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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Wednesday - February 06, 2008

From: Melbourne, Australia
Region: Other
Topic: Cacti and Succulents
Title: Worms found in Agave used in tequila
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi, I am a writer and have been trying to find some referenced information regarding the moth larvae/'worms' associated with Agave and some mezcal beverages - specifically, Hypopta agavis, Aegiale hesperianus and Scyphophorus acupunctatus. I have had no luck with books so far, and the internet has yielded nothing with any useful references. A friend suggested I ask here. Can you help?

ANSWER:

We don't get all that many questions from Australia about plants native to North America, which is what we focus on at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, and certainly even fewer about edible worms. This weblink on There is a Worm in your Mezcal will give you some basic information on the worm and the drink. An article on Fecundity of the Sisal Weevil will add some more points about the bug itself. Finally, The Magic of Oaxaca's Mezcal hopefully will fill in any gaps left.

Tequila is made from Agave palmeri (Palmer's century plant). This is also called blue agave. Other agaves native to North America are Agave parryi ssp. parryi (Parry's agave), Agave havardiana (Havard's century plant), Agave parryi (Parry's agave), Agave lechuguilla (lechuguilla). We're not sure why you were unable to find this information on the Internet. We found it all either in the Native Plant Database of the Wildflower Center or through searching in Google.

 

From the Image Gallery


Century plant
Agave parryi ssp. parryi

Lechuguilla
Agave lechuguilla

Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Havard's century plant
Agave havardiana

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