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The flowering "sheep-eater" plant has a formidable reputation

Still Waters

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Plants don’t generally have a reputation for being badass. Then again, not many have people heard of Puya chilensis and the rumors of its "sheep-eating" exploits. 

P. chilensis is native to central Chile, typically found on the arid hillsides of the Andes at an altitude of 300 to 1,000 meters (980 to 3,280 feet). It’s a member of the bromeliad plant family, meaning it’s a close relative of the pineapple.

However, P. chilensis isn't as friendly as its fruity family members. The plant’s pointed leaves are armed with sharp spines that can snare sheep, birds, and other passing animals. Eventually, the trapped animals starve to death and decompose at the base of the plant, releasing nutrients that the roots absorb – or that’s the hypothesis, at least. 


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