Could someone help?

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by Rob392, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. Rob392

    Rob392 Member

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    Hi guys
    Would really appreciate it if someone could identify this plant for me. I saw it at the Eden project and couldn't see any name plate nearby.
    Thanks :)
     

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  2. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Puya berteroniana--I don't think anything else in nature comes in quite that colour.
     
  3. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Spectacular!
     
  4. Rob392

    Rob392 Member

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    Thanks so much!! I know its incredible isnt it!
     
  5. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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  6. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Well...that's close, but not quite. I knew after I wrote that that someone would post a link to something else in nature that had that colour. I bet there are a few insects, birds and some mineral formations in that colour too.
     
  7. togata57

    togata57 Contributor 10 Years

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    Frogs and fish, as well.
    Perhaps fungi?
    Well, Eric, you know us: No blanket generality goes unchallenged---nor should it!
     
  8. Marn

    Marn Active Member 10 Years

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    I had to add another one .. the Blue Poison frog ... http://www.aqua.org/animals_bluepoisondartfrog.html ... unreal colors on that guy .. but that flower is really pretty ... i would have a hrd time not trying to take seeds from it or something ...lol.


    Marion
     
  9. SusanDunlap

    SusanDunlap Active Member

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    Thanks for asking and posting. It is a really interesting plant.
     
  10. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I like this thread, so I'm asking my Puya question here. These photos are from Mt Tomah outside of Sidney, Australia. Could someone explain how these things are constructed? I thought the turquoise things were the flowers, but then what are the spikey things coming out from between the turquoise things? Female flowers, and the turquoise things are male flowers? I never thought to wonder about it when I was there and we had two guides.
     

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  11. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Looks like all it is is a branching inflorescence. Instead of just one spike of flowers at the top of a stem, it is a sort of starburst of multiple spikes of flowers. The pointy bits are sets of flower buds.

    Either that or these things are some kind of instruments that give off a tone attractive to inquisitive Canadian musicians. Apparently the sound is effective over a very long distance. Maybe the projections make it travel farther.
     
  12. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I guess the second answer is right. I haven't seen photos of turquoise flowers along those spikes. So those ones just don't open?
     
  13. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Contributor 10 Years

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  14. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Thanks, Silver surfer. I wouldn't have realized that there's a blue form and a separate turquoise form, though they don't seem to be given different names, at least on this site.

    I think I get it now. You can zoom in on any area in the photos on this site (after telling Firefox to allow pop-ups). It looks like the turquoise things grow off the sticky out bits, as Ron said. At first, they're all snuggled up close to the body of the plant and it looks like the sticky out things are growing from the same place as the turquoise things, but as the turquoise flowers appear farther up along the spikes, the whole flower head seems to open up and you can better see where the flowers are attached. Mystery solved.
     
  15. bjo

    bjo Active Member 10 Years

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    hi,

    sticky out bits are sterile branches of the inflorescence, apparently they serve a role as perchs for birds that visit the flowers (to sip nectar) and in the process pollinate the flowers.

    See here (literally!)for example:

    http://ucbgpl.blogspot.com/

    Boa sorte
    Brian

    EDIT: sorry I was suffering from webaddress dyslexia when I wrote "literally!". the address is correct, but I read it as ubc not ucb. The webpage is from u of California, Berkeley (ucb) not U of British Columbia (ubc).
    Oops, brian
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2010
  16. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Mystery re-opened! Thanks, bjo. (I'm not being sarcastic - really, thanks for posting that.)
    What?! Back to what I originally thought? About where the flowers were attached, not what the sticky out bits were, which is sort of the opposite of what I thought.

    That http://ucbgpl.blogspot.com/ page looks like it gets overwritten regularly, with no archive of past articles, so the source will not stay available. I'm copying it in here:
    Actually, when that page says "unusual in producing conspicuous strong sterile spikes", it's not clear whether the sterile spikes are at the ends of the part where the fertile flowers are attached, or whether the flowers are indeed attached to the body of the main spike. In the very small not clickable photo there, it seems at least one flower can't be connected to a sticky out bit.
     
  17. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    It appears to me that it is a branching inflorescence, the blue flowers are attached to the base of the "spike's and the flowers at the ends of the spike are sterile. Look at the photos on this site. They show the attachment more clearly.
    http://www.strangewonderfulthings.com/101.htm
     
  18. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Thanks, Eric. It's particularly clear on the second-to-last photo at your link that the flowers are growing off the sticky out spike. On the photo above that, there are a few flowers where it looks questionable that there's a close enough sticky out spike, but it's not a very clear photo.
     
  19. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Is this really the same species? It's blue not turquoise, so I'm not sure there's anything else in the running.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/texbuckner/3675100493/ and the previous photo there.
    It's clear in this photo from Quail Gardens Encinitas ~ San Diego County, CA. that there is no centre for any flowers to be growing directly out from - there's just a rather thin central stem with the bird perches (flower stalks) coming off it and the blue flowers coming off them.

    In the strangewonderfulthings.com photos (particularly Silver surfer's first link), there's what's described as a "massive, 7 foot flower cluster", and the photos give the impression that there's this rather broad structure covered with flowers and also these bird perches, though you can see that at least most of the flowers are connected to the bottom of the bird perches. If the flickr photos are the same plant, all the flowers have to be on the bird perches.

    Mystery solved.
     
  20. SusanDunlap

    SusanDunlap Active Member

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    Hi folks,

    I went 18 pages deep on Google images, and six pages deep on web sites – looking especially for educational sites to help piece together what I would have been inclined to monitor: the inflorescence at various stages of growth and the life cycle of the rosette.

    Puyas have a lot of similarities to other succulents - a perennial basal rosette with a tall flowering spike rising high above the rosette. The rosette will die off after flowering on many similar plants - namely Agaves; their vegetative survival mechanism is to produce pups. As this Puya also produces such pups, I watched for a recording of what happens to the rosette after flowering. Another similarity to Agaves is that the rosette is particularly stiff and the leaf edge lined with thorns. This site, http://en.academic.ru/dic.nsf/enwiki/338595 states: "many of the species are monocarpic, with the parent plant dying after one flower and seed production event." It mentions that the name Puya was derived from the Mapuche Indian word meaning "point". They also suggest that chagual refers to plants used to make salads from the base of young leaves; a common species used for this is P. chilenses.

    http://www.jardindeprestige.com/ has a photo showing a young adult version of the bird perch.

    http://www.chileflora.com/Florachilena/FloraEnglish/HighResPages/EH0017.htm has a good photo of a mature inflorescence; makes if clear that the bird perch starts thick at the base and then elongates as it matures.

    http://www.chincare.com/HealthLifestyle/NutritionWild.htm#1983
    Chilean site about a native creature that shelters and feeds on this plant.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-458837/Spiketacular-The-Triffid-blooming-Britain.html The photo at this site shows a component of the inflorescence that emerges as the inflorescence matures. The article seems to narrow the bloom date to May.

    ucbgpl.blogspot.com – the images were last updated Saturday, July 03, 2010 4:43:43 PM which probably represents the tail end of the blooming cycle. UCB is east of San Francisco in the hills above the Berkeley campus. This garden receives a regular coastal marine layer.

    http://www.charlies-web.com/bromeliads-alphalist/tex298.html photo date with mature inflorescence is Feb 13. This plant is located at the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo, Ca - a city near the coast in the middle of California. This city gets a regular marine layer too.

    The Huntington, near the southern end of California, says the plant attracts visitors to the garden in April. This surprised me, given the Feb bloom date further north. A possible explanation is the Cal Poly plant is “artificially” warmed by the wall nearby.

    The blooming age is most likely 5-8 years. The only site indicating a longer age is a plant grown in Arizona, http://arboretum.ag.arizona.edu/puya.html, which took thirty years to bloom. The plant was probably never watered. The native conditions at this locale are too dry for the plant to be terribly happy – not anywhere near the coastal humidity of native Chile. The site stated that their plant first bloomed during a particularly rainy year.

    It is my suspicion that the plant will survive cold climes if kept dry - though it may or may not perform to the max outside its range.

    http://www.panoramio.com/photo/2338343 shows a naturalized patch of plants. Chaguales is the common name that regular gets applied to this species.

    http://www.jstor.org/pss/4117802
    From the Kew Bulletin, vol. 7, no 4 (1952); only one page of the article is freely available. Dated, but some of this information is likely still true.

    "Cardon, chagual, and Puya are used indiscriminately for several different species"

    The top of the spikelets "are clad only in sterile bracts, on which birds may often be seen perching, and for which they seem to be well adapted - so much so, in fact, that the adaptation may possibly be more than coincidental. Humming birds, which visit the flowers for the insects they contain and the nectar which is produced in great quantity, require no such foothold. But the little Chilean "tordo", also a feeder on insects and nectar, may have had a longer association with the Chilean Puyas than any humming bird."
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2010
  21. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Re: Everything about Puya berteroniana

    Quite the collection of info and photos, Susan.

    You know the update date and time for the UC Director's Blog because you subscribe? I can't find anything on the page with that info (am I just missing it?), and it would be useful. An archive would be useful too.

    The Daily Mail link shows leaves or bracts or something under the rosettes surrounding the base of each flower spike - I don't recall seeing them in any other photos. That page also has this: "As they rot, they become compost and feed the soil around the puya which helps the plant to grow even bigger." - a hint to what's going on in the photo on the Puya sp. - Botany Photo of the Day article that Eric La Fountaine began with the question "Spontaneous plant combustion?"? Except in that plant in Eric's photo, there isn't any plant left to grow even bigger.

    The Panoramio Chaguales photo clearly shows the thin stalk continuing up through the centre of the flower clusters.

    The Kew Bulletin article was really interesting. I was looking for photos of the tordo - found three that look very different - and your (Susan's) posting came up already in google.

    Off the topic:
    I SO don't agree with people who don't like changing thread names. "Could someone help?" is such a useless name for identifying this thread, even when I look through my previous postings to find it. If it were changed to "Everything about Puya berteroniana", even people who were following it under its current name would have no trouble recognizing it.
     
  22. plantmanbuckner

    plantmanbuckner Member

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    I have been around puya. When cultivated in a line to serve as a sort of living fence ~ they become an inpenetrable wall. There are a couple of large wholesale nurseries in North County San Diego that depend on these plants to secure areas of access that would be very difficult and/or expensive to fence in. Plants grow rather slow, and take many years to mature / bloom. Well worth the wait.
     
  23. Silver surfer

    Silver surfer Contributor 10 Years

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    Re: Everything about Puya berteroniana


    This has been a most interesting thread. However,it started out as a question of id. It was id and finished with a year ago.

    In effect Rob392's thread " Could someone help", placed in Plant identification, has been hijacked.

    How much better it would have been to start a completely new thread in the current forums with a brand new title... "What are these sticky out bits on this Puya berteroniana." That everyone would be able to see, not just those that have access to archived posts.

    I would like to see Daniel move all the new postings made recently, on this thread to a better place, and leave Rob392 thread as it originally stood..
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  24. SusanDunlap

    SusanDunlap Active Member

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    Re: Everything about Puya berteroniana

    WCutler:

    No, you did not miss it the date and time for the uc blog - it was not there! Irritating; I had to dig around for any info re the photo date.

    As I recall the DailyMail was speaking about large animals that get trapped in the plant and die there! Clearly a good reason why P. berteroniana is used as a living fence. Yes: "Grazing animals which get too close on the slopes of the Andes become trapped in the spikes and starve to death. As they rot, they become compost and feed the soil around the puya which helps the plant to grow even bigger."

    Read Eric's post - definitely an interesting phenomenon going on there.
     
  25. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Re: Everything about Puya berteroniana

    I like your new title suggestion better than mine. I had no idea that there would be so much discussion about that, as I thought I was asking an easy question and was the only person in the world who didn't know the answer. And with that title, it should maybe be a separate post, and I could have linked to the ID posting. But I don't like having to pick up bits of info in various places.

    To continue the discussion about thread naming, please do it this Forum Announcements and Feedback Forum thread:
    Naming threads; and what about renaming threads?
    I should NOT have started that here.
     

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