Did you know that the Pineapple (Ananas) is one of the best-known members of the Bromeliad family? Christopher Columbus introduced the pineapple to Europe after his second voyage to the New World in 1493. The succulent plant was called Anana or “excellent fruit” by the natives of the Carribean. The succulent fruit proved so popular that within 100 years the culture of pineapples had extended to many parts of the world. The first pineapple grown in England was presented to King Charles, the event being recorded in a portrait which now hangs in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.
Did you know that in their native habitat Bromeliads perform a very important ecological function? The tanks formed by their leaves hold large quantities of water. In nature, these tanks are often found to contain a large assortment of insects, animals and other life forms (e.g. lizards, frogs, small crustaceans etc). Many creatures depend upon bromeliads to provide moisture during times of drought. Some spend their entire lives inside the tank without ever leaving. In return, the plant is provided with a continuous supply of decaying organic matter which acts as a fertilizer.
Spanish Moss .. (Tillandsia usenoides) (also know as Old Mans’ Beard)., is a bromeliad belonging to the genus Tillandsia. It is found in abundance in the humid tropics of North and South America, hanging from trees and even telegraph poles In early years of settlement in the Americas the moss was used for mixing with mud to caulk settlers cabins and dried moss for kindling purposes. Natives of South America use it as a sterile dressing for wounds and as a stuffing for bedding etc. In nature many birds use it to line their nests. Commercial use of Spanish Moss has included packing material, saddle blankets etc. and an unconfirmed report is that Henry Ford used Spanish Moss as a filling for the seats of the T-Model Ford. Today it is widely used (both fresh and dried) in floristry and landscaping.