Commentary

Cabuya or Andean Maguey

It is a typical plant of the Andes of Peru. This plant is impressive, it is characterized by its large and elongated green leaves with thorns on its edges and a larger spike at the end of the leaves. Also, its leaves are fleshy and fibrous and inside it has a series of threads that have good hardness.

The plant grows from 1450 to 3000 meters above sea level. it had developed in different ecological levels such as coast, yunga and Quechua. In the past some pre-Inca cultures and the Inca civilization used this plant.

It was one of the first fibers used for the manufacture of different products. Things made from maguey including fishing nets, slings or huaracas that served to throw stones and were used for wars, and cord was made with this thread.

The chronicler Inca Garcilaso de la Vega talks about this plant and refers to the different uses assigned to it. In his chronicle he mentions that they used this plant to make shoes, ropes, clothes and slings. He also mentions the process to obtain these threads. After cutting the leaves, they were put in water or in the river beds to remove the pulp and release threads.

Currently its use has decreased, in some places it is still used as a live fence to protect the farms and houses. As the leaves have thorns, people can not access this place.

The maguey has a very precious juice inside that accumulates over time. With this juice a fermented drink is prepared and in Mexico they call it pulque. In addition, it also has other uses such as soap and organic detergent, insecticide, sugar, and to make musical instruments such as the didgeridoo.

This plant is a gift of nature that in ancient times our ancestors used. They made the most of all the benefits it has. Currently, this custom of using maguey or cubaya is being lost. We are not taking advantage of all the benefits it can provide.

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