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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
The plant is commonly called a century plant, because it supposedly blooms that often. That's a misnomer, but they do bloom rarely. Ours took 20 years. After it blooms, it dies, as you can see in the one above, with its flattened leaves. It's technically an agave, and it's what they make tequila from in Mexico. THey're harvested just before they bloom, because the bole swells with water. It's dug up, boiled, and, well, I don't want to go into that.

They're very scenic in other places, but if you live next to one you realize it could star in a horror movie. Wasn't there a movie about walking plants called The Day of the Triffids? There was a book, at least. That tall thing is a single flower. Ours was nearly forty feet tall, but we live in a wetter area. The ones above, in Langtry, in west Texas, are smaller.

First, they shoot up a stalk:



The stalk branches out at the top:



And then florettes appear on the stalks:



I haven't even gotten to the science fiction part yet.
 

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Discussion Starter · #23 ·
marianner said:
I love Texas wildflowers! Beautiful pictures, Brassman!
Glad you liked them! I don't want anyone to think that Texas wildflowers generally grow in giant patches of one of a kind. Usually, they're all mixed up. Here are some examples from our yard:



and



and



Tomorrow I'll demonstrate why the maguey cactus flower (the century plant flower) is the flower from hell. Weird! Spooky!
 

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You know, you've mentioned Judge Roy Bean several times.

Did you know he is buried at the Whitehead Museum in Del Rio? Alongside his son Sam, who was a Deputy for Val Verde County - Del Rio is the county seat. http://www.whiteheadmuseum.org/Exhibits/jersey_lil.htm

Sam Bean was the first law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty in Val Verde county. He died May 5, 1907 after being stabbed while on duty at Brown Plaza in Del Rio. Sam was the Jidge's youngest son and named for the Judge's brother.
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I've read a good bit about the Judge and visited the center in Langtry dozens of times. When you travel with kids, it's a welcome stop on a lonely road. I can still see them holding those earphones against their ears as they listened to the spiel in front of each diorama window.

I've been through Del Rio many times, but never stopped for any attraction except the Val Verde winery.  ;D  Next time I'm there I'll research it better.

My dad was a prof at UTEP. One of his colleagues was a woman who must now be quite elderly who told me her dad worked on the railroad in the old days and she spent her early years in Langtry, with the Judge still alive...I think. At any rate, one of her earliest childhood memories was her mother refusing to let her go outside because there was a dead body in the street.
 

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BrassMan said:
I've read a good bit about the Judge and visited the center in Langtry dozens of times. When you travel with kids, it's a welcome stop on a lonely road. I can still see them holding those earphones against their ears as they listened to the spiel in front of each diorama window.

I've been through Del Rio many times, but never stopped for any attraction except the Val Verde winery. ;D Next time I'm there I'll research it better.

My dad was a prof at UTEP. One of his colleagues was a woman who must now be quite elderly who told me her dad worked on the railroad in the old days and she spent her early years in Langtry, with the Judge still alive...I think. At any rate, one of her earliest childhood memories was her mother refusing to let her go outside because there was a dead body in the street.
Those dioramas and headphones are now set up at the Whitehead, donated by the state. I remember them from Langtry and from Del Rio.

I grew up just down the street from the winery and knew the Qualias well. Oldest bonded winery in Texas. Thw grapes are all descended from Italy. Great wine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Is that cool! I have a bottle of their sherry, I think, that was so expensive (by my standards) that I haven't opened it after 15 years. I bet it's corked by now. I bought two though. I drank the other one.

Funny. I thought Del Rio was just a truck stop and a boat yard and an Air Force base until we searched out the winery. Neat neighborhoods back there. Sorry we didn't know you were there!
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Here's the weird part about the maguey bloom. If the plant is way out in the desert, no problem. But if you have one in your garden, big problem.

A couple pictures above show the florettes as they bloom. There are probably 50 to 100 of them. Now let's take a closer look.

First, they make buds:



Then, each one of them sprouts:



Then, the sprouts mature into baby maguey plants:



Then they fall off--in the garden, in the yard, or wind-blown onto the roof and then to the other side of the house. Hundreds of them take root, everywhere, and you'd better dig them up before they get very big or they'll take over the whole area. One of the sprouts started growing while trapped between two boards of our back deck. The plant from hell, I tell you!

The only good news is that you can let the whole giant flower die and dry out, cut it down, and make a Christmas tree out of it.
 
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