80-year old agave plant to produce one and only bloom, then die

    A plant housed at the University of Michigan for the past 80 years is about to flower for the only time in its life cycle. Or is it?

    The American agave began sprouting up at a pace of 6 inches a day in the spring and now juts out through an open space in the Matthaei Botanical Gardens‘ glass roof.

    The now-27-foot plant will flower once, then die.

    When that will happen is anyone’s guess.

    One of the agave’s buds this week took on an orange-like blush, a possible indicator that blooming is imminent.

    But Matthaei spokesman Joe Mooney says officials “have been guessing and speculating about when this particular agave is going to bloom for weeks and have been proven wrong every time.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal