Taxonomy of Flowering Plants - LECTURE NOTES - Spring, 1998
Hugh D. Wilson - rm. 306, Butler Hall
22 April 1998
The Zingiberidae

Family Overview - Bromeliales

Bromeliaceae  - the Pineapple Family

Diversity:  stiff leaved, often epiphytic herbs - ca. 45 genera and over 2,000 species - that vary from large terrestrial herbs (Puya) to tiny epiphytes.  The domesticate pineapple (Ananas comosus) produces a multiple fruit which is uncommon for the family.

Distribution:  Essentially New World (one species African), like the Cactaceae but, unlike the cacti, centered in the moist tropics.  Two genera (Hechtia, Tillandsia) with six species in Texas. (see North American taxa).

Floral structure:

Significant features:  Usually epiphytic herbs with complex, multicellular trichomes that function to move water into the plant, often from water holding 'tanks' formed by imbrication of the basal leaves.  Flowers usually actinomorphic and showy with calyx and corolla distinct but inflorescence bracts often a conspicuous attractive element. Fruits often capsular with the seeds comose, but sometimes baccate. 

Tillandsia usneoides: (not spanish and not a moss)

capsular fruit

Billbergia (ornamental):

water tank
epigynous flower
fruit (sectioned)

More information on the Bromeliaceae

Return to Lecture Notes, the Botany 201 homepage, or the Zingiberidae page