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   monster  Monday Feb 23 07:23 PM

February 23, 2015: The Swansong of an Aged Agave

This 80-year old Agave plant will be cut down next month. After 80 years of growth at the University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens in Ann Arbor, it finally flowered last spring and has now gone into decline. It reached 28 feet tall after a final growth spurt just before it flowered.


Gravdigr  Monday Feb 23 10:26 PM

Oh, American agave...

I was thinking blue agave, and was about to holler "Mas tequila!!!"

Doesn't the blue agave take like 100 years to mature?

xoxoxoBruce  Monday Feb 23 11:02 PM

I want to know how it survived MI winters sticking way the hell out of the greenhouse like that?
Hmm, maybe that rapid growth spurt last Spring, just before it blew it's load, pushed it outside. That picture was taken last July 13th. That ties it all together.

Diaphone Jim  Tuesday Feb 24 01:24 PM

I like this IOTD!
Almost 40 years ago a Century Plant (Agave sisalana) sent up a stalk like that over the second floor roof of my mother's apartment building in Alhambra, California, bloomed spectacularly and produced hundreds of "pups," little clones that looked like Brussels sprouts.
I brought a shopping bag full of these home to Mendocino County and handed them out to friends, acquaintances and neighbors.
All of them seemed to start to grow and thrive, but everyone left them outside the next winter and they froze and died.
Except mine, which I had indoors. For the next 30 years.
At about five feet tall and six across, it finally outgrew the front room and I had to move it outdoors and replant it in a really big pot.
Then I had to build a cart to move it into the garage every time frost or freezing was expected, i.e. most nights from October to May.
I did that last night and will bring it back out to the sun today. And again tomorrow.
I wonder if it will bloom before I die.
If not, I hope the kids take care of it.
It looks like this:

footfootfoot  Tuesday Feb 24 01:50 PM

An agave THAT special...

glatt  Tuesday Feb 24 03:14 PM

Originally Posted by Diaphone Jim View Post
I like this IOTD!
I like it too. And I can't really explain why. The picture is simple and intriguing. And century plants are just damn cool.

I like you story too.

monster  Tuesday Feb 24 09:09 PM

it was the way it stuck out of the top of the greenhouse that amused me

xoxoxoBruce  Tuesday Feb 24 09:31 PM

Originally Posted by Diaphone Jim View Post
All of them seemed to start to grow and thrive, but everyone left them outside the next winter and they froze and died.
Jim, we have a lot of Italians in the Philly area. Many them came to this country and missed some of the things like Figs they had gown at home, so the planted not orchards but trees as ornamentals in suburban yards. Some of their kids picked up the habit, or quite often the old man was living with them.
The problem is winter, not necessarily the cold but the dry wind and lack of ability to replace the water the cold dry winds rob from the trees. Drive through neighborhoods around here and you'll see all sorts of scary shapes made with chicken wire, burlap, and padding. It they wrap early it adds to the number of trick or treaters pooping their pants.

Diaphone Jim  Wednesday Feb 25 12:35 PM

There are quite a few varieties of Agave, most with heavy succulent leaves with sharp thorns. These can be huge and produce the massive blooming trunks shown above. They easily survive frost and even mild freezing temperatures and can provide the raw material for the painstaking process of making mescal.
Agave sisalana plants such as mine are smaller and lighter, have smooth leaves and are grown in large fields for their fiber, a source of rope and other products. They can be damaged or killed by even mild frost. They are harvested after five or ten years and rarely reach the blooming stage.

jannatul18  Saturday Mar 7 04:56 AM

Why they want to cut down now? Its 80 who knows it may live another 80 years also.

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