gardening shade

Amazing Serendipity. An endangered tillandsia in my driveway!

tillandsia Urtriculata Giant Airplant

I have been on my property for twenty-years and have never come across this… an endangered Giant Air Plant. I spotted it out of the corner of my eye while rolling my wheelbarrow on my way to get pine needles for mulch. The silvery blue bromeliad leaves were off the beaten path but jumped out at me once I homed in on it. Had I not recently purchased a tillandsia xerographica, I may have missed it.

At first, I thought it was an agave or a yucca… but it looked too similar to tillandsia. Very excited, I photographed it and then lensed it. Turns out, it’s a native tillandsia utriculata or “Giant Air Plant.” Unfortunately, this is an endangered plant due to its difficulty in propagating and decimation by the Mexican bromeliad weevil.

These bromeliads can grow so huge, they break branches on trees. When they bloom, they can surpass 6-feet in height. This is an anomaly to the bromeliad family as it doesn’t die after it blooms. It also doesn’t set pups. It sets thousands of seeds, but they don’t have a high germination rate. All these factors contribute to its path to becoming endangered. Hopefully, it’s not too late to reverse course! Super excited to have found this beautiful plant in my yard. Of course, I will keep an eagle’s eye on it now that I have discovered it. Will certainly bring you pictures as it grows and hopefully blooms and sets seed!

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