The misnamed Parry’s century plant, or Agavi parryi, actually grows for about 25-30 years before producing a 10-18 foot flower stalk that shoots forth at sometimes one foot per day, then dies. Yet it lives on by propagating itself with offshoots called pups.
The sharp points on the long roseate of ridged leaves should be avoided but were used in the past as needles, and a very strong fiber can be made from the leaves.
The century plant proved very useful to native peoples. The stem stores water and when young can be trimmed from the roots and leaves then baked. I want to try this but will need a little help to chop up one of these spikey plants, plus good gloves.
Starting about June the reddish buds will produce yellow flower clusters.
By winter the dried stalk makes an elegant spire against a clear blue sky. In fact the genus Agave is from the Greek word agavos for admirable, noble and splendid. And the dried stalk makes a good light-weight, sturdy walking stick.
This is not the species to make mescal or tequila from. For that you’ll need to go to Mexico to find the blue agave.
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