It may not have teeth or a mouth, but a rare and massive plant set to bloom in the United Kingdom preys on animals as large as sheep.
It seems to be known almost exclusively as the “sheep-eating plant” in British media, in fact.
Native to South America, the Puya chilensis grows up to ten feet tall and produces large spikes of neon bright flowers.
It “uses its razor sharp spines to snare and trap sheep and other animals, which slowly starve to death and decay at the base of the plant, providing it with the grizzly equivalent of a bag of [fertilizer],” according to the Surrey Life.
Thankfully, the Puya Chilensis will bloom in a greenhouse carefully controlled by the Royal Horticulture Society.
It was planted fifteen years ago, according to the BBC, and this is the first time it will bloom.
“I’m really pleased that we’ve finally coaxed our Puya Chilensis into flower,” horticulturalist Cara Smith said, adding: “We keep it well fed with liquid fertilizer as feeding it on its natural diet might prove a bit problematic.”
“It’s well worth a visit but parents coming along with small children don’t need to worry about the plant devouring their little ones,” she continued. “It’s growing in the arid section of our Glasshouse with its deadly spines well out of reach of both children and sheep alike.”