BROMELIAD KEY FOR DUMMIES

by Derek Butcher and Dean Fairchild

How do I grow it and what is it?

Find out what it is, where it grows in nature and this should help tell you how to grow it. Contact a local bromeliad society and maybe someone can advise you. Another way is to check all the photos we have on file. BUT because we have over 4000 this could take some time.

Botanical names are usually stated as two words. First is the Genus name and next the species or Cultivar name. Very much like you are identified by a Surname and a given name. If you can answer a few simple questions we may be able to make your search easier by pointing to a probable Genus. You then have to try to find the species name or Cultivar name by searching the photos in the appropriate sections of the Photo data base.

The most common Bromeliads are Aechmea fasciata, Billbergia nutans, or Billbergia pyramidalis or if you bought it from a Florist, a Guzmania or Vriesea Cultivar and it may be quicker to check on these names first.

 

Aechmea fasciata
Aechmea fasciata
Photo by Blossom World Bromeliads
Billbergia nutans
Billbergia nutans
Photo by Michael Andreas
Billbergia pyramidalis
Billbergia pyramidalis
Photo by Dorothy Berg

 

BROMELIAD KEY

1. Are the leaves with prickles (spines) on the edges? Go to Step 2
1a. Are the leaves without prickles (no spines) on the edge? Go to Step 6
2. Are the leaves very succulent and taper to a point? Think Dyckia or Hechtia
(Hechtia are found in nature above the equator and Dyckia below)
2a. Are the leaves in a stiff loose star-shape arrangement? Think Cryptanthus
2b. Are the leaves green looking? Go to Step 3
2c. Are the leaves grey looking with extra long teeth? Think Puya
3. Are the leaves like grass? Think Pitcairnia
3a. Are the leaves strap-like? Go to Step 4
4. Are the flowers on a stalk (scape)? Go to Step 5
4a. Are the flowers low down in a rosette of leaves? Think Neoregelia
4b. Are the flowers on a short pedestal with a star shape? Think Nidularium
5. Is the inflorescence erect? Think Aechmea
5a. Is the inflorescence nodding with few leaves in a tube shape? Think Billbergia
6. Are the leaves grey? Think Tillandsia
6a. Are the leaves green? Go to step 7
7. Are the leaves with lengthwise reddish lines underneath? Think Guzmania
7a. Are the leaves totally green or with patterns? Think Vriesea

For information on how to care for your bromeliad try the Culture Section on our Bromeliad Information page. You can also try the FAQ at the web site for the Bromeliad Society International.
We are also making available as an MS Word Document file, a booklet that is handed out by the Bromeliad Society of South Florida. I would like to thank Dean Fairchild for providing this.
Click here for this booklet.
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