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Tillandsia fasciculata

Tillandsia fasciculata Sw.

 

Giant Airplant, Cardinal Airplant

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassLiliopsidaMonocots (plants with a single seed leaf); includes the lily family
SubclassZingiberidaeGingers and related plants
OrderBromelialesBromeliads: tropical plants adapted to limited water, often epiphytes
FamilyBromeliaceaeBromelias: tropical and subtropical plants, the best known being pineapple
GenusTillandsiaFor Elias Tillands (1640-1693), Finno-Swedish botanist
SpeciesfasciculataDerived from a Latin word meaning “bundles” and describing the way the leaves are attached to the leaf stem in little bunches or ‘fascicles’

About plant names...

Giant airplants are native to Central America, Mexico, the West Indies, northern South America, and the southeastern United States. Airplants are so-called because they have no roots and they grow nestled into nooks and crannies on trees, seemingly deriving everything they need from the air. And that is in fact largely true: air, water, and sunlight provide for most of the plants’ needs. But the plant also needs minerals and a few other nutrients. Depressions in the leaf axils pool rainwater, and these pools employ bacteria and fungi to decompose bits of plant matter (leaves, seeds, and twigs). Air plants absorb the resulting nutrients. Air plants are epiphytes—their nutrition does not depend on parasitizing the host plant.

They are endangered in Florida, a result of Mexican bro­mel­iad weevils (Metamasius callizona), habitat destruction, and illegal collecting.

Plants: When flowering, plants are up to 2½" (6.5 cm) in size, with short stems.

Leaves: 20-50, in many-ranked clusters, emerging in all directions from a central point. Leaves are gray or gray-green, 10-20" (25-50 cm) × ⅜-⅞" (1-2.5 cm), elliptic, and flat, tapering evenly from base to apex.

Flowers: Flowerheads have 3-15 flower spikes. Each spike is 1¾-8" (5-20 cm) × ½-⅞" (1.5-2.5 cm). The spikes are red; a mixture of red, yellow, and green; or green, and they are really floral bracts, not flowers. The flowers, 10-50 per spike, are quite inconspicuous.

Fruits: Fruits are up to 1½" (4 cm) in size.

Online References:

Tillandsia fasciculata on entomology.ifas.ufl.edu

Tillandsia fasciculata on Wikimedia Commons (Photos)

Tillandsia fasciculata on bromeliad.org.au (Photos)

Tillandsia fasciculata on florida.plantatlas.usf.edu (Photos)

Tillandsia fasciculata on eFloras

Tillandsia fasciculata (Giant Airplant, Cardinal Airplant)

4/14/2015 · Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 10 × 7" (26 × 17 cm)

Tillandsia fasciculata (Giant Airplant, Cardinal Airplant)

4/14/2015 · Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 14 × 11" (36 × 27 cm)

Tillandsia fasciculata (Giant Airplant, Cardinal Airplant)

4/10/2015 · Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, FL
≈ 15 × 12" (37 × 31 cm)

Tillandsia fasciculata description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 1 Sep 2019.

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Tillandsia fasciculata (Giant Airplant, Cardinal Airplant)

4/10/2015 · Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, FL
≈ 19 × 12" (47 × 31 cm)

Tillandsia fasciculata (Giant Airplant, Cardinal Airplant)

4/11/2015 · Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 23 × 22" (57 × 56 cm)

Tillandsia fasciculata (Giant Airplant, Cardinal Airplant)

4/11/2015 · Big Cypress National Preserve, FL

Tillandsia fasciculata (Giant Airplant, Cardinal Airplant)

4/14/2015 · Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 15 cm)

Tillandsia fasciculata (Giant Airplant, Cardinal Airplant)

4/14/2015 · Everglades National Park, FL
≈ 8 × 6" (20 × 15 cm)

Range:

About this map...