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Sun Feb 22, 2015, 11:55 AM

Huge plant that waited 80 years to flower has month to live [View all]

Source: AP


ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- A towering American agave plant that waited 80 years to flower and produce seeds is dying after fulfilling its purpose and will be taken down next month, said its caretaker at the University of Michigan's botanical gardens.

The unusually old specimen has called Ann Arbor home since 1934. It grew to 28 feet tall after a rapid growth spurt last spring that preceded its flowering, which ended last year. Once it stopped flowering, the agave went into rapid decline, which is normal for the species, said Mike Palmer, horticulture manager at the school's Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

"There's really no value to leaving it up anymore, because it's going downhill so quickly," he said.

The agave produced "tons" of seeds, including one pod that contained 86 of them, Palmer said. Students have been picking viable seeds that will be distributed to botanical gardens throughout the U.S. Some seedlings will be sold in the university's garden store.

FULL story at link.

In a Feb. 17, 2015 photo, a 20-plus-foot-tall plant that has lived an unusually long 80 years at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Mich., is done flowering for the one and only time in its life and will be chopped down next month. Matthaei Botanical Gardens horticulture manager Mike Palmer says the American agave will have its 20-plus-foot-long stalk chopped down sometime in March. The agave completed its one-time-only flowering process last year. The agave that has called Ann Arbor home since 1934 started growing rapidly taller last spring, an indicator it was preparing to bloom. (AP Photo/Mike Householder)

Read more: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_FLOWER_AND_DIE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

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