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‘Sheep-eating’ plant blooms for first time in U.K.

- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Horticulturists are abuzz after an exotic "sheep-eating" plant bloomed for the first time in the U.K.

The plant, known as Puya chilensis, has been at the Royal Horticultural Society's Garden Wisley for 15 years and has reached a height of 10 feet.

Its razor-sharp, hook-shaped spines are designed to ensnare animals, trapping them there until they starve to death, the Huffington Post reported.

The decomposing animal carcasses then nourish the plant through the soil, acting as fertilizer.

"[P]arents coming along with small children [to see the flower] don't need to worry about the plant devouring their little ones," Cara Smith, a horticulturist at the Garden Wisley, said. "It's growing in the arid section of our Glasshouse with its deadly spines well out of reach of both children and sheep alike."

Ms. Smith said the gardens keep the plant nourished on a liquid fertilizer.

There is no official statement about why scientists have decided to study the plant as opposed to killing it, The Daily Caller noted.

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