Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Come see Macdougall's Giant Century Plant


You’ll have to beat the cockatoos, which have already broken a few branches from this towering inflorescence (as they do when our grass trees try to flower in the Cadi Jam Ora Garden). Courtesy of Senior Horticulturalist Dawson Ougham, I can not only provide a photograph, but the following information on this rare species.

Furcraea macdougallii (Macdougall’s Giant Century Plant) grows in dry thorn forest on mountains near Tehuantepec – in Oazaca, Mexico – but only at around 1000 m in altitude. This species has an extremely limited distribution in the wild and is rare in cultivation. It's the first time we’ve had one in flower.

Our specimen was planted in 1988 but I’m not sure how mature it was then. As most of you would know, ‘century plants’ tend not to flower every 100 years – each species has its own cycle. And like agaves (in the same plant family), Fucraea macdougallii has one flowering splurge then dies, so we will collect seed or plantlets from the spent inflorescence.

The flowers aren’t open yet but given the cockatoo situation it might be worth taking a peek at the buds now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very huge