Friday, December 21, 2012

Century plant blooms at Matthaei

One of the century plants at Matthaei Botanical Gardens is blooming. I've seen this Agave pedunculifera many times in Matthaei's conservatory, but never before in bloom.

It starts blooming from the base of the flower to the top.

Some flowers were wide open (the stamens are so cool!)...

While others were still buds.

And many were in fun stages in between.

The blooming up the stalk goes very quickly. It moved a few inches in under 24 hours.

It's a very impressive flower, but I also love the foliage.

The plant doesn't really require 100 years to bloom, but a good, long time. The jury was out on how exactly how long--I was told 15, 25, and 45 years--but there was consensus that this plant came to Matthaei as a pup from the parent plant originally donated to Matthaei at the old location on Iroquois. 

After an agave blooms (similar to yucca), it dies. It send up a new plant, the pup, which eventually produces a stalk.
The agave nectar (see the droplet?) is sweet (I tried it. It is.) and apparently sold as an alternative to sugar as it doesn't spike blood sugar levels.

I was glad to be able to see it bloom. If you're in the area, swing by. The blooms should hold out for while.