The Century Plant

Erie Cemetery, Erie, Pennsylvania

Many Christian symbols have been appropriated because of the qualities of the animal or the plant are held up by the religion.  The peacock, for example, became a symbol of the resurrection because the feathers on the male peacock grow back each year more beautiful than the year before.  It was a symbol of the incorruptibility of the flesh because of a mistaken belief that peacock flesh did not rot.  Just as the peacock became a Chrisitan symbol due to its natural qualities, so, too, did the century plant (Agave americana).  It was mistakenly believed that the century plant lived to 100 years or more.  Because of that, the misnamed “century plant”, which only lives 10 to 30 years, was adopted as a symbol of immortality.

Erie Cemetery, Erie, Pennsylvania

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