Sunday, June 18, 2006

Identify the Gorgeous Weird Pineapple-y Bromeliad-y Rescue Plant

One of the joys of the ksquest plant rescue department is acquiring Mystery Plants. This is one.

I have four of these, total. As you can see, they took a beating before I got them. This sort of plant is usually a *stock* plant, a parent, from which I can grow babies that have cute undamaged leaves and such. This parent is quite healthy, as is; it's just not as *presentable* for most people's purposes. That's why they're rescue plants.

Peter and I discussed What It Is. He thought pineapple relative - something bromeliad. I thought, Maybe. But then it sent out pups on runners just like the blue agaves were doing, and the leaf shape and thorns...I put a tentative foot in the agave camp.

Peter, my hat's off to you. (My bun?) As far as *I* know, nothing but a bromeliad will make a flower like this. Especially the way the surrounding leaves colored up that florescent pink/orange first. And while I'm no botanist, I do know that the flower is the chief clue when identifying a plant.

Course...I still don't know what the heck it actually IS.

But at least now, I know where to start looking.

And boy oh BOY, am I glad I suffered through their vicious thorns, and hauled these babies on home. Posted by Picasa

11 comments:

Nancy said...

Humm that is indeed a thorny problem. Kinda cool though in an "Audry" kinda way.

If you hear "Feed Me", run for the hills.

:0)

Nancy

k said...

yikes! oddly enough, that's EXACTLY what my first reaction was!

i tell you, it was quite a shock. no warning, no nothing. one day the leaves were turning color. next time i looked, this giant THING had burst out the top!

i've been thru a fair amount of your archives by now, and you're the only other blogger I've ever read talk about *plant rescues.*

so far, mine have all been free. i carefully avoid looking at the discount tables at the garden centers. my yard is FULL and there are still more freebies coming. *hey k, i have to toss all these trumpet trees and i hate to kill them, do you think you could dig them up and take them home before the yard remodelers get here?...*

tho I saw some $5 *oops* orchids at walmart today that i KNOW i could revive. so instead of spending money i don't have, i left my official *plant rescue* card with the garden dept. manager. he may want to unload them for dirt cheap as opposed to trashing them totally.

nothing ventured, nothing gained, huh? hee hee!

i'm still waiting for the bromeliad society people to give me a clue, if they will...

if it starts to talk at me i'll let you know. ;)

Desert Cat said...

I did a search and found a site for identifying bromeliads. Unfortunately the terminology is *way* over my head, and most of it involves dissecting the flowers to determine the genus. Not enough info in those photos to go on.

k said...

Yeah, I've been slowly but surely working my way around the net on this guy. The quick and lazy way is to hope some nice bromeliad lovers can just eyeball the pix for me. Maybe I'll get lucky that way.

k said...

Curious: i'm guessing you're not that familiar with these type tropicals - Did you like his looks? what do you think of him?

Desert Cat said...

I can't say I've seen anything like it. The bromeliads I've grown are the common species found in home centers.

They're sometimes tough to get to bloom again after the first bloom from the nursery is done. I had success once with the rotten apple/plastic bag technique. I'm surprised these bloomed for you without you burning down their surroundings or something. Maybe the trauma of transplanting was enough to trigger them.

k said...

aaaarrrrrgggghhh!!!! trouble typing. back soon.

Lisa in Jacksonville said...

Your weird-looking plant is a Bromelia balansae, AKA Heart of Fire. They are EXTREMELY PROLIFIC - be warned! They sneaked into a back corner of my yard via the neigbor's "jungle" on the other side of the fence - are spectacular when they bloom - but have Thorns from H***, which makes them really problematic to remove, as garden gloves and denim are no match for their thorns. A great plant for security - anyone climbing a fence and landing in these babies would never return!

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