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Centuries and Millennia

I posted a photograph yesterday taken in Big Bend National Park of Nugent Mountain and the Chisos Mountain Range at sunrise. The photograph below of the Chisos Mountain Range was taken at sunset on the opposite side of the park. We drove down Oak Springs Road about two-thirds of a mile and hiked a about a hundred feet. I have always wanted to photograph Century Plants (Agave americana) when they are blooming. Unfortunately, it was too early but we did find these two plants that were at the end of their cycle. In yesterday’s blog I wrote that the Chisos mountains were formed 42 million years ago through a series of volcanic eruptions and an upwelling of magma.

Century Plants are also known by other names including Maguey, American Aloe. This is a species of flowering plant that is native to Mexico and the US (Arizona & Texas). It is used worldwide as an ornamental plant. Although it’s called a century plant, it typically only lives about 10-30 years. It is a huge plant (6-10′ spread) and it’s stalk can reach heights up to 30 feet tall. Its name derives from the fact that it flowers only once at the end of its long life. The plant then dies after flowering but produces “suckers” (small offshoots) which continue its growth.

If the flower stem is cut without flowering, a sweet liquid called aguamiel (“honey water”) gathers in the heart of the plant. This is often fermented to create a drink called pulque. The leaves also yield fibers, known as pita which was used to make rope and other useful items. Also, agave nectar is marketed as a natural form of sugar with a low glycemic index that is due to its high fructose content.

Chisos Mountain Range - BBNP
Chisos Mountain Range – BBNP

This image was taken with my Canon EOS 5DS using my Canon EF 16-35mm f/4 Lens set on 16 mm. The camera was set on Aperture priority mode with the aperture set at f/8, shutter speed at 1/125th of a second and the ISO set at 100. This is a single image processed in Lightroom.

You can access the portfolio for all my Big Bend National Park photos by clicking here. Please use the section below to post your comments, questions or suggestions.

T. Kahler Photography
© 2016 T. Kahler Photography

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