Browsing Desert Plants, Volume 10, Number 2 (1990) by Authors
Leaf Unfolding Rates and Responses to Cuticle Damaging for Pulque Agaves in MexicoGarcía-Moya, Edmundo; Nobel, Park S.; Colegio de Postraduados; University of California (University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 1990)Agave mapisaga and A. salmiana, which are widely cultivated in central Mexico for the fermented beverage pulque, have 7 to 11 leaves unfolding annually per plant. Such leaves can be 2 m in length with dry weights exceeding 1 kg, leading to estimated aboveground productivities of 25 to 26 metric tons ha⁻¹ yr⁻¹. To prevent theft of the cuticle from folded leaves of A. salmiana, which is used to wrap meat for steam cooking (termed "mixiote"), the distal one-third of the central spike of folded leaves is often intentionally cut off, which unfortunately depresses leaf unfolding for the next two years. However, making small holes in the central spike, which also renders the cuticle unusable for mixiote, does not significantly reduce the rate of leaf unfolding.