University of Florida

Florida's Native Bromeliads

Florida is home to sixteen native species of bromeliads and two natural hybrids. They're specialized flowering plants commonly known as "air plants." The ubiquitous Spanish moss is probably the most recognizable native.

Contrary to what some people believe, bromeliads are not parasites—they're epiphytes. They cling to trees and shrubs for support only, and get their energy the same way other plants do—by photosynthesizing. If Spanish moss gets rained on, you can actually see the green of its chlorophyll shining through its outer coating of gray scales.

Florida's bromeliads are threatened by human collection and development, as well as by the spread of the invasive Mexican bromeliad weevil. You can help by learning more about the bromeliad weevil and by never harvesting bromeliads from the wild.

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Native bromeliad, the cardinal airplant
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