Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The World's Largest Puya

Puya Raimondii

(The Bromeliad Society March-April 1974)

Puya Raimondii, according to some sources, is the only Puya species that does not reproduce by pups after its 28-40 year flowering cycle. Standing over 30 feet tall, and sporting literally thousands of flowers, must make this a truly impressive sight.

One can also assume that this Puya produces millions of seeds after flowering. Of course, as with other Puyas, this results in the death of the Mother plant.

I wonder why the taxonomists did not assign this plant to a different Genus. In the Orchid world, I have seen Brassavola Digbyana become Rhyncholaelia Digbyana, as well as scores of other changes during the past 30 years. The advent of DNA testing has further complicated the mix. One wonders why Puya Raimondii would not be classified differently than other Puyas, with its distinctive reproductive habits.

I hope some day to see one of these Puyas in their native habitat.

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