Aug. 9, 2020

northern needleleaf, Tillandsia balbisiana

Northern needleleaf is a bromeliad. This family is amazingly creative. One adaptation in Tillandsia allows night time photosynthesis. Yeah, I know, I had the same class about how sunlight was part of photosynthesis. K-12 was a simpler time, but now we can celebrate the complexities. Tillandsia has discovered a way to use acid to power photosynthesis. This allows them to close their pores during the day and conserve moisture. They have only enough root to anchor them to their habitats of trees, cliffs, or even power lines. Moisture comes only from rain and dew. In this instance the photographer was more fortunate than the subject. Its home on an oak branch had blown down in a storm. Northern needleleaf is native to FL, then south and southwest. Not the frame of reference we normally associate with 'northern'. Polk Co FL, 3/16/16. Bromeliad family, Bromeliaceae.