New in paperback Spring 2004, this is an indispensable guide to agaves. The uses of agaves are as many as the arts of man have found it convenient to devise. At least two races of man have invaded Agaveland during the last ten to fifteen thousand years, where, with the help of agaves, they contrived several successive civilizations. The region of greatest use development is Mesoamerica. Here the great genetic diversity in a genus rich in use potential came into the hands of several peoples who developed the main agricultural center of the Americas. Perhaps, as the Aztec legends suggest, it was the animals that first showed man the edibility of agave. Evolution in use ranges all the way from the coincidental and spurious, through tool and food-drink subsistence with mystical overlay, to the practical specialties of modem industry and art. The historic period of agave will be outlined here as briefly as that complicated development will allow.
Widely recognized as the world's leading authority on agaves, Howard Scott Gentry (1903-1993) was an agricultural explorer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and was also affiliated with the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix. His principal works include Rio Mayo Plants of Sonora-Chihuahua, The Agave Family of Sonora, and The Agaves of Baja California. "
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