What are bromeliads?
Bromeliads are a family of plants, about 50 genera in all, that are limited to the New World except for one species in Africa. They vary a great deal in appearance but all share two traits - the flowers have three petals, and the leaves have small scale-like structures called trichomes. The trichomes are gray when dry, nearly microscopic, and in some cases are hard to find; they aid in taking up water and nutrients. Bromeliads are found from Virginia in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south, as well as the Caribbean and the Galapagos islands. About 15 species live in the U.S. but only one - Spanish Moss - found outside Florida or Texas.