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The Exotic Rainforest
Plants in the Exotic Rainforest Collection
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Vriesea Sp. Bromeliad

Possibly a cultivar

If you are fortunate enough to visit a rainforest in South or Central America all you need do is look up in the trees to be amazed at the variety of color growing from almost any limb.  Bromeliads populate the branches of trees often a hundred feet or more up into the sky.  Bromeliads are normally epiphytes 9ep-a-FIT).  That, despite the way plant growers try to pot and sell them.  They rarely grow in dirt!  In fact, their "roots" are not "roots" at all.  Instead, technically they are called "hold fasts".  Their primary function is to hold the plant fast and they have nothing to do with gathering water or nourishment. 

I once wondered how the bromeliads all got up into the trees.  Well, it's pretty simple.  Birds eat the seeds of bromeliads already up in the tree branches.  Then they fly off to another tree branch and poop!  When they poop they deposit the seed in a near perfect growing "mixture" so the seed wants to send out "hold fasts" and begin to grow on the new tree branch.  Birds are very efficient that way!  After about a year or two of growth the Bromeliad will put out a "flower" which is also technically an inflorescence and not a "flower" at all.  They can be quite abstract.  And beautiful to behold.  The "flowers" are long lived and may last months.  But once the inflorescence dies the plant will never "flower" again.  But, the parent plant will then begin to grow new plants around it's own base to replace itself and then it dies as well.  And the cycle continues.  Including the birds stopping by to eat a few seeds from the dieing inflorescence.  Quite an ingenious way to get plants started way up in the branches on new trees! 

We remove plants we from their pots, wash off the soil, and use Liquid Nails to literally glue the plants to our fake logs.  The log you think you see is actually cork bark wrapped around 4 inch PVC pipe.  Almost fooled you.  Didn't we?  Be sure and keep the bromeliad's cone filled with water.  That's where it gets a drink when it needs it!  The inflorescence stands about 15 inches tall.  The inset photo shows the same plant with the inflorescence fully opened.

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