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century plant

any New World plant of the genus Agave, requiring many years to mature and blooming once before dying, especially the widely cultivated species A. americana, having leaves in a basal rosette and a tall flower stalk.
Origin of century plant
1755-65, Americanism Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for century-plant
Historical Examples
  • In one garden that we visited we saw a century-plant 222 in bud.

    Palmetto-Leaves Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Name from , noble,—not inappropriate as applied to A. Americana, the century-plant.

  • Well seasoned he is, of course, and suitable as a prop for a century-plant, but not for a scarlet runner!

    Polly Oliver's Problem Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin
  • She had not time to evolve a century-plant, or elaborate an oak-tree, before man would be upon it again.

    Upon The Tree-Tops Olive Thorne Miller
British Dictionary definitions for century-plant

century plant

an agave, Agave americana, native to tropical America but naturalized elsewhere, having very large spiny greyish leaves and greenish flowers on a tall fleshy stalk. It blooms only once in its life, after 10 to 30 years (formerly thought to flower after a century) Also called American aloe
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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