For approximately 35 years, Helen Kinyon has waited and watched. And finally, that waiting and watching has come to an end.
It all began when Helen lived in Ashland and she acquired a Century plant and planted it in her garden. It resided there for approximately 10 years before Helen moved to Eagle Point to be closer to her daughter. And, of course, her Century plant moved with her. It sat in her garden for many years, being the cactus it is until this year, when something unusual began happening.
Just a few weeks ago, a shoot begin poking out of the plant, and literally reached for the sky. It has reached more than 12 feet high, and bright yellow blooms began extending from the main stem in the familiar pattern. According to Wikipedia, the misnamed century plant typically lives only 10 to 30 years. It has a spreading rosette (about 4 m/13 ft wide) of gray-green leaves up to 2 m (6.6 ft) long, each with a spiny margin and a heavy spike at the tip that can pierce to the bone.
When it flowers, the spike with a flower head of big yellow flowers may reach up to 8 m (26 ft) in height. Its common name likely derives from its nature of flowering only once at the end of its long life. The plant dies after flowering, but produces suckers from the base, which continue its growth.
Helen’s Century plant has decided it is time to produce the splendor for which it is well known, and then give way to the new shoots that will become the main plant and the process will start anew.
Helen is totally amazed and hopeful that others will have an opportunity to view this spectacle. While the dimensions of the plant may not be the same as those quoted in Wikipedia, Helen’s plant is spectacular and is a sight well worth seeing. The Century Plant is more commonly known as Agave, a common plant in Mexico, though it has adapted to many other parts of the world.