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?

Share

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

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

More Cacti and Succulents Questions

Protecting agave pups in San Antonio
April 23, 2013 - I would like to share the soon to happen bloom of two century plants on my property; they are sisters planted at the same time. I am sad to know they will die but will do all that I can to protect the...
view the full question and answer

Plants for hanging flower boxes from Austin
July 27, 2013 - I have two long flower boxes 17" x 15" x 25 feet long one on the north side of the apt and one on the south made of metal suspended about four feet from the ground. One will get the morning sun and ...
view the full question and answer

What to do about cold damage to spineless prickly pear?
March 05, 2010 - In Austin, Texas our 'spineless' prickly pear cactus is about 6' wide by 4' tall. In the last severe freeze, the top half flattened out and has remained that way. Should I cut the flattened pads o...
view the full question and answer

Survival of yucca plant mowed down in Oklahoma
April 15, 2009 - I have a yucca plant that came from a very old plant of my late father, and had transplanted it 6 years ago and it came back every year and bloomed. This morning I went outside and noticed my husband...
view the full question and answer

Bugs on yucca plant in New Jersey
August 06, 2008 - I noticed small bugs ALL OVER 4 established yucca plants all near each other. They may look like Halticotoma valida but I'm not positive. There is no brown on the leaves except for the large amount...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center