Agaves of Continental North America
New in paperback Spring 2004, this is an indispensable guide to agaves. The uses of agaves are as many as the arts of man have found it convenient to devise. At least two races of man have invaded Agaveland during the last ten to fifteen thousand years, where, with the help of agaves, they contrived several successive civilizations. The region of greatest use development is Mesoamerica. Here the great genetic diversity in a genus rich in use potential came into the hands of several peoples who developed the main agricultural center of the Americas. Perhaps, as the Aztec legends suggest, it was the animals that first showed man the edibility of agave. Evolution in use ranges all the way from the coincidental and spurious, through tool and food-drink subsistence with mystical overlay, to the practical specialties of modem industry and art. The historic period of agave will be outlined here as briefly as that complicated development will allow.
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Taxonomic History and Morphology
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Agave Agave utahensis americana anthers apex ARIZ base Berger Botanical Garden bracts broad broadly California Canyon capsules cerulata cm long cm wide Cult cultivated decurrent Desert elev Exsiccatae feet fiber filaments inserted Filiferae flower tube Gard Gentry Gentry & Arguelles glaucous gray grayish green grooved habitat herbarium Huntington Botanical Gardens inflorescence Jacobi July June keel Kimnach La Mortola lanceolate leaf leaves lechuguilla limestone linear Littaea longis maguey margin mescal Mexico MEXU mid-blade miles mm long Mortola Murrieta narrow Neotype Oaxaca oblong ovary panicles parviflora pedicels peduncle plants pulque reddish road rocky rosettes salmiana San Luis Potosi sapogenin scabra seeds shaft short slender slopes Sonora species specimens spikes spine straight striata subulate succulent suckering surculose tall taxa teeth Tehuacan tepals thick Trel Trelease Type umbels utahensis volcanic yellow