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

giant airplant

Florida's Native Bromeliads   

Tillandsia balbisiana
Northern Needleleaf

Tillandsia balbisiana
Scientific name: Tillandsia balbisiana J.A. & J.H. Schultes.

Common names: Northern needleleaf, inflated wild pine, reflexed wild pine, cuttlefish, Balbis’ airplant, coke bottle airplant.

Status in Florida: Threatened.

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

Distribution: Florida, Mexico, West Indies, Central and South America.

Distribution in Florida: Orange, Osceola, Polk, Hillsborough, Manatee, Sarasota, DeSoto, Highlands, Okeechobee, Indian River, St. Lucie, Martin, Glades, Charlotte, Lee, Hendry, Palm Beach, Broward, Collier, Monroe, and Miami-Dade Counties. 
Occurrence in Florida: Occasional.

Habitat: Scrub, pinelands, strand swamp, hammocks, mangrove, shell ridges/mounds (often in open woods).

Description: Tank epiphyte; grows to 70 cm (28 in.) tall, singly or in clusters; 15-30 leaves, leathery, grayish in appearance because of scales, may be reddish; leaves slightly bulbous at base and tapering and curved or twisted at ends; flower spike usually with 2-10 lateral branches; scape 8-30 cm (3-12 in.); floral bracts (5-20 mm [1/4 - 3/4 in.] long) may be bright red, with violet petals (5-30 flowers per plant); seed capsules up to 4.5 cm (1  3/4 in.) long.

Time of flowering: Fall to summer, especially early spring .

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