Furcraea selloa, alias false agave

If a huge stalk appears, culminating in a spray of flowers, you know it is the end of the plant. For eight years the variegated false agave has been an esteemed ornament at our driveway. Suddenly it performed a spectacular adieu. In a few weeks’ time, an asparagus-like pole reached a height of about 5 meters, where it revealed a mass of dangling yellow blossom.
Although losing a precious plant is sad, this one offers generously comfort: hundreds of plantlets sprout from the pole and its inflorescence. It takes about four months before they drop on the ground ─ some have already grown six leaves. Meanwhile the parent plant withers away.

October 2016, by Karolien Bais


Plants can be equally striking for their smell or stench, their stubbornness or benevolence, their secrecy or exuberance. Whatever their features, they can make my day.
Here are some of my doozies.

Couroupita guianensis, alias cannonball tree

Amherstia nobilis, alias Pride of Burma

Dendrobium crumenatum, alias pigeon orchid

Gloriosa superba, alias juju lily

Eucharis grandiflora, alias Amazon lily

Murraya koenigii, alias curry leaf

Scadoxus multiflorus, alias blood lily

Rothmannia longiflora, alias ivory trumpet

Furcraea selloa, alias false agave

Tacca chantrieri, alias bat flower

Bauhinia pottsii, alias orchid tree