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Blooming sheep-killer

By The Cornishman  |  Posted: June 28, 2012

  • Clive Guy with his green flowering puya. Buy this picture: www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/buyaphoto

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IT IS capable of killing sheep and other small mammals but this 10ft killer plant is being celebrated for its unusual blooms.

This puya plant, a native of Chile, belongs to keen gardener Clive Guy, from Goldsithney, who said the plant had only flowered once since it was planted in his garden in 2000.

Mr Guy, 71, said: "I think there's white ones and yellow ones but this one is green and that is a bit more unusual.

"People say that it is a sheep killer because the barbs fold inwards so if any animal gets caught it is a real job for them to escape. As the animal struggles, more and more barbs stick into it.

"The proteins from the dead animal go into the ground for the plant to feed off so it is a bit like a slow triffid."

The monster plant was given to Mr Guy by his nephew who brought it over from Tresco.

Mr Guy, a former lecturer at Cornwall College, said "It won't flower again for five or six years.

"These plants are also vandal-proof because I don't think people would want to rip these out of the ground - they would lacerate themselves to death."

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  • 4becks  |  June 28 2012, 10:29AM

    One of these appeared in our back garden here in North Somerset a couple of years back, we thought it some find of yukka or palm as we have a couple of cornish palms. but when the huge flowering stem appeared we didn't know what it was and were amazed by the flower itself. We are even more puzzled as to how a fertilised seed of one of these made it to a secluded part of our garden as can't seem to see any more of these plants in other gardens in our area.