59 genera/2400 species, in the New World tropics (and subtropics; one species occurs in West Africa). Herbaceous, terrestrial to epiphytic, highly drought-adapted. Leaves spirally arranged and with sheathing bases, often so as to form a "tank" within which water accumulates. Leaves simple, parallel-veined, often with spiny margins, and with specialized, stalked scales that assist in water retention, and in absorption of both water and nutrients.
Flowers mostly animal-pollinated, K3, C3, A3+3 often attached to C, G(3) superior to inferior.
Fruits typically a berry, but sometimes septicidal capsules. Ananas (pineapple) cultivated for its fleshy, multiple fruit (other genera are cultivated for their leaf fibers).
These illustrations courtesy of (and ©) the University of Hawaii Botany Department or the photographers. Click on the link below to see more illustrations, including a close-up of Tillandsia showing its flowers.
Click HERE to see some of the material collected at Allan Gardens and studied in the lab on 7 October 2004.
The Flora North America treatment of the Bromeliaceae (Luther & Brown 2000) is available HERE:
L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz
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