They're blooming, and oh my, they're stunning. It's Agave attenuata, a.k.a. swan's neck agave, foxtail agave, dragon tree agave, and spineless century plant. Native to central Mexico, this agave is one of the friendly ones, lacking the spiny margins of many of its kin. A popular ornamental in landscapes across Hawaii, Agave attentuata requires little attention once established. It likes a little sun and a little shade, and will put up with a variety of soil conditions, though a rich soil and regular watering (but no overwatering) is best. I'm a big fan of its bluish-green rosettes of fleshy leaves, meeting at a central "cone." A friend gave me a few plants, which have survived several transplants, and have many keiki growing near their base. I was surprised to learn that although agave are perennials, they are semelparous. This term refers to their reproductive strategy to bloom just once before death, which is characteristic of annuals. For the swan's neck agave, it may take ten or more years before they muster all their resources into their "swan song" - a panicle so graceful and eye-catching that it is well worth the wait. The tall, curved flower spike is covered in pale yellow to white blooms, and is a favorite of bees. Though the stem that produced it will soon die back, the keiki and well-rooted suckers left behind will step up to work their slow, but powerful magic.
welcomes you to visit with the all the wonderful flora and fauna that we share this lovely aina with.