Desert century-plantís succulent, sword-like, blue-green leaves with sharp, marginal teeth and a stiff, terminal spine form a basal clump 2 ft. high and up to 6 ft. wide. When the plants are 8-20 years old they send up a sturdy, 6-9 ft., flowering stalk bearing large, mounded clusters of pale yellow, tubular flowers. After setting fruit, the entire plant dies. The dried seed capsules remain conspicuous for many months.
The Century Plant is a member of the agave family (family Agavaceae). Agaves are stout plants with woody stems or stem-bases, often tall, even tree-like, the long and narrow leaves crowded in rosettes at ends of stems or branches, a stout rapidly growing flower stalk arising from the rosette. Century Plants do not take a century to flower, but it may take them several decades to store enough food reserves to supply the rapidly growing stalk and mature the seeds. Then the rosette, often representing the entire plant, dies.
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