Agave atrovirens sigmatophylla A.Berger
Agave coarctata Jacobi
Agave cochlearis Jacobi
Agave compluviata Trel.
Agave jacobiana Salm-Dyck
Agave lehmannii Jacobi
Agave mitraeformis Jacobi
Agave quiotifera Trel. ex Ochot.
Agave tehuacanensis Karw. ex Salm-Dyck
Common Name: Pulque Agave
Cultivated plant, coming up to flower, growing in the botanical garden of Eze, France
Photograph by: Tangopaso
Photograph by: Thuringius
Creative Commons Zero, Public Domain Dedication
Agave salmiana is an evergreen, succulent plant forming a large rosette of leaves up to 200cm long and 35cm wide and, eventually, a flowering stem that can be up to 8 metres tall[
The plant is frequently cultivated in Mexico for preparation of pulque, the Mexican national beverage[
C. America to southern N. America - southern and central Mexico.
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A plant of drier areas in the subtropics and tropics, where it can be found at elevations up to 2,400 metres.
Requires a sunny position[
]. Requires a well-drained soil[
]. Succeeds in poor soils[
]. Established plants are very drought resistant[
A monocarpic species - the plant lives for a number of years without flowering but dies once it does flower. However, it normally produces plenty of suckers during its life and these continue growing, taking about 10 - 15 years in a warm climate, considerably longer in colder ones, before flowering[
The sap is fermented to make the alcoholic drink 'pulque'[
]. As soon as the inflorescence bud appears (at an age of about 7 years), it is excised. The sweet juice which then exudes for the next 3 - 4 months is collected and fermented[
]. Sometimes a brandy is produced by means of distillation of pulque which contains 4 - 8% ethanol.
It is also possible to produce sugar or vinegar from the sugar-containing juice[
The flowering stems are cut into sections and then chewed like sugar cane[
The cuticle of the young leaves of the central spike is used as a translucent wrapping for the Mexican dish 'mixiote', which is prepared for festive occasions[
The leaves, especially the youngest ones, provide fibres suitable for the production of laces, fine clothes and foodwear[
The roots contain saponins and can be used as a soap substitute[
Seed - surface sow in a container in a light position. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 3 months at 20°c[
]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots of well-drained soil when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a sunny position until they are at least 20cm tall.
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