Tall Cactus

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by jim currie, Jun 11, 2006.

  1. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    some time back Don(easydays)made mention of the Century cactus here is a small one its over 10 ft tall.

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  2. eightyeightfan1

    eightyeightfan1 Now I'm AMP'd

    Where's that?
    Been to AZ a couple of times and I don't remember them. I'll I saw were Saguaros.
  3. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    They are all over the desert, many people have them in their yards. You don't notice them because the bloom you see grows extremely fast, like about a foot a day. Each plant only does it once in their lifetime since the weight of the bloom and the fact that it grows so fast that it saps the energy from the mother plant causing it to tip over, that's the end of that plant. That's why they call it a century plant, but it doesn't take 100 years, somwhere between ten and up to 25 years. In the meantime, to sustain the species, the plant will throw off new plants all durning it's lifetime. The one Jim has is typical, and there are a few other species of cactus that do the same thing.
  4. I haven't noticed these spread across southern CA very much until this year. The weather conditions must have been optimal, because the blooms on tons of these things (or a related species) shot up in a matter of weeks, in areas I had never seen them before. The spikey base plants don't announce themselves quite as loudly as the bloom...unless you bump into one.

  5. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    Are you sure you aren't seeing yucca in So Cal? I don't remember seeing these other cacti here in So Cal, but yucca are extrmemly common in the deserts and desert side of the local mountains.
  6. RailRon

    RailRon Active Member

    Botanists call the Century plant an agave. There are different species in the Southwestern US/Mexico and also on the Canary islands. Don described them very well.

    Some of them are used commercially: Out of the fermented sap of the Blue agave (Agava tequilana) in Mexico e.g. you can distill (you guessed it!) Tequila! aussie

    Russ, I think the stalk of the big agave flowers is much higher and quite different from the cluster of yucca blossoms. See the two added pictures: The first pic shows a blossoming agave, the second double pic shows two different yucca species which can be found in Southern California. (Also the agave leaves are much thicker than the yucca leaves.)
    So Chris can decide if he has seen agaves or yuccas is Sou CA. :)

    Now - has anybody a good idea how to model such a plant? :D:D:D


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  7. I've seen more of both (agave and yucca) this season than I've ever noticed before.
    And as for modelling, the past two issues of Model Railroading have had a 2-part article on modelling the Mormon Rocks in Cajon Pass, as well as local vegetation including yucca.


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