T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network

Puya berteroniana (Blue Puya)

Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Bromeliaceae
Subfamily: Pitcairnioideae
Genus: Puya
Species: P. berteroniana
Binomial name: Puya berteroniana
Common name: Blue Puya, Turquoise Puya, Aqua Sapphire Tower,
Puya, Chagual, Cardon, Magüey

Puya berteroniana is a species of large, arid-climate, terrestrial bromeliad in the genus Puya. This species is a relative of the pineapple and is native to South America the Andes of Chile at altitudes of 500 to 2000 metres. 

The plant forms a rosette of stiff, spiny, silvery-green leaves about 1 m long and their margins are lined with sharp spines. The leaves are covered in a waxy substance that protects them from the extremely arid conditions in its natural habitat.
The Puya berteroniana is a monocarp plant which means it only blooms once in its lifetime and then dies. Flowering occurs after 6–8 years or longer depending on the plants growing conditions.
The 3-5 metre, massive, flower spikes that develop in summer has large terminal panicle that is densely studded with 40 mm, waxy, funnel-shaped, metallic, emerald-turquoise blooms with brightly contrasting orange stamens. 
The flowers are pollinated by insects and birds that perch on sterile, horizontal stems and drink the blue nectar inside.
Flowering only lasts for several weeks before the plant withers and dies. The parent is replaced by offsets or self-seeded pups.



Flowering spike after flowering. Photographed at Brooklands Park, New Plymouth. Late December

The leaves and their spines.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and Information: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/