THE PLANT THAT BLOOMS ON THE DAY IT DIES

Posted on May 28, 2014 by Luisa Fazio

It is the agave, the mighty and strong succulent plant protagonist of my sea holidays  since the early 70s. It was quite simply a part of that mediterranean landscape with rocky coastline. When I was a child, I found it similar to a huge artichoke with gray-green fanned leaves. At its center stood a very high stem like a big asparagus, with flowers arranged in candelabrum. I did not know that the plant had come from central America where it thrived in warm and desert areas and that produced an intoxicating fire drink: tequila! Instead, I had taught that I could distinguish with a naked eye a young specimen from a specimen at the end of life because its gigantic inflorescence foretold the death of a plant. The agave (from the greek agavós which means “beautiful”) is a monocarpic species: it blooms only once, releasing a single, swollen shoot of its existence when it reaches maturity and becomes an adult. Then it dies. For this feature, I like to see it as the symbol of  man who “dies” when he loves, who spends all energy at his disposal to achieve in just one the day a spiritual perfection. A plant that does not repeat itself, a “wonderful” plant that has found the answer in love.