16 August 2009

Agave Blossoms on Coming


Coming St., Charleston, S.C.

This Agave plant has been putting on such a show on upper Coming St. I kept trying to remember to get up there to get a picture but by this morning I had already missed the real show of blossoms. The folks at 53 Cannon didn't though! They caught it in full bloom.

Here is the scoop on this unusual plant: Agave or Century Plant Agave
The Agave americana is often called the century plant because was reputed to bloom only once in 100 years, but that's an exaggeration. It does only bloom once in its lifetime, but usually between 7 and 20 years. The main plant then dies, but most species produce shoots that will take over and grow to maturity. Beautiful flower spikes reach for the sky in many, including the Century Plant Agave americana which can have a bloom spike up to 40 feet (12 meters) high!

Perhaps one of the best known uses for agave is the production of tequila, which has long been a vital industry in Mexico. Tequila is made from the fermented and distilled juices, called aquamiel or "honey water," produced by the agave just before it flowers. In 1999, Mexico exported some 21 million gallons (80 million liters) of tequila to the United States, and the current annual value of these exports is about 200 million dollars. In fact, the agave plants grown on plantations are so valuable that they must be protected from agave rustlers!

I hope everyone is having a good weekend. I had brunch at the Med Bistro with my friend Estelle. Tried to go to Three Little Birds but I'm simply not willing to wait for a table for brunch and there was a crowd waiting at 11 a.m.