Bromeliads are a members of the family Bromeliaceae with native distribution centered in the tropical and subtropical regions of Central and South America. Many bromeliads are epiphytic, meaning they grow in trees—they do not need to be rooted into soil to gather nutrients instead relying on air, rainfall and detritus. The bromeliad genus Tillandsia is a prime example of this. In fact Spanish Moss, the beautiful wispy plant which drapes the live oaks of the American South, is a species of Tillandsia (T. usneoides). Other bromeliads such as the pineapple (Annanus comosus), are terrestrial plants which are rooted into soil. The group also contains terrestrial desert species, such as the South American genera Dyckia and Puya, which can be seen in our Desert Garden.

Our Bromeliad Garden is relatively new, having been developed in the late 1990s. In addition to the very different types of flowers that all of the species produce, the leaf colors and shapes also provide an interesting contrast. Three major genera of bromeliads dominate the plantings, Aechmea, Billbergia, and Neoregelia. A large stand of bamboo is found on the northern edge of the garden, tucked away within the stand is a wonderful ‘secret’ bench.


The UCLA Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden acknowledges the Gabrielino/Tongva peoples as the traditional land caretakers of Tovaangar (the Los Angeles basin and So. Channel Islands). As a promoter of nature at a California land grant institution, we pay our respects to the Honuukvetam (Ancestors), ‘Ahiihirom (Elders) and ‘Eyoohiinkem (our relatives/relations) past, present and emerging.

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