- Scientific name: Puya berteroana
- Family: Bromeliaceae
Perennial herb up to 4.5m tall when in flower. Leaves approx. 1m long, arching with stout, hooked marginal spines up to 1cm long. Flowering structure (inflorescence) and stalk densely hairy, many branches at apex; pointy bract-like extensions emerging from between the flowers. Flowers bisexual; outermost part of flower (sepal) bright green; petals up to 5cm long, waxy, blue-green; stamens vivid orange. Fruits capsules containing winged seeds. Pollinated by birds.
- The puya is native to the central plains, plateaus and Andean foothills of Chile.
- Unlike many other bromeliads, puyas grow on the ground (terrestrial) and not on other plants (epiphytic).
This puya is pollinated by birds: they can often be seen sitting on the bract-like extensions on the flowering structure drinking nectar. It is not uncommon for wild puya plants to have dying or dead and rotting animals caught in their spiny rosettes of leaves. Scientists are not sure that the leaves were adapted for this specific purpose, but it could be seen as an added bonus of offering protection against grazing animals.
- Bisexual: both sexes in the same flower or in some cases flowering structure (inflorescence)
- Bract: modified or specialised leaf in an inflorescence.
- Capsule: dry fruit that opens by valves, slits or pores to release seeds (dehiscent) and is composed of two or more united carpels (the basic unit of the female sexual organ).
- Herb: plant with fleshy parts rather than a persistent woody stem above ground.
- Perennial: lives for at least two years.