11 May 2017

Fascination of Plants Day 1: Puya

Bruce Langridge

This plant is a killer

It grows on the slopes of the South American Andes where llamas and other fleecy animals get caught on its sharp spines, then starve to death. When the animal decays, the plant absorbs the animal’s nutrients, like a fertiliser.

One of the largest types of bromeliad on Earth, puyas produce flower spikes that can be 3-4 metres high. Our puyas in the Great Glasshouse (Puya chilensis and P.berteroniana) took ten years of growth to produce their first flowers, and this year we’re excited to have a Puya alpestris about to flower on our outdoor Boulder Garden.

This is one of 7 fascinating plants that will be featured on the Fascination of Plants Day guided walk on 18th May. Led by Bruce Langridge and the Garden’s curator Will Ritchie, the walk will begin at the Western entrance to the Great Glasshouse at 2pm.