Bromeliads in the Everglades  

bromeliadsWhat is a bromeliad? A bromeliad is an air plant that can be found within the Everglades.  Many are native to Florida. All of these bromeliads belong to the pineapple family.  

In the Everglades, the type that can be found are genus Tillandsia. All of this plants within this particular species of bromeliads have silvery-green leaves. The top of this species often resembles the top of a pineapple.  

You can find these plants in abundance all over the parks, in all habitats, including dwarf cypress forests and cypress domes. They also can be found in hardwood hammocks, tree islands, mangrove forests, lone trees in sawgrass marshes, and on the branches of planted trees in parking lots of the park. You can’t escape these bromeliads!  

Some bromeliads, like the giant airplant, hold water; they do this so when dry/drought conditions occur, they will have a water source to survive from. However, the giant airplant isn’t the only life form that benefits from this water. Insects, snakes, and tree frogs can be found in this plant’s leaves to take in the water.  

Other bromeliads don’t old water, but they do have a hollow chamber in their base where acrobat ants make their home. The bromeliad gets its nutrients from the ants’ waste.  

Not all bromeliads are insect/other creature-friendly. Some bromeliads, like the powdery catopsis, are covered with fine scales, which makes it hard for insects to get a grip on the leaves. The insects end up slipping into the water and drown. Some researchers believe these particular bromeliads may be a carnivorous plant for this reason.  

Although bromeliads are abundant in the Everglades, they do have an “enemy.” The invasive Mexican bromeliad weevil feed on the tissue of bromeliads as a larva. This insect can easily decimate bromeliad populations; however, it has not been spotted in the Everglades since the 1990s.  

Come see these bromeliads for yourself on an airboat tour! Captain Mitch’s Everglades airboat tours give you access to the expansive wildlife and plant life the region has to offer. To book your Everglades airboat tour today, click our everglades airboat tour page  or call Captain Mitch’s Airboat Tours at 239-695-3377.