Collection image

Plants of the Columbian Exchange

Last updated 12 months ago

  • 95180_88_88 Plantae > Amaranthaceae

    Amaranthus

    Amaranth

  • 16996_88_88 Plantae > Asparagaceae

    Agave tequilana

    Blue Agave

    Agave tequilana, or Blue Agave, is the only species of agave that can be used to produce Tequila certified by the Mexican government. According to the Tequila Regulatory Council of Mexico, a distilled alcoholic spirit must be made from at least 51% Blue Agave to be recognized as Tequila under the Norma Oficial Mexicana (NOM-006-SCFI-2012). Pure Tequila must be made from 100% Blue Agave (NOM-006-SCFI-2012).

    The first Tequila factory was established by Don Pedro Sanches de Tagle, Marquis of Altamira in 1600 (Mohr 1999). Jose Antonio Cuervo began cultivating agave in 1758 and was the first licensed manufacturer and the first to bottle the product for sale (Valensuela Zapata & Nabhan 2003). The company that he founded remains the biggest producer of Tequila today. The second largest company, La Preservancia was founded in 1873 after Don Cenobio Sauza acquired an already existent Tequila company that he renamed. A ban on native spirits was put in place in 1782 but lifted in 1792, with agave derived spirits becoming a significant source of colonial tax revenue (Mohr 1999).

    See "Detail" tab on species page to read more.

    References:
    Centro de Información de la Dirección General de Normas de la Secretaría de Economía (2012) NOM-006-SCFI-2012. Catálogo de Normas Oficiales Mexicanas.
    Mohr, Gary M. Jr. (1999) "Blue Agave and Its Importance in the Tequila Industry," Ethnobotanical Leaflets: Vol. 1999: Iss. 3, Article 2.
    Valensuela Zapata, Ana Guadalupe & Gary Paul Nabhan (2003). Tequila: A Natural and Cultural History. University of Arizona Press.
  • 46538_88_88 Plantae > Asparagaceae

    Agave

    Century Plant

    Agave was used extensively by Mesoamerican cultures such as the Aztecs for religious and medicinal purposes as well as for furnishing many goods used in daily life (Bye, 1993). The Aztecs (Mexica) considered agave and pulque (an alcoholic beverage derived from it) to be sacred (Miller and Taube 1993). The plants were introduced to Europe in the 16th century as a result of the Spanish Conquest of Mexico. The first tequila factory was established by Don Pedro Sanches de Tagle, Marquis of Altamira in 1600; Jose Antonio Cuervo, began agave cultivation in 1758 and became the first licensed manufacturer of Tequila (Valensuela Zapata & Nabhan 2003). Though spirits derived from Agave became an important source of colonial tax revenue, it was not until the 1980s that Tequila became popular outside of Mexico (Dalton 2005; Valensuela Zapata & Nabhan 2003 Morh 1993).

    See "Detail" tab on taxon page to read more.

    References:
    Bye, Robert (1993). The Role of Humans in the Diversification of Plants in Mexico. in “Biological Diversity of Mexico: Origins and Distribution” TP Ramamoorthy, Robert Bye, Antonio Lot and John Fa eds. Oxford University Press.
    Dalton, Rex (2005). Alcohol &science: Saving the Agave. Nature 438 (22 December): 1070-1071.
    Mohr, Gary M. Jr. (1999) "Blue Agave and Its Importance in the Tequila Industry," Ethnobotanical Leaflets, 1999(3): Article 2.
    Miller, Mary; and Karl Taube (1993). The Gods and Symbols of Ancient Mexico and the Maya: An Illustrated Dictionary of Mesoamerican Religion. Thames & Hudson.
    Valensuela Zapata, Ana Guadalupe & Gary Paul Nabhan (2003). Tequila: A Natural and Cultural History. University of Arizona Press.
  • 60477_88_88 Plantae > Solanaceae

    Capsicum annuum

    Sweet and Chili Peppers

  • 18953_88_88 Plantae > Rosaceae

    Rubus occidentalis

    Black Raspberry

  • 20286_88_88 Plantae > Fabaceae

    Phaseolus lunatus

    Lima Bean

  • 44195_88_88 Plantae > Fabaceae

    Phaseolus vulgaris

    Common Bean

  • 02702_88_88 Plantae > Marantaceae

    Maranta arundinacea

    Arrowroot

  • 23712_88_88 Plantae > Amaranthaceae

    Amaranthus caudatus

    Foxtail Amaranth

  • Profile picture for member Amy Chang

    Amy Chang


    Technical Writing Intern at EOL.