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What is this? [pic]

Posted by semaje (My Page) on
Sun, Sep 6, 09 at 19:27

I bought this at a store at the Jersey shore because I thought the idea of an air plant was neat. I never thought to learn more about it, but now id like to. So first off, what the hell is it? I think its a bromeliad but I'm not sure. It has stayed this size since I bought it. And with that comes a concern. The end parts of the leaves or whatever you'd call them (which Id love to know what they're called) have curled up and gone brown. Also the rooty looking part at the bottom is brown and dead feeling and the pieces fall off easily. I would spray it with water every now and then. This has been this way for a while now, but I didnt worry because the plants still green. But now I am wondering if its evergreen. I don't know. And my last question is what is the white fuzzy stuff growing up the bottom part of it? It looks nothing like mold. I would have pronounced this plant dead long ago, but it is still green and I don't know squat about its species.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: What is this? [pic]

I don't know if it's from the bromeliad family or not.I have a basket full of it and some on a piece of driftwood.We call it air plants as they really don't need soil to survive.Mine gets full of pretty purple flowers.I was trying to find you a picture of mine,but that Stupid photobucket isn't co-operating again.I need to find another place for my albums.

If you have a piece of driftwood,or something like that,add a few drops of glue to the bottom part of the plant and stick it on then loosely tie a piece of jute string to help support it.I give mine a drink sometimes once a week when i water other thing,sometimes it's longer between drinks.

I have several different kinds.

PS,I don't think you can kill it,just pull off the dead leaves.

RE: What is this? [pic]

Hi semaje

Your plant is a Tillandsia ionantha, these are a member of the Bromeliad family.


RE: What is this? [pic]

Aw cool, thanks. But can someone answer my other question about what is the white stuff? thanks.

RE: What is this? [pic]

The white stuff is part of the plant. That is how the plant takes up the water (as you noticed, the roots aren't completely necessary for the plant to live). Tillandsia plants typically only use their roots to grab on to something (a rock, a tree branch, etc). So don't rub off the white stuff, and if you don't like the look of them you can cut off the old roots.

RE: What is this? [pic]

Alright thanks

RE: What is this? [pic]

The white "stuff" as Andy pointed out, is part of the plant's makeup. They are specialized cells called trichomes and commonly called "scales". They act as little Pac-men (gobble, gobble), grabbing whatever nutrients and moisture they can out of the atmosphere. Many Tillandsias grow in very arid conditions and have evolved to capture what little moisture they can via these "scales". Some species live at extreme altitudes and have such a large amount that they appear almost fuzzy. This is to protect the plant's epidermis from the UV rays of the sun. These species are equipped to substain themselves on very, very little moisture, mostly from fog. A rule of thumb is that the whiter the plant's color (a lot of trichomes), the drier conditions it can handle. Tillandsias that are green in color come from areas where rainfall and/or humidity is abundant. These need frequent watering/misting.

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