80-year-old plant will finally bloom, then die

Flower stalk from the Matthaei Botanical Gardens at the University of Michigan. (Courtesy Facebook)

Flower stalk from the Matthaei Botanical Gardens at the University of Michigan. (Courtesy Facebook)

QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 11:35 AM ET

An 80-year-old agave plant at the University of Michigan is set to bloom, after which it will die.

The plant has been at the school's botanical gardens since it was collected in Mexico in 1934. The Matthaei Botanical Gardens reported this week the flower buds on the plant are just taking on an "orangey blush."

"Colouring of the buds is often a sign that they're preparing to bloom. Could this be? We wish we knew, but the agave is a rule-breaker," officials said on the gardens' Facebook page.

This plant has lasted much longer than expected. The American agave usually blooms after 10 to 25 years. It blooms once, then dies.

The flower stalk has grown more than 8 m (27 feet) and a pane of glass had to be removed from the greenhouse to allow it to continue to grow.

An agave plant bloomed at the Muttart Conservatory in Edmonton, Alta., in Dec. 2012. It was planted 35 years before it bloomed.


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