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Picture: Peter Willows
Garden worker Kirsten Morris (23) is dwarfed by the Puya flowers
Horticulturists are celebrating after an exotic bromeliad plant that only blooms once in its lifetime has finally burst into flower on the hottest day of the year at the Ventnor Botanic Gardens on the Isle of Wight. The blooms on the spiky Puya berteroniana, is extremely rare to see in the plant world and never seen on a plant grown in the UK. The flowers are expected to last for around three weeks but it will sadly be the first and last time the 6ft tall plant blooms as they die shortly after.
Normally the plant, which is a relative of the pineapple from the Andes in South America, requires extremely dry conditions to flourish and has waxy, silver coloured spined on its leaves to protect them against sunlight. However, it is a hardy species and can survive in temperatures as low as -7 degrees celcius if kept relatively dry.