This peat-pot filled to almost overflowing with a grassy looking plant was received from a friend at a recent plant swap. At first I had no idea what it was. There are tons of grassy-leaved plants! But as you can see above, it has recently put out a bunch of drooping flower clusters. Now we can identify it! Let’s have a closer look.
Wow! Amazing flowers with red-pink bracts above and pendulous drooping individual blooms. Each of these has green petals edged in bright blue with a red base, terminated by long stamens with abundant yellow pollen.
What kind of plant is this? From examination of the leaves and the bases of the leaf clusters, and from the general shape of the flowers, it seemed like some type of bromeliad.
Some research revealed that this is (probably!) Billbergia nutans, AKA “queen’s tears,” a true bromeliad related to pineapples, which grows as an epiphyte (attached to trees above the ground) in tropical areas of the new world.
How delightful to have this easy-to-grow new species in the collection! Now it’s time to divide this big old plant into lots of smaller ones… and anyone in the Bay Area is invited to come on by and get a starter sucker from this plant.