The Queen of the Andes has returned to the UC Botanical Garden!
Free with Garden Admission
Find her in the South American Area next to the Garden of Old Roses.
Puya Updates - Check back for our weekly updates on the Puya raimondii
Listen to Director Paul Licht discuss the Puya raimondii
QUEEN OF THE ANDES 2014
PUYA RAIMONDII: A BRIEF HISTORY
LETTER FROM THE COLLECTOR:
Jim Luteyn and I were working for the New York Botanical Garden and in Bolivia because Jim had a grant to conduct floristic inventories in Andean countries. David Smith was working for the Missouri Botanical Garden as their resident plant collector in Bolivia and Marianne Buddensick was his wife. (David died in 1991). Neither Jim nor I had seen this Puya and we were thrilled to be able to make the short excursion across the Altiplano from La Paz to Comanche to see it in the wild. We were not thinking about collecting and when we did see the plants in flower and fruit we succumbed to the temptation to try to make several herbarium specimens. Lacking ladders or pole pruners we managed to dislodge parts of an infructescence by throwing rocks at the fruiting stalk. We all joined in and I do not remember now who had the best arm. The herbarium specimens were numbered in Jim’s series and deposited in herbaria in La Paz, the Bronx, and Washington, DC, at least. The labels suggest that seed was distributed, but apart from the material that you acquired from Frank Almeda I do not know who received seed.
I find it remarkable and ironic that I am writing you 24 years to the day after we collected the plants. I am glad you were able to coax Puya raimondii into flowering and am pleased your visitors will be able to marvel at this plant, too...
With best wishes,
US National Herbarium
9 am - 5 pm Daily