Volunteer who helped grow ‘century plant’ in Jacksonville: ‘It’s a metaphor for our town’

Rare agave flower blooms at major intersection in town

Volunteer who helped grow ‘century plant’ in Jacksonville: ‘It’s a metaphor for our town’

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (KLTV) - A ‘once in a lifetime’ experience has blossomed in Jacksonville, and it’s drawing comparisons to the amount of growth the city has seen in recent years.

Jville Volunteers, an appropriately named volunteer group in Jacksonville, planted the Agave americana several years ago as part of an effort to spruce up the town. Although the agave is nicknamed the ‘century plant’, horticulturists have said the plant will only bloom once in its lifetime, and typically appears every 10, 20 or more years, depending on the climate.

“We actually purchased [it] through our volunteer club,” said Whitney Graham, business owner and Jville Volunteer member. “We chose this plant, actually, because the harder you try to kill it, the stronger it becomes."

Graham said the plant drew comparisons to the city of Jacksonville, considering the slump it experienced for several years, and how much stronger it’s grown in recent years.

“We had an amazing 1950s, 60s, 70s, and 80s,” Graham explained. “Then we became flatlined. I think now, with the progress in our schools, the brand new, newly-renovated Tomato Bowl, and all the great businesses coming to town... we’re only going to get stronger.”

Although it's nicknamed the 'century plant', horticulturists have said the plant typically appears every 10, 20 or more years, depending on the climate. However, it usually blooms only once in its lifetime. (Source: Jeff Chavez/KLTV)
Although it's nicknamed the 'century plant', horticulturists have said the plant typically appears every 10, 20 or more years, depending on the climate. However, it usually blooms only once in its lifetime. (Source: Jeff Chavez/KLTV)

Although Graham knows the plant blooms only once every century, she said there’s no telling how long it will last.

“Once it topples over, the good news is there’s 10 or 15 babies under there that will rebirth,” Graham explained. “I think the biggest thing about having a vision, which is what we have for our town, is a great vision... you put something into place that needs little to no maintenance. This has gained a lot of speed, a lot of new babies have formed, and it will be here for years and years to come."

If you’re interested in seeing the century plant for yourself, you can find it at the corner of U.S. Highways 69 and 79.

Copyright 2019 KLTV. All rights reserved.