Tropical Airplant Flower

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beetleman
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Tropical Airplant Flower

Post by beetleman »

This is Tillandsia ionantha , an airplant I have that is blooming in my terrarium. Tillandsias are in the Bromeliad family and are Epiphytes, which means they grow without soil and are usually attached to trees. They do have roots but they are only used as hold-downs and do not absorb water or nutrients. They get their moisture from rain and food from whatever falls from the tree onto them. The little scales you see on the leaves help the plant absorb rain water. Tillandsia ionantha blushs a bright red on the leaves as they flower, they only flower once in their lifetimes and then produce off-shoots called pups. This flower is about 1.5" long. The parent plant in this group is the one facing down at 6 o`clock in the group. The plant on the left looks like it will start blushing red and flower in a few weeks.
The second picture is a stack of 35 photos (and I still didn`t pull out far enough to get those last two leaves in focus)
1/13
F6.3
ISO100
Tripod with focusing rail

Image

Image
Last edited by beetleman on Mon Jan 21, 2008 6:56 am, edited 3 times in total.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Doug said:
they only flower once in their lifetimes and then produce off-shoots called pups.
So...you saying this flower or plant has a litter? :smt028 Quite an interesting and beautiful little flower Doug. An epiphyte you say... :!: Pretty neat. I showed a lady at work today the photograph of your terrarium, she fell in love with it and now she is out to build one. :D

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

Hi Ken, Terrariums are pretty beautiful once they get all settled in. They seem to turn into their own little world with life of their own. :wink:
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

MacroLuv
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Post by MacroLuv »

Miraculously! :shock: It looks like the whole plant is transforming into the flower. :D
The meaning of beauty is in sharing with others.

P.S.
Noticing of my "a" and "the" and other grammar
errors are welcome. :D

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

Great pics Doug, I must get some of these for my Tarantula when she grows up. You say they flower then die,producing pups. I never knew they were monocarpic like Agaves!
Canon 5D and 30D | Canon IXUS 265HS | Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro | EF 75-300 f4.5-5.6 USM III | EF 50 f1.8 II | Slik 88 tripod | Apex Practicioner monocular microscope

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

Cyclops said:
I never knew they were monocarpic like Agaves!
Well, lets see, I had to look up the word first :wink: Tillandsias and Bromeliads in general will flower, start sending out daughter plants (pups) and than slowly waste away. Wasting away could take a long time. Monocarpic plants like Agaves (if they are like my Hens & Chicks plants Sempervivum) when they mature they flower and than die quickly. When one of my Sempervivums flowers it dies and leaves a ring of smaller rooted plantlets. I does seem that they do the same after flowering, but at a much longer time frame.
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

Yea monocarpic plants have just the one growing point. When that becomes an inflorescence it is no longer a photosynthesizing part and as the plant cannot make another growing point as other plants do the plant dies.
Canon 5D and 30D | Canon IXUS 265HS | Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro | EF 75-300 f4.5-5.6 USM III | EF 50 f1.8 II | Slik 88 tripod | Apex Practicioner monocular microscope

Cyclops
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Re: Tropical Airplant Flower

Post by Cyclops »

beetleman wrote:The little scales you see on the leaves help the plant absorb rain water.
Hmmm,a target for the microscope I think Doug!
Canon 5D and 30D | Canon IXUS 265HS | Cosina 100mm f3.5 macro | EF 75-300 f4.5-5.6 USM III | EF 50 f1.8 II | Slik 88 tripod | Apex Practicioner monocular microscope

Roy Patience
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Post by Roy Patience »

Beetleman,

Great photo! I am behind on looking at all the great photos on the forum. What great color and depth-of-field.

I too, try to grow tillandsias. It is a little easier here in Southern California with our mild winters. My plants are all outside and are kept alive with daily watering by the drip irrigators. The dry weather lately has been hard on the plants.

Roy

DaveW
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Post by DaveW »

Doug

Not all epiphytes grow without soil and have non absorbing roots, many grow in leaf litter collected in hollows and forks of trees. Some cacti are epiphytes and they certainly produce absorbing roots. The only requirement to be an epiphyte is to grow on another plant without penetrating the host, as a parasite does.

See:-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epiphyte

The Epiphyllums, or Orchid Cacti, often grow epiphytically but will grow terrestrially too. Their name means upon a leaf however and refers to the flowers coming from flattened stems that resemble leaves.

DaveW

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

Dave, you are right. I ment that Tillandsias do not absorb water through their roots. Most of the other Broms do have a root system. I may have been too general in my first paragraph. :wink:
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

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