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Turquoise Puya

Colletia cruciata

Calling all bizarre plant lovers!!  The Anchor Plant - Colletia paradoxa - is a rare oddity from South America with a truly unique look.  Also called the "Jet Plane Plant", this is a leaf-less shrub with flattened, blue-green stems that function as leaves.  The stems are arranged in opposite pairs, like boat anchors or airplane propellers.  It's hard to capture the geometric beauty of this plant in photographs, but it always gets compliments!  This is a very rare plant, usually only seen in botanical gardens.

Colletia paradoxa

Colletia paradoxa

The Anchor Plant is an evergreen shrub with woody main stems.  It grows slowly to about 8 feet tall and wide.  The flattened, leaf-like stems help the plant collect sunlight, and the sharp spines at the ends keep animals from eating it.  The plant does make true leaves, but they are very tiny and appear only on the new growth.  In Autumn, the plant is covered with tiny white flowers, which are sweetly scented like lilac.  Don't get your nose too close, though!

Anchor Tree

The flowers in Autumn

There are reports of the Anchor Tree handling summer temperatures in the low 90s (34C), and winters in the low 20s (-5C).  While it is accustomed to arid conditions, it can tolerate regular watering if grown in fast-draining soil.  It grows well in a pot in ordinary cactus soil.  Full sun is preferred, except in the hottest areas, where some afternoon shade might help.  I recommend protecting young plants from frost.  Occasionally remove any extra branches to give the plant a handsome tree-like shape.  It's important not to place this spiny creature where children or pets can bump into it.

Colletia paradoxa

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Tips on germinating the seeds

 

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Turquoise Puya

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