with a rock to make a brush, and use it with water. Rub the pulp on the clothes to
release the soap. It contains the sapogenin smilagenin, 3 to 4.5% of the dry leaf. This is a very high percentage.
The flowers attract hummingbirds and insects.
A. mexicana, exotic: Amole de Raiz. Has pharmacological properties. The juice is taken as an emmenagogue,
diuretic, and laxative. The juice is applied to the exterior against scabies. The root is used to wash clothes.
The same name also signifies Hymenocallis rotata (Amoli), Zephyranthes carinata (Amolsochitl), Prochnyanthes
viridescens (Amolli Abrbo'n, Apintli), Polyanthes tuberosa (Omisochitl, Nardos), Phytolacca octandra (Iyamoli
), Schizocarpum filiforme (Quilamolli), Cucurbita foetidissima (Chichicamolli), and Melothria scabra.
A. moranii resembles A. deserti pringlei. The flowers are good to eat. The leaf fiber is used.
A. multifilifera. Chahuiqui. This species is similar to A. filifera and A. schidigera. It would be a good
A. ocahui. Amoliyo. Majahui, Ocahui, Ojajui, all mean "cordage". The plant contains _.5 to 1% sapogenins. The
leaves are used for cordage and brushes. The plant is cold hardy.
A. panamana. Exotic. This plant tolerates sea salt like A. aktites and A. colimana.
A. parrasana (A. wislizeni, nom illegit): Noah. Exotic. Cold hardy and a good
A. parryi (A. applanata, chihuahuana, couesii, chrysantha, durangensis, huachucensis, palmeri,
parryi truncata, patonii, repanda, shrevei, toumeyana): Blue Century Plant, Ceniza, Lecheguilla Ceniza,
Lechuguilla, Lechuguilla Ceniza, Maguey de Ixtle, Maguey de la Casa, Mescal, Mescal Blanco, Mescal Ceniza, Parry's
Century Plant. Tarahumara: Me, Socolume, O'tosa. Warihio: Totosa, Totosali. Ornamental. The plant resembles A.
flexispina, but has flowers more like A. palmeri. The rosette resembles a giant artichoke. It rarely flowers, but
produces a terminal bud and dies when it does. It also resembles A. shrevei, A. chrysantha, A. colorata, and A.
flexispina. A. durangensis resembles A. scabra when not in flower. It is compact, frost hardy, with red and yellow
blooms. A. parryi truncata will grow very small and, if kept depauperate, can be used as a "bonsai". It can be
grown in the ground or in a pot. It tolerates frost and full sun, and requires a little watering. The soil should
drain well. The plant produces pups.
The plant is eaten and used for making mescal and for mescal bread. The heads are pit baked. The tender
flowering shoots are edible. A. palmeri is sweet, and contains little sapogenin. Small plants of A. shrevei are
medicinal. The varieties contain _.5 to 1.5 sapogenins, usually hecogenin. They are good soil binders on slopes.
The leaves are cultivated for the fiber. They are pulled off the drying trunk with a short sidewise jerk. Animals
like the flowering shoots. The flowers are popular with birds and insects.
A. parviflora (A. hartmanii, hartmani): Sóbali, Sóbari, Tauta, Tautilla. Warihio:
Taiehcholi. Ornamental in pots. The plant is very sweet when cooked, but very small and not often used. It is used
to make dulce (candy), and the flowering stalks were used to make arrow shafts. It is well liked by carpenter
A. pelona (A. potrerana): Lechuguilla, Mescal Pelón. Seri: Inyeeno "faceless".
Ornamental. The heart and leaf bases are edible cooked. They are used to make mescal, but the cabezas are too
small to make it worthwhile. The plant is a source of fiber which is long and pliable. It contains _.06% sapogenin
and _.3% smilagenin. The flowers are eaten by rodents. The spines are dangerous to children. The plant will take
hard winter freezes.
A. polianthiflora, (A. hartmanii, nomen confusum): Mescalitos. Warihio: Taiehcholi.
Ornamental. This plant is similar to A. parviflora and A. hartmanii. It is good pit baked. The stalks are used as
A. polyacantha (A. chloracantha, densiflora, engelmannii, flaccifolia, micrantha, muilmannii,
uncinata). Exotic. Ornamental. This plant is sometimes an epiphyte.
A. promontorii (A. brandegeei, capensis). This plant may form hybrids with A.
A. rhodacantha. It resembles A. pacifica, and may hybridize with it. It also resembles A. gutierreziana, A.
elongata, A. candalabrum, and A. spectabilis. The fibers are long and excellent.
A. salmiana (A. atrovirens, coarctata, cochlearis, compluviata, crassispina, ferox, jacobiana,
latissima, lehmannii, mitriformis, potatorum, quiotifera, tehuacanensis): Aguamiel, Centemetl, Maguey
de Pulque, Maguey Manso, Metl, Savia agaves, Teometl, Tlacametl. Exotic. Has pharmacological properties. Many of
the cultivars are larger, being polyploids. They are more vigorous and sweeter. Suckering is common. It has been
planted along the property lines of land for centuries. Sand gathers around the plants, forming dunes. They are
used to hold soil and make terraces. The plants are tapped for their juice. About 75% of the pulque made is from
this species. It is nourishing and mildly alcoholic. The sugar extract is of very good quality; it is also used to
make a good quality vinegar.
The liquid is extracted from the rootstock in which one has prevented the development of the inflorescence, by
cutting its shaft or floral axis. The yellow or whitish mucilaginous foamy liquid, of bittersweet taste and
herbaceous odor, is of variable density. It contains sugar, rubber, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium,
albumin, chlorine; sulfuric, phosphoric, and silicic acids; water, resinous and albuminoid materials, and gases.
In Aguamiel there is glucose (levulose), sugar, malic acid, rubber, albumin, ammonia, minerals, and water.
Antiscorbutic and antiblenorrhagic. The leaves, roots, and sugary sap are used. Probably the leaves contain
similar principles as Agave americana. They are rubifacient and cause blistering. They appear to work well against
tetanus, in massage. The roots are diuretic, diaphoretic, and antisyphilitic.
A twillable fiber is taken from the conal bud when it is cut out for tapping the sap. This strong fiber is used
to make cord, nets, carrying bags, and cloth. From the leaves they extract a filament called Ixtle, which is used
to make ropes and various fabrics, and for making paper. The plant is used for fences, poles, leaf thatching of
roofs, flavoring in Pan de Pulque, and the leaf pulp is used as a poultice on bruises and sores in animals. The
leaves are cut for forage for milk cows. They grow in areas that have only 14 to 16 inches of rain annually. It
needs well drained good quality soil with ample water in the summer. It will withstand light frost. Summer
temperatures of 110 to 115 degrees cause harm. It is easily propagated and cultivated for variants suitable for
specific purposes, such as food and drink, and for fiber.
A. schlectendalii. This plant resembles A. americana.
A. schottii (A. angustissima, colimana, disceptata, filifera, filamentosa, geminiflora,
geminiflora sonorae, mulfordiana, ornithobroma, schidigera, treleasei, vestita, wrightii, Littaea g.):
Amole, Amoliyo, Shindagger. The species is similar to A. falcata, A. multifilifera, and A. felgeri except the
flowers. It is related to A. filifera. A. colimana tolerates salt water. This species is considered inedible by
the Comcaac. Allegedly they do not taste good, and they are hard to use because of their small size. However, the
young bud stalks can be roasted by covering them with heated stones in pits. The stems and crowns contain saponin.
The leaves contain _.5 to 1.2% sapogenins, mostly gitogenin and chlorogenin. It is used as soap, and to wash
clothes. Crush the leaves in a container and add water. See Yucca for more
ways to extract it. The foamy mixture is used as shampoo. The flowering stalk is
used to make arrow shafts. The plants hold soil well. Parrots like the flowers and buds.
A. shawii (A. ?disjuncta, goldmanniana, orcuttiana, pachyacantha, sebastiana):
Ornamental. Coastal Agave, Maguey, Mescal, Shaw's Mescal. This is the only food plant where it grows for much of
the year. The meristem is edible. The fibers are used. For awhile, fields of it were cut in San Diego for the
decorticating machine, but it never proved economically viable. A. shawii goldmaniana grows in areas that have
nocturnal fogs. These fogs cause epiphytic lichens and Tillandsia to festoon the desert trees. The leaf bases,
hearts, young flowers, tender lateral branches, and the tops off flowering shoots are all eaten by animals. The
stalk is browsed.
A. sisalana (A. amaniensis, caribaeicola, kewensis, rigida): Sisal Hemp. This is a
sexually sterile clone, a pentaploid hybrid, which can occasionally be crossed with A. angustifolia and A.
amaniensis. The pollen in these crosses always comes from A. sisalana. The cross of the hybrids back with A.
amaniensis produces an excellent fiber plant with double the yield of A. sisalana. A. sisalana itself may well be
a cross between A. angustifolia and A. kewensis. The plant is used to make fences. Sisal hemp from the leaves is a
leading world hard fiber. There is much literature on it. The fiber is extracted by hand with crude tools on a
pole or board bench. A metal scraper mounted on a wooden stick was used as a draw knife. The leaf was attached to
the board. The pulp is scraped off the fiber, cleaned, and dried. The fiber is twisted into twine and used to make
ropes, nets, hammocks, and other things. Nearly half the world's hard fibers come from various species of agave,
most of it from sisal, and most of the rest from henequen. This fiber may well become a substitute for
increasingly rare synthetic fibers derived from petroleum. A. amaniensis produces superior fiber. It is believed
to be a hybrid developed in Tanzania.
A. sobria (A. affinis, avellanidens, carminis, cerulata, connochaetodon, consociata, datylio,
dentiens, deserti, disjuncta, nelsonii, pringlei, roseana, sleviniana, slevinii, vexans): Datilillo,
Datiliyo, Mescal Pardo, Mescaliyo, Pardito. Ornamental. This plant is used to make mescal. The stems or cabezas
are eaten. This plant is a source of cortisone, and contains hecogenin, tigogenin, manogenin, and gitogenin.
Sapogenin content varies from 1.5% to _.5%, depending on the subspecies.
A. subsimplex: Century Plant, Maguey. Seri: Ahmmo, ?aamXW, Den;kl, Haamxo. This plant is closely related to A.
cerulata and A. deserti. The plants which were getting ready to flower were eaten in January and February. Cut
them off at ground level with an agave chisel, which is made of catclaw (Acacia greggii), Palo Blanco (Acacia
willardiana), Paloverde (Cercidium floridum and microphyllum), Colubrina, or Green Ironwood (Olneya tesota). It
has a cutting edge on one end, and is pounded with a rock. It can also be used to pry the plant out of the ground.
Trim the leaves close with a knife, leaving the whitish core, with the base of the leaf still attached, and with a
strip of leaf fiber still attached also. These strips can be tied together to carry the leaves. Dig a deep pit and
build a fire in it. Let the fire burn down, and pile the pieces, top down, on the coals. Place flat rocks on them,
and then cover with dirt about three inches, then build another fire on top of that, and let it die, cover the
coals with more dirt, and leave it overnight. The leaf pieces are removed the next day; they are blackened on the
surface, but there is a brownish pulp underneath which is firm, sweet, and juicy. The outer black part can be used
to make patties, and they can be stored or taken on trips. To consume them, dissolve them in water and drink the
sweet liquid, leaving the pulp behind. Cut up the inner portion for eating. The Comcaac ate it with sea turtle fat
(cooked or uncooked), or in turtle oil, or with the meat. Served this way, the oil tastes something like coconut
oil. It can also be sun dried and stored. It can also be shredded before it is dried, and made into cakes which
are dried and stored or carried on trips. It can be softened in water, and the entire mixture drunk. The cake can
be moistened and eaten by chewing it and sucking out the juice, discarding the pulp. This pulp was shaken and the
material that falls out was added to fish or sea turtle stew. The cooked base of the leaf can also be torn into
strips, and chewed and sucked for its juice. The pieces are then dried and shaken for the flour left behind, which
is eaten. The pulp is discarded. Most species can be prepared and eaten in like manner. This includes A. angustifolia, q.v., and A. cerulata
, q.v. The plant contains .07 to .14% sapogenin.
A. sullivani (A. fourcroydes). Cultivar. The plant resembles A. pacifica. It is
used to make Mescal. The fiber is grown commercially in some places. It is called Henequen or Sisal Grass. The
leaves are trimmed as the plant grows, leaving a trunk which can be up to a meter high. The plant is not frost
hardy, and although it endures drought well, it require 30 inches of rain or more a year to produce high quality
fiber. The coarse, strong fiber is used for rope, coarse twine, bailing twine, and is resistant to seawater. The
sapogenin is mainly hecogenin, which is a byproduct of the fiber production, in the waste bagasse. It is used to
produce sex hormones and cortisone. The hecogenin is less than 1% of the dry weight. The cord was found in stucco
figures in facades of ancient cities. It was called Cahum or Chelem. It was used to make hammocks, and ship's
cordage. The plant appears to be a sterile hybrid, which is propagated by bulbils or suckers. The leaves are
prickly to handle.
A. tecta: Maguey. Exotic. The plant is used for fences and ornamentals, and to make Pulque.
A. tequilana (A. palmaris, pedrosana, pes-mulae, pseudotequilana, subtilis): Mescal
Azul. The plant is used to manufacture tequila, a distilled liquor used to make Margaritas. It takes 15 pounds of
cabezas to make one liter of liquor. The cabezas contain starchy meristems. The leaves are trimmed off close to
the cabeza, and it is shipped to the distillery. They are steam cooked, then macerated, and the juice put into
vats. Anaerobic bacteria convert the sugar to alcohol. Then the juice is distilled. It can be drunk this way, or
fortified with cane alcohol, aged in oak kegs, or flavored with brown sugar.
A. utahensis (A. difformis, eborispina, funkiana, haynaldii, kaibabensis, nevadensis,
newberryi, scaphoidea): Ixtle de Jaumave, Mescal, Utah Century Plant, Xixi, Yant. Paiute: Oose.
Ornamental. This plant is related to A. lophantha and sometimes confused with A. mckelveyana (A. aquariensis). The
roasted bud and stalk are edible. The juice is used to make tequila. The macerated fiber is used for soap. It has
very good fibers, which can be spun, or made into rope. Squirrels like the green capsules and the fruit.
A. virginica, exotic: Rattlesnake's Master, Virginian Agave. This plant is used for flatulent colic and
rattlesnake bite. See A. americana, above.
A. vizcainoensis. These resemble A. gigantensis.
A. weberi (A. franceschiana). Exotic. The fiber is of fine quality. It is used
to make fences and pulque. Ornamental. It produces suckers.
A. wocomahi: Tarahumara: Ojcome. Warihio: Wocomahi. This species resembles A.
bovicornuta, q.v. The plant is sweet and edible, and used for making mescal. The flowers are cooked and eaten
like squash. The heads are eaten as fresh chunks or pounded into dried cakes, called Mesagoli, or made into a
fermented drink called Sugui or Tesguino. The leaf fiber is used to make rope, cord, and pack saddle pads. It
A. yaquiana: Mescal. The trunk and young flowering stalk is roasted over coals and eaten. The flowers can be
boiled or steamed. The mildly intoxicating Batari is made by brewing the pit-baked heart, mixed in water with the
root of Phaseolus caracala. When it stops bubbling, it is ready. Mescal is made from the pit-baked pith. It is
chopped, distilled, and aged, and highly intoxicating. Dulce is pit-baked juicy pith, which is eaten. Cut the
flowering stalk before blooming into sections and bake it in coals.
A. zebra: Mescal Lechuguilla. The plant resembles A. marmorata and A. deserti. It is used to make mescal. It is
A. avellanidens. A. margaritae. A. murpheyi. A. pringlei. The flowering stalks of some of these species are
edible, roasted. Select the shoots anytime prior to full bloom.