Thank you to Ruth for today’s write-up:
Within the bromeliad family, the genus TIllandsia is the largest: estimates suggest roughly 400 species. Tillandsia as a group are found amongst montane, desert and forested regions of Central and South America, southern USA and Mexico. The genus Tillandsia was named by Linneaus in honour of the Finnish physician and botanist Elias Tilandz.
Many species of Tillandsia, including Tillandsia confertiflora, are epiphytic: they collect nutrients and water from the air. Consequently, these epiphytes do not require soil. Instead, they substitute the bark of trees as a substrate.
In this photograph of Tillandsia confertiflora, do note the few inconspicuous purple flowers emerging from the prominent reddish-green bracts.
Tillandsia confertiflora is native to the Andes Mountains, where it can be found at elevations from 1200 to 3000m.