The Weekly View: Tillandsia Utriculata 2/23/13

Last November,  Claire of Promenade Plantings published the first in a series of “Weekly View” posts about her allotment.  She encouraged others to join her, and I (finally!) have a suitable subject in this Tillandsia Utriculata.

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Tillandsias are airplants (epiphytes) that produce whitish scales (trichomes ) on their leaves, giving them a chalky/silvery appearance.  These trichomes function as roots do in other plants, controlling the tilly’s uptake of water and nutrients.

Right now this tillandsia is wedged between branches of my orange tree but that’s not where her life begin.  I kidnapped her from some hedges along a public canal easement across the street from a house that inspired a different post!  (What a productive night that was, eh?!).  😮

Anyway….:Moving the camera a bit, you’ll notice an emerging flower spike:

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Tilly infloresceneces (flower spikes) can grow 2-4″ each week, reaching 10-15′ tall at maturity.  As the inflorescence elongates, multiple side branchlets appear, growing 4-8″ in numerous directions; eventually small greenish yellow flowers bloom along the stems as seen in this photo of last year’s plant.

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Sadly, the emergence of a bloom spike signals the beginning of the end for T. utriculata, who declines and dies after seeds are discharged from the flowers..

To see where this “Weekly” series is headed, here is Tilly 2012’s final photo, taken on December 22, the day I removed her from the tree.

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I must confess I didn’t follow this plant’s growth too closely last year and look forward to noting what happens (and when) on this year’s go ’round!  I hope you all find it  interesting, too!

Until next time…..

🙂 🙂 🙂

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23 thoughts on “The Weekly View: Tillandsia Utriculata 2/23/13

    • Hello!
      Yes, we have one Honey bell orange tree in the backyard. Indian River County is a huge citrus producer, so just about everyone has one or more on their property. Problem is, the last few years Citrus Greening Disease has become an ENORMO issue and keeping these trees healthy isn’t easy!

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