Tags: 80-year-old | agave | plant | cut down

80-Year-Old Agave Plant Cut Down After Finally Flowering and Dying

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 05:24 PM

An 80-year-old agave plant at the University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens was cut down Wednesday after flowering and dying decades past its expected lifespan.

"It was time to take it down. It was the natural process for the agave to die after it flowers and sets seeds. We didn't pronounce its death. It died naturally," horticulture manager Mike Palmer told MLive.com.

The normal lifespan of the agave plant is 25 to 35 years, and they rapidly die after flowering. Michigan’s 28-foot-tall plant was an anomaly, flowering last June after 80 years at the botanical gardens.

"We had to take the stalk down because the plant is basically dead, and we were afraid the base would become too unstable and fall over and crush other plants in the conservatory," Palmer told the Detroit Free Press. "The very base of it is still there. The leaves look really sad. In the next couple weeks we will be taking that out."

Officials gathered seed pods from the giant plant, and some seeds that were planted in December have emerged and are viable. They are on display in the conservatory.

Palmer said cutting down the plant brought mixed feelings for many people who have cared for it during the past eight decades.

“The story of this individual plant pulled the heartstrings of people," he told the Free Press.

It took about a minute for four workers to cut down the plant, a variegated form of the American agave, which is native to Mexico and the American Southwest.

The stalk may be used to make musical instruments, including flutes and a didgeridoo.

A couple that will marry this weekend at the botanical gardens has requested a seedling for the ceremony, The Associated Press reported.

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An 80-year-old agave plant at the University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens was cut down Wednesday after flowering and dying decades past its expected lifespan.
80-year-old, agave, plant, cut down
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2015-24-08
Wednesday, 08 Apr 2015 05:24 PM
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