Bromeliads are a plant family of over 2500 species which are native to the tropics
of North and South America. Additionally there are several thousand hybrids and
cultivars. The growth form most commonly seen is a stemless rosette of leaves
which usually forms a cup that holds water. Both the pineapple and Spanish Moss
are members of this diverse family.
Approximately half of all bromeliad species are epiphytes, plants that use a tree or
other plant as a base. Note, these plants are not parasites. They cause no harm to
their host, but simply use it as a perch to gain access to bright filtered light at a
higher level in the forest. The remaining species are terrestrials, growing in the
ground, or saxicolous, growing on rocks. Some varieties can be found in habitat
exhibiting all three growth patterns.