En EspaŅol

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
3 ratings

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


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?


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

Agave lechuguilla

Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Havard's century plant
Agave havardiana

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Black rot at center of Agave from Clovis CA
May 12, 2013 - We have some beautiful variegated "Green & Cream" Agave plants in our cactus garden. One in particular has done quite well for several years and is the largest, about 18" tall & across, it has neve...
view the full question and answer

Projected longevity of Opuntia fragilis (Fragile Prickly Pear)
November 25, 2005 - How long does Opuntia fragilis live? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Fertilization of recently-transplanted yucca
January 26, 2009 - I planted a soft tip yucca a week ago, the spineless type. I was doing a landscaping job, it was dug up, left for a week without any dirt around the roots, and when the customer did not want it, I pl...
view the full question and answer

When may I remove seed heads from yuccas?
June 07, 2010 - Soft tip yuccas dominate my home's landscape. When is the best time to remove the heavy seed heads after flowering? In addition to being difficult to work around, the pods seem to attract infestatio...
view the full question and answer

Removal of pups from Century Plant after blooming in Prairieville LA
October 03, 2009 - Will the main part of the century plant always die after it grows a stalk? I have babies coming off the base and need to know if I should separate them to keep them alive.
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center