Growing delight

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Growing delight

Tuesday, 08 July 2008

There’s yet another addition to the seemingly endless list of new ‘zoo babies’ this week.

This one is equally rare, is exceptionally beautiful and is just as unusual – but this time it’s the horticulturalists, not the keepers, who are celebrating.

They were thrilled to discover that after ten years of slow growth a Puya Chilensis plant suddenly started flowering in a quiet corner of Dublin Zoo.

Gardeners from across the country are flocking to see our Puya whilst it is in full flower as it may have only happened once before in Ireland. To see it in its native environment would mean a trip to the high Andes in South America where the plant is pollinated by humming birds!

Visitors hoping to glimpse the flower will have to be quick as it only lasts for one month after which time the whole plant will die.

The Puya

The Puya, a member of the Pineapple family, has distinct green flowers with bright yellow stamens. Unlike the Pineapple plant however, the Puya does not produce any edible fruit.

Dublin Zoos’ Curator of horticulture, Stephen Butler said: “ We are thrilled and excited to be able to watch this incredible plant burst into flower. It’s a wonderful experience that we may never witness again.”

“Plants are extremely important in Dublin Zoo so that we can give our animals habitats that are naturalistic. Plants also help us to immerse our visitors into the animal’s world.”

The Zoo team are delighted to have such a rare plant in their midst and due to the rarity of its growth in Ireland it offers visitors the chance to see something a bit different at the Zoo. The plant can be found just outside the discovery centre at Dublin Zoo.

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