Monday, May 17, 2010

Century Plant

I was informed before I arrived in Gulf Shores that a Century Plant had started to bloom and I should find it and go see it.    It was in the community where our condo is located, so it was a sure bet that we could find the plant.  My Mom sent me the condo number, but it took us three days to remember to look up the number in the email before we left the house, but we did finally see it.

I left all of the photos in giant size, so go ahead and click on each one to see the big version.

It was almost in these peoples back yard, but since the information on the plant was in the little newsletter that went out to all of the residents, I took that to mean we could go into their yard to see the strange plant. 

The giant Jack and the Beanstalk stalk looks like a large asparagus spear!  The giant stalk with the flowers can reach upwards of 25 feet. 

The spikes on the end of each of the leaves are sharp as can be.  I swear these must have been used as weapons at one time.  Can you imagine the damage that could be done with one of those giant leaves?!! 

I found a website, the Longwood Gardens, and they documented their Century plant that grew in 2007.  Go on over and take a look.  From what they say, this Century Plant should continue to get a bit taller before it starts branching far and wide at the top.  Then the blooms will open up in a few weeks and last all the way into August, if nothing happens to it. 

It's called a Century Plant because it used to be that these plants only bloomed once a century, but according to a couple of sources that I checked, they said that the newer cultivations only take about 10 years or so for them to bloom. One of the very interesting things about this plant is that it uses up all of it's energy to bloom, so when it's all done the plant will die. Gasp! Can you believe that? All that work and it dies soon after. Amazing.

So that's the big news here in Gulf Shores for today.

Hope you're having a great week so far!


Just Breathe said...

Wow, it is beautiful.

mub said...

This is so cool! I'd never even heard of a century plant before.

jennifer said...

That is so cool. I'm glad you posted the pics. That is like the plant that I saw in Foley but I didn't realize they die! ACK!