Bodybuilder named Elvis grows agave ‘forest’ in London

The agave plant is not a common sight in the UK, let alone London, but a bodybuilder from London called Elvis has managed to grow a “forest” of the plants, used to make Tequila, in his back garden.

Not one of Mr Hall’s agave plants

Elvis Hall, 44, a fitness consultant from Eastcote, north-west London, began planting the unusual crop after discovering an agave plant the size of his little finger on a visit to Spain 15 years ago, as reported by Get West London.

Since then, his collection has grown to include 45 plants, which are now taking over his garden in west London. The largest is apparently 6foot tall and 6 foot wide.

While the plant is a common sight in Mexico and hot countries, their presence is less usual in the UK, which generally isn’t warm enough to sustain their growth.

Agave plants are native to hot and arid regions of Mexico and the Southwestern United States, but can survive in colder climates with appropriate care.

There are hundreds of species of agave, but ‘Agave Tequilana’, or blue agave, is the most commonly used in the production of Tequila. These plants can take up to 12 years to mature, when their hearts are cut out, roasted and fermented to make the spirit.

“I see the agave as the ultimate plant as most gardeners tend to have same variety of plants as it’s difficult to grow exotic plants in this country,” said Elvis. “I don’t know much about gardening but have created a masterpiece with agave.

“Agave are also known as century plants as they have a sad ending but leave many little ones over the years. All of mine are from one plant.”

The agave plant is similar in appearance to the leaves of aloe vera, which has led to some confusion for some. Last month a video blogger has live-streamed herself being poisoned, by eating a plant which she mistakenly thought was aloe vera.

The 26-year-old, known as Zhang, broadcast a video which she called “Aloe Vera Feast”, before tucking into two large leaves.

According to Shanghaiist, she was actually eating Agave Americana, which is poisonous when eaten raw. It can, however, used to make Tequila safely. 
Breaking out into “rashes and blisters”, Zhang had to be taken to hospital to have her stomach pumped.

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