The epic flowering of Port Arthur’s Century Plant

February 11, 2016

As regular followers of our social media channels will be aware, we have a very special botanical event underway at the Port Arthur Historic Site (and if you don’t follow us on Facebook and Instagram, you really should!)

Our Century Plant (Agave americana) is flowering, and putting on a pretty spectacular display right in front of the Commandant’s House.

This native of Mexico and the southwestern USA lives typically for around 25-30 years. Near the end of its life it produces the huge flower spike that we’ve shown in previous posts. These buds will produce yellow flowers, after which the plant will die. It produces suckers from its roots which will take another 25 years or more to flower and repeat the cycle.

It is not unusual to find them in gardens of the Victorian era around Tasmania, including the garden at the residence of Port Arthur’s Commandant, where this specimen can be viewed. We love it’s cheery yellow blooms and simply cannot get over how majestic that flower spike is. It can be spotted from the other side of Mason Cove.

If you’d like to see it for yourself, you’d better be quick, as there’s unlikely to be another flowering for 25-30 years.

As of 10 February, the Century Plant is putting on a great show in front of the Commandant's residence

As of 10 February, the Century Plant is putting on a great show in front of the Commandant’s residence

10 february - the Century Plant is visible across Mason Cove

Tthe Century Plant is visible across Mason Cove

Century plant (agave americana) at Port Arthur, Tasmania. As at late January the flower buds have formed

By late January the flower buds have formed

Century plant (agave americana) at Port Arthur, Tasmania. As at late January the flower buds have formed

Century plant (agave americana) at Port Arthur, Tasmania. As at late January the flower buds have formed

This is a terrible photo, but by 22 December, the flower heads were forming

This is a terrible photo, but by 22 December, the flower heads were forming

The flower spike looks like a huge spear of asparagus by early December

By early December, the flower stalk really did look for all the world like a giant asparagus spear.

The flower spike is just over 20 feet tall.

The flower spike is just over 20 feet tall.