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"Bromeliad" redirects here. Bromeliaceae_sentence_0

For the trilogy of children's books, see The Nome Trilogy. Bromeliaceae_sentence_1


Scientific classification BromeliaceaeBromeliaceae_header_cell_0_1_0
Kingdom:Bromeliaceae_cell_0_2_0 PlantaeBromeliaceae_cell_0_2_1
Clade:Bromeliaceae_cell_0_3_0 TracheophytesBromeliaceae_cell_0_3_1
Clade:Bromeliaceae_cell_0_4_0 AngiospermsBromeliaceae_cell_0_4_1
Clade:Bromeliaceae_cell_0_5_0 MonocotsBromeliaceae_cell_0_5_1
Clade:Bromeliaceae_cell_0_6_0 CommelinidsBromeliaceae_cell_0_6_1
Order:Bromeliaceae_cell_0_7_0 PoalesBromeliaceae_cell_0_7_1
Family:Bromeliaceae_cell_0_8_0 Bromeliaceae



The Bromeliaceae (the bromeliads) is a family of monocot flowering plants of 75 genera and around 3590 known species native mainly to the tropical Americas, with a few species found in the American subtropics and one in tropical west Africa, Pitcairnia feliciana. Bromeliaceae_sentence_2

It is among the basal families within the Poales and is the only family within the order that has septal nectaries and inferior ovaries. Bromeliaceae_sentence_3

These inferior ovaries characterize the Bromelioideae, a subfamily of the Bromeliaceae. Bromeliaceae_sentence_4

The family includes both epiphytes, such as Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides), and terrestrial species, such as the pineapple (Ananas comosus). Bromeliaceae_sentence_5

Many bromeliads are able to store water in a structure formed by their tightly overlapping leaf bases. Bromeliaceae_sentence_6

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 many desert-dwelling succulents. Bromeliaceae_sentence_7

The largest bromeliad is Puya raimondii, which reaches 3–4 metres (9.8–13.1 ft) tall in vegetative growth with a flower spike 9–10 metres (30–33 ft) tall, and the smallest is Spanish moss. Bromeliaceae_sentence_8

Description Bromeliaceae_section_0

Bromeliads are plants that are adapted to various climates. Bromeliaceae_sentence_9

Foliage takes different shapes, from needle-thin to broad and flat, symmetrical to irregular, spiky to soft. Bromeliaceae_sentence_10

The foliage, which usually grows in a rosette, is widely patterned and colored. Bromeliaceae_sentence_11

Leaf colors range from maroon, through shades of green, to gold. Bromeliaceae_sentence_12

Varieties may have leaves with red, yellow, white and cream variations. Bromeliaceae_sentence_13

Others may be spotted with purple, red, or cream, while others have different colors on the tops and botttoms, and species Tillandsia cyanea have a fragrance resembling that of clove spice. Bromeliaceae_sentence_14

One study found 175,000 bromeliads per hectare (2.5 acres) in one forest; that many bromeliads can sequester 50,000 liters (more than 13,000 gallons) of water. Bromeliaceae_sentence_15

Various organisms take advantage of the pools of water trapped by bromeliads. Bromeliaceae_sentence_16

A study of 209 plants from the Ecuadorian lowlands identified 11,219 animals, representing more than 300 distinct species, many of which are found only on bromeliads. Bromeliaceae_sentence_17

Examples include some species of ostracods, small salamanders about 2.5 cm (1 in) in length, and tree frogs. Bromeliaceae_sentence_18

Jamaican bromeliads are home to Metopaulias depressus, a reddish-brown crab 2 cm (0.8 in) across, which has evolved social behavior to protect its young from predation by Diceratobasis macrogaster, a species of damselfly whose larvae live in bromeliads. Bromeliaceae_sentence_19

Some bromeliads even form homes for other species of bromeliads. Bromeliaceae_sentence_20

Distribution Bromeliaceae_section_1

Plants in the Bromeliaceae are widely represented in their natural climates across the Americas. Bromeliaceae_sentence_21

One species (Pitcairnia Feliciana) can be found in Africa. Bromeliaceae_sentence_22

They can be found at altitudes from sea level to 4200 meters, from rainforests to deserts. Bromeliaceae_sentence_23

1814 species are epiphytes, some are lithophytes, and some are terrestrial. Bromeliaceae_sentence_24

Accordingly, these plants can be found in the Andean highlands, from northern Chile to Colombia, in the Sechura Desert of coastal Peru, in the cloud forests of Central and South America, in southern United States from southern Virginia to Florida to Texas, and in far southern Arizona. Bromeliaceae_sentence_25

Ecology Bromeliaceae_section_2

Bromeliads often serve as phytotelmata, accumulating water between their leaves. Bromeliaceae_sentence_26

The aquatic habitat created as a result is host to a diverse array of invertebrates, especially aquatic insect larvae. Bromeliaceae_sentence_27

These bromeliad invertebrates benefit their hosts by increasing nitrogen uptake into the plant. Bromeliaceae_sentence_28

Trees or branches that have a higher incidence of sunlight tend to have more bromeliads. Bromeliaceae_sentence_29

In contrast, the sectors facing west receive less sunlight and therefore fewer bromeliads. Bromeliaceae_sentence_30

In addition, thicker trees have more bromeliads, possibly because they are older and have greater structural complexity. Bromeliaceae_sentence_31

Evolution Bromeliaceae_section_3

Bromeliads are among the more recent plant groups to have emerged. Bromeliaceae_sentence_32

The greatest number of primitive species resides in the Andean highlands of South America, where they originated in the tepuis of the Guiana Shield approximately 100 million years ago. Bromeliaceae_sentence_33

However, the family did not diverge into its extant subfamilies until 19 million years ago. Bromeliaceae_sentence_34

The long period between the origin and diversification of bromeliads, during which no extant species evolved, suggests that there was much speciation and extinction during that time, which would explain the genetic distance of the Bromeliaceae from other families within the Poales. Bromeliaceae_sentence_35

The most basal genus, Brocchinia, is endemic to the Guiana Shield, and is placed as the sister group to the remaining genera in the family. Bromeliaceae_sentence_36

The subfamilies Navioideae and Lindmanioideae are endemic to the Guiana Shield as well. Bromeliaceae_sentence_37

The West African species Pitcairnia feliciana is the only bromeliad not endemic to the Americas, and is thought to have reached Africa via long-distance dispersal about 12 million years ago. Bromeliaceae_sentence_38

Radiation of Hechtia and Tillandsioideae Bromeliaceae_section_4

The first groups to leave the Guiana Shield were the genus Hechtia, which spread to Central America via long-distance dispersal, and the subfamily Tillandsioideae, which spread gradually into northern South America. Bromeliaceae_sentence_39

Both of these movements occurred approximately 15.4 million years ago. Bromeliaceae_sentence_40

When it reached the Andes mountains, the speciation of Tillandsioideae occurred quite rapidly, largely due to the Andean uplift, which was also occurring rapidly from 14.2 to 8.7 million years ago. Bromeliaceae_sentence_41

The uplift created a new mountainous environment for the epiphytic Tillandsioides to colonize, and greatly altered the region's geological and climatic conditions. Bromeliaceae_sentence_42

These new conditions directly drove the speciation of the Tillandsioides, and also drove the speciation of their animal pollinators, such as hummingbirds. Bromeliaceae_sentence_43

Evolution of the Bromelioideae Bromeliaceae_section_5

Around 5.5 million years ago, a clade of epiphytic Bromelioids arose in Serra do Mar, a lush mountainous region on the coast of Southeastern Brazil. Bromeliaceae_sentence_44

This is thought to have been caused not only by the uplift of Serra do Mar itself at that time, but also because of the continued uplift of the distant Andes mountains, which impacted the circulation of air and created a cooler, wetter climate in Serra do Mar. Bromeliaceae_sentence_45

These epiphytes thrived in this humid environment, since their trichomes rely on water in the air rather than from the ground like terrestrial plants. Bromeliaceae_sentence_46

Many epiphytic bromeliads with the tank habit also speciated here. Bromeliaceae_sentence_47

Even before this, a few other bromeliads had already dispersed to the Brazilian shield while the climate was still arid, likely through a gradual process of short-distance dispersal. Bromeliaceae_sentence_48

These make up the terrestrial members of the Bromelioideae, which have highly xeromorphic characters. Bromeliaceae_sentence_49

Adaptations Bromeliaceae_section_6

Bromeliads are able to live in a vast array of environmental conditions due to their many adaptations. Bromeliaceae_sentence_50

Trichomes, in the form of scales or hairs, allow bromeliads to capture water in cloud forests and help to reflect sunlight in desert environments. Bromeliaceae_sentence_51

Some bromeliads have also developed an adaptation known as the tank habit, which involves them forming a tightly bound structure with their leaves that helps to capture water and nutrients in the absence of a well-developed root system. Bromeliaceae_sentence_52

Bromeliads also use crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis to create sugars. Bromeliaceae_sentence_53

This adaptation allows bromeliads in hot or dry climates to open their stomates at night rather than during the very day, which reduces water loss. Bromeliaceae_sentence_54

Both CAM and epiphytism have evolved multiple times within the family, with some taxa even reverting to C3 photosynthesis as they radiated into less arid climates. Bromeliaceae_sentence_55

Classification Bromeliaceae_section_7

The family Bromeliaceae is currently placed in the order Poales. Bromeliaceae_sentence_56

Subfamilies Bromeliaceae_section_8

The family Bromeliaceae is organized into eight subfamilies: Bromeliaceae_sentence_57


Bromeliaceae were originally split into three subfamilies based on morphological seed characters: Bromelioideae (seeds in baccate fruits), Tillandsioideae (plumose seeds), and Pitcairnioideae (seeds with wing-like appendages). Bromeliaceae_sentence_58

However, molecular evidence has revealed that while Bromelioideae and Tillandsioideae are monophyletic, Pitcairnioideae is, in fact, paraphyletic and should be split into six subfamilies: Brocchinioideae, Lindmanioideae, Hechtioideae, Navioideae, Pitcairnioideae, and Puyoideae. Bromeliaceae_sentence_59

Brocchinioideae is defined as the most basal branch of Bromeliaceae based on both morphological and molecular evidence, namely genes in chloroplast DNA. Bromeliaceae_sentence_60

Lindmanioideae is the next most basal branch distinguished from the other subfamilies by convolute sepals and chloroplast DNA. Bromeliaceae_sentence_61

Hechtioideae is also defined based on analyses of chloroplast DNA; similar morphological adaptations to arid environments also found in other groups (namely the genus Puya) are attributed to convergent evolution. Bromeliaceae_sentence_62

Navioideae is split from Pitcairnioideae based on its cochlear sepals and chloroplast DNA. Bromeliaceae_sentence_63

Puyoideae has been re-classified multiple times and its monophyly remains controversial according to analyses of chloroplast DNA. Bromeliaceae_sentence_64

Genera Bromeliaceae_section_9

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