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This is a fine representative of the Bromeliaceae (bromeliad or pineapple family).
Native to the Tropical Americas, mostly between the 38th and 44th parallel.
Common relatives include pineapple, Aechmea, and all other bromeliads including Spanish moss.
Leaves are stiff, mostly linear in a basal rosette but not as spiny as other species.
Flowers are borne mostly in spike-type inflorescences that do not protrude significantly above the leaves.
Plant is classed as a monocotyledon, leaves mostly parallel veined.
Flowers are not fragrant.
Chill sensitive, store above 55 degrees F. Does well if transported in 3 days or less at 60F.
Most bromeliads only flower once under home/office conditions. However, if new off-shoots are produced, it is possible to induce them to flower by treating the plant with ethylene gas. To treat a plant, place one or two ready to eat apples next to the plant and them seal the plant and apples in a plastic bag. Keep the bag sealed for two or three days at room temperature. Remove the bag and apples. It may take many weeks before you will know if the treatment was successful.
Many are classified as “epiphytes” or air plants as they grow on other plants and elevated supports. They are not parasites but obtain water and nutrients through a spongy covering of their roots.
Guzmania: named after the Spanish naturalist, A. Guzmann.
The most common member of this family is the pineapple, other species are grown for fiber but most are grown for ornamental value.
Most cultivars can survive under a wide range of light conditions. Good performing hybrids include ‘Exodus’ (red leaf), ‘Marlebecca’ (yellow-red), ‘Grand Prix’ (dark red) and ‘Amaranth’ (purple).
Recent Research Findings:
Wolverton and Wolverton (1992) showed that this is one of many foliage and flowering plant species that can remove air pollutants such as formaldehyde and/or benzene often found in cigarette smoke from interior environments.