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Did you know the Bromeliad family has over 3000 species, and well over 5000 known hybrids and cultivars? Traditionally grouped into three subfamilies, distinguished in large part by their different kinds of seeds, recent DNA testing shows there are likely seven different subfamilies.
Since Bromeliads grow in a wide variety of habitats, almost anyone living in a moderate climate can grow them. And since many can grow indoors, everyone can try some of them. Many are simply stunning plants, even without the flowers. Add the inflorescence and flowers, and they can't be beat!
No doubt the most well known Bromeliad is the pineapple. You can actually cut off the top of a pineapple grow it into a new plant! It is a member of the Bromelioideae subfamily which includes Aechmea, Billbergia and Neoregalia. Seeds of this subfamily are neither hairy or winged, and the fruits are usually berries.
Almost everyone has heard of airplants, actually called Tillandsia. They are members of the Tillandsioideae subfamily, which also includes Guzmania and Vriesea. Their their seeds have tufts of hair that allow them to be carried in the wind, like dandelions.
The third traditional subfamily was called the Pitcairnioideae subfamily. They are generally terrestial, spiny and is distinguished by wing shaped seeds. Some almost look like starfish! Now broken into 5 different subfamilies, they include Dyckias and Hechtias which grow great hot and dry climates. For that reason, they grow well in the San Fernando Valley, and some of the top Dyckia growers in the world belong to our Club.
Club member showing some of his fantastic Dyckias.
Perhaps the most well-known Tillandsia, this is T ionantha (a variety called 'Peach'). Everyone can grow this plant!
Billbergia 'El Capitan' in bloom.