Rare blooming event: An Agave marmorata blooms in the Great Cactus House

May 31, 2022

A rare event is currently delighting visitors and staff at the Botanic Garden in Munich-Nymphenburg: an Agave marmorata is blooming in the large cactus house at the Botanic Garden in Munich. Its inflorescence can reach a total height of five to seven meters.

Agaves are succulent plants characterized by their very decorative, long rosette leaves with sharply toothed leaf margins. Depending on the species, agaves are green or bluish-green in color, and there are also multicolored varieties.

The name is derived from the Greek word “agauós”, which means noble, splendid or sublime. The splendor is clearly evident these days: in mid-October, the Agave marmorata in the Botanical Garden in Munich-Nymphenburg began to form its inflorescence. Approximately six meters the inflorescence stem has grown in the meantime.

Valuable useful plant

In arid regions, agaves are important useful plants. Some species, especially the sisal agave, serve as suppliers of robust fibers obtained from the leaves. In their native Mexico, certain agave species are also used to make alcoholic beverages, such as mezcal, tequila, and pulque, a type of beer.

Agaves should not be confused with aloes, such as aloe vera. While an aloe plant usually blooms every year, an agave rosette usually blooms only once.

The splendor of the flowers can be seen daily from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in the Large Cactus House (Hall A).

Photo credit: Robert Haas