A rare giant nolina, a desert plant native to California's eastern Mojave Desert, has just bloomed for the first time since it was planted in Berkeley's Tilden Park, at the Regional Parks Botanic Garden, where it's lived alongside another giant nolina since 1966. As Berkeleyside reports, via a blog post on the East Bay Regional Parks' site, the two plants were collected in the Kingston Mountains and transplanted there in Berkeley by the garden's founding director James Roof and garden staff member Walter Knight, and neither has bloomed in 50 years. Until now.
The stalk of the flower is seven feet tall, and the whole plant stands about 15 feet tall.
Unlike "century plants" and others with giant blooms like this, the giant nolina does not die after flowering, and it will keep growing, perhaps to flower again in another half century.
Says garden manager Bart O’Brien, "Another unusual attribute of these plants is that they are either male or female... Since ours hasn’t opened any flowers yet, we don’t yet if it is male or female.”
If it’s female, the flowers yield fruits and continue showing itself off for over a month.
And this rare flowering comes less than a year after the UC Botanical Garden nearby had its famous "corpse flower" Trudy in full bloom last summer. That plant only blooms every few years.
If you want to go geek out on this and other rare plants, the East Bay Regional Parks Botanical Garden is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Find the garden in Tilden Regional Park at the intersection of Wildcat Canyon Road and South Park Drive.