Puya chilensis is a terrestrial bromeliad originating from the arid hillsides of Chile. It has long, aloe-like leaves that are lined with spines. Believed that the spines function to trap small animals, which then become fertilizer for the plant.
Puya chilensis, as an evergreen perennial, it forms large, dense rosettes of grey-green, strap-like leaves edged with hooked spines. The green or yellow flowers are borne on spikes which resemble a medieval mace, and stand up to 2 m (6 ft 7 in) high. Spreading by offsets, Puya chilensis can colonise large areas over time. Growth is slow and plants may take 20 years or more to flower. The outer two-thirds of the leaf blade bears outward-pointing spines which may be an adaptation to prevent herbivores from reaching the center of the plant. The plant is believed to be hazardous to sheep and birds which may become entangled in the spines of the leaves.