The Bromeliaceae (the bromeliads) are a family of monocot flowering plants of around 3,170 species native mainly to the tropical Americas, with a few species found in the American subtropics and one in tropical west Africa, Pitcairnia feliciana.
The family includes both epiphytes, such as Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides), and terrestrial species, such as the pineapple (Ananas comosus). Many bromeliads are able to store water in a structure formed by their tightly-overlapping leaf bases. However, the family is diverse enough to include the tank bromeliads, grey-leaved epiphyte Tillandsia species that gather water only from leaf structures called trichomes, and a large number of desert-dwelling succulents. The largest bromeliad is Puya raimondii, which reaches 3–4 m tall in vegetative growth with a flower spike 9–10 m tall, and the smallest is Spanish moss.
Only one bromeliad, the pineapple, is a commercially important food crop. Bromelain, a common ingredient in meat tenderiser, is extracted from pineapple stems. Many other bromeliads and their hybrids are popular ornamental plants, grown as both garden and houseplants.
This post is part of the Nature Footsteps Floral Macros meme,
and also part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme.