|Queen of the Andes|
|Puya raimondii flowering in Ayacucho, Peru.|
Puya raimondii, also known as queen of the Andes (English), titanka (Quechua) or puya de Raimondi (Spanish), is the largest species of bromeliad, reaching up to 15 meters in height. It is native to the high Andes of Bolivia and Peru.
The first scientific description of this species was made in 1830 by the French scientist Alcide d'Orbigny after he encountered it in the region of Vacas, Cochabamba, in Bolivia at an altitude of 3960 m (12,992 ft). However, as the plants he saw were immature and not yet flowering, he could not classify them taxonomically.
The species name of raimondii commemorates the 19th-century Italian scientist Antonio Raimondi, who immigrated to Peru and made extensive botanical expeditions there. He encountered this species in the region of Chavín de Huantar and published it as new to science under the name Pourretia gigantea in his 1874 book El Perú In 1928, the name was changed to Puya raimondii by the German botanist Hermann Harms, as the combination Puya gigantea was already used for a Chilean species.
The queen of the Andes is the largest species of bromeliad. Its trunk can be 5 m tall, with a rosette of leaves up to 1.25 m long, the leaf spines reaching 1 cm long. The inflorescence can measure between 4-8 m tall. The whole plant may reach as much as 15 meters tall. A single plant can produce between 8,000  and 20,000  flowers in a 3 month period.
Distribution and habitat
P. raimondii is native to the Andes of Bolivia and Peru, between 3000 - 4800 m of elevation on shrubby and rocky slopes. This species seem to be very specialist on site conditions as it prefers to grow in small areas even if the surrounding terrain may seem equally suitable, resulting in a patchy distribution of P. raimondii stands. Moreover, in spite of being a high altitude plant, it has thrived at near sea level in temperate climate.
- Lambe, A. 2009. Puya raimondii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2009. Downloaded on 09 September 2015.
- "San Francisco Botanical Garden - News - Rare Flower in Bloom at SF Botanical Garden". Sfbotanicalgarden.org. Retrieved 2016-01-18.
- "Bosque de Puyas de Raymondi (Titankayoq o Tikankayoq)". mincetur. Retrieved December 18, 2015. (Spanish)
- Wait, Benjamin A. (1978). "Puya raimondii: Wonder of the Bolivian Andes". Journal of the Bromeliad Society. Bromeliad Society. 28 (5): 200.
- "Bromeliad Society of San Francisco" (PDF). Sfbromeliad.org. Retrieved 6 January 2018.
- Antonio Raimondi, EL PERU (Lima: Imprinta del Estado, 1875) Vol. 1 pp. 295-297.
- "BOTANY.cz » PUYA RAIMONDII Harms – Queen of the Andes, Queen of the Puna". botany.cz. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
- Smith, Lyman B.; Downs, Robert Jack (1986). Pitcairnioideae (Bromeliaceae). Flora Neotropica. New York Botanical Garden. pp. 189–190. ISBN 9780893273033.
- Castillo J., Salazar; Fatima, Caceres; Ignazio, Poma (2012). "Puya raimondii the queen of de Andes. Puya raimondii la regina delle Ande". CACTUS & Co. XV: 28–51. ISSN 1129-4299.
- Anthony Huxley, PLANT AND PLANET (New York: Viking 1974) p. 143.
- Halle, F.; Oldeman, R. A. A.; Tomlinson, P. B. (2012). Tropical Trees and Forests: An Architectural Analysis. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 104. ISBN 9783642811906.
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- Photographs of Puya raimondii. Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies.