Sunday, June 30, 2013

Spectacular Plant

 
What is this anyway - a tree? Growing through the greenhouse roof?
 
I thought my funky plant (Tillandsia cyanea or Pink Quill Bromeliad) was spectacular, but it pales beside this amazing stalk at Allan Gardens in Toronto.
 
It is part of a succulent plant called agave Americana or Century Plant that is estimated to be about 75 years old. It's native to sunny, hot and arid places such as Mexico and Portugal. This agave, a resident of Allan Gardens in Toronto for about 50 years, has been quietly and innocuously just sitting there for all those years, no stalks, no flowers, no activity whatsoever, other than producing new leaves.


Photo: Raise the roof for Agave 
the gentle gardeners had cut out a hole at the roof for the fast growing Agave. I will keep watch for the progess
 
But now the plant has determined that the time is right and it has allowed this amazing stalk to shoot forth at a rapid rate. In March, when the stalk hit the greenhouse roof, a hole, just large enough for the stalk to fit though, was opened up and look at it now!

This is what the part of the plant still in the greenhouse looks like:
 
Agave americana plants
 

What looks like the branches of a tree are actually the flower bracts. The flowers will open from the bottom up and when flowering is over, the entire plant will die.



It's not a bromeliad, but I hope it's similar to Tillandsia cyanea in the way that a new plant emerges from the base of the "mother" plant to carry on.