Friday, November 12, 2010

The Queen of the Andes

Hi, all!
This is a photo of two birds feeding off a rare plant from South America (here Bolivia) called "The Queen of the Andes." It takes a while to flower -- only blooming once every 80 to 100 years -- but when it does flower, it really goes for it! Enlarge the photo by clicking on it; you'll see that these avid avians have their choice of flowers to choose from. Can you believe that locals used to find these amazing plants a bother and would try to get rid of them -- until they saw that they drew tourists (and their money)? I guess tourism can be good for something, after all!


  1. I feel so much like that plant: that it takes 80 to 100 years to flower (i.e. get writing done; look decent enough for a dinner party; etc)

    I love the birds flying around the plant.

    Why did people find them a nuisance? please clarify.

    Also: I saw the most amazing animal-pics on the web yesterday, of Honduran white bats. Google them! They need you to see them.

  2. Addie/Persephone: I can't find an answer to your good question about why the locals don't like the plants. I discovered that cattle ranching is endangering them b/c the ranchers feed the cow from their pulp, and that people throw stones at them, which damages their health, of course, but why they may aggressively want to destroy The Queen of the Andes is beyond me. I can tell you a few other things about them, though: they can have up to 3,000 flowers and only bloom at the ends of their lives. The last point is quite poetic, I think, and reminds me of the heroic efforts of salmon during spawning. BTW, thanks for the tip about the bats! See my new post!

  3. I had no idea about these plants. Closest I can think of is a plant we call Frailejon, which can only be found above 3000 m above sea level.
    The Queen of the Andes could be the design for a new skyscraper in Dubai. Hmm one never knows where inspiration comes from. Is there a King of the Andes?

  4. Juribe, YOU are the King of the Andes!

  5. Wow!! I wonder how long they bloom? Hopefully for a few years, lol.