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WATCH: Exotic resident at Inverness Botanic Gardens makes a blooming rare appearance

By Gavin Musgrove

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One of High Life Highland’s resident plants at Inverness Botanic Gardens has enjoyed lockdown more than most – taking the opportunity to flower for the first time in 25 years.

The plant is an Agave scabra and its natural habitat is southwestern Texas and Mexico, however, it is quite happy in the cactus house at Inverness Botanic Gardens.

The staff at the gardens first noticed that the Agave had started growing in April when they were carrying out routine maintenance of the site.

It grows fast and tall, reaching over 15 feet in a matter of weeks.

The plant was growing at a rate of 12 inches every week and a pane of glass had to be removed from the roof to allow it to continue to grow.

Ewan Mackintosh, Inverness Botanic Gardens manager, said: “The Agave scabra is a big plant with thick thorny leaves and usually sits about a metre high by about a metre wide and just after lockdown we noticed it started to grow a shoot which developed really quickly.”

The Agave scabra at Inverness Botanic gardens was planted around 25 years ago from seed by one of the volunteers from the Inverness Cactii Society and has grown into a classic example of the species.

Mr. Mackintosh explained: “Flowering is the peak of its existence with all its energy being used to create its flower.

"The plant is quite clever and clones itself to be able to continue its life.

"It only flowers once in its lifetime and this is a unique opportunity to see it here in Inverness Botanic Gardens.”

Inverness Botanic Gardens is open seven days a week from 10am until 4pm with last entry at 3pm.

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