Desert plant grows out in blaze of glory

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A Mexican Agave, also known as the Century Plant because it was believed it took 100 years to flower, has cheated its name and bloomed after only 35 years at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh.

The first signs that the plant was going to flower were detected in November 1985. Since then the massive flowering stem has risen to over 18ft (5.5m) in height, extending over 13ft in four weeks. The yellow flowers, of which it has thousands (below), are expected to last until August, after which the plant will die.