A neighbor sent us this picture and message earlier this week:

“This Agave in front of our Forest Hills home is in bloom with a stalk that has grown to over 15 feet in 3 weeks. This usually happens once the plant reaches 15-20 years, preparing it to spread its seeds. The entire plant will die soon after.”



This kind of reminds me of the old Dennis the Menace movie when Mr. Wilson has the plant that only blooms for five seconds every 40 years. On the night the flower is scheduled to bloom, he invites a group of people over to witness the spectacular event. But, of course, just as the flower is blossoming, Dennis the Menace rushes outside and yells, “Mr. Wilson, somebody robbed your house!” causing everybody to turn around and miss the flower’s five seconds of fame. As you can imagine, Mr. Wilson wasn’t very happy with Dennis.

I had no idea Mr. Wilson’s flower was somewhat real, although the waiting time is cut in half. Some quick Googling taught me this particular flower, also known as the “century plant,” grows a giant stem or “mast” during flowering and bears lots of short, spiky flowers. Afterwards the whole plant dies, but shoots that grow up from the base of the mother plant usually produce a brand new plant. Then, in another 20 years, the process starts all over again.

Luckily the blooms last more than five seconds, so even if our Forest Hills’ neighbors have a menace or two running around, they should still be able to enjoy the show.

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