Saturday, April 11, 2009

Swaying in the Breeze



The inflorescence on my Agave lophantha stalk still hasn't bloomed. I showed the stalk's rapid growth to sixteen feet in previous posts, and assumed the flower buds would open as soon as the stalk stopped growing. For the past three weeks it has just been sitting there, soaking up the sun and swaying in the breeze. Maybe it's resting, just biding time before the finale.





Right down the street from my house is a different type of Agave stalk. This Agave vilmoreana stalk is covered with bulbils, or plantlets. These grow from a bud at the base of each flower. Each bulbil is a miniature clone of the parent plant. The bulbils can stay attached to the stalk for long periods and grow larger and larger. As time passes, the plantlets will fall off the stalk and some may take root. If someone wants to plant a bulbil, they can just pull it off the stalk and plant, rather than wait for it to fall off naturally. They come right off, but care must be taken to keep the whole bulbil intact so that roots can develop once planted. There must be hundreds of baby plantlets on this stalk!



Here is another neighborhood Agave with a different type of inflorescence called a raceme. Depending on the species, some start blooming from the top, and others from the bottom, as this one is doing. There are two other types of stalks. One is called a panicle, or candelabra, and the other is a spike.

I think my Agave raceme will start from the top. No particular reason for thinking that--it's just fun to speculate while I wait.

13 comments:

Julie said...

Hi Aiyana! What great phots and info on the Agave stalks and blooms! They are so different...it is so interesting!!! Can't wait to see yours bloom!!!

Phoenix C. said...

What a wonderful photo! Sixteen feet? I can just picture it swaying in the breeze!

The variety of plant life never ceases to amaze me.

keewee said...

Quite a spectacular bloom indeed.

jodi (bloomingwriter) said...

Wow, Aiyana, I'm envious of your 16 foot inflorescence. Here, it would break off or be blown over in the not-so-congenial gales, I'm sure. That is, if it survived the mumblety-leven feet of snow we endured this winter.

Ashraf shreif said...

Nice photo ,i do not see any Agave is blooming in my collection from 15 years .

Lythrum said...

That is an awesome picture. :)

beckie said...

I've been wondering if your agave had ever bloomed. Waiting along with you. :) Very interesting about the other types and such great photos.

Garden Wise Guy said...

Aiyana: How does that Agave remain upright? I must have a keel that goes down 20' just to keep it from tipping. Love the shot of all the closed buds.

Also, thanks for stopping by my blog.
I'm so busy trying to retire, I hardly have a chance to read anyone's blogs these days. Nice to catch up again.

nikkipolani said...

My goodness, Aiyana! Jack and the beanstalk's got nothing on your agave! This is the first year I've seen my aloe bloom. I thought the yellow little bud-like things would open, but it seems that's all it does.

kate smudges said...

Wow, that is amazing. I am looking forward to seeing pictures of the flower stalk as it begins blooming. It's interesting to see the different types of flower stalks.

Pam/Digging said...

Your agave flower spike sure has mine beaten in height. Very impressive. I look forward to seeing it in bloom.

WiseAcre said...

Gee my next hurts just looking at the first photo. Outstanding image.

verobirdie said...

WOW, I had not seen those! Very impressive!