Blooming Now: Surreal Sapphire Tower

The whimsical flowering plant is on view at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas.

Before we plug our nose and leap, as if into a pool's deep end, into the world of highly whimsical flora, let's be clear on one important thing from the get-go: You will not stand knee-deep in a field of sapphire towers any time soon.

We feel like that should be cleared up, from the outset, what with flower-fascinated adventurers heading out to lush valleys and glens blanketed in poppies and goldfields in recent weeks.

Managing expectations, in all things, is essential.

But get excited, nonetheless: A blooming sapphire tower is quite singular, and stand-alone-ish, which makes it something like the famous corpse flower in its drama and individual charisma.

Nope, the sweet sapphire doesn't reek like the celebrated, hard-to-grow stinker, but it does feel pretty darn rare to see one in full flower.

But not so rare that you can't find one. So momentarily unhand your wildflower guide and ponder what's happening, spectacularly, as of the middle of April, at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas.

The nature-filled destination's puya alpestris, the sapphire tower's official handle, is now blooming, and shall for "2-3 WEEKS!" (as of an April 13 Facebook post).

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There are actually two places to see this member of the pineapple family at the 37-acre property, in the Australian Garden and the South American Desert Garden (the sapphire tower hails, botanically, from Chile).

The garden paints the flowers as "deep turquoise," and the photographs back that assertion up. Petals come in all sorts of hues in this world, with pink and yellow and red and purple serving as some stand-out colors around the region, but turquoise?

That's a lu-lu of a lovely sight, flower-wise.

If you're inclined to describe the sapphire tower as "Seussian," you probably wouldn't be alone. And, of course, the great Theodor Geisel called La Jolla home for many years, which isn't all that far from the San Diego Botanic Garden.

Making this real-life turquoise-surreal tower a fine and flora-tastic fit for a region that boasts Seussian cred aplenty.

Knee-deep blankets of wildflowers or stand-alone show-offs: SoCal's stupendous springtime petal program continues.

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