Epiphyte Party – Air Plants in Big Cypress Preserve

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Air Plants – epiphytic bromeliads – cling to nearly every tree in Big Cypress Preserve,
Florida.

Air plants, air plants, as far as the eye can see. The amount of air plants in Big Cypress Preserve, Florida, is staggering. They cling to anything and everything. The type pictured here, a species in the tillandsia genus, is the most common. But there are many other types of bromeliads down here too. Florida is home to sixteen species of native bromeliads, and two natural hybrids – more than any other state. All of them are epiphytic, meaning they grow on other plants but do not steal their nutrients (i.e., not parasitic). Even the ubiquitous Spanish Moss falls under this category! One takes these plants for granted when living here, but they are truly special. They are native only to the tropical and subtropical America's, and are sometimes referred to as “America's Jewels.”

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