Herbs, chiefly epiphytic, with persistent, often scurfy leaves, channeled and sheathing. Calyx 3-parted or 3-toothed, often green. Corolla 3-petaled, distinct, imbricated, colored. Stamens 6, perigynous. Style single; ovary 3-celled, with numerous ovules. Seeds numerous, embryo at the base of mealy albumen, radicle next the hilum. Fig. 37, c.
Genera 23, species 170, nearly all natives of tropical America. Among them is Ananassa sativa, the pine apple, very abundant in the Bahamas, which delicious fruit consists of the entire spike of flowers, with bracts and stem blended into one fleshy mass - a sorosis. Another useful plant is our own Tillandsia usneoides - the Spanish moss of commerce.
TILLAND'SIA, L. Long Moss. (Named for Prof. E. Tillands, of Abo, author of Flora Aboeusis.) Perianth double, 3 sepals membranous, convolute into a tube, 3 petals colored, spreading above stamens scarcely cohering with the base of the sepals; ovary free capsule elongated, the 3 valves splitting each into 2 layers, of which the outer is membranous, the inner cartilaginous; seeds club-shaped, raised on comous stipes. - Plants grayish with scurf, growing on trees.
1 T. usneoides L. Black Moss. Spanish Moss. St. filiform, branching, long, flexuous, pendulous; lvs. recurved, filiform(1 to 2' long); peduncle 1-flowered, short. - Very common in the low country, from the Dismal Swamp. Va. to Fla. and La., hanging in long dark gray tufts and festoons from every tree. It is collected, dried and beaten until the bark falls off, when the black, elastic, tough, thread-like stem is used as hair in upholstery, etc. Flowers May - Aug. - Very different in habit from the next.
2 T. Bartramii Ell. Stems clustered, erect, simple, enveloped in bract-like sheaths; lvs. mostly radical, channeled, linear-subulate, from a dilated, half clasping base, which is brown and polished, much longer than the stem; fls. 2 to 4, in a bracted, terminal spike. - Swamps, Liberty County, Ga. (Pond). Root a dense mass of crowns with fibers, " on the bark of old trees" (Elliott). Sts. about 6' high, and with the lvs. (6 to 12') forming dense tufts. Fls........ Capsule
9" long, sessile, enveloped in imbricated bracts. Inner valves dark brown. Seed stipe clothed with a long, silky coma. Jn.
3 T. recurva L. Lvs. subulate, recurved; scape setaceous, erect, longer than the lvs., bearing about 2 flowers at the summit. - On old trees, Ga. and Fla., forming tufts covered with grayish scales. (Pursh.) We saw specimens of this species in the herbarium of Rev. Dr. Bachman, but took no description.