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Turquoise Puya

Dendroseris pruinata - "Dandelion Tree"

This is a rare look at the endangered species, Dendroseris pruinata - the "Dandelion Tree"!  This unusual Daisy relative is found only on 2 remote islands in the South Pacific, where there are only a few plants left.  It is a highly ornamental plant, with lush, succulent leaves that have a white stripe down the middle, which gives them a variegated look.  This is a cool-climate species that is untested in hot conditions.  If you can provide the right environment, it is a rewarding plant to grow.  It's almost never seen in cultivation, even in botanical gardens.  I don't know anyone else in the U.S. offering it.

Dendroseris pruinata - Rea pruinata

Dendroseris pruinata comes from the Juan Fernández Islands in the Pacific, about 400 miles off the coast of Chile.  It is an evergreen species with multiple, woody stems.  The plant grows about 10 feet tall here in San Francisco.  The fleshy leaves grow 12-16 inches long in a rosette toward the end of the stems, giving them a nice palm-like appearance.  The flowers are creamy white and appear in clusters at the tops of the branches.  A picture of them is here.  I haven't tasted the leaves, but they are probably edible, since the plant is closely related to lettuce.  This species was almost eaten to extinction by feral animals that were brought to the islands.  It is currently threatened by invasive plants, leaving its future uncertain.

The Juan Fernández Islands have a cool, maritime climate, so the plant is happiest between 45 and 75 degrees F (7-24° C), with nights that are cool.  I don't know if it will thrive if temperatures regularly get above the low-80s (28°C), especially if nights are warm (above 65°F / 18°C).  It can probably survive a few degrees of frost, but i recommend protecting it from freezing temperatures.  It seems to prefer partly-sunny conditions, and might need some protection from strong afternoon sun.  It grows well indoors in a pot, and may be pruned to a few feet tall if necessary.  Grow it in a fertile, well-draining soil mix that's kept evenly moist, but not constantly saturated.  In the right conditions, it is a vigorous, long-lived plant.

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Turquoise Puya

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