|The American aloe (Agave americana), also known as the century plant|
|Several century plants in bloom|
In Mexico, the plant is a very useful source of material. If the stalk is cut off before it has grown very long, a pool of sap will appear. This can then be used for such things such as making a popular drink which can then be fermented and distilled. The pith can even be used for insulation.
|Close up of the flowers|
Here is a photo diary of a century plant that bloomed in 2007 at Longwood Gardens after being there for ten years. A window pane of the greenhouse it was being kept in had to be removed to accommodate the stalk. Another plant at the Bronx Park Botanical Gardens bloomed after being there for fifty years.
Sources are Time Magazine, University of Arizona, and Longwood Gardens. Images are from Wikimedia Commons under creative commons licenses or are copyright free: one, two, three.