Sheep-eating plant? You read that right. A rare Chilean plant that ensnares sheep with its spiny thistles, ensuring they get caught, starve to death, and provide the plant with rich fertilizer, is about to bloom in Britain 15 years after it was planted in a greenhouse.
The plant–which can grow up to ten feet tall–is one of very few of its kind to actually flower in Britain, and scientists are excited to have the chance to study this one. Researchers say it will only stay in bloom for about a week.
“We keep it well fed with liquid fertilizer as feeding it on its natural diet might prove a bit problematic,” horticulturalist Cara Smith 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.”
The deadly plant has a spine as sharp as a razor and has also been known to trap other animals to use for food.
A different dangerous plant was in the news today, as well: the giant hogweed, which grows mostly in Indiana and can cause blindness and skin irritation when touched. The flower can grow up to 14 feet tall.