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My Cheery Tillandsia in the Coconut Shell

This is a discussion on My Cheery Tillandsia in the Coconut Shell within the A Kodak Moment: not necessarily plants... forums, part of the Orchid Photography category; Jenn: If you look closely at many/most flowers (orchids and non-orchids alike), you'll see a ...

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  1. #21
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    Jenn: If you look closely at many/most flowers (orchids and non-orchids alike), you'll see a small leafy structure at the base of the flower where it is attached to the stem. This structure is called a bract and is not actually part of the flower. Usually the bracts are small and inconspicuous. In this species, the bracts are very large, colorful and showy. Each pink segment is a bract and, as is true of other bracts, it originates at the base of the flower (a pretty blue flower in this case) where the flower attaches to the stem. The pink structures, then, are floral bracts that are on steroids. Over time, a blue flower will emerge from each bract. The total package is actually a flower spike with outsized bracts.

    Although large, showy bracts are uncommon, there are a couple of other familiar examples. The bright red "flowers" of a poinsettia are actually floral bracts and the actual flowers are the small yellowish structures at the base of the bracts. The flowering dogwood is another example. The four white "petals" are not flower parts at all. They are floral bracts and the actual flowers clustered at their bases.

    wuness

  2. #22
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    Thanks for that info, Dave - really interesting!

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by coeruleo View Post
    they grow more like a cryptanthus, but higher light.
    And this is what bugs me about the tags that come in the pots from the box stores. The tag that came with my son's 'dragon plant' said it was a bromeliad that required low light. That's it. My son's room barely gets any light, so I thought it would do well there. No wonder it never flowered! I'm upping the light levels on mine to see if I can get some cute little flowers! I want to get a pic as awesome as Maura's first one...that photo belongs in an art gallery somewhere. Such a stunning capture!

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wuness View Post
    In this species, the bracts are very large, colorful and showy. Each pink segment is a bract and, as is true of other bracts, it originates at the base of the flower (a pretty blue flower in this case) where the flower attaches to the stem. The pink structures, then, are floral bracts that are on steroids. Over time, a blue flower will emerge from each bract. The total package is actually a flower spike with outsized bracts.
    Ahhhh!! That explains that!! I was wondering what the "paddle" actually was!!

    Quote Originally Posted by wuness View Post
    Although large, showy bracts are uncommon, there are a couple of other familiar examples. The bright red "flowers" of a poinsettia are actually floral bracts and the actual flowers are the small yellowish structures at the base of the bracts. The flowering dogwood is another example. The four white "petals" are not flower parts at all. They are floral bracts and the actual flowers clustered at their bases.
    REALLY??? No way!! I'm going to have to pay close attention when our dogwood blooms this summer. That's absolutely fascinating!! Thanks for the explanation! So, is it the same with the more "standard" bromeliads then too? The ones that look like big trumpets sticking up in the air and are quite stiff?

    Name:  bromeliad.jpg
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    I always thought the trumpet thing was the flower. Is it really just one GIANT, oversized bract?

  5. #25
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    i grow my bromeliads in much the same light as phals, not direct sun, but bright light. too much can cause sun burns, but too little and you lose some of the coloring. this one now has different strains available, including a 'more compact' one. but the bract-paddle thingie is smaller too.

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    Jenn: I'm not familiar enough with bromeliads to tell you how commonplace oversized floral bracts are in the group, but they're not hard to find. The picture in your post is probably a type of Guzmania and those showy red leafy things are bracts. (Guzmania actually has outer and inner bracts.) The flowers are white in this plant I think. What you see is not one bract. It's a series of individual bracts going up the flower stalk. The flowers would be inside the bracts. Google Guzmania and then go to the wikipedia link. There is a picture there of a Guzmania inflorescence with red bracts and the white flowers clearly visible inside them.

    Another familiar bromeliad is the flaming sword, Vriesia splendens. Google Vriesia splendens and check out the images. The pictures on the right clearly show the red bracts and the individual yellow flowers coming out from them.

    Probably the reason so many people are surprised at this arrangement is that they haven't provided the plant with the conditions it needs to produce the actual flowers. And, also, breeders are more interested in the bracts, obviously, so....

    wuness

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by OrchidAddict View Post
    And this is what bugs me about the tags that come in the pots from the box stores. The tag that came with my son's 'dragon plant' said it was a bromeliad that required low light. That's it. My son's room barely gets any light, so I thought it would do well there. No wonder it never flowered! I'm upping the light levels on mine to see if I can get some cute little flowers! I want to get a pic as awesome as Maura's first one...that photo belongs in an art gallery somewhere. Such a stunning capture!
    Thank you, Jenn!

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mauraec View Post
    Thank you, Jenn!
    Do you mind if I ask what lens you used to catch that shot? I'm starting to get really into macro...especially with the orchids, but I didn't buy a macro lens because they're so expensive, and I don't use macro for portraiture, which is the majority of what I do. So I bought 'lens extenders,' which were less than $100 and basically fit between the lens and the camera to lengthen the focal distance. The result is a very, VERY shallow depth of field, which can look pretty much identical to what you pictured.

    The only problem is that I have to be VERY close to the object to use that kind of setup, and if I'm photographing the inside of a flower, often that means I'm sticking the lens IN the flower, which screws up my light and gets pollen on the glass! LOL

    Needless to say, pollen all over the lens is NOT the best way to capture a clear photo....

  9. #29
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    Jenn - Depending on how "macro" I want to go, I use my Nikon D300, with an 18-100mm zoom for flexible shooting, but I use an AF Micro Nikkor 60mm fixed focal for getting closeups on plants that I can get close to. If I'm in the Orchid Conservatory, I might use my 105mm fixed focal for macros from a further distance. The 60mm lens is really fast 1:2.8, and the glass quality is superb. Requires a tripod, however, so it's a bit of a project.

  10. #30
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    That is a beautiful plant and flower, which is also a perfect segue to my question..............
    I thought to rescue a tiny Tillandsia from a ceramic pumpkin. Broke the pot to get the plant off it and consequently lost 2-3 rows of "leaves". I have it propped up against a phal. leaf. Will it grow new roots (if it ever had any) will it survive?

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