Terminal bloom

Agave is a fascinating genus. Know why some people call it century plant? There’s a myth that it blooms once in 100 years. Not true, but the fish gets bigger with each telling, too.

Actually it can take 7-25 years for agave to bloom, depending on the species and sun/shade. But once it blooms, the plant dies. This is a terminal bloom.

Aren’t they impressive!? At that height the precious seeds, years of labor, don’t become animal food. Bats are a primary pollinator!

With that labor of reproductive hope, the agave dies. Pretty profound. Though caring for dogs seems like parenting, it has none of the legacy element. We expect they’ll die before us - and even if they didn’t, they won’t continue on our family or species.

There are dozens of agave azul en El Terreno, one that might even bloom while we’re around (picture in header).

If it starts to bloom, we could cut off the flowering stalk and make mezcal. But I can’t imagine working that hard. We can still eat the stalk, seeds, use the nectar, etc.

More likely I’ll harvest one from the hillsides, since there are dozens (probably hundreds if I walked further) in bloom. And other people are harvesting them, too.

Other succulents we’re enjoying include nopales and aloe. Agave is the most staggering and useful, of course.

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