The #CenturyPlant as seen at the #SFBotanicalGardens.
One of my favorite species, Century Plant got its name by mistake. Brought to England from the Caribbean after exploration of the region, the plant was put in a pot and housed in a warm conservatory.
100 years later it bloomed. The phallic stems can grow inches in a day and as word spread people came from far and wide to line up for a chance to view this “once a century” transformation of the plant.
In today’s times it would be like their bringing home a rock from Mars and after 100 years of sitting in a museum, it suddenly began to change and send up an 18 foot pole from its middle.
So they named it the “Century Plant” for its blooming once every hundred years… But they were wrong!
Out of a pot, in its native environment, the agave blooms in about 8 years.
When I lived in St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands, I was surprised to find the locals cut the bloom down and paint it various colors and use it as their Christmas Tree!
A freakish ending to the tale, after the bloom dies, so does the plant with it. In an orgiastic release the bloom sends off the best of the plants chance for survival and then dies off altogether.
So many life lessons in the story of the Century Plant.
– in the wrong environment one takes 10 times longer to bloom
– people are starved for the unusual and remarkable, and sometimes being in a different environment, albeit risky and uncomfortable, can gain one great notoriety.
– thriving with one’s own tribe and in one’s native environment leads to a proliferation that supports the creative expansion of others.
– sometimes our best chance for survival requires we, ourselves, sacrifice to give the next generation a chance.
– people will call you names and label you based on their perceptions, which need not have any basis in our individual reality.
– when we are in alignment and have done the work, we can sprout, achieving remarkable growth in no time.
For now, I will simply continue my wander through the succulents here in the garden. This is not my native environment, but it’s being so sparks great enthusiasm for the vastness of creation.