Actually, it's a century plant (or agave). These plants grow for about ten years, then bloom and die -- which tells you about lifespan when this plant got its name). That stalk in the middle just appeared about two weeks ago. For the last decade, the plant has just been the spiky part at the bottom. This is one of my favorite desert plants -- mostly because it looks like really big asparagus.
My parents planted this when they moved into the house a little over ten years ago. I guess it's appropo that it should bloom and die now, as no one from the family will be moving in after I leave. :(
Agaves are also the same plants where TEQUILA comes from.
PLEASE let there be some kind of instructions for harvesting tequila out of these things on the Internet...
Ummm...did I mention I don't have school for the next three weeks? Guess how I'll be spending it!
That's right...DRIN-- oh wait, training. :D
(Damn you, Smiley D!)