Bromeliaceae: (Pineapple Family)
This monocot family contains 45 genera and 2,000 species, most of which occur in the new world tropics and the west indies (Carr). Only one actually occurs in tropical Africa. The most famous of these is the pineapple (Ananas comosus), an arboreal epiphyte, which was a favorite American indian cultivar. The pineapple is a multiple accessory fruit, meaning it is a combination of the ovaries, pedicels, bracts, and stalks of several flowers all fused into one final succulent fruit. One bromeliad often confused for a nonvascular plant is spanish moss, (Tillandsia usneoides). It covers the trees in many moist southern states, and because it is rare to flower, people have likened it to a moss or lichen.
Systematics: Bromeliads are terrestrial xerophytes (tolerating dry climates) They have flowers with 3 sepals, 3 petals, and 6 stamen. Leaves are mostly stiff and strap-shaped and trap water at the bases. Often the color seen from the inflorescence is the colorful bracts and not the actual flowers.
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