Thursday, June 11, 2009

Plant Q&A with Vicky: Bromeliads

Q: What on Earth is a bromeliad?

A: The bromeliads are a family of flowering, exotic plants. There are close to 2500 (!) species, mainly found in the tropical Americas. They can include epiphytes, lithophytes, and terrestrial species.

Q: Um, what’s an epiphyte? Or a lithophyte?

A: An epiphyte is a type of plant that attaches to and grows on another plant. Lithophytes grow off of rocks. Terrestrial plants grow in soil.

Q: Okay, good to know. Have I even seen a bromeliad in my life before?

A: Sure – if you’ve ever seen a pineapple, you’ve seen a bromeliad.

Q: Pineapples are delicious. What else is awesome about bromeliads?

A: How about the fact that they probably evolved near the end of the Cretaceous period (right before Jurassic) over 65 million years ago? It is entirely possible that some bromeliads were dinosaur food. Not to mention food to the ancient Incan, Aztec, and Mayan people. Cool!

For more on these amazing, ancient species, visit the Wiki page.

Or, have one of your own by visiting our bromeliad page.