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Morphological comparison among populations of Agave salmiana Otto ex Salm-Dyck (Asparagaceae), a species used for mezcal production in Mexico

Castañeda-Nava, José Juvencio, Rodríguez-Domínguez, José Manuel, Camacho-Ruiz, Rosa María, Gallardo-Valdez, Juan, Villegas-García, Edgardo, Gutiérrez-Mora, Antonia
Flora 2019 v.255 pp. 18-23
Agave salmiana, alcoholic beverages, analysis of variance, arid zones, leaves, teeth, Mexico
Agave salmiana represents a high economic and cultural relevance in Mexican society. Cultivated in arid zones of Mexico, it is the agave species primarily used for the production of mezcal, a traditional Mexican alcoholic beverage. In this study, we performed a morphological comparison among 145 accessions of Agave salmiana ssp. crassispina and ssp. salmiana from 14 municipalities in northern Guanajuato. A total of 12 morphological variables of leaf size, spines and teeth were measured. In order to perform this evaluation, agave plants were considered either as cultivated or wild-type. Statistical analyzes were conducted and a dendrogram was constructed with the nearest neighbor method, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Fisher’s Least Significant Difference (LSD) multiple comparisons. Several groups were established within the dendrogram and the distance among the groups was found to be small. The ANOVA shows significant differences among the subspecies and the populations, whereas the multiple comparisons detected several groups. The statistical analyses showed a morphological variation among the studied plants. However, the whole population under study falls within a range of morphological homogeneity.