A sapphire tower in bloom at the San Diego Botanic Garden. Photo by Rachel Cobb

The sapphire tower plant, with its metallic-turquoise blooms and bright orange anthers, is now in bloom at the San Diego Botanic Garden.

The unearthly plant, whose scientific name is puya alpestris, is native to Chile and is a member of the pineapple family.

Horticulturalists at the garden say most visitors ask if the plant is real because it is so unusual.

They are expecting a “sapphire tower superbloom” this year as at least a dozen clusters of flower buds have been spotted so far.

The unique plants are also available for sale at the garden’s gift shop.

The 37-acre garden in Encinitas with some 5,000 different species is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.