Sheep-eating plants are blooming in the UK. The Puya chilensis, of Chile, will bloom within the next few days. The blooms will likely last around a week.
The Royal Horticultural Society explains that the bloom is incredibly rare. The plant, which is located at the National Botanic Garden of Wales, has not bloomed in 15 years.
The so called sheep-eating plants can reach heights of nearly 12 feet and are usually around 5 feet wide. The Puya are quite adaptable and can survive below-freezing temperatures. As explained by StrangeWonderfulThings.com, the plants are actually evergreens.
The Puya have been called sheep-eating plants as their lower spikes are razor-sharp. According to legend, animals, including sheep, can become impaled on the spikes. As the animal eventually dies and decomposes, the plants absorb the remains as fertilizer.
The Puya are endangered, and their numbers continue to decrease. As reported by Yahoo News, some of the few remaining plants bloom yearly in their native Chile. Scientists with the RHS have not been as lucky with their plant. Waiting 15 years for the bloom has been frustrating. However, the sheep-eating plant is finally ready to bloom.
As reported by BBC, a greenhouse is probably not the most ideal environment for the plant, but it is necessary for continued preservation. Horticulturalist Cara Smith explains caring for the Puya chilensis:
“I’m really pleased that we’ve finally coaxed our Puya chilensis into flower. We keep it well fed with liquid fertilizer as feeding it on its natural diet might prove a bit problematic.It’s growing … well out of reach of both children and sheep …”
Despite its bad reputation, and equally offensive odor, the Puya chilensis are actually quite beautiful. Their greens stems and leaves contrast nicely with their bright orange flowers. Despite the killer bottom spikes, the rest of the plant is harmless.
The sheep-eating plant may sound frightening. However, the Puya chilensis’ blooming in the UK is an exciting event for horticulturalists and fans of exotic plants.
[Images via Wikimedia, Wikimedia]