The Bromeliad arises from its green heart like a cheerful flame. It’s almost infeasible that nature should create something so beautiful - yet it has.
Colours and shapes
Bromeliads have shapes that you want to touch to check whether they really are real. And they are: design by nature and easy to live with as well. In exchange for a bit of light and a sip of water, they treat you to spectacular colours and a tropical look. What we often think of as flowers are actually coloured bracts. The actual Bromeliad flowers themselves are very small. There are more than 2800 species, the most beautiful and easiest of which have been adopted as houseplants. The best-known are Guzmania (trumpet), Aechmea (silver-grey rosette), Vriesea (feather shapes), Neoregalia (red calyx) and Tillandsia (antennae and paddles). The club also includes the (ornamental) pineapple plant (Ananas), Nidularium, Billbergia (hanging) and Cryptyantus. All Bromeliads have a positive effect on air quality.
Bromeliads probably developed in the Cretaceous period some 65 million years ago. Fossil specimens have been dated to 30 million years ago, so that they can justifiably be considered primaeval. Bromeliads originate from the rugged Andes mountains and the warm jungles of Uruguay, but can be found throughout Central and South America nowadays. Some species grow on the ground, whilst others are epiphytes. That means the plant can grow on trees without extracting nutrients from it. The Bromeliad uses its leaves and roots to get those in moisture from the air. Belgian traders brought Bromeliads back to Europe in the 18th century. Those plants formed the basis for the fantastic plants that are available here now.
Incas, Aztecs and Mayans used almost every part of the plant for food, shelter, fibres and ceremonies. As a result, the Bromeliad is viewed as a ‘gift from the gods’ in its native countries. As a houseplant, Bromeliad represents ‘protection’: a reference to the full, green foliage that surrounds the beautiful coloured part.