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Entries in Agave cupreata (7)


Maguey Counters

Taking a break from counting maguey plants in Acateyahualco (see Measuring Maguey, Waiting for Team 2, Mescal Re-Visited, Meeting in Acateyahualco, and several other posts about this cool project). Couple of things to notice in the image. First, the large flower spike, or calehual, on the Agave cupreata plant growing behind the man (kneeling) on the left. Second, the enormous machete and wooden scabbard carried by the man on right. Third, the really great sombrero that each of them are wearing. 


When the Assembly Is Over

This is what it looks like in the meeting room at Acateyahualco, Guerrero after all of the inventory data for Agave cupreata has been presented, all the comments have been discussed, and all the cokes and cookies and mescal have been consumed (see Meeting in Acateyahualco). Don't know who left their hat.

Am off to the Delaware Water Gap tomorrow for a family vacation. No internet. But lakes, and rivers, and waterfalls, and great hiking. Back in a week.


Ivan Ib├ínez

Ivan Ibánez, student at the Universidad Autónoma de Guerrero in Chilpancingo, shows the mescal producers in Acateyahulaco (see Meeting in Acateyahualco) his Bachelor's thesis on the population structure and dynamics of Agave cupreata (see Mescal). I was an external advisor on this project and attended his thesis exam in February of last year. Nice piece of work. [NOTE: And, yes, that's a cup of mescal - locally made, sustainably produced mescal - in Ivan's right hand].    



The agaves were flowering during my recent trip to Guerrero, Mexico. Image shows the developing floral spike, or "calehaul", of Agave cupreata Trel & Berger.  Once the flowers are produced, they will be pollinated by bats. The fact that this individual has been allowed to get this far along in it's reproductive cycle indicates that it will not be harvested to make mescal.  It is purposely being left to produce seed to maintain the population. [NOTE: The fact that it was 12 degrees in New York this morning may explain why I continue to post images from sunny Guerrero. I was working in a t-shirt. Sigh.]


The Source

If the mescal that you are drinking was produced in Guerrero, especially if it was produced by mescaleros in the Chilapa region of Guerrero, there is a very strong chance that the sugars fermented to make this traditional beverage were first produced by a little Agave cupreata seedling such as is shown above. [NOTE: Early life is very hard for an agave seedling, and only a very small percentage of them actually survive long enough to flower and fruit - and subsequently get harvested to make mescal. But that's another story...].


Off to Work

Field crew at Acatayahualco, Guerrero heading off to the forest to count Agave cupreata plants (see Mescal and Counting Agaves). This was a great place for fieldwork. Cool, dry, not a lot of biting insects. Nice wildflowers.


Counting Agaves

Locating a transect for counting Agave cupreata Trel & Burger in Chilapa, Guerrero, Mexico (see Mescal). Beautiful piece of oak forest on the slopes.  I wasn't convinced that it was a good idea to take a rifle on the inventory transects...but I was voted down. [NOTE: That's a large Agave to the upper left of the cowboy hat].