Visitors flock to Ann Arbor for plant's lone bloom

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Visitors flock to Ann Arbor for plant's lone bloom
In this June 18, 2014 photo provided by the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens, flower buds are ready to bloom on an American agave plant at the University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, Mich. The 80-year-old American agave plant that will flower once then die is close to doing the former. Housed at the University of the Michigan since 1934, the plant has been growing so rapidly since the spring that it now stands over 27 feet _ too tall for the conservatory, which removed a pane of glass to make room. (AP Photo/University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens)
In this June 13, 2014 photo provided by the University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens, an American agave plant grows through the roof at the University of Michigan's Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, Mich. The 80-year-old American agave plant that will flower once then die is close to doing the former. Housed at the University of the Michigan since 1934, the plant has been growing so rapidly since the spring that it now stands over 27 feet _ too tall for the conservatory, which removed a pane of glass to make room. (AP Photo/University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens)
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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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