Century Plant

Century Plant

Agave Americana

Native to: Mexico

Type: desert plant

Adaptations:

  • The succulent leaves of the century plant are adaptive to the dry environment this plant resides. The
  • Spiny edges of leaves offer protection

Look For:

  • Leaves: Note the succulence of the leaves, and the spiny edges.

Interesting facts:

  • This flower was named the “Century Plant” because it was believed to bloom once every one hundred years.  The real bloom period is closer to 20-30 years, depending on the plant, and only once in the plant’s lifetime.
  • The spikes of yellow flowers this plant produces may reach heights as high as 28 feet.
  • The leaves yield fibers, and are suitable for making ropes and cloth
  • The plant can be used for the production of the alcoholic beverage Pulque.  As the plant reaches maturity (taking up to 12 years), the center swells in preparation to send up the flower stalk.  In producing pulque, this center stalk is cut off and sap collects in the center. This sap is then fermented in Pulque production. Pulque has many traditional uses in Mexico and can still be found for purchase today. Another plant of the Agave Family, Agave Tequiliana, is used to produce Tequila.

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(Picture: www.flickr.com)

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