CHICAGO (CBS) — A 60-year-old agave plant is finally blooming at the Garfield Park Conservatory. What makes this so special is it only happens once, and then it dies.
Measuring more than 38 feet tall, the massive Agave Americana plant named Mayahuel – or Maya, for short – peeks through the roof of the greenhouse in the Desert House of the Garfield Park Conservatory.
Maya grew more than 7 inches in one day in April, forcing the conservatory to remove part of the glass ceiling to let her breathe.
It’s unusual for an Agave Americana plant to reach maturity and flower in captivity, especially outside of its native Mexico.
Her blooming is bittersweet for workers at the conservatory, knowing what will soon happen.
“You sort of want it to happen all this time, and then when it actually does, you’re like, ‘aww.’ It’s a little bit sad ,” Garfield Park Conservatory deputy director Peter Vrostos said.
Some of the plant already has started turning brown on its edges.
It’s unclear if Maya will produce a viable seed to reproduce before dying. Only time will tell.