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In discussing the unique physiology and the past, present, and potential future uses of agaves and cacti, the book covers a diverse range of topics, from how the agave is used in a variety of beverages to how cacti are raised for cattle fodder. The book also explains how these plants have adapted to the harsh conditions of the desert, looks at the high productivity of certain agaves and cacti from a cellular level, and examines the plants' remarkable ability to withstand both extremely high and low temperatures.