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Tall Tale

August 17, 2010


Remember this guy? The agave potatorum that suddenly sprouted a remarkable asparagus stalk about a week ago? Three days ago I posted that the sprout was just over a foot tall (left), and I thought that was pretty outstanding … well, I measured it again today and it’s now almost 28 inches long — it’s more than doubled! So, even though it’s over 100-degrees outside and everything’s looking wilted and limp, this one’s still reaching for the sky. I’m on vacation this week, so I’ll be tracking the stalk’s growth each day, listing its measurement here with the current day’s picture in the top position each day. Thanks, Megan, for the idea … How big this stalk will get is anyone’s guess, so let’s make it really interesting by having a contest: The reader who most closely guesses the stalk’s length by Sunday, August 22nd, will win a small unframed print* of mine. Guesses will be accepted until 5pm (pst), Friday, August 20th. Get your guess in and good luck!

MONDAY: 28 inches

TUESDAY: 33 inches (+5 inches)

WEDNESDAY: 37 inches (+4 inches)

THURSDAY: 43 inches (+6 inches)

FRIDAY: 45 inches (+2 inches)

See you end-of-day Sunday for the final stalk length and to announce the winner.

*Print is 8.5″ x 11″, from a series of black and white line drawings, and signed by yours truly. Winner will choose one of three: ‘Flor’, ‘Arabesque’ and ‘The Fearless Mantis’.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. August 17, 2010 2:17 am

    Cool. Hope there are many pups in your future.
    108″ ?

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 17, 2010 3:22 am

      Wow! I’d be shocked… but still not surprised… can’t wait!

  2. August 17, 2010 2:34 am

    I’ll say 78″….and I can’t wait to see more pictures!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 17, 2010 3:23 am

      Here’s hoping … and, I hope there’s a flower at the end of all this, too

  3. August 17, 2010 7:57 pm

    I say 92 inches by Friday. Hope you’re having a good week off!

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 17, 2010 9:18 pm

      Hey, Shraddha… thanks for guessing but you might want to amend it: the cut-off for guesses is Friday, the final measurement will be taken on Sunday… good luck!

  4. Rob Roy MacGregor permalink
    August 18, 2010 4:08 am

    Great pics, I would like to guess 80 inches if measured on sunday.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 18, 2010 4:44 am

      OMG: 20 feet! I can’t wait to see what happens on Sunday…

  5. Rob Roy MacGregor permalink
    August 18, 2010 4:11 am

    the overall inflorescence has the potential to grow as high as 20 ft.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 18, 2010 4:51 am

      Inflorescence is my new favorite word, thanks, Rob

  6. August 18, 2010 4:23 am

    Oh hell, I never win anything, but I hereby guess 63 inches, after using totally inept mathematic calculations. My stairwell features a black and white gallery , so this prize would serve me well !

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 18, 2010 4:45 am

      Keep your fingers crossed, Kathy! Thanks for guessing…

  7. NRB permalink
    August 19, 2010 6:34 pm

    I guess 42.5 inches. What are you feeding this thing? Cialis??

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 19, 2010 6:57 pm

      … Naughty, Nancy!

  8. August 19, 2010 11:32 pm

    I’m skidding in just under the deadline. My A. potatorum gave this same show last summer. I’m going with 76 inches. Looks like yours has pups, which mine didn’t. More fun than counting beans in a jar…

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 19, 2010 11:46 pm

      Thanks for guessing, Denise… did your agave eventually flower?

  9. August 20, 2010 6:41 pm

    I’m inclined to give everyone a botany lesson. Just know that all Agaves live one full life cycle. That is they grow from seed and bloom and die. The life cycle can be anywhere from 7 years to 40 years (much longer in habitat). The term to describe the one time bloom is “monocarpic”. Annuals are by definiton “monocarpic” and perennial plants that bloom every year have different botanic terms to describe their repeating cycles. “Monocarpic” is not exactly proper for Agaves, as the definiton assumes it all happens in a single year, but since we don’t have another term, we use it.

    The best is yet to come Reubin. The bloom stalk will now begin to branch (panicles) and then the branches will produce flower buds and flower. That bloom stalk will produce more than 1 million seeds, but none will grow natually in our climate. More pictures please!

    Those cute little pups on the side of mom will make great replacements in the pot.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 20, 2010 8:19 pm

      Buck, thanks for the awesome lesson. I’m going to assume that because you posted this comment you wouldn’t mind my sharing this with readers in the form of a post… Such great info needs to be shared!

  10. reubix1 permalink*
    September 17, 2010 3:43 pm

    Hi, the potatorum hasn’t flowered yet, but when it does I’ll be sure and post on it. I can’t wait to see what the blooms look like


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