Quill-Leaf Air Plant at Big Cypress National Preserve

 
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Like Spanish Moss, the Quill Leaf is also an air plant. This year they bloomed later than normal so we were treated to their beautiful colors throughout the Big Cypress National Preserve in Florida where they had attached themselves to cypress and fir trees.
From a distance they resemble birds nests, but on closer inspection they are a beautiful flowering parasitic plant that grow to 24 inches, with 6' flowers. They are generally found in Florida's cypress swamps.

Comments

Parasitic

Guest - Apr 23, 2015 09:06 PM EDT
You referred to this plant as parasitic it's actually non parasitic and does not harm the host plant
Guest - Apr 08, 2007 07:14 PM EDT
Thank you Lorraine and Beverly. It was a treat to see it in bloom. Vicki
Guest - Apr 08, 2007 06:03 PM EDT
Nicely composed and very interesting about the air plant.
Guest - Apr 08, 2007 05:15 PM EDT
great shot, very interesting info on the plant, flowers look lovely.
Guest - Apr 08, 2007 12:28 PM EDT
I'm glad you liked this, Alan. They remind me of the Bird of Paradise plant. All air plants attach themselves to living plants,(unlike Kudzo vine they live compatibly with their host tree)but the Quill Leaf prefers cypress and pine. How it decides where it will root is beyond me! A few weeks earlier, while driving across Alligator Alley to Fort Lauderdale, I saw many Anhingas in these trees and assumed they were nesting. They may have been nesting, but the 'nests' were huge clumps of this beautiful air plant, as a volunteer informed me in the Big Cypress National Preserve. They're normally done blooming in January, so this was a huge treat and another lesson learned about South Florida plants. Another important fact - all wild plants in Florida are protected and carry a high fine if picked. Vicki
Guest - Apr 08, 2007 10:45 AM EDT
Beautiful photo of the Quill Leaf. I have never seen these or heard of them before. The blooms are really pretty. They look like a cactus with extra pretty blooms. I take it that they don't hurt the trees. Very interesting, Thanks for sharing this different plant.

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