Q: I recently read that Spanish moss and pineapples share the same plant family Bromeliacae. What characteristics put them in the same family?

Q: I recently read that Spanish moss and pineapples share the same plant family Bromeliacae. The two plants look so different! Can you tell me what characteristics put them in the same family?
A: Wow, you have posed a very interesting but difficult question! I am glad the complex choice of which plants fit into which group is not left up to me. Scientists group plants and animals using several criteria such as physical characteristics, growth and reproductive habits, even similar ancestry. Suffice it to say that greater minds than mine know more intimate information about Spanish moss and Pineapple and have concluded that these two plants are relatives. My limited knowledge can confirm that Bromeliacae are commonly called the Pineapple family. Some members of the Pineapple family are epiphytes while others are terrestrial. The terrestrial ones, which include pineapple, must live in soil to survive and reproduce offspring. Epiphytes, which include Spanish moss, do not require soil in order to grow but are often found in the canopy of trees. Epiphytes prefer partial shaded area and their roots are often exposed to the air for better absorption of water. In addition, epiphytes are also found in other families beside bromeliads. For instance, orchids are classified as epiphytes as well as some ferns but neither is in the Pineapple family. Both pineapple and Spanish moss are evergreen but you know plenty of other plants that fall into that category as well. So after saying all that, the bottom line is we cannot always look at the physical characteristics of a plant to determine the proper family; we have to leave that up to the experts.

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Posted: June 20, 2017


Category: Home Landscapes
Tags: Pineapples, Spanish Moss


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