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Hello Forum members,

I'm a bit confused I always thought that there were Bromelias and Tillandsias both different plant families. But now reading a bit about a beautifull plant I have the Tillandsia Usneoides, Wiki tells me that it is part of the Bromelia family. They call the plant I have also Spanish Moss, maybe familiar for one of you.
So my question is how does this work? I thought Bromelias have those leaves that fall into a cup and Tillandsias look way different. But I guess this was a wrong assumption.

Grtz

Ray
 

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Hello Forum members,

I'm a bit confused I always thought that there were Bromelias and Tillandsias both different plant families. But now reading a bit about a beautifull plant I have the Tillandsia Usneoides, Wiki tells me that it is part of the Bromelia family. They call the plant I have also Spanish Moss, maybe familiar for one of you.
So my question is how does this work? I thought Bromelias have those leaves that fall into a cup and Tillandsias look way different. But I guess this was a wrong assumption.

Grtz

Ray
The simplest way I can end the confusion for you is that Bromeliads are both terrestrial and epiphytic where Tillandsia are 100% epiphytitc. Broms will root wherever they can in an area that provides their root structures what ever they need. This is why you will see them in pots or mounted to wood or trees. Tillandsia on the other hand require less moisture, so they need a place that they can dry out much more than Bromeliads. Due to this they are dubbed with the name 'airplants' as they are generally suspended and mounted on something. If you look at the root structures of both plants, you will see that Bromeliads have a very aggressive and long root structure if it's allowed to grow, where as Tillandsia do not. They may have roots, but nothing as dense as what you can get off Broms.
 

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The bromeliad family is large and includes both tillandsias and the more familiar bromeliads like the neoregelia and vriesia groups. "Family" is a pretty high level designation. For example, the rose family includes not only roses but apples, pears, cherries, almonds, hawthorns..... A variety of trees and shrubs that nonetheless have certain similarities in how they grow and reproduce.

Edit to add: worth noting that the word 'family' when speaking about scientific names is a specific word with a specific scientific meaning which is a lot more precise than how it's commonly used, so if you're unfamiliar with that, that might be part of the confusion.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hmmm thos sounds very very Very interesting to me. Tomorrow I have the chance to takek soem picture and will shoot some more questions if you all don't mind
 

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Edit to add: worth noting that the word 'family' when speaking about scientific names is a specific word with a specific scientific meaning which is a lot more precise than how it's commonly used, so if you're unfamiliar with that, that might be part of the confusion.
That's likely the source of most of the confusion: common names vs scientific names. Tillandsia is a common name, Tillandsia is also a scientific (genus) name. "Bromeliad" usually means the family Bromeliaceae (italicized or not), the family in which Tillandsia is placed. "Bromeliad" is not at all the same as Bromelia, which is a genus that I don't think is at all common in culture.

"Bromeliad" is also sometimes (maybe accidentally; certainly confusingly) used to specify "typical" bromeliads, like those in the subfamily Bromelioideae:

Tillandsia on the other hand require less moisture, so they need a place that they can dry out much more than Bromeliads.
Sorry, I couldn't resist the example. ;)

I try to remember to italicize genus and species names; I think it helps to clarify things a little.
 
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Actually that's a good point. I'll work on that in the future to assist on clarity :)
I think that whole post needed 'other' in front of every instance of 'broms' -- that would make it accurate. :)
 
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Discussion Starter #9
Great info thanks for all the clarification.

Does anybody know what happens when you cut this Tillandsia Usneoides in two parts? Doboth pieces continue to grow or do they die. If you want more pieces do you need to wait for the so called pups? Than how do these pups look like with this plant?
 

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Tillandsia Usneoides is unlike the rest of the Tillandsia family in how you propagate it. Normally, most Bromelia species would require you to cut established pups off. In the case of Tillandsia Usneoides you can just cut off part of the lower portion hanging and use that as the division to be moved. When mounting the cutting, it's ideal to keep the orientation the same as how it was from the 'mother' portion. For specifics I've provided a video below:


 

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I've been wondering lately how tillandsia cling to things in the wild. Bromeliads send out roots and mount themselves where they can, but the tillandsia I have always need to be glued or wired to something. Typical wet moss doesn't survive too well where the air plants like to be because of how much it dries out. How else do air plants cling to surfaces in the wild? Maybe its a combination of drier mosses and lichens that do the work?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've been wondering lately how tillandsia cling to things in the wild. Bromeliads send out roots and mount themselves where they can, but the tillandsia I have always need to be glued or wired to something. Typical wet moss doesn't survive too well where the air plants like to be because of how much it dries out. How else do air plants cling to surfaces in the wild? Maybe its a combination of drier mosses and lichens that do the work?
Interesting question!
 

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In the wild Spanish moss propagates naturally by strong wind blowing fragments of the moss off of the main plant or by animals (birds or anything arboreal) accidently knocking off a piece when coming into contact. As commonly seen, the moss generally hangs from branches. Unlike most epiphytes that mount using their roots, Spanish moss actually has a micro structure of scales that are built into the leaves that gives it its 'grabbing' capability. When the plant gets dry you can almost see them if you take a close look, they basically look almost like gray spikes. Here is a close image of what they look like:



So when the moss gets blown in the wind or an animal knocks part of the plant off, the falling piece uses it's additional friction from the micro scales to hold onto the surface it falls onto; be it a branch, bark on the side of the tree or a whole other plant that allows it to be suspended. Portions of the plant that fall to the ground end up being blown or moved around by fauna and either find a place to grow or end up dying and breaking down and end up becoming just another part of the Earth.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
In the wild Spanish moss propagates naturally by strong wind blowing fragments of the moss off of the main plant or by animals (birds or anything arboreal) accidently knocking off a piece when coming into contact. As commonly seen, the moss generally hangs from branches. Unlike most epiphytes that mount using their roots, Spanish moss actually has a micro structure of scales that are built into the leaves that gives it its 'grabbing' capability. When the plant gets dry you can almost see them if you take a close look, they basically look almost like gray spikes. Here is a close image of what they look like:



So when the moss gets blown in the wind or an animal knocks part of the plant off, the falling piece uses it's additional friction from the micro scales to hold onto the surface it falls onto; be it a branch, bark on the side of the tree or a whole other plant that allows it to be suspended. Portions of the plant that fall to the ground end up being blown or moved around by fauna and either find a place to grow or end up dying and breaking down and end up becoming just another part of the Earth.
+1 for you Tihsho thanks for the answer!

Ins't nature wonderfull and very "smart". This is btw why I like bromeliads, Tillandsias, Orchids and mosses. These plants have such a smart way to propagate IMHO
 
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