Man finds rare surprise in yard

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - By Jamey Boyum - email

SMITH COUNTY, TX (KLTV) - An East Texas man has something in his yard that grew 12' tall in just a few days. No, he did not trade his cow for magic beans to get it.

Troy Phelps has something most folks don't: an antique plant, the Century Plant.

But, the name is a misnomer according to Time Magazine. Way back when, when things didn't move so fast, people thought it took at least 100 years for that old plant to bloom and bloom and bloom. It turns out it takes 10-50 years which is still a long time especially these days when everyone's in a hurry.

Phelps has had the plant for five years. He got permission from a land owner to dig it up.

"It wasn't an easy task getting it out of the ground," said Phelps. "These plants are heavy. They weigh about 300 pounds at this size. I loaded it in my truck and brought it home. Took a shot at pulling it off the truck and it landed upright and it's been here ever since. This is the first time I've seen one that's actually bloomed. These plants are pretty well self-sufficient because they are part of the cactus family."

The plant retains water like crazy.

In Mexico they harvest the stalk to make a sweet drink called Pulque or, if they have the patience, they ferment it into Mescal, which is sort of like tequila.

Phelps is not planning on doing any of that. He just wants it to stick around as long as it can.

Century plants are native to the southwest and Mexico. The bloom lasts about a month, then the plant will die, but it will leave behind many bulbs for the next generation.

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