Arecaceae – Attalea – Attalea butyracea, cohune

ARECACEAE

Palm family

Acecaceae includes approximately 2oo genera of evergreen solitary or clustering trees or stemless shrubs, rarely climbers, from tropcical and mild temperate  regions. The architecture of palms is elegant and diverse. Though unfamiliar to many, inflorescencess and fruit are often highly ornamental. Leaves are compound, some with pinnate leaflets arranged  along a midrib  and sometimes with an elongated petiole base that sheathes the top of the trunk. Other palms have palmately compound leaves, with the leaflets spreading fanlike and radiating from a disklike structure at the end of the petiole. Costapalmate leaves are also fan – shaped but somewhat folded lengthwise, the sides arching, with the bases congested on a short rachis. Fishtail palms are the only bipinnately leafed palms, with a branched rachis and wedge – shaped leaflets. Palm leaflets may be partially fused along their edgess or completely free, juvenile leaflets are  often more fused than adults. Flowers are small. in many – flowered panicles. The inflorescence is subtended by a spathelike bract.

The apical meristem at the apex of the trunk or stalk is the only growing point. It cannot be cut bacck without   killing the individual stem, making it very important to select palms of appropriate mature height. Palms are susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. Lethal yellowing disease has devasstated sussceptible species where it occurs. Palms often develop nutritional deficiencies in alkaline soils and need supplemental micronutrients. Photos of the trunks and leaf scar patterns are provided here because they are often ornamental and excellent field marks that are easily observed at eye level. Palmswere photographed primarily at Faichild Tropical Garden and the Montgomery  Botanical Center.

Attalea

Attalea includes approximately 30-71 species of solitary palms from tropical America. Some authors divide these species among Attalea (22 species), Orbignya (20 species), Scheelea (28 species) and Maximiliana (1  species) based upon minor differences of floral anatomy. They are combined here because they  are very closely ralated and intermediate forms are recognized. Leaves are pinnate, relatively  long, and shaggy, in 1 or 2 ranks. Old leaves are semipersistent,  remaining attached to the stem for a long time. Male and female flowers are on the same plant. These palms are generally massive, slow growing trees of both dry and seasonally moist forest. They require plenty of space to spread. The oil is  used for fuel by indigenous peoples and the seeds are eaten by wild and domestic animals slike.

Attalea butyracea

Synonyms; A. zonensis, Scheelea liebmanii, Scheelea phalerata. mexico. Solitary palm to 50 ft. +, zones 9-11. Blooms intermittently. Regular moisture and humidity. Fertile, well drained soil. Full sun. Flowers: unisexual. Leaves: ascending. Stems: stocky, leaf scar rings undulating, smooth.

Attalea cohune

American oil palm, cohune palm

Synonym: Orbignya cohune. Central Amirica. Solitary palm, 40-50 ft. +, zones 9-11. Blooms intermittently. Regular moisture and humidity. Fertile, well drained soil. Full sun. Flowers: unisexual. Leaves: pinnate, to 25 ft. long even on relatively young trees, tips lax, bases long and broad, persistent for many years. Stems: thick, leaf scar rings undulating.

Arecaceae – Astrocaryum – Astrocaryum mexicanum

ARECACEAE

Palm family

Acecaceae includes approximately 2oo genera of evergreen solitary or clustering trees or stemless shrubs, rarely climbers, from tropcical and mild temperate  regions. The architecture of palms is elegant and diverse. Though unfamiliar to many, inflorescencess and fruit are often highly ornamental. Leaves are compound, some with pinnate leaflets arranged  along a midrib  and sometimes with an elongated petiole base that sheathes the top of the trunk. Other palms have palmately compound leaves, with the leaflets spreading fanlike and radiating from a disklike structure at the end of the petiole. Costapalmate leaves are also fan – shaped but somewhat folded lengthwise, the sides arching, with the bases congested on a short rachis. Fishtail palms are the only bipinnately leafed palms, with a branched rachis and wedge – shaped leaflets. Palm leaflets may be partially fused along their edgess or completely free, juvenile leaflets are  often more fused than adults. Flowers are small. in many – flowered panicles. The inflorescence is subtended by a spathelike bract.

The apical meristem at the apex of the trunk or stalk is the only growing point. It cannot be cut bacck without   killing the individual stem, making it very important to select palms of appropriate mature height. Palms are susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. Lethal yellowing disease has devasstated sussceptible species where it occurs. Palms often develop nutritional deficiencies in alkaline soils and need supplemental micronutrients. Photos of the trunks and leaf scar patterns are provided here because they are often ornamental and excellent field marks that are easily observed at eye level. Palmswere photographed primarily at Faichild Tropical Garden and the Montgomery  Botanical Center.

 Astrocaryum

Astrocaryum includes approximately 50 species of solitary palms from rropical America. They grow in moist forest understory. Leaves are pinnate. Male and female flowers are on the same plant. Some species are utilized for oil or fiber. The genus name probably alludes to the starlike fibers arranged around the pore openings at the end of the fruit where the embryonic root emerges. These armed species are not commonly cultivated though they make formidable barrier fences.

 Astrocaryum mexicanum

Star nut palm

Mexico to Honduras. Solitary palm to 8 ft, zones 9-11. Blooms intermittently in warm, wet months. Regular moisture and humidity. Fertile, well drained soil. Full to part sun or bright broken light. Flowers: unisexual, small, brown and white, inflorescence compact, branched, fruit ovoid, woody, to 2 in.long, bracts one, spiny. Leaves: pinnate, in one rank, dull green, leaflets unevenly divided, petiole and rachis spiny. Stems: heavily armed with long spines.

ARECACEAE – Areca – Areca catechu

ARECACEAE

Palm family

Acecaceae includes approximately 2oo genera of evergreen solitary or clustering trees or stemless shrubs, rarely climbers, from tropcical and mild temperate  regions. The architecture of palms is elegant and diverse. Though unfamiliar to many, inflorescencess and fruit are often highly ornamental. Leaves are compound, some with pinnate leaflets arranged  along a midrib  and sometimes with an elongated petiole base that sheathes the top of the trunk. Other palms have palmately compound leaves, with the leaflets spreading fanlike and radiating from a disklike structure at the end of the petiole. Costapalmate leaves are also fan – shaped but somewhat folded lengthwise, the sides arching, with the bases congested on a short rachis. Fishtail palms are the only bipinnately leafed palms, with a branched rachis and wedge – shaped leaflets. Palm leaflets may be partially fused along their edgess or completely free, juvenile leaflets are  often more fused than adults. Flowers are small. in many – flowered panicles. The inflorescence is subtended by a spathelike bract.

The apical meristem at the apex of the trunk or stalk is the only growing point. It cannot be cut bacck without   killing the individual stem, making it very important to select palms of appropriate mature height. Palms are susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. Lethal yellowing disease has devasstated sussceptible species where it occurs. Palms often develop nutritional deficiencies in alkaline soils and need supplemental micronutrients. Photos of the trunks and leaf scar patterns are provided here because they are often ornamental and excellent field marks that are easily observed at eye level. Palmswere photographed primarily at Faichild Tropical Garden and the Montgomery  Botanical Center.

Areca

Areca includes approximately 60 species of solitary and clustering palms from Southeast Asia, Malaysia, India, and New Guinea. The origin of some species is obscured by centuries of cultivation. Leaves are pinnate. Male and female flowers are on the same plant. These palms, from tropical rainforest understory, are sensitive to cold. In the United States, they grow outdoors only in Hawaii and protected areas of South Florida. In Southeast Asia, the nut of A, catechu is sometimes chewed with piper betle leaves and lime as a mild narcotic. The mixture stains saliva red. This practice fed legends of island cannibals and bequeathed Bloody Mary her name in the musical South Pacific. The nut, chewed by itself, is sometimes used as a toothbrush.

Betel nut palm, areca nut, pinang, bonga

Origin obscure, cultivated from Southeast Asia to New Guinea. Solitary palm, 30 – 100 ft, zone 11. Blooms intermittently in warm, wet months. Moist and humid. Fertile, well drained soil. Bright broken light. Flowers: unisexual, mostly male, a few female flowers near the base of the inflorescence, fragrant, inflorescence resembles an upturned whisk broom, fruit orange. Leaves: pinnate, leaflets fused almost to the edge of the leaf, crown shaft slender, green. Cultivated for millennia. Possibly a cultigen. Wild populations unknown. Flowers are used to make perfume. Cold sensitive.


 

ARECACEAE – Allagoptera – Allagoptera arenaria

ARECACEAE

Palm family

Acecaceae includes approximately 2oo genera of evergreen solitary or clustering trees or stemless shrubs, rarely climbers, from tropcical and mild temperate  regions. The architecture of palms is elegant and diverse. Though unfamiliar to many, inflorescencess and fruit are often highly ornamental. Leaves are compound, some with pinnate leaflets arranged  along a midrib  and sometimes with an elongated petiole base that sheathes the top of the trunk. Other palms have palmately compound leaves, with the leaflets spreading fanlike and radiating from a disklike structure at the end of the petiole. Costapalmate leaves are also fan – shaped but somewhat folded lengthwise, the sides arching, with the bases congested on a short rachis. Fishtail palms are the only bipinnately leafed palms, with a branched rachis and wedge – shaped leaflets. Palm leaflets may be partially fused along their edgess or completely free, juvenile leaflets are  often more fused than adults. Flowers are small. in many – flowered panicles. The inflorescence is subtended by a spathelike bract.

The apical meristem at the apex of the trunk or stalk is the only growing point. It cannot be cut bacck without   killing the individual stem, making it very important to select palms of appropriate mature height. Palms are susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. Lethal yellowing disease has devasstated sussceptible species where it occurs. Palms often develop nutritional deficiencies in alkaline soils and need supplemental micronutrients. Photos of the trunks and leaf scar patterns are provided here because they are often ornamental and excellent field marks that are easily observed at eye level. Palmswere photographed primarily at Faichild Tropical Garden and the Montgomery  Botanical Center.

Allagoptera

Allagoptera includes approximately 5 species of mostly clustering palms from Brazil and Paraguay. Leaves are pinnate. Male and female flowers are on the same plant. Allagoptera arenaria, native to sandy coastal scrub and beaches, is extremely salt tolerant. It gathers sand, building up dunes around the stem, and may be useful to slow erosion. The species name comes from arena, the Spanish word for sand. On firm ground, this palm attains moderate height. Inland species are not salt tolerant.

Allagoptera arenaria

Seashore palm

Synonym: cocos arenaria. Southerm coastal Brazil. Clustering palm, 6-15 ft, zones 10-11. Blooms intermittently in warm, wet months. Moderate moisture to fairly dry. Poor to average, sandy, well drained soil. Full sun. Flowers: unisexual, infructescence resembles an ear of corn. Leaves:pinnate, dull green, leaflets in clusters of 3, lax, sharp tipped, in whorls around the rachis. Stems: covered with spiraling, interlaced leaf bases. Palmate leaf in photo center belongs to neighboring Thrinax.

Fabaceae – Brownea – Brownea ariza, coccinea subsp. capitella

Fabaceae

Subfamily Caesalpinioideae

Caesalpinioideae includes approximately 150 genera of trees, shrubs, herbs, and climbers. Leaves are usually pinnately compound, sometimes twice pinnate (bipinnate). Flowers are bilaterally symmetrical sometimes appearing almost radially symmetrical. One petal is more or less defferentiated into a lip or standard.

Brownea

Brownea includes approximately 12 species of trees from northern South America to Costa Rica and the West Indies. Most grow in tropical forest understory, some at moderate elevation. Leaves are pinnate. New leaves are softly pendent and pinkish, stiffening into horizontal position with age, a characteristic referred to as “pouring out” Twigs are cross – shaped or angular in cross section. Species includes here are sensitive to termperatures below 450 F but should recover if not frozen. They prefer neutral to acid soil pH and regular moisture. Flowers are in compact heads, stamens long and exserted. The 2 stunning species shown here are evocative of flamenco skirts and setting suns. The inflorescences are stalkless and grow directly from the branches. These are understory plants which grow in subdued light.  In cultivation they are not known to set seed. They are difficult if not impossible to transplant. Browneas are attractive to nectar – feeding birds.

Mountain rose ariza, palo de cruz

Synonyms: B.princeps, B.rose -demonte. Fringes of Amazon basin in Colobia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru. Evergreen tree to 50 ft, zones 10-11. Blooms primarily late winter, spring, or intermittently. Regular moisture and humidity. Fertile, deep, well drained soil. acid pH. part sun to bright filtered light. Flowers: tubular, petals red, bracts greenish, stamens long exserted, in a pendent, skirtlike inflorescence, cauliflorous. Leaves: pinnate, to 18 in. long, leaflets 10-18, elliptic, pink and pendent when young. Flowers grow from the underside of spereading branches that arch to the ground. Pruning lower branches and growing in an elevated location will help display the flowers to better advantage.

Brownea coccinea subsp.capitella

Rose of venezuela, flor de rosa

Synonym: B.capitella, Brazil, Venezuela, Guyana, Trinidad, tobago. Evergreen shrub or small tree to 15 ft, zones 10-11. Blooms primarily late winter, spring, intermittently in warm months. Regular moisture and humidity. Fertile, well drained soil, acid pH. Part sun, bright filtered light. Flowers: petals scarlet, stamens very long – exserted, red orange, filaments fused at base like a comb, bracts pink, visible in half opened inflorescence, in globular heads to 10 in. diameter, cauliflorous. Leaves: pinnate , to 18 in.long, leaflets 10-18, dlliptic. The subspecies name refers to the globular floral heads.

ARALIACEAE – Schefflera, Schefflera actinophylla, Schefflera arboricola,Schefflera elegantissima,

Araliaceae

Aralia family, ginseng family

Araliaceae includes 47- 84 genera of shrubs, trees, woody climbers, epiphytes, and raraly herbs, which are widely distributed but most diverse in Indonesia and the Americas. This family could also be more broadly circumscribed  in the family Apiaceae. Hedera and Polyscias are frequently cultivated as foliage plants in temperate and tropical climates. Some species are armed with prickles. Leaves are leathery, often deeply divided or compound and spirally arranged. Juvenile leaves sometimes differ from adult leaves. Flowers are reduced and bisexual, or unisexual with male and female flowers on the same plant (monoecious) or on different plants.

Schefflera

Schefflera includes approximately 650 species of shrubs, trees, and climbers, which are widely distributed but most abundant in the Americas, mainland and maritime Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Only a few species are widely cultivated, primarily as foliage plants. Leaves are usually palmately compound, the leaflets on short stalks. Flowers are reduced and not individually ornamental, but large inflorescences are showy. Inflorescences are mostly umbels or spikes. Schefflera actinophylla is a commonly grown, self  seeding pest that is prohibited in Florida. The seeds are distributed by birds, especially exotic wild parrots.

Schefflera actinophylla

Schefflera, queensland umbrella tree, octopus tree, chefflera

Synonym; Brassaia actinophylla. New Guinea, Indonesia, Australia, widely distributed. Evergreen tree to 35 ft, zones 10-11. Blooms summer. Moderate moisture. Average, well drained soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: reduced, dark – red, inflorescence with long spokelike branches. Leaves: palmately compound, leaflets about 12, obovate to 1 ft.long, margins undulate, petioles to 16 in. This erect, fast growing tree is slightly salt tolerant. Seeds often start epiphytically in other trees and palms, quickly overwhelming the host. Invasive in Hawaii. Prohibited in South Florida. Removal strongly recommended.

Schefflera arboricola

Dwarf umbrella tree, dwarf schefflera, arboricola

Synonym: Heptapleurum arboricolum. Taiwan, southern China. Evergreen shrub, 8- 12 ft, zones 10-11. Blooms winter. Moderate moisture. Average, well drained soil. Full to part sun. Flowers: reduced, fruit an orange berry turning purple – black. Leaves: palmately compound, about 10 leaflets, 4-6 in.long. These shrubs are  popular hedge plants. So far, this species does not seem to be invasive. The variegated form has irregular cream markings on the leaflets.

Elegant schefflera, false aralia

Synonyms: Aralia elegantissima, Dizygotheca elegantissima. New Caledonia. Evergreen shrub or small tree, 6-20 ft; +, zones 10-11.  Blooms fall. Moderate moisture. Average, well drained soil. Bright broken light, part sun. Flowers: in terminal umbels. Leaves: palmate, leaflets 7-11, lanceolate, black to dark green, midvein light green, fuvenile leaflets 6-10 in.long, margins widely toothed, petiole white spotted, adulf  form with larger leaflets. An erect foliage plant, sparsely branching, primarily from the base. Bloom rarely seen in cultivation. Suitable for containers.

ARECACEAE – Adonidia – Adonidia merrillii

ARECACEAE

Palm family

Acecaceae includes approximately 2oo genera of evergreen solitary or clustering trees or stemless shrubs, rarely climbers, from tropcical and mild temperate  regions. The architecture of palms is elegant and diverse. Though unfamiliar to many, inflorescencess and fruit are often highly ornamental. Leaves are compound, some with pinnate leaflets arranged  along a midrib  and sometimes with an elongated petiole base that sheathes the top of the trunk. Other palms have palmately compound leaves, with the leaflets spreading fanlike and radiating from a disklike structure at the end of the petiole. Costapalmate leaves are also fan – shaped but somewhat folded lengthwise, the sides arching, with the bases congested on a short rachis. Fishtail palms are the only bipinnately leafed palms, with a branched rachis and wedge – shaped leaflets. Palm leaflets may be partially fused along their edgess or completely free, juvenile leaflets are  often more fused than adults. Flowers are small. in many – flowered panicles. The inflorescence is subtended by a spathelike bract.

The apical meristem at the apex of the trunk or stalk is the only growing point. It cannot be cut bacck without   killing the individual stem, making it very important to select palms of appropriate mature height. Palms are susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. Lethal yellowing disease has devasstated sussceptible species where it occurs. Palms often develop nutritional deficiencies in alkaline soils and need supplemental micronutrients. Photos of the trunks and leaf scar patterns are provided here because they are often ornamental and excellent field marks that are easily observed at eye level. Palmswere photographed primarily at Faichild Tropical Garden and the Montgomery  Botanical Center.

Adonidia

Adonidia includes a single species of solitary palm from the Philippines. Leaves are pinnate. Flowers are unisexual, with male and female flowers on the same tree. This popular palm was included in Veitchia for a long time but has now been returned to Adonidia because of a number of characteristics that differ from Veitchia. One biological distinction, unfortunately, is susceptibility to lethal yellowing disease. This palm bears fruit from fall to spring. It is called Christmas palm for the baublelike fruits that appear over many months, not just the Christmas season.

Manila palm, christmas palm

Synonym: Veitchia merrillii. Philippines. Solitary palm. 20-50ft, zones 10-11. Blooms intermittently in warm, wet months. Moderate moisture. Average to fertile, well – drained soil. Full sun to bright broken light. Flowers: unisexual, inflorescence stalk white, fruit plum – shaped, crimson – red, bracts 2, one inside the other,, short – lived, papery. Leaves: pinnate, arched, leaflets near the base in several ranks with long reins, becoming one – ranked toward the ends, held obliquely in a V, tips jagged, crownshaft long, gray – green. Stems: base spreading, leaf scar rings closely spaced or up to 2 in. apart depending on light exposure. A cold – sensitive, fast – growing, and somewhat salt – tolerant palm. Because it is highly susceptible to lethal yellowing disease, it is short lived in affected areas.

Fabaceae – Amherstia-Amherstia nobilis

Fabaceae

Subfamily Caesalpinioideae

Caesalpinioideae includes approximately 150 genera of trees, shrubs, herbs, and climbers. Leaves are usually pinnately compound, sometimes twice pinnate (bipinnate). Flowers are bilaterally symmetrical sometimes appearing almost radially symmetrical. One petal is more or less defferentiated into a lip or standard.

Amherstia

Amherstia includes a single species of tree from Southeast Asia. It is native to monsoon rain forest with a short dry season in winter. Amherstia nobilis has a weeping habit and orchidlike flowers in cauliflorous, pendent racemes. It is often described as one of the most beautiful tropical flowering trees. Temperatures below 550 F inhibit flower development. Though the tree is known to subtropical Florida, it is not known to bloom in the subtropics except in warm greenhouses. Flowering is initiated by a dry season, but trees in containers should never be allowed to become completely dry. The species is often cultivated in Hawaii, Southeast Asia,  India, Sri Lanka, and the West Indies. Trees are self sterile. Solitary trees rarely, if ever, produce viable seeds. They are difficult to propagate vegetatively.

Amherstia nobilis

Amherstia, pride of burma, queen of flowering trees

Myanmar. Extinct in wild. Ecergreen tree, 20-40 ft, zone 11. Blooms winter or dry season. Seasonally moist and humid, sparingly in winter. Fertile, sandy, humusrich, well drained soil. Part sun, with protection from midday sun. Flowers: standard with a clawed base, red and white with a golden eye at the end, 2 small lateral wings, 5 sepals, 3 small, 2 large, bracts petal like, red, in pendent racemes, fruit a red, beaked pod. Leaves: bipinnate, 12-18 in.long, young leaves pink, lax, becoming light green and stiffening, leaflets elliptic, tips caudate. Bark, light gray. An ultra – tropical. Thrives outdoors only in warm climates. Photographed at Ernesto’s Nursery in Miami, Florida.

 

ARECACEAE – Acoelorrhaphe, Acoelorrhaphe wrightii

ARECACEAE

Palm family

Acecaceae includes approximately 2oo genera of evergreen solitary or clustering trees or stemless shrubs, rarely climbers, from tropcical and mild temperate  regions. The architecture of palms is elegant and diverse. Though unfamiliar to many, inflorescencess and fruit are often highly ornamental. Leaves are compound, some with pinnate leaflets arranged  along a midrib  and sometimes with an elongated petiole base that sheathes the top of the trunk. Other palms have palmately compound leaves, with the leaflets spreading fanlike and radiating from a disklike structure at the end of the petiole. Costapalmate leaves are also fan – shaped but somewhat folded lengthwise, the sides arching, with the bases congested on a short rachis. Fishtail palms are the only bipinnately leafed palms, with a branched rachis and wedge – shaped leaflets. Palm leaflets may be partially fused along their edgess or completely free, juvenile leaflets are  often more fused than adults. Flowers are small. in many – flowered panicles. The inflorescence is subtended by a spathelike bract.

The apical meristem at the apex of the trunk or stalk is the only growing point. It cannot be cut bacck without   killing the individual stem, making it very important to select palms of appropriate mature height. Palms are susceptible to a variety of diseases and pests. Lethal yellowing disease has devasstated sussceptible species where it occurs. Palms often develop nutritional deficiencies in alkaline soils and need supplemental micronutrients. Photos of the trunks and leaf scar patterns are provided here because they are often ornamental and excellent field marks that are easily observed at eye level. Palms were photographed primarily at Faichild Tropical Garden and the Montgomery  Botanical Center..

 Acoelorrhaphe

Acoelorrhaphe includes a single species of densely  clustering palm from the western Caribbean, Belize, Cuba, the Bahamas, and South Florida. Adapted to marshy, brackish conditions, this palm can be cultivated in upland areas with adequate irrigation. leaves are fan – shaped, the side leaflets shorter than those in the center. They are held stiffly, often so congested that some are turned on edge. Petiole margins are lined with hooked teeth. Old leaf stalks should not be added to mulch as the persistent teeth can snag long after they dry. Natural  stands are characteristic of the southern marshes of Everglades National Park in Florida. In some countries, once vast stands have been cleared  for farming. In alkaline soils, these palms require added prganics and micronutrients.

Acoelorrhaphe wrightii

Everglades palm, paurotis – palm

Synonyms: Copernicia wrightii, Paurotis wrightii,  Serenoa arborescens. South Florida, Bahamas, Cuba, Yucatan to Central America. Clustering palm, 25-35 ft, zones 9-11. Blooms intermittently in warm,, wet months. Seasonally moist to wet, or brackish. Deep, humus – rich soil. acid pH. Full sun. Flowers: bisexual. inflorescence stalk erect, 3-4 ft. long,, becoming pendent with weight of orange to black fruit, bracts 3, papery. leaves: palmate, gray – green below,    persistent, leaflet tips free halfway to the petiole, petiole armed with sharp, hooked teeth, base not divided. Distinguished by the very dense clumps and congested, disorderly arrangement of the fan – shaped leaves.

BROMELIACEAE – Androlepis – Androlepis skinneri

BROMELIACEAE

Pineapple family

Bromeliaceae includes approximately 56 genera of terrestrial to epipphytic herbs of mild temperate and tropical America, plus a single species of Picairnia from western Africa. The leaves are strap – or sword – shaped, commonly in basal whols, often guttered, with a water – collecting reservoir in the center, or sometimes in whols around a stem, or rarely distichous, the bases clasping the stem. They are sometimes strongly patterned or become brightly colored at maturity. The leaf margin is frequently sharply toothed, the tip spined. Flowers are usually small and short – lived, blue – violet, yellow, or white. Floral bracts, sepals, and sometimes the fruits are brightly colored and often long lasting. The fruit is a berry or capsule.

Individual bromeliad plants die after flowering after  producing new plants from offsets. Remove offsets when they are a third the size of the parent. Poi in humus, bark, or chopped coconut fiber with grit for drainage. The roots of  epiphytic species are primarily for attachment. Even terrestrial species may rot in wet soil. In warm areas many bromeliads thrive in humus under trees or attached to trees and palms. Mist when dry and keep reservoirs full or water. Bromeliads provide unique niches, moisture, nectar, and food for invertebrates, frogs, lizards, and birds. To deter mosquito larvae and  scale insects, spray plants with a mixture of 1 teaspoon each of salad oil and kitchen detergent in a quart of water. Copper sprays are deadly to bromeliads. Most species are easy to grow,  some do best in humid climates while others do well where dry.

Androlepis

Androlepis  incledes a single species os monocarpic herb from Central America. It is among the few bromeliads with the male and female flowers on different plants. Female plants are rare in cultivation. Male plants are propagated from offsets. The leaves are in basal rosettes, yellow – green in filtered light to mahogany – red in bright sunlight. This clump – forming bromeliad is suitable as a medium bedding plant.

Androlepis skinneri

Synonym: A. donnell – smithii. Costa Rica to Panama. Terrestrial herb, 18-24 in, zones 10-11. Blooms warm months. Regular moisture and humidity. Sandy, humus rich, well – drained soil, slightly acid pH. Full sun to bright filtered light. Flowers: unisexual, spike white, conical, erect, to 2 ft. tall. leaves: sword shaped, 18-24 in. long, outer leaves spreading, margins lined with small sharp teeth, in basal rosettes. The femala inflorescence has a more cylindrical shape on a shorter stalk than the made inflorescence shown here.