Saturday, October 24, 2009

Salvia gesneriflora 'Tequila' & Agave 'Tequila'

Salvia gesneriflora 'Tequila'

Aromatic foliage of Salvia g. 'Tequila'
This Salvia was brought into garden cultivation by the Huntington Botanic Garden of California after it was collected on a field trip to Mexico in 1970. The red and black flower combination is the most striking aspect of this plant and it makes quite an impact in a landscaped setting when mass planted. It forms a small shrub to about 1.5metres and the only down side to it is the somewhat brittle nature of the stems which can break off when you brush past it or when subject to strong winds. Flowers are produced from now right through to winter.
In Mexico, the name Tequila is given to the town,the municipality, the surrounding valley and the most prominent mountain overlooking the valley. The entire blue tinged valley is pervaded by the smokey fragrance of tequila making which comes from a special cultivar of Agave angustifolia. This hardy species is one which is quite common here though the particular variety from which Tequila is made has probably not left Mexico. The Agave plant in Mexico is referred to as "Maguey" or "Mescal" and in a prominent plaza situated near the heart of Tequila, is a statue of the goddess of Agaves "Mayahuel" . This Aztec Deity is associated with having fun of both the ancient and modern kind ,that is, inebriation and dancing.

Agave angustifolia ssp. tequilana in Tequila, Mexico

Agave angustifolia in Australia adding a dramatic touch to a dry shady garden

It is too early in the morning for me to have a Margarita so I will leave the final word to Thomas Sheiridan from his book 'Where the Dove Calls' (Tucson: University of Arizona Press) for those who enjoy the odd shot of Tequila.
"El mescal es muy delicado," he says. "Muy celoso ,muy limpio,' talking as if the liquor is a person who had to be placated and pleased."

1 comment:

  1. I love visiting your site- it is so interesting and informative. The salvia has naturalized itself here, and grows as a wild flower. The agave is used for making ropes , and as a hedge for fields. The tequila agave has not left Mexico, I think.