A rare plant 80 years in the making was cut down at the botanical gardens at the University of Michigan Wednesday.
The massive agave plant has been growing since 1934. At it's greatest, it stood at 28 feet tall, and grew so tall employees at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens had to remove part of the greenhouse's roof to accommodate it.
Last spring, the plant finally bloomed. But for this type of plant, native to the desert of Mexico, its natural process is to bloom once and then begin to decay.
After the flowers died off, the seeds were harvested. Employees had to take special care to remove the seed pods, so they would not fall to the ground and shatter.
The seeds will be distributed to botanical gardens across the United States. Horticulture manager Michael Palmer says a test grew about 20 new plants, so "hundreds and hundreds" of new agave plants are expected.
The stalk will be made into instruments. Particularly, a U-M professor in the school of music will make flutes and interest has also been shown in making a didgeridoo, an Australian wind instrument.
Palmer says this type of agave plant typically blooms around the 30-year mark, so some employees had "given up hope" they would ever see it flower. April of 2014 is when an employee finally notice a flower stalk was growing.
Palmer says employees will put seedlings on display in place of the old stalk, and once those seedlings get large enough they will be removed to be planted.