Blue Agave

Blue Agave 1The Blue Agave

The blue agave is a fascinating organism, reproducing both asexually (via rhizome clones) and sexually (via quiote flower) and and being pollinated primarily by bats in a state of nature. Indigenous Mexicans cultivated agave for thousands of years before the Spanish Conquest for food, textiles, tools, and building materials. It is a succulent and relative of the lily family (not a cactus).Jimador 1

Cultivated agaves produce asexually creating miniature clones of themselves at their base, called hijuelos. A planted clone takes between 6 and 12 years to reach maturity, and will be regularly pruned and monitored during all those years. When agaves reach maturity, they are harvested by jimadores, skilled farm laborers who generally pass along their knowledge through family lines and use highly specialized tools. Within seconds, a good jimador can pare down a spiny, five-foot agave to the piña, so named for resembling a giant pineapple.

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