Seek to identify plant with narrow leaves and long flowering stalks

Robin Boswell rab at
Wed Jan 12 12:21:57 EST 2000

   I would be grateful if anyone could help identify the 
plant described below. You can find photos at

which I suspect will be of more use than a written description, 
but here goes.  The most prominent feature of the plant
is its monstrous "stalks", inviting comparison with
a triffid.

  It started life as a flattish green "bulb" (probably
not the right term) of about 1.5cm diameter, with one 
end slightly more pointed than the other.  After a 
couple of years, the bulb was about 6cm wide, with
the top half visible above the earth.  Numbers of shiny
green leaves emerged, currently reaching a length of over 1m, 
and a width of just over 2cm at the widest point.  These
initially grew upwards, but didn't have the strength to do so 
for long, later curling downwards and dangling.
During the summer, rapidly growing stalks emerged from the bulb. 
which, given a window to lean against, were able to reach 
a height of 1.5 m or so. In ideally warm and sunny conditions, 
up to three stalks can appear over the course of one summer.
A green "head of corn"(?) may appear at the end of a stalk,
later blossoming into a strip of small white flowers.  Since
the stalk is still growing, the flowering portion can 
eventually stretch to a length of 30 cm or so, though by
that time most of the flowers are dead.

  New small bulbs appear at the edge of the main bulb and can 
be broken off.  If placed in damp earth they can be used to
propogate the plant.  If you don't break them off they
sprout where they are, creating a luxuriant or untidy mess, 
depending on one's point of view.

  I was given the original bulbs by a friend who didn't know
what they were either,

               Thank you for any suggestions,

                        Robin Boswell.

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