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Monocarpic Behavior in Agaves

Agave salmiana (pulque agave) in flower

High in the Sky

Most agaves are monocarpic (mono = one, carpic = fruit) meaning they only flower once, then the mother plant dies, leaving young offsets or pups. Flowering commonly takes 10-15 years to occur in a garden, and often 100 years in the wild. During flowering, a tall asparagus-like stalk or inflorescence called a "quiote"grows vertically from the center of the plant. When mature, this stalk may branch and produce many short tubular flowers.

Agaves are often called woody lilies. They form a rosette of thick fleshy leaves that each end in a sharp spine. They are low maintenance plants that perform best in well-drained soils and full sun.

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