Putting on a final show

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IT’S been the talk of the neighbourhood.

The agave americana, or century plant, at Maree and Ivan Ladbrook’s property has taken about 29 years to flower, and now it’s about to die.

It’s a plant they were given 19 years ago by Mrs Ladbrook’s sister.

“She didn’t want it… I think it was 10 years old then.”

So it was replanted, more like just placed, in the corner of their property on Dyson St in South City, they said.

“It’s had such a rough life there with the grandkids and the neighbourhood kids.”

Over time the shiny, spiky-leaved plant grew a few leaves each year.

But it wasn’t just the children which threatened the massive plant’s existence.

“Ten years ago, Ivan wanted to dig it out. But I said ‘no, I want to be alive to see this thing flower’,” Mrs Ladbrook said.

And nine years later, it has.

The neighbourhood has been watching with interest, as the stem shot heavenwards and bunches of flowers blossomed.

Unfortunately because of the 6m-high stem and weight, it had fallen over and was now tied

A closer look at the century plant flowers, in Dyson St, Invercargill

in position.

The plant only flowers once before dying. However, suckers have been produced at the base which will continue to grow and may eventually replace the adult plant.

Mrs Ladbrook has offered a baby plant to anyone who wants one.

“If anyone wants a pup (sucker), then they can just call around.”

It’s easy to find, just look skywards.

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