THE CENTURY PLANT
This plant only flowers once in its lifetime, 10-20 years. Then it dies, hence another name, the Century Plant. Tequila is made from a close relative in Mexico. Rafts are still sometimes made by Antiguan youths out of the dried flower poles that sprout from the middle of the leafy rosette, February - March. Large yellow inflorescences are borne on these pole-like stems, 15-20 ft. high. This is a wonderful place to watch birds feeding.
These poles are spiked together with a wooden stake as rafts for fishing inland waters – the young person’s boat. The white pulp of the fleshy rosette leaf is cut in a diamond shape to make tow-baits in trolling for fish. Other uses of the plant have been for rope, razor strops, a fire making powder, a beverage and for tuberculosis.
Special thanks to the late Desmond Nicholson of the Museum of Antigua & Barbuda and Peter Duce for making this section of Antigua Nice Ltd possible!