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Our mystery bloom has finally come into flower.
Inside the Great Glasshouse, the spectacular Puya chilensis (the Chilean Puya) has finally come into flower. We’ve waited 11 years to see it bloom, and now know that the petal colours are of a similar yellowy green as our local Derwydd Daffodil (which is still in bloom near our Ice House).
If you come and see it, you’ll notice a few more Puya flowering spikes are shooting up nearby - these belong to Puya berteroniana and possibly Puya alpestris too. And don’t miss the huge flowering spike of Yucca whipplei in the Great Glasshouse’s California section.
The puya has inspired Welsh poet Mab Jones (www.mabjones.com) to write about it. Here’s what she’s mused.
Poem for the Puya
Puya, they call you. The word sticky
In their mouths. You prickle the roof
Of the glass house, unsettle the groups
Of visiting classes. Like a nettle, your
Leaves are stingsharp, laced with thorns.
“Cruel”, they remark. Your taste is for
Animal flesh, which they hook, pull in, and
Starve to death. Their blood is your food.
Your bed more wet with this than dew.
From the Andes to Llanarthney you
Came. A monster baby in a way: eight
Feet tall and closer to a mutant than
A flower. Towering above the others,
A giant in the nursery. Cursed to slowness,
Reliant on your new owners, still you
Grew, your brontosaurus neck too thick
For them to prune; a Chilean imposter
That loomed above its human masters.
But now, a decade later, you’re in bud,
About to blossom. Your body as round
And fulsome as a woman’s. Crowds
Come to marvel, wondering at your
Beauty. Eyes hunger for your form.
Cameras snap and looks are thrown,
But sweeter than before. You ignore
Them; take no note. Your name now
Sweet as nectar in every thirsting throat.