The way our ancestors called this plant providing food, drink, fiber, medicine and construction material is melt or mexcamelt (Nahuatl), tocamba (purépecha) and guada (otomí), but it has only been its use as a raw material in the production of beverages which has given him fame among them mead (neutlli) and its fermented, pulque (octli), its distillates mezcal (bacanora, raicilla, mezcal and mainly known as tequila).
The term Agave was given to him by the Swedish scientist Carl Nilsson Linaeus (Carlos Linneo) due to its properties and characteristics. Agave word of Greek origin, which refers to the daughter of Cadmus king of Thebes and the goddess Harmony, was a Maenad of Dionysus the Greek god of wine, described by Euripides in his work The Bacchae, which means admirable or noble, as well It is like those who have entered their study know it.
It is popularly known as the Caribbean term Maguey, as well as pulque, which the Spaniards used to identify this plant that they confused with the sabilas.
In Mexico it was known by the Mexicas as metl, Once installed in Tenochtitlán they found several uses among them the one of metl-calli (cooked maguey) or mezcal. Its abundance and the variety of names related to each community where it is found makes it senseless to relate it to a single name, to show it can be said that in the Cuicatec language of Guerrero it is called ucolili.
The agave is typical of American lands. Most species are found from Mexico to Colombia, being the first where around 200 species are reproduced exclusively. The geography and orography of Mexico that are framed between its western and eastern Sierra Madre present conditions that made the agave resist the drought and diversify from the center to the north of the country thanks to the action of its pollinators where we find mainly bats, birds and insects.
Dr. Rodrigo Medellín, better known as the Mexican Batman, is one of the specialists and conservatives of the agave and its bats pollinator.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBe3ZR3lEzI
The main agaves that are used today to produce mezcal are the following:
|Americana||Teometl (náhuatl), t’ ax’ uada (otomí),(náhuatl), americano, mezcal, serrano.||3 m wide and 2 m high||Lanceolate, green to whitish||Short, grayish||Branched up to 9 m high||May to September||Semilla hijuelo|
|Americana var. Oaxacenesis||Dua-bzog (zapoteco), yavi cuan (mixteco), arroquiño, blanco, castilla, cenizo, maguey de coyote, de pulque, de rayo, de sierra negra||3 m wide and 2 m high||Straight and whitish||Tiny or absent||Branched up to 10 m high||June to August||Seed hijuelo|
|Cupreata||Bilia, dob-bé, dob-lá, tobalá (zapoteco), papalometl (náhuatl: maguey mariposa), yaabendisi (mixteco), maguey de monte, ancho, cimarrón, maguey de mezcal, papalote, tuchi||1 m wide and 80 cm high||Widely lanceolate, bright green||Large and copper-colored curves||Branched up to 6 m high||January to March||Seed|
|Angustifolia subsp tequilana||Chelem (maya), doba-yej (zapoteco: maguey de flor), hamoc (seri), juya cuu (mayo:mezcal del monte), yavi incoyo (mixteco), annole, bacanora, maguey de campo, espadilla, espadín, mezcal, zapupe||1.5 m wide and 1 m high||Straight, narrow, and rigid, light green to grayish||Little||Branched up to 5 m high||January to May (north), July to October (south)||Seed, bulbilo e hijuelo|
|Durangensis||Cenizo||2 m wide and 1.5 cm high||Wide and concave, grayish green||Large and prominent||Branched up to 4.5 m high||July to November||Seed e hijuelo|
|Americana var. Oaxacenesis||Tequila||3 m wide and 2 m high||Narrow, flattened and straight, bluish||Little||Branched up to 5 m high||May to July||Hijuelo, bulbilo and culture of weaves|
|Inaequidens||Hocimetl (náhuatl), lechuguilla,||2.5 m wide and 1.5 cm high||Wavy, light green to yellowish||Large and small alternating||Branched up to 7 m high||December to March||Seed|
|Rhodacantha||Quixe,mexicano,mezcal,maguey de monte||4 m wide and 2 cm high||Straight and fibrous, green to light green||Small and dark||Branched up to 9 m high||May to August||Seed e hijuelo|
|Salmiana subsp. Crassispina||Mbänuada (otomí), bronco, cimarrón, manso, verde||2 m wide and 1.5 cm high||Lanceolate and thick, dark green||Large and wide||Large and wide||May to September||Seed e hijuelo|
|Karwinskii||Al-mal-bi-cuish (contal),bicuixe,dob-cirial,madrecuixe,tobasiche (zapoteco),cachutum (popoloca), barril,cirial||1.5 m de ancho y 1.5 cm de alto sobre un tronco de hasta 2.5||Rectas angostas, verde oscuro||Pequeñas||Ramificada hasta 3.5 m de alto por encima de la planta||Junio a septiembre||Semilla, bulbilo e hijuelo|
|Marmorata||Du-cual (zapoteco),pitzometl (náhuatl), maguey de caballo, curandero, tepeztate||2 m wide and 1.5 cm high||Wavy and open, with horizontal lines on dark green||Big||Branched up to 6 m high||April to June||Seed|
|Potatorum||Bilia, dob-bé, dob-lá, tobalá (zapoteco), papalometl (náhuatl: maguey mariposa), yauticushi (mixteco), maguey de monte||1 m wide and 70 cm high||Oval, wavy margins, green to whitish||Curves and dark||Branched up to 4 m high||September to December||Seed|
|Maximiliana||Lechuguilla, manso, tecolote||1 m wide and 80 cm high||Lanceolate and broad, light green||Large and small alternating||Branched up to 8 m high||January to May||Seed|
|Lophanta||Estoquillo, lechuguilla, mezortillo||80 cm wide and 50 cm high||Narrow, thin, light green||Small and grayish||Small and grayish||March to June||Seed e hijuelo|
|Tequilana||Tequila||3 m wide and 2 m high||Narrow, flattened and straight, bluish||Little||Branched up to 5 m high||May to July||Hijuelo, bulbilo and culture of weaves|