Any Botanically gifted persons out there...

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 20:39
ThreadID: 65413 Views:1752 Replies:8 FollowUps:8
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HI everyone,
I am trying to find the common and botanical name of a large spikey plant, possibly a type of cactus. It grows quite a few metres tall and wide - each leaf is large and ends in a sharp spike. Leaves are green with yellow edges.
I just noticed yesterday it is coming out in 1 flower - about 3 metres high from centre like a giant asparagus stalk.
Just want to know more details about it - how often does it flower and how long do flowers last etc.
Sorry I do not have a good photo - but on the attached you can see this plant on RHS behind edge of old shed.

Image Could Not Be Found

Thanks for any help or references etc.
Cheers,
GPM
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Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 20:51

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 20:51
Hi Saharaman,
Try doing a Google search on 'Agave'. If it is an Agave it may one that is sometimes known as the 'Century Plant' as only flowers every thirty years or so. The very large flower spike may grow to about 5 metres and the plant may die after flowering.

.
AnswerID: 345904

Follow Up By: Supercalafreakinawesome- Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 20:52

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 20:52
Bugger you beat me LOL
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FollowupID: 613905

Follow Up By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 21:32

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 21:32
Thanks,
Yes I am pretty sure it is an agave. But which species - there are 225 species apparently. I am still researching that. Its not attenuata though - different type of leaves - ours are long and narrow. Bit more like an americanna than a attenuata but its not that one either.
I will keep looking.
Thanks,
GPM
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Reply By: Supercalafreakinawesome- Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 20:52

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 20:52
Hi GPM,

I don't have any botanical knowledge but it looks a bit like a Agave attenuata or Century Plant ?

Cheers
AnswerID: 345905

Follow Up By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 21:29

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 21:29
Thanks.
It most likely is an agave but not the attenuata variety.
Apparently there are 225 species of agave - so it is one of them. It is that type of plant. But the leaves on ours are long (about a metre) and narrow with a very sharp spilke on them.
Cheers,
GPM

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Reply By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 21:09

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 21:09
Thanks for the response.
I googled agave and am still looking at various species. But it does not look to be attenuata. The leaves are very long - probably a metre or more and very narrow and sharp. Im sure if you fell into one of these plants it would kill you - the spikes are sharp and strong.
It looks a bit more llike the americanna variety than the attenuata.
I will keep looking at the agave though -it could belong to this family.
Any further suggestions welcome.
Cheers,
GPM

AnswerID: 345912

Follow Up By: Member - John R (QLD) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 21:58

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 21:58
Could it be sisal hemp (Agave sisalana)? These were planted with the idea of growing fibre for ropes, I believe.

Cheers, John
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Follow Up By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 22:57

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 22:57
Thanks John but I dont think it is sisalana either.
But it could be used for rope making I guess as the leaves are long and narrow.
I am going up to our bush retreat tomorrow (where the plant is) so I will take a specific photo so I will start a new post tomorrow night with clearer pictures if you are interested to have a look.
Thanks
GPM
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Reply By: Member - Scrubcat (VIC) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 23:15

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 23:15
G`day GPM,
If it meets this description I reckon it`s an Australian native "DORYANTHES EXCELSA" or common name of " GYMEA LILY" .
Described as ===
" Large sword shaped leaves to 1m long, and huge red flower heads on long storks some meters above the foliage. It is a large hardy plant that takes many years to flower."

So mate looks like you have something special .

Cheers,
Scrubby
I don`t know where i`m going but i`m enjoying the journey.

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AnswerID: 345928

Follow Up By: Member - Scrubcat (VIC) - Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 23:22

Sunday, Jan 25, 2009 at 23:22
I just Googled Gymea Lily , heaps of info and photos.
I dont know how to put them on here.

Scrubby.
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Reply By: Member - Mal and Di (SA) - Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 00:04

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 00:04
Looks like an Aloe Vera to me.
M.
AnswerID: 345933

Reply By: Flywest - Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 01:30

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 01:30
Try kiwi Flax plant

Cheers
AnswerID: 345938

Follow Up By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 07:03

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 07:03
Thanks
I dont think it is Doryanthes Excelsa or Kiwi Wax plant either. It is far bigger than these appear to be and the leaves are more rigid - they do not bend even when old. Our plant is huge and could be anywhere up to 50 years old (if planted at same time as old gnarled mango tree nearby) and this may be the first (and last) time it has (will) flowered.
As yet I have not seen the flower open but we are going up to bushretreat (where plant is) for Australia day for a bush BBQ (real wood fire - no gas here).
I will take a better picture and post tonight to see if we can get an exact identification of it. So far it seems closest to Agave americanna and may be one of the sub species of that species.
Thanks for your interest though.
Cheers,
GPM
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Reply By: Member - Kiwi Kia - Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 07:15

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 07:15
Hi again, When you next see the plant I would be most interested to know if the sap or flower has any perfume / odour.
AnswerID: 345943

Follow Up By: Saharaman (aka Geepeem) - Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 08:59

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 08:59
Will do - Ill check it out today
Cheers
GPM
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Reply By: landed eagle - Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 08:23

Monday, Jan 26, 2009 at 08:23
If it is one of the 'century plants' that's a huge one. Where I live there are plenty of these things about in front yards. Most houses were built in the early 70's and nearly all have a few of these plants. Through 2007, heaps of them flowered with massive stalks and flower heads.
Problem is that the plants must expend so much energy producing the flower spike that they die afterwards.Although I have seen one that's still going after its owner stuck a chainsaw through the spike. I assume that stopped it producing seed. Or maybe it's just good luck.
AnswerID: 345956

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