NOID Surprise

First off, I'd like to apologize for the long absence.  I was on another plant chase.  My farthest and longest plant chase to date.  

Eight days and almost 2,200 kilometers (1367 miles) away!

Details coming soon.

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For this post, I'd like to feature one of the NOID's of my garden.  Sometimes it's good to have NOIDs in your garden because you don't know what is in store for you.  You will wait and anticipate for the NOID to bloom since flowers, especially for the bromeliad family, usually determines the species.  The long and exciting wait can either end up in frustration or pure joy.  Frustration when the bloom turns out to be unremarkable or when the bloom confirms that you were duped by the seller.  Pure joy when the bloom turns out to be spectacular or more than anything that you've ever expected like in this case.  I knew this particular NOID was genus Pitcairnia but I didn't know the exact species.

As I've mentioned many times before, I have never had a single botany course.  I don't think it will ever be a prerequisite for law.  Plant ID of my new acquisitions is often difficult for me.  Since this is my first Pitcairnia, I do not have any dedicated books on hand.  

I based possible species ID's solely on pictures and without any taxonomic description.  I know, my bad.  My "short" list was not short at all.  I never expected so many look-alikes. My list included:

  • P. angustifolia
  • P. cremersii
  • P. curvidens
  • P. flammea
  • P. graniticola
  • P. grubbiana
  • P. integrifolia
  • P. nuda
  • P. paniculata
  • P. poortmanii
  • P. riparia and
  • P. vargasii

I was fortunate that Nev, a bromeliad enthusiast from Shellharbour Village in the Illawarra area of Australia, took the effort to ask a Pitcairnia grower in his area.  The list was cut down to two species:  P. poortmanii and P. paniculata.

According to Nev and his colleague, the two species may be differentiated by spines on the leaves and flowering time.  Their subsequent explanation was wonderful because half of it was technical and and the other half was like the "for dummies" series.  I really appreciated the effort to explain and simplify things for me.  

I was told that the P. poortmanii has a "saw-edged, smooth, glossy leaf".  The P. paniculata has a "compact cluster, 2-3 different types of leaves, bristle like, glossy above, scurfy under" and has "black spines at the base of the leaf". Voila!

Pitcairnia paniculata Ruiz & Pav.  At this point, knowing the exact species is a bonus.   The wonderful inflorescence is tall reaching almost six feet in height. The flowers are bright red and become crimson as they mature. It is indeed a sight to behold. This made it very special as I didn't know what to expect. NOIDs aren't so bad after all.





The last picture is my entry for this week's Macro Monday.

For more macro shots, head over to Lisa's blog where she hosts the meme.


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