Rare cactus blooms after 50 years

A rare cactus nurtured by a couple for over half a century has finally burst into flower.

Barbara and John Long of Brook View in Hitchin, who are both in their 80s, have waited since 1958 when they bought the three inch plant to see it bloom at a height of nine feet six inches.

The cactus, which belongs to the Agave family, usually grows on the steep canyon walls of Northern Mexico and is a very rare sight in this country, and even rarer in flower.

Barbara, a cacti enthusiast who got the bug after seeing a flowering cactus at Kew Gardens when she was a young woman, said: “I was so surprised. You read about these things and you don’t think yours is going to do anything - I should think what brought it on was the hot weather.”

After waiting so long to see the plant flower, the couple are unsure of its future.

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“What happens now, I don’t know,” Barbara said. “They say it dies. But whatever happens we have enjoyed it.”

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