Going out with a Bloom

Over by the administration office I have a nice view of some agave plants right outside of my window. Around the middle of March i started noticing a a strange protrusion growing from the middle plant. Over the next week it seemed to stretch skyward at an incredible rate. My curiosity was piqued to say the least.

I asked our horticulture experts about it and they said it is called a century plant. To be more specific it’s nomenclature is Agave angustifolia or the Caribbean Agave. While the name suggests these plants live for hundreds of years, these plants in reality only live from 10 to 15 years.

The Caribbean agave plant is a monocarpic plant. This term refers to plants that after completing its blooming and seed production life cycle will die. Though this may seem like a dismal end to this plant it will produce side shoots that take the place of the dead plant. Some species of bamboo, palms and bromeliads also have similar life cycles.

The flowers are usually pollinated by hummingbirds, moths or bats depending on the species and where it is native to.