Puya Raimondii

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30.11.2011

 

Puya Raimondii is an ancient, very rare  and the largest bromeliad in the world; it is an endemic species of the altoandina zone of Peru. In some preserved areas of Peru and Bolivia you can see its gigantic inflorescence reaching up to 10 m height and 2.5 m diameter. Due to its size the Puya Raimondii is considered to be the largest inflorescence in the world. It has about ten thousand flowers and six million seeds in each plant (all honour to botanists who had enough patience to count all of them!)


Пуйя Раймонд, Puya Raimondii

 

To grow such a magnificent inflorescence Puya saves its strength all its life, which is quite long. On average the “maturity” of the Puya starts after 50 years. However, there are species that start blooming after 150 years. The Puya Raimondii are pollinated by bats and large insects.

 

Пуйя Раймонд, Puya Raimondii   Пуйя Раймонд, Puya Raimondii

 

The sad thing is that the parent plant dies after it flowers and fruits for the first time. Maybe, that’s why these species are endangered in the wild with only a few small populations per square km. Today, there are only a few hundred thousand species of this “spikes”, but these flowers were growing all over the Andes in pre-historic times.

 

Пуйя Раймонд, Puya Raimondii

 

At present this plant is found only in three places in Peru (Ancash, Cajamarquilla and Katak) and in Comanche mountain of Bolivia (a national park established for its protection). In 1963 the Bolivian president in a decree announced that the flora of Comanche mountain is a real prehistoric rarity and should be protected.

Puya Raimondii is also protected by different means; they use artificial pollination, plant young plants all over the country for landscaping purposes, and cultivate them in botanical gardens. Scientists hope that these measures will help, and this marvellous plant will not disappear.