Common Genera

Aechmea | Billbergia | Cryptanthus | Dyckia | Hechtia | Neoregelia | Tillandsia

Article by David Whipkey

One of my first encounters with a Bromeliad occurred about 20 years ago. I was helping a friend clean out her late mother’s house, and I found a group of neglected plants on a sunny porch. They had not been watered for over 6 weeks, but several of them were still alive. She told me to rescue any that I wanted and toss the remainder into the garbage.

I recognized a snake plant and a philodendron, but the third one was a mystery. The strange plant was approximately 16 inches tall, shaped like a vase with wide silver banded leaves, and out of the center of the vase protruded a large faded club-like bloom. I asked Donna what the strange plant was and she told me that it was a “Silver Urn” plant.

Searching through several plant books I finally located my odd plant. It was Aechmea fasciata, one of the bromeliads. That fasciata was one tough plant. If the other bromeliads were as hardy, I knew that I had found a new love. Several months later I discovered the Bromeliad Society/Houston, started attending meetings, joined, and bought lots of friends for my fasciata. I was addicted, and I wanted to spread the word about these fantastic plants.

This a series of short articles on some of the 77 or so genera in the family Bromeliaceae. I am not planning on doing the articles by subfamily, or in alphabetical order, but sort of in order of popularity. It’s probably going to be a long time before I write about Fasicularia or Mezobromelia. (Can anyone name 3 species in each of those genera?)

Hope you enjoy the articles and find them useful.