Strange Plant in Ocean Park

Jack’s Beanstalk Cousin

It’s a fairy tale plant!

it must be kin to Jack’s beanstalk.

That’s all you can think when you come upon a blooming agave.

The bloom stem from the agave, commonly called a century plant, can grow between 20-and-30-feet tall.

The yellow flowers are as big or bigger than dinner plates and seem to be sky high.

Recently. I was reminded that it’s bloom time for some agaves by Anne Kane, who said there was one on Roanoke Avenue in Ocean Park in Virginia Beach and by Judy Kyle who reports there is one in Wareing’s Gym parking lot on 19th Street at the Beach where I took this photo.

There are 300 or more species of agaves, but the one that suspends belief is the century plant.

Though they do not take 100 years to flower, century plants may take decades to bloom.

The bloom stalk starts out as a spike growing up from a rosette of prickly cactus-like leaves, known as the mother plant.

The stalk slowly grows putting out its flowers as it reaches for the clouds.

For owners of a blooming agave, seeing the flowers is also tinged with sadness, because the bloom is the last hurrah of the mother plant.

But if she has been a good mother, there are smaller agaves, called pups, growing around the base of the main plant.

The pups, in turn, will take over and bloom some day.

But like their mama, you’ve got to give them plenty of time to grow up.

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