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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - May 02, 2007

From: Ooltewah, TN
Region: Southeast
Topic: General Botany, Cacti and Succulents
Title: 20 years to bloom
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

My girlfriend and i have come up with an interesting question, we were wondering if there is a plant in existance that takes over 20 years to bloom, and how many different kinds (if any) there are? We have bien pondering this for quite some time now and we can't figure out what to search for, any help would be greatly appreciated.

ANSWER:

There are a large number of plants that take over twenty years to bloom. For example, many Agaves typically bloom every 8 to 20 years. The plant produces a single flower stalk 10 feet tall during the spring or summer and then dies. Colonies are maintained by "pups" or offsets that grow from the base of parent plants. Many species of bamboo can take even longer to bloom. Bamboo goes from 20 to over 100 years between flowering. Try searching the web for "Century Plant" or "Bamboo" to learn more about these species.

 

From the Image Gallery


Parry's agave
Agave parryi

Havard's century plant
Agave havardiana

Maguey mezortillo
Agave univittata

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