A rare blooming at the Montreal Botanic Garden is about to occur. The flowers of this 25-year-old agave plant, a Mauritius hemp (Furcraea foetida), will open in the next few days – for the first, and last, time. The agave will produce thousands of bulbils on the flower stalk or offsets at its base, which will allow it to reproduce vegetatively. As the plant’s Latin name suggests, while these blooms may be extraordinary, not everyone will necessarily be very fond of the flowers’ fragrance! Once it has finished flowering, the plant will gradually die back, as is the case for most members of this family. For the time being, the Mauritius hemp flower stalk is growing several centimetres a day, and is already nearly 9 metres tall! Part of the glass in the greenhouse roof has had to be removed for it, in fact.
Denis Barabé, a botanist at the Botanical Garden, brought this Mauritius hemp to the Botanical Garden in 1986, after collecting a plantlet in the wild, on Mount Bourda, in Cayenne, French Guyana. It was entered in the Garden’s records on December 3 of that year, becoming the 2,182nd plant entered in the 1986 collection records. Mr. Barabé has worked at the Montréal Botanical Garden since 1976 and is also a researcher at the plant biology research institute (IRBV).
For more, go to http://www2.ville.montreal.qc.ca/jardin/jardin.htm