Walt's Look Around: Century Plant - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Century Plant

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

For 20 to 25 years, century plants don't do much of anything except grow bigger around and somewhat higher. But then, all of a sudden they do this. Put out a chute that goes straight up in the air. It doesn't grow this thing over night like Jack's beanstalk. But it grows it over the course of just a few weeks. That's pretty quickly compared to the years it didn't do much of anything. This one is in the yard of Ben and Amanda Bradley. And Amanda says it came as a gift to them, sort of a souvenir.  

"Well this particular one was given to us by the Norwood's. And the Norwood's son lived in Las Vegas. So, he brought us one and my husband set it out and that's been about 22 years ago," said Bradley.  

The babies or pups are really how the plant reproduces. It flowers so infrequently that it couldn't depend solely on making seeds. Doesn't make them that often. That's why they call it a century plant. It seems that it takes it a hundred years for it to bloom. But not really. They'll usually bloom after about 20 to 25 years or so. And when they bloom, it's the final act for the plant. 

"Well once the blooms come out, then it is going to kill the plant. It will take all its resources and kill that plant. It will eventually start squatting a little, a little bit more until it kills it," Bradley.  

But after it's gone, it's not like it's really gone. Because it leaves a lot of babies behind. 

"If you don't keep the babies dug out then you've got a big bunch of children just sitting around waiting for somebody to come and get them. But I've got enough babies to give everybody in Jackson some," said Bradley. 

Meanwhile, the stalk continues to attract neighbors who stop by asking what the plant is doing. 

 "One lady came by and stood her children out here and took pictures with it," said Bradley. 

This plant still has a little more blooming to do before it's through. It will form clusters of white bell-like blooms on its branches before it's over. But when it's over, it's over. Until the puppies start blooming around the year 2032 or so. 

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