60 year wait for 'tequila plant' flower to bloom
A rare 15-FOOT-HIGH 'tequila plant' has finally flowered after keeping gardeners waiting for almost 60 YEARS.
The agave flower has been threatening to blossom for three months after its spike appeared in June and grew to 14.5 feet high at Cambridge University Botanic Gardens.
The plant, which smells like broccoli, is related to the family of plants which is used to make tequila and has been growing since 1962 - and now has finally flowered.
Staff said the long-awaited flower, dubbed an "asparagus on steroids", and is just touching the glasshouse roof, is "not as pretty as people might expect".
Agaves are monocarpic, which means they only flower once, set seed and then die.
The plant resembles a giant asparagus spear and is related to the vegetable as a member of the Asparagaceae family.
When the flower began to grow at an "impressive rate" of around 10cm a day - staff prepared for it to shoot through the roof of the glasshouse.
However, the agave stopped growing and bloomed on Monday night.
Assistant curator Dr Ángela Cano said: "Its flowers may not look as pretty as people might expect as there aren't any coloured petals.
"In the wild, pollinators are attracted by the massive inflorescence (flower structure), the yellow colour of the stamens, the smell of the flowers - broccoli-like - and the abundant nectar they produce." Staff believe it will remain in bloom for about a month before dying.