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mystery Agavaceae (or similar): botany question  RSS feed

 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Walking through a rich neighborhood yesterday, I saw a very interesting plant: a huge stalk something like a century plant would have, and from that sprays of little bulbs, each the size of a garlic clove, arced down about halfway to the ground.

The leaves were not succulent, and had mostly dried up. The bulbs had layers of green leaves showing already; some that had fallen to the sidewalk were beginning to poke roots out into the air. It seems to be a strategy somewhere between spider plants and walking garlic.

It looked like an easy-to-propagate, easy-to-control, low-maintenance source of prolific mulch and biomass, so I took a couple of the bulbs. The one with little roots went in the ground right as I got home, and seems to already have made progress, which is kind of surprising.

In trying to identify it on Wikipedia, I was surprised to learn century plants and spider plants are both in the Agavaceae family...maybe this plant is in that family too? I don't know much botany, so I wonder if this plant sounds vaguely familiar to one of you.
 
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