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WHILE the rest of the county is hit by snow, a cactus at the Botanic Garden in Oxford is about to bloom.

But once the agave sisalana flowers, the 40-year-old plant which was grown from seed at the Rose Lane garden will die.

The cactus grows in America, Africa and Asia and its fibres are used to make rope, dartboards, cigarette papers, bank notes and tea bags.

Agave syrup, which is sweet and is used in pancakes, can also be obtained from the cactus.

Botanic Garden horticultural trainee Jess Lee said: “It is about to flower and then that is it, that is the end of the life and we will have to replace it.

“This is the last chance for people to see it.”

But she added: “There are always lots of things on display in the glasshouses.

“And although a lot of the garden is under snow, it still looks pretty.”

Experts at the garden hope to pollinate the plant, which will produce thousands of seeds, to grow another.