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Surprise Showing

August 27, 2011

Night stalker

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 …

First view

… 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.

Upward spiral

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.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Miss Moni permalink
    August 27, 2011 5:41 am

    Mesmerizing ~ I feel like all it’s little hairs are tickling me is this spiral of life. The night shot’s make me feel like a deer caught in some headlights.

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 27, 2011 6:01 am

      It is fascinating… I hope it flowers!

  2. Vickie permalink
    August 27, 2011 6:28 am

    This world of plants just keep giving such wonderous surprises!! I just keep wanting to go to some of the places you’ve shown me here and on to others.

    And to think that I just hated it when my Gram and Mom made me to yard chores…

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 27, 2011 11:28 am

      Same here, Vicki… when I was a kid I hated yard chores and now they’re my favorite thing in life. Well, maybe not in 100ª weather but, you know!

  3. August 27, 2011 6:42 am

    I love it when something new flowers in a garden. The first time my Hymenocallis caribeae
    (Spider Lily Amaryllidaceae) bloomed, I was amazed and now eagerly await July every year to see it again. (But don’t tell the roses!)

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 27, 2011 11:31 am

      Succulents do have a way of surprising, one of the reasons I love ’em so much … Whether it’s changing to an entirely new color, sending up a way out of proportion flower stalk, or shape-shifting from spindly to broad, I’m hooked on their natural beauty!

  4. August 27, 2011 5:58 pm

    Nice show! Do you know if the flowers will turn to tiny plantlets like on some agaves?

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 27, 2011 6:47 pm

      HI, Loree, I don’t know if those plantlets will appear; i saw reference to pink/green flowers only… I checked the agave again this morning and it’s grown more … overnight!

  5. Britney Judge permalink
    August 30, 2011 11:55 am

    Beautiful. I can’t wait to see what it does … Oh, and Rancho was featured on Sunset magazine’s garden blog, Fresh Dirt, recently … check it out:

    http://freshdirt.sunset.com/2011/08/hot-links.html

    • reubix1 permalink*
      August 30, 2011 12:03 pm

      Hey, Britney, that makes 2 of us …

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