Agave virginica

Lee Poulsen
Mon, 08 Jun 2009 22:46:42 PDT
But it would be nice to have some kind of term to refer to the type of 
plants where the specific individual plant that produced a flower, even 
if it has formed a clump, will no longer form any more flowers and is 
going to die away. I've had to explain this several times to different 
non-botanical friends who planted bananas and expected the same plant 
they planted to keep on producing bunches of bananas year after year 
just like all their "other fruit trees". I tell them that they need to 
leave some of the "baby plants" or "suckers" that form alongside the 
main plant, because they'll be the ones to produce fruit in subsequent 
years, ad infinitum.

It's also useful to me when I'm contemplating purchasing a plant I 
haven't grown before, so that I know to save seeds or leave the offsets 
to grow so that I can continue to enjoy it after the original plant I 
planted dies away.

Also, clearly it shouldn't be referred to as an annual or biennial 
because the time from seed to flower and fruit isn't defined by the 
specific number of seasons it has been growing.

Aren't there a few palms and most bamboos that also have this 
characteristic of dying after they flower and fruit? And according to 
_Charlotte's Web_, spiders have this characteristic, too.  ;-)

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

Tony Avent wrote:
> Dylan:
> Sorry to have opened the worm can.  I agree that monocarpic isn't a 
> great term for agaves, despite it's origin as Jim well described.  Some 
> agave species act like bromeliads  and the rosettes die after 
> flowering.  Species like A. parviflora, striata and other non-suckering 
> species flower and then offset on the same stem, then start growing 
> again.  Multiannual doesn't fill the niche, since the nature of the word 
> seems contradictory....multi - annual.
--Lee Poulsen Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

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