Inflorescence of Puya alpestris, copyright Junkyardsparkle.

Belongs within: Poales.
Contains: Tillandsioideae, Bromelioideae.

The Bromeliaceae, bromeliads, are a family of herbaceous plants found primarily in the neotropics (a single species, Pitcairnia feliciana, is native to west Africa). Many bromeliads have a vase- or tank-like growth form that encourages the formation of phytotelmata (pooling of water within plants). Numerous species of the family are grown as ornamentals.

The Bromeliaceae have been divided between three subfamilies; however, the 'Pitcairnioideae' (with spiny leaves, capsular fruits and wingless seeds) are paraphyletic with regard to the rest of the family. The basalmost clade within the Bromeliaceae includes the genera Ayensua and Brocchinia; species of Brocchinia are mostly found growing on sand and sandstone in northen South America from Colombia to Guyana and northern Brazil. Other diverse, primarily terrestrial genera of 'pitcairnioids' include Pitcairnia and Fosterella, both of which are widespread in the Neotropics. Another widespread genus, Hechtia, includes species with thick, often spiny leaves. Members of the genus Puya, found in the Andes mountains, are noted for their monocarpic life cycle in which the plants die after a single flowering event. The queen of the Andes Puya raimondii is the largest known bromeliad, reaching a height of five metres, and usually lives for about eighty years before flowering.

Characters (from Luther & Brown): Herbs, perennial, terrestrial, among or on rocks, or epiphytic. Roots usually present, often poorly developed in epiphytic taxa. Stems very short to very elongate. Leaves usually spirally arranged, forming water-impounding rosette, occasionally lax and/or two-ranked, simple, margins serrate or entire, trichomes nearly always covering surface, peltate, water-absorbing. Inflorescences terminal or lateral, sessile to scapose, simple or compound; bracts usually present, conspicuous. Flowers bisexual or functionally unisexual, radially symmetric to slightly bilaterally symmetric; perianth in two distinct sets of three; stamens in two series of three; ovary inferior or superior; placentation axile. Fruits capsules or berries. Seeds plumose, winged, or unappendaged.

<==Bromeliaceae [Bromeliales, Pitcairnioideae]
    |  i. s.: Encholirium luxor SHZ05, C-SQ08
    |         Dyckia SHZ05
    |         Deuterocohnia SHZ05
    |         Rhodostachys littoralis D03
    |         Bromelites dolinskii Schmalhausen 1883 CBH93
    |--+--Ayensua SHZ05
    |  `--Brocchinia SHZ05
    |       |--+--B. micrantha (Baker) Mez 1894 SHZ05
    |       |  `--B. steyermarkii Smith 1951 SHZ05
    |       `--+--B. reducta Baker 1882 SHZ05
    |          `--B. tatei Smith 1946 SHZ05
    `--+--Lindmania guianensis BS05
       `--+--Tillandsioideae BS05
          `--+--Hechtia BS05
             |    |--H. carlsoniae Burt-Utley & Utley 1988 SHZ05
             |    |--H. montana DS04
             |    `--H. texensis DS04
             `--+--+--Navia SHZ05
                |  |--Brewcaria SHZ05
                |  |--Cottendorfia SHZ05
                |  `--‘Brocchinia’ serrata SHZ05
                `--+--+--Pitcairnia BS05
                   |  |    |--P. elizabethae J87
                   |  |    |--P. feliciana (Chevalier) Harms & Milbraed 1938 SHZ05
                   |  |    `--P. punicea Scheidweiler 1842 SHZ05
                   |  `--Fosterella SHZ05
                   |       |--+--F. albicans (Grisebach) Smith 1960 SHZ05
                   |       |  `--F. penduliflora (Wright) Smith 1960 SHZ05
                   |       `--+--F. caulescens Rauh 1979 SHZ05
                   |          `--F. floridensis Ibisch, Vazquez & Gross 1999 SHZ05
                   `--+--Bromelioideae SHZ05
                      `--Puya SHZ05
                           |  i. s.: P. berteroniana DS04
                           |         P. boliviensis SHZ05
                           |         P. chilensis SHZ05
                           |         P. dyckioides DS04
                           |         P. raimondii RJ11
                           |--P. densiflora Harms 1929 SHZ05
                           `--+--P. alpestris (Poeppig) Gay 1952 SHZ05
                              `--P. laxa Smith 1958 SHZ05

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BS05] Barfuss, M. H. J., R. Samuel, W. Till & T. F. Stuessy. 2005. Phylogenetic relationships in subfamily Tillandsioideae (Bromeliaceae) based on DNA sequence data from seven plastid regions. American Journal of Botany 92 (2): 337–351.

[C-SQ08] Carvalho-Sobrinho, J. G. de, & L. P. de Queiroz. 2008. Ceiba rubriflora (Malvaceae: Bombacoideae), a new species from Bahia, Brazil. Kew Bulletin 63 (4): 649–653.

[CBH93] Collinson, M. E., M. C. Boulter & P. L. Holmes. 1993. Magnoliophyta (‘Angiospermae’). In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 809–841. Chapman & Hall: London.

[DS04] Davis, J. I., D. W. Stevenson, G. Petersen, O. Seberg, L. M. Campbell, J. V. Freudenstein, D. H. Goldman, C. R. Hardy, F. A. Michelangeli, M. P. Simmons, C. D. Specht, F. Vergara-Silva & M. Gandolfo. 2004. A phylogeny of the monocots, as inferred from rbcL and atpA sequence variation, and a comparison of methods for calculating jackknife and bootstrap values. Systematic Botany 29 (3): 467–510.

[D03] Dusén, P. 1903. The vegetation of western Patagonia. In: Scott, W. B. (ed.) Reports of the Princeton University Expeditions to Patagonia, 1896–1899 vol. 8. Botany pp. 1–34. The University: Princeton (New Jersey).

[J87] Judd, W. S. 1987. Floristic study of Morne La Visite and Pic Macaya National Parks, Haiti. Bulletin of the Florida State Museum—Biological Sciences 32 (1): 1–136.

[RJ11] Rising, J. D., A. Jaramillo, J. L. Copete, P. G. Ryan & S. C. Madge. 2011. Family Emberizidae (buntings and New World sparrows). In: Hoyo, J. del, A. Elliott & D. A. Christie (eds) Handbook of the Birds of the World vol. 16. Tanagers to New World Blackbirds pp. 428–683. Lynx Edicions: Barcelona.

[SHZ05] Schulte, K., R. Horres & G. Zizka. 2005. Molecular phylogeny of Bromelioideae and its implications on biogeography and the evolution of CAM in the family (Poales, Bromeliaceae). Senckenbergiana Biologica 85 (1): 113–125.

Last updated: 20 March 2019.

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