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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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