The life and death of an amazing plant

The life and death of an amazing plant
Most people call it a century plant because the myth is it blooms once every 100 years. In fact, it flowers after 10 to 30 years. (Photo source: WLOX)
Most people call it a century plant because the myth is it blooms once every 100 years. In fact, it flowers after 10 to 30 years. (Photo source: WLOX)

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The century plant is truly a wonder of nature. Imagine a plant that grows, flowers and then dies.

The technical name for the unique plant is Agave Americana. Most people call it a century plant because the myth is it blooms once every 100 years. In fact, it flowers after 10 to 30 years. It can reach a height of 25 to 30 feet before it all ends for the one of a kind plant.

"It does its sprouting. Once it sprouts and gets to that height, it dies. That's its demise," said Howard Rutland.

The plant is native to Mexico and the southwestern United States. Someone planted one here at Rutland's house before he moved in and it has thrived.
The sprouts of vegetation at the top of the stalk may or may not fully flower.

The century plant is one of the most unusual species in nature. And as you can imagine, Howard Rutland's century plant is quite a topic of conversation in his subdivision. People who walk around the neighborhood watch the plant grow and grow and grow some more.

"Until it got to about 15 feet high they walked by every day and didn't really notice it. Now they come by and they know it's here. They look up and see how much it's grown," according to Rutland.

Ken Elliott lives across the street from Rutland and has enjoyed watching the plant flourish.

"I've lived long enough to see it. I didn't think I would ever see one of those before. People stop by and look up and take pictures. It's really great," Elliott said.

Howard Rutland's century plant is the talk of his Gulfport neighborhood.

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