June 21, 2013

As fascinating plants go, Puya chilensis has a few things going for it that most can’t hold a candle to. I mean, not only are its Gatorade-colored flowers some of the most otherworldly blooms seen anywhere, but its ten-foot flower spikes are some of the tallest in the world. Oh, and before it skips my mind, this plant eats sheep.

I should clarify: the puya grows high up in the Chilean Andes, where it snares sheep and other animals with its sharp spines. Unable to escape, the cute-and-fluffies (sadly) starve to death at the base of the plant, where they become—what else?—fertilizer. Try that one on for size, Venus flytrap.

In captivity, Puya chilensis is difficult to coax into bloom, and lives on liquid fertilizers. I assume this is because leading sheep and goats to their doom a la Jurassic Park would test poorly with botanical garden visitors. Click through for the whole story. —MN

(Image sources: 1, 2, 3)

  1. mybelobru reblogged this from nybg
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  4. fouryearsofshades reblogged this from nybg and added:
    That takes trapping animals to a higher level.
  5. co-nelson reblogged this from bromeliace and added:
    I am desperate to grow Puya species I can not find many around mail order but I keep my eyes constantly peeled.
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