Friday, April 15, 2005

Look Ma, No Roots!

The plant in the crook of this giant oak is a Tillandsia Utriculata, or the Giant Wild Pine Epiphyte (and it took me an awful long time to find out the name...). These plants live up in the crowns of trees, drawing their food and water from the air around them, catching whatever happens to fall in their direction. They grab onto a branch with root-like structures, but those structures provide no nourishment to the plant like normal roots. This particular plant started out in a small tree off to the side of one of the buildings here at work, but was blown down during one of the hurricanes. I put it in the tree where you see it now about 8 months ago, where it has thrived ever since. There is a large spike visible in the picture above, coming out of the top center of the plant, which means the plant is about to bloom. After it has finished blooming, it will die. Actually, the picture above is several weeks old. The spike has nearly tripled in height now, and is starting to branch out at the top. I don't think they ever produce actual flowers, but I'm hoping we might get lucky.

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