Nature Study: Century Plants

We visited the Denver Botanic Gardens for one of our recent nature studies to observe Century Plants or Agave Americana. The gardens are home to about 10 of the plants along with many other closely related species of agave plants. We were able to print a map at home of the location of the 10 plants and use it as a kind of a scavenger hunt to locate them on the 23 acre property.






I read a newspaper article reporting that one of the century plants at the Gardens had recently budded its one lifetime’s flower and then died. I particularly hoped that we would see this one. The morning before we left, we read a wonderful story in Outdoor Secrets by Margaret P. Boyle about a century plant.

The kids loved the story and were eager to see this plant for themselves.




We found the cacti and succulent area of the Gardens and Bud ran ahead to explore. Suddenly I turned a corner and saw it! I was so excited! It was SO tall – probably 15 feet or more. The plant at the base had died and completely dried up. We were all excited to see the plant and the kids immediately related it to the story we had heard that morning. What a wonderful homeschool moment!





We drew in our nature notebooks that afternoon. It was easy to recall the dramatic plant and its umble shaped buds. I love the aquamarine blue color the living plants had had even in the dead of winter amidst the other dried plants.

Bud – Age 7

Peanut – Age 5

My journal entry

For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. Isaiah 61:11