Spring Break 2018: The Cardinal Airplant

Tillandsia fasciculata, the Cardinal airplant;
Monroe county, Florida (15 March 2018).
Series: Spring Break 2018.

For a slight change of pace, let’s check out the Cardinal airplant, Tillandsia fasciculata, the largest bromeliad airplant to grow natively in Big Cypress National Preserve in South Florida. Airplants are epiphytic plants — meaning they grow upon other plants in a non-parasitic fashion. Rather than rooting in and being dependent on the soil, airplants simply soak up most of what they need directly from the air and rain above. It’s a low impact existence for the host plant and a beneficial service for frogs, lizards, and insects that use the Cardinal airplant for water acquisition and sheltering. The Cardinal airplant is also a gift for photographers lumbering about cypress swamps in search of flashy plays of light. Seriously, this is one awesome epiphyte.

Tillandsia fasciculata, 15 March 2018

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