Billbergia pyramidalis - Friendship plant
About fifty species of Billbergia
are native to warm parts of North and South America.
This species is native to Brazil. Its strap-like leaves are
held in a whorl. The leaves overlap at the base tightly so that water is held
in the center. The plant readily takes up water and nutrients through its
leaves. It is very sensitive to overfertilization and can be killed by copper
fungicide applications. The showy, club-shaped flower spike rises above the
leaves. It is bright pink to nearly red with blue flowers. These flower spikes
are colorful for about seven to ten days.
Like other bromeliads, an individual plant dies after
flowering but usually produces a few offsets around its base. A single plant
will spread a little farther each year developing into a dense mat.
See this plant in an island between sidewalks on the west side of building 9.
Herbaceous plant with leaves about twelve inches tall.
Light: Part shade to shade
Water: somewhat drought tolerant
Soil: requires a well-drained soil, adaptable to a wide pH range
This plant must be near its northern limit in Jacksonville. Planted under a canopy of trees for frost protection, it has survived winter lows to the mid-twenties F. Although it is an epiphyte in nature, it can grow on well-drained ground and will root readily into mulch or leaf litter.