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9 Nov 2021

Blue-ming time in the Blue Mountains

An extraordinary, otherworldly display of rare bright turquoise blooms is a sight not to be missed at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah.

With 2m tall spikes, the exotic ‘Puya’ or Puya alpestris ssp. zeollneri, colloquially known as ‘sapphire towers’, hail from the mountains of Chile and each plant can take seven to ten years to come into flower.

Ornamental Gardens & Nursery Supervisor Ryan Newett, says the seeds of the Puyas at Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah were wild collected from Chile in the late 1980s by our botanists.

“Given each plant can up to ten years to flower, it takes a lot of good work and good luck to ensure such a striking floral display,” he says.

“Puya are strangely beautiful like nothing else in the plant world. They attract all manner of insect and birdlife which fly in to enjoy the nectar.

“Honeyeaters, the Red Wattlebirds, and even the shy Eastern Spinebills will make an appearance for Puya nectar, so the display will be worthwhile for bird lovers too.”

A close relative of Puya alpestris, Puya raimondii, flowers only once in its 85 year life span and then dies. Seedlings of Puya raimondii have been planted this year at BMBG.

Plan your visit and take a Puya home!

The eucalyptus blue haze that gives our Mountains their name is the perfect backdrop for this display.

The Puyas will be blooming until the end of November and may extend into mid-December, depending on the weather. Puyas grown in the nursery will be available for sale at the visitor centre.

Category: Horticulture
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