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To bloom and whiter: Tehuizote

After three long decades, a specimen native to Oaxaca, southern Mexico, has finally flourished
To bloom and whiter: Tehuizote
Furcraea longaeva – Photo: Taken from UNAM twitter account
20/03/2018
12:08
Notimex
Mexico City
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After three long decades, a specimen native to Oaxaca, southern Mexico, called tehuizote, yacktobiyack or yahuindayashi has finally flourished in the Botanical Garden of the Institute of Biology of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).

In a statement, UNAM explains that the tehuizote blooming marks the start of a slow, yet beautiful agony, as the extraordinary plant related to the Agaves is expected to whiter in about a year.

Tehuizotes take an average of 100 years to reach maturity, bear fruit, and bloom in the most beautiful way to end its life.

The Furcraea longaeva holds the record for having the tallest flowering inflorescence and it is among the longest living monocots in the world.

In its natural habitat, tehuizotes grow between 2,200 and 3,100 meters above sea level amidst the Mixteca Alta, Sierra Madre del Sur, and Sierra Juárez mountain ranges, and some regions in Puebla.

In the Botanical Garden of the Institute of Biology of the UNAM, the tehuizote has a stem amounting to 2.5 meters while its inflorescence has a length of about 5 meters, reaching a total height of between 9 or 12 meters.

This specimen, in particular, has 46 branches, some exceeding one meter long and carrying between 500 and 1,000 flowers. Overall, the tehuizote carries about 50,000 white and greenish flowers that with the passing of time they turn yellow and even orange.

Abisaí Joshua García Mendoza, curator of the National Collection of Agaves of the Botanical Garden, disclosed that he was the one who took the plant to Botanical Garden back in 1993, when it was merely one meter high and probably between 10 and 20 years old.

García Mendoza explained that this is the third time that a specimen of Furcraea has flourished there, yet the previous ones were Furcraea martinezii and Furcraea macdougallii respectively.

It should be noted that a tehuizote was collected for the first time in 1829 and it was described by Joseph Gerhald Zuccarini, professor at the University of Munich until 1832.

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