Long Durational Natural Phenomenon


Duration: 80 years

Text via The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species
Cover photograph CC BY-SA 3.0 Vane59

Puya raimondii is rivalled only by members of the Ceroxylon palm genus as the most spectacular high-Andean plant. It occurs in often very isolated and usually small populations or rodales from Peru to Bolivia. Communities frequently number a few hundred individuals or less, but can range up to perhaps 30,000 plants in Paso Winchus as well as in Cashapampa, Pachacoto and sector Carpa, Huascarán National Park, Huaraz, which is probably Peru’s best known location.

Photograph CC BY-SA 3.0  Pepe Roque

The plant is monocarpic and in habitat seeds only once in about 80 years or more before dying. Although a mature Puya will produce 8–12 million seeds and viability is usually good, inclement montane conditions at the time of dispersal, which may inter alia affect pollinating insects, can result in few if any germinations. Moreover, seeds in less than ideal conditions can begin to lose germinating ability after a few months and are also susceptible to damping-off. 

To read more about Puya raimondii, click here.