Any certified mezcal will state the scientific plant name using the term Agave, while the common name that is used in the community and by the producer is listed as Maguey. For example, Maguey espadin is an Agave angustifolia.
The maguey name can be used to delineate between different local variations of scientifically related plants. For example, there are several sub-varietals of Agave karwinskii that grow in the community of Santa Catarina Minas, Oaxaca: Maguey marteño, san martin, san martinero, barril, largo, tobaziche, tripon, madrecuixe, and more. Some of these names may be referring to the same agave plant, but different producers have their own slightly different name for them. Some of these other names are used by producers to describe slight differences in height, width, penca size and color, where the maguey was grown, etc…. For example, if the agave grows on a certain hill it might be marteño, but if it grows near the stream it might be san martinero.
While it’s helpful to have these names to designate smaller differences in the plants, it can also create confusion as the same name may refer to different things. For example, a Maguey cuish in Santa Catarina Minas is referring to an Agave rhodacantha. However a Maguey cuish in (almost) any other community in Oaxaca is referring to an Agave karwinskii.
To browse specific agaves instead of magueyes:
- See Agave