This amazing 8ft killer plant burst into bloom today – for the first time in over a decade.
The Puya chilensis, a native of Chile, has exploded into life National Botanic Garden near Carmarthen, west Wales.
It has long, narrow leaves which are edged with vicious hooked thorns as protection against nibbling animals in its native South America such as rabbits, sheep and llamas.
Such is its danger, on the slopes of the Andes where the plant flourishes, the animals can become trapped in the puya’s spikes and starve to death.
As they rot, they become compost and feed the soil around the puya, helping it to grow bigger.
The plant at the Botanic Gardens has never blossomed before so staff at the gardens were unsure about exactly what flowers would arrive.
Head of horticulture Ivor Stokes said the blossoming plant is a real achievement for the team at the centre.
He said: ”When you think that their natural habitat is the foothills of the Andes to get them to grow, flourish and now flower in west Wales is quite a landmark.
”We’re obviously doing something right because two other species of puya are showing signs that they will also soon be in flower.
”It will definitely be one of the best collection of flowering puyas in captivity.”
The flowers now measure a couple of inches and provide a deep receptacle for the nectar that birds and bees thrive on.