Chasing Plants

I chase weird and ugly plants. To some extent I also chase rare, unusual and strange plants. Okay, I also chase beautiful plants.

When it comes to weird and ugly plants the genus Tillandsia of the Bromeliad family is your best bet. Tillandsias are also known as airplants because they don't need soil and they absorb nutrients from the little hairs on their leaves known as trichomes. You can cut all the roots and they will still survive. They can live their entire life hanging on a string (no figure of speech here). The easiest way to kill them is to plant them on soil. Tillandsias come in so many forms but the weirder and the uglier ones are the bulb type tillandsias like Tillandsia seleriana. The latin name sounds cool but believe me it is ugly. In order to prove this, hereunder is Exhibit "A".

Tillandsia seleriana

Now tell me that it is a plant and not something from outer space.

Donita Rose, a famous Philippine actress and former MTV Asia VJ, can testify to this. When I showed her a nice clump of Tillandsia caput-medusae, another bulb type Tillandsia, she couldn't help but scream "It's ugly". Opinion is generally objectionable under the Rules of Court but I didn't bother to interpose. She bought the plant afterwards.

My daughter says it looks evil, corroborating the testimony of Donita Rose. Tillandsia seleriana has the weirdest leaves. The leaves actually look more like menacing octopus tentacles ready to capture its prey. Good thing the plant doesn't grow big or else its ugliness will be magnified. Tillandsiaseleriana is native to southern Mexico and probably Mars. It doesn't like moisture so I spray it with water once a week during wet season and two to three times a week during dry season. It's an easy to grow plant. It thrives on neglect.

But this ugly plant can transform itself to a strikingly beautiful and colorful plant once it blooms. The inflorescence is either light pink or deep red with small purple flowers. The blooming process can take sometime. After blooming, the plant dies and baby plants called pups emerge from the base and the cycle of transformation from ugly to beautiful continues.