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Family: Agavaceae, Agave Family
Blooms in: Late Spring, Early Summer
Habitat Preferred: Ubiquitous in Verde Valley Area
Photo taken at: Dry Creek 9/99
Bloom Color: Yellow/Orange/Red spikes start out like giant stalks of asparagus, are then topped by a glorious bouquet.
Other Common Names: Parry's Agave
Comments: Century Plants bloom only once in their life, the blooming spike is so large and grows so fast that it saps all the resources of the plant, which then dies, leaving a tall wooden seed stalk. The plant is called the "century plant" because of this "once a century" bloom (actually the plant lives an average of 25 years). It was also an important plant to indigenous people, being used for medicines, fiber, needles, and food.
Further Reference & Sources: Andrew Cooper's Cactus Page; "A Field Guide to the Plants of Arizona", Anne Orth Epple, 1995, Falcon Press