Carnivorous plants like the venous flytrap are fairly well known, but did you know there is a plant that is rumored to eat sheep?
Alright, there are no plants that will actually chew up a sheep and spit out their bones. But there is a plant known as the sheep-eating plant which is formally known as Puya chilensis. This plant is a perennial evergreen in the bromeliad family that grows on the hillsides of Chili. It has large flower spikes with green or yellow florets on the end and spikes that make the flower look rather vicious, but the flowers are not what you need to worry about. The leaves on the other hand are what you need to watch out for. The leaves are strap-like with sharp hook like barbs which small animals, and even sheep, can get caught in if they venture too close. When an animal gets caught in the leaves, it will eventually starve to death and then decompose to become fertilizer for the plant. So in a way this plant really does eat sheep.
Farmers in Chili are known to burn these plants to prevent their sheep from getting tangled in the leaves and losing some of their flock. When in bloom this plant can grow 10 feet tall, but it is very slow growing and only blooms every 15 to 20 years.
In 2013 The Royal Horticultural Society’s Garden in the U.K. announced that their Puya chilensis, which had been planted 15 years earlier, had bloomed and guests were able to see the unique flower. The guests were assured that the plant was fed on a diet of liquid fertilizer, and small children were not at risk of being caught in the prickly leaves.