John Muir


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The sketch opposite is from nature. It is now out of flower and fast becoming flaccid at the approach of death. Bulblets are scattered about on the ground and a good many still remain on the branches, which gives it a fruited appearance. Such a stem seems perfectly enormous when we consider that it is the growth of a few weeks. The plant is said to make a “mighty effort” to flower and mature its seeds, and then dies of exhaustion. Now there is not, so far as I have seen, a mighty effort, or the need of one in wild Nature. She accomplishes her end without unquiet effort, and perhaps there is nothing more mighty in the development of the flower shoot of the Agave than of the development of a grass panicle. [Drawing of plant above described.]

Date Original

July 1867


Original journal dimensions: 10 x 16.5 cm.

Resource Identifier



Holt-Atherton Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library

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John Muir, journals, drawings, writings, travel, journaling, naturalist