Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Garfield Park Conservatory - Agave is flowering..

Apart from the beautiful exhibit, "Form in Flora", click here..
Here's another good reason to visit the Garfield Park Conservatory...

To see this plant jutting out of the Desert Room..
Its AGAVE, and it blooms only once in it's lifetime. It's flowering process takes over a year and the process has begun. The flower buds have started to form, and when they bloom, there will be about 50,000- to 100,000 individual flowers, blooming for about 4-6 months, and then the plant will die out. The flower stalk /mast, has become so tall that a glass panel from the roof of the Desert House had to be removed, and it has already jutted out about 3-4 feet above the roof..

The marker reads..
Our Agave is Flowering..
Agave grows very slowly and most flower only once. During flowering, a tall stem or "mast" grows from the center of the leaf rosette. After development of fruit this plant will die, but pups [root sprouts which become new plants] are often produced at the base of the stem.
- The flower stalk appeared in early August and will be pollinated bu bats and moths..
- The stalk look like giant asparagus, to which Agaves are related..
- the entire flower process takes about a year and the stalk will flowers for 4-6 months..
- The stalk in it's entirety will contain 50,000 - 100,000 individual flowers..
- The flower stalk will weight approx. 40 pounds..

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