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LOOK: Is a 9-foot-tall asparagus spear growing at UW? Nope, so what is that?

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Biology faculty Evan Sugden, Doug Ewing and Christine Savolainene at end of May when flower spike was nine feet tall. Photo courtesy S Hines/U of Washington

SEATTLE —  On first, second and even third glance the tall stalk looming currently over the botany greenhouse at the University of Washington looks exactly like a 9-foot-tall asparagus spear.

It is not an asparagus, instead it is an agave plant that is blooming for the first time in 25 years.

This particular stalk actually started growing in April from an agave that is just 3 feet wide and 30 inches tall.

The plant is native to the desert southwest of the U.S. and it is not uncommon for a single blooming spike to top 18 feet in height.

Botanists at UW expect the flowers themselves to be bright yellow when they begin to appear on the plant.

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Biology faculty Evan Sugden, Doug Ewing and Christine Savolainene at end of May when flower spike was nine feet tall.
Credit: S Hines/U of Washington

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