Just as the Houston Museum of Natural Science was preparing to announce a naming competition for their new corpse flower, our very own photo editor-turned-acrobat Mario Pocoroba was balancing on ladder and roof in an effort to document the gradual passing of our agave plant, Happy Hour.
“I couldn’t let a once-in-a-12-year event like this pass without getting a couple cheesy shots on my cell phone as the granddaddy Agave reaches its demise…” he says, “And let me tell ya’ – damned hard to hold a cell phone steady on the end of a 15′ pole!”
As awkward and difficult as it was to shoot, we now have an excellent bird’s-eye-view of the agave’s illustrious inflorescence (clusters of flowers); its mighty spike that measured about 30 feet in height; and complex arrangement of its first and only flowering.
Plants such as our agave live between 10 and 30 years. At maturity it prepares for what is known as a “big bang” reproduction. Only occurring once and in the grandest fashion, it sacrifices its being by sending up a spike upon which a brilliant enormous “cyme” of closely-knit yellow flowers bloom.
Languishing in its corner for several weeks, our agave’s sacrifice is similar to ones made by Pacific salmon, cicadas and butterflies. Its death is bittersweet, but in its place are several healthy pups…and the cycle begins!