Saturday, November 20, 2010

Exotic plant blooms only once in its 100 year life, then dies

Photo: Juan Karita, AP
The Queen of the Andes blooms only once in its 80 - 100 year lifetime for a few weeks, before it dies. Towering up to 40 feet (12 meters), Queen of the Andes plants are found only in Peru and Bolivia at altitudes between 9,800 and 15,750 feet (3,000 and 4,800 meters).

Photo: Juan Karita, AP
According to experts, because of the the barren conditions the plant needs time to build up the resources with which it produces the flowering and reproduces. On the other hand the plant's one-time flowering is very fruitful: A single plant can produce up to ten million seeds.
IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) lists the plant as endangered, due to habitat loss and declining genetic diversity. For now Peru hosts about 800,000 plants, while Bolivia has 35,000.

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