What is Agave?
Agave is the name of a family of succulent plants distinguished by rosettes and flower spikes. Over 300 species have been identified. Agave plants typically incorporate rosettes of rigid leaves terminating in extremely sharp spines. The leaves are highly fibrous and the fibers have many uses. Hemp is formed from the fibers and used in clothing and rug making. The agave plant has been used throughout history to make natural medicines; paper; roofing tile; fence barriers; ceiling beams; and spiked nails.
Agave plants were identified as early as 1492 by Columbus. In 1519, the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortez and his troops traveled from Cuba to southwestern Mexico. There he discovered that the natives used the liquid from a plant called maguey, the ancient word for agave, to make sweet syrup or honeylike product, as well as vinegar and fermented wine. In 1577, the Spanish explorer Francisco Hernández wrote:
Within a short time, the Spaniards deployed distilling methods to make mezcal, a generic alcohol of which one species is tequila.Top