Most years, different agave varieties, and other succulent varieties, throw out their flower spikes. Usually these are neat little spikes 1/2″ to 1″ in diameter, and 3′-5′ tall. Occasionally, an agave goes bonkers.
Flower spikes in this family of plant, I learned last year, is their final hoorah before kicking the bucket. They’ll hang in there, growing bit by bit, year after year, until they sense that everything is just right. When that happens, the flower spike production begins, and occasionally – it gets breath-taking, awe-inspiring, and occasionally just downright funny.
I didn’t capture a shot of the largest one I’d seen to date (last summer? summer before last?) but it was HUGE. It was well over twenty feet tall. This year, this little cluster just brightened my day. Excuse the phone camera quality, shot at a stop light (from the passenger seat!) clutter in the frame.
I’m interested to see if they simply plant more agave (they usually do) or attempt to replace it with a quick-dying annual as other landscape crews in the city do.