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Visitors flock to Ann Arbor for plant's lone bloom

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) - A plant that has called the University of Michigan home for the past 80 years is about halfway through its one-time-only flowering process.

Matthaei (MATH'-eye) Botanical Gardens horticulture manager Mike Palmer says the American agave (uh-GAW'-vay) has about 10 to 14 more days of blooming.

Conservatory workers have been pollinating the agave by hand since its natural pollinators - the Mexican long-nosed bat and different types of moths - aren't around.

Once the flowering process is complete, the 28-foot-plant will die.

Native to Mexico and the American Southwest, the agave has been a hit in Ann Arbor since it started growing rapidly taller in April, an indicator it was preparing to bloom.

Visitor Carol Marantette of Grosse Pointe says she is excited to see a "once-in-a-lifetime" occurrence.

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abudotcom July 22 2014 at 3:04 PM

AOL.. PLEASE show this again in 10 to 14 days…

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1 reply
Iselin007 abudotcom July 22 2014 at 5:39 PM

Perhaps they can preserve the plant like they do with dried flowers.

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jcraft757 July 22 2014 at 2:59 PM


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Richard July 22 2014 at 10:46 PM

I do hope they show the bloom when it comes ----

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Aissa2 July 22 2014 at 3:08 PM

How magnificent. When it blooms again, some folks will not be alive.

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2 replies
Barbara Aissa2 July 22 2014 at 3:14 PM

They said that after it blooms it dies. So don't think it will be blooming in another 80 years.

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Iselin007 Aissa2 July 22 2014 at 5:42 PM

I guess it is like other plants it dies but the seeds left behind can be planted to grow new plants. Perhaps next time they will try a variety of tomato plants so the staff will not have to wait so long.

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sindfetish July 22 2014 at 2:59 PM

is this why Agave Tequila is so costly?

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2 replies
sianserais sindfetish July 22 2014 at 3:53 PM

Actually, no. The starches they use in the production of Tequila is taken from the core of the plant. In fact, they will cut off any masts that try to grow before the plant reaches full maturity.

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mikruce sindfetish July 22 2014 at 8:47 PM

are they going to ferment it and how much a bottle?

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Iselin007 July 22 2014 at 5:34 PM

I am sure that many of the students that have attended this school are no longer around themselves. Must be a a rare occurance to be a student now an get to witness the blooming and final days of this plant.

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mefurgerson July 22 2014 at 4:17 PM

It is called the Century Plant.

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sianserais July 22 2014 at 3:49 PM

We had plenty of these around Tucson, though of course relatively few bloom each year. I'm sure they can replace this one when it dies.

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Barbara July 22 2014 at 3:14 PM

Very sad that it will die after blooming.

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fsories July 22 2014 at 3:05 PM

I was waiting to see how my fellow aol readers managed to bring Barack Obama into the discussion. I guess I'm too early. Shucks! I know they'll find a way . . .

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6 replies
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