A "Sheep-Eating" Plant Just Bloomed for the First Time in the UK

“Sheep-eating” plants are not only a thing that exist; they've crossed the Atlantic from their native South America and are growing in the United Kingdom, where the first one bloomed on Thursday.

The plant, called the Puya chilensis, is covered with razor-sharp spines and has a 10-foot tall flower spike. It's been growing in the Royal Horticultural Society at Wisley for 15 years now.

But about the sheep-eating. From the BBC:

In the Andes it uses its sharp spines to snare and trap sheep and other animals, which slowly starve to death.

The animals then decay at the base of the plant, acting as a fertiliser.

As you might expect, the plant grown in the UK was not fertilized with the rotting flesh of a sheep, or any other animals.

"We keep it well fed with liquid fertiliser as feeding it on its natural diet might prove a bit problematic,” horticulturalist Cara Smith told the BBC.

"It's growing in the arid section of our glasshouse with its deadly spines well out of reach of both children and sheep alike."

[Image via Flickr]

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