Syn.: Pourretia gigantea Raimondi ex Herrera
Family: Bromeliaceae Juss.
Puya raimondii
Distribution: It is an endemic species of the Andes in Peru and Bolivia. It occurs in Peru in the mountains of Cordillera Blanca (in Parque Nacional Huascarán), then in Cordillera Negra in Punta Winchus. In Bolivia it occurs on the Altiplano plateau.
Ecology: It grows on the rocky mountain slopes, in the altitude of 3500 to 4800 m above sea level.
Description: A monocarpic plant, the highest species of the bromeliad family. A not branching trunk grows up to height of 5 m and has about 50 to 70 cm diameter. On the top is a thick rosette of tough leaves, up to 2 m long and 6 cm wide, on margins with thorns up to 1 cm long. The inflorescence is a panicle up to 7 m high, individual branches are up to 30 cm long, bracts elliptical or ovate, sharpened, membranous, on the base pilose, flowers with strong stalks, sepals 4 cm long, petals 5 to 8 cm, yellow-green or green-white. The fruit is a capsule. It blooms around 3 months and during this period is pollinated by several species of hummingbirds. It reproduces only by seeds, it doesn’t creates stolons. It lives to the age of 80 to 150 years.
Puya raimondiiPuya raimondii
Puya raimondiiPuya raimondii
Use: A young Puya is traditionally a part of the Andean festivities, because people eat its pulp, and they offer it to members of neighbouring communities to honour them.
Threat and protection: It is classified by the IUCN Red List as Endangered.
Note: The species Puya raimondii was first documented by French biologist Alcide d’Orbigny, who discovered it in Bolivia in Cordillera de Vacas in October 1830. However, Hermann August Theodor Harms gave it its current name in 1928 – it was named after the Italian scientist and botanist Antonio Raimondii. Puya raimondii is regarded as a living fossil.
Puya raimondii
These images were taken in Peru, Cordillera Blanca, Parque Nacional Huascarán (13. 8. 2006).