Aechmea distichantha (Brazilian vaseplant)
Species: A. distichantha
Binomial name: Aechmea distichantha
Synonyms: Billbergia distichostachya, Billbergia polystachya, Platyaechmea distichantha, Quesnelia disticantha
Common name: Brazilian vaseplant, Vase plant, Giant Aechmea
Aechmea distichantha is a large slow growing, basal-rosette, bromeliad typical of Cerrado vegetation in southern Brazil. It is also native to northern Argentina, Paraguay, and Uruguay. This shade-loving perennial will grow to a height of 60-90 cm.
It has arching strap-shaped, green/silver-grey leaves that are > 8 cm wide and up to 0.9 m long. The margins towards the apex have stout spines that are 3-5 mm long, but elsewhere the margins are entire. The leave’s apex has a needle-sharp terminal spine. Use extreme caution when handling this plant.
In late spring flowers appear on inflorescences on spikes, each with clusters, small blue, white or purple flowers about 25 mm long and subtended by showy pink bracts. Bromeliads flower only once, and then they die, but the inflorescence may last up to a month. Aechmea distichantha produces a white-woolly cylindrical berry-like fleshy fruit that persists for a few more weeks. Each fruit sets about 120 seeds, this production results in an average of 15,000 seeds inflorescence. Like most bromeliads, Aechmea distichantha produces offsets that replace the parent plant vegetatively.
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