What looks to be an photo of a sea urchin with a nice reach, is actually a night shot of my latest prize agave. Somehow in the midst of this late-summer heatwave, my agave multifilifera has decided to send up this quite-startling stalk. I first noticed the stalk pulling up to the property on Monday at the end of the day … and was thrilled! In the 3 years since I planted this small specimen at the rear of the property, I’d watched it grow, but not prodigiously … It seemed content enough, just not prone to showiness; even now, it’s only just over a foot in diameter. This picture was taken tonight, Friday, and the stalk here is over 24-inches in length, quite a feat when it looked like this on Monday …
… then, the stalk was almost 8-inches long. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; I’d never considered this type of agave the stalk-producing type. One of my favorites, agave multifilifera possess an unexpected appearance that includes contrasting coloration, rigid porcupine quill-like spines (which are devilishly sharp!) and the filifera, or small, curly, white fibrous ‘hairs’ that edge the quills …. and, there are tons of them, hence the name multifilifera. Adding the stalk to the list only makes me love this plant even more.
Taking a really close look at the base of the stalk, it looks like the quills have formed a vortex that had nowhere to go but up … more than tripling in length, in less than a week. I’ll be monitoring this agave’s stalk progression, hoping it will produce the pink/green flowers I’ve read about online. Interestingly, this agave hails from Mexico’s higher elevations, but its location at the Rancho is anything but, being at one of the lowest points here … Whatever, I’m just delighted it’s so happy where it is.
Coincidentally, it was at this time last year that my agave potatorum decided to put on a stalk show, too … if you missed those posts you can begin to read them by clicking here. In the end that agave’s stalk reached an amazing height of 90″! I don’t have the same expectation of my much-smaller multifilifera; online notes say its stalk should reach only 16″. It’s already surpassed that, however, so who knows?! Agaves evidently have minds of their own when it’s stalkin’ time. And, I wouldn’t have it any other way.