The Happy Alien Facts serve as the common name for this remarkable plant due to its unique appearance. It is also recognized as a highly unusual species. Understandably, its common name originates from the distinctive blooms it possesses.
Furthermore, it naturally grows only in one location in the world. However, it has gradually spread, presumably due to human activity. Consequently, it now appears in Chile and Argentina. Nonetheless, its presence in these regions is currently limited to scattered locations.
Additionally, it was Charles Darwin himself who officially discovered this amazing species during his 1831-1836 expedition. However, unofficial descriptions of it date as far back as 1791 by other individuals.
At present, the IUCN has not yet included it in its Red List of Threatened Species. Nevertheless, its restricted range makes it vulnerable. Potential threats to its survival include habitat loss and climate change.
The physical characteristics of the Happy Alien are truly unique and somewhat enigmatic. Botanists classify this small plant as both an evergreen and a perennial species.
A fully grown plant rarely exceeds a height of 5 inches (12.7 cm). Its leaves also remain small and take on a distinct tongue-shaped structure. Similar to most alpine plants, it has a relatively shallow root system.
However, the most remarkable feature of this plant lies in its lovely and distinctive flowers. They have a pouch-like shape and grow to approximately 2 inches (5 cm) in length. The shape of these flowers is the origin of its name.
Typically, the flowers develop in shades of orange-yellow. However, combinations of red hues can also appear on parts of the bloom. They grow on short, slender stems, with a white band present at the mouth.
The Happy Alien, despite spreading through human actions, evolved as a native species within a highly isolated range. Originally, this charming plant grew exclusively in the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego in South America.
The Happy Alien is a cold climate mountain species. Its typical habitat includes a wide range of types, as long as they remain open and well-drained. These habitats encompass coastal rock and sand regions, scrubland, moors, cliffs, and steppes.
Furthermore, the appropriately named blooms appear throughout the summer. Its abundant fruits consist of small capsules. However, unlike most flowering plants, this species achieves pollination through birds rather than insects.
Finally, its aromatic blooms attract numerous birds that feed on the uncolored band. In the process, these birds collect its pollen, which then gets transmitted to the next flower the animal visits, ensuring its propagation.