giant airplant
Save Florida's Bromeliads
A Method for Conserving Florida's
Native Airplants

giant airplant

Florida's Native Bromeliads   

Guzmania monostachia
West Indian Airplant

Guzmania monostachia Scientific name: Guzmania monostachia (L.) Rusby ex. Mez.

Common names: West Indian tufted airplant, Fuchs' bromeliad, strap-leaved guzmania.

Status in Florida: Endangered.

Threats to this plant in Florida: Mexican bromeliad weevil (Metamasius callizona), illegal collecting, habitat destruction.

Distribution: Florida, West Indies, Mexico, Central America to northern Peru and Brazil.

Distribution in Florida: Collier, Miami-Dade, mainland Monroe Counties.
Occurrence in Florida: Before the Mexican bromeliad weevil, large, dense, localized populations could be found in deep slough habitat, where water depth, water-holding capacity of the peat soils, and canopy provide optimal conditions. Now, these populations are being destroyed by the weevil.

Habitat: Terrestrial (rockland hammock), palustrine (slough, strand swamp); most abundant on pop ash (Fraxinus caroliniana) and pond apple (Annona glabra).

Description: Tank epiphyte; may be terrestrial; bright green, flexible, non-scaly, strap-shaped leaves, nearly parallel-sided and tapering abruptly at the tip, 2-3 cm (3/4 - 1  1/8 in.) wide and up to 50 cm (20 in.) long (usually 25-30 cm [10-12 in.]); leaves may be green-and-white striped (var. variegata); single floral spike (“monostachia” means “one spike”) up to 40 cm (16 in.), with many spirally-arranged flowers; salmon-colored apical floral bracts in Florida; white flowers, 3 cm (1  1/8in.) long; long, cylindrical seed capsules, up to 4 cm (1  1/2 in.); may produce many vegetative offshoots.

Time of flowering: All year, mainly February - August, especially May – July.

Coile NC. 2000. Notes on Florida's Endangered and Threatened Plants. FDACS/DPI, Bureau of Entomology, Nematology and Plant Pathology, Botany Section. Contribution No. 38, 3rd ed., Gainesville, FL.

Florida Natural Areas Inventory. 1997.  Matrix of Habitats and Distribution by County of Rare/Endangered Species of Florida. Florida Natural Areas Inventory/The Nature Conservancy.

Long RW, Lakela O. 1976. A Flora of Tropical Florida. Banyan Books, Miami. 178 p.

Luther HE, Benzing DH. 2009.  Native Bromeliads of Florida. Sarasota, FL. Pineapple Press, Inc.

Ward DB (ed.). 1979. Plants, Vol. 5. In: Rare and Endangered Biota of Florida, P.C.H. Pritchard (ed.). University Presses of Florida, Gainesville, 175 p.

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Florida's Native Bromeliads

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Last update: 17 February 2016