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January 17, 2020 | Scott Preusser, Conservatory Horticulturist

Vriesea hieroglyphica, Bromeliaceae

The common name for this plant says it all, king of bromeliads. One glance at this striking specimen and you will know why it bears this name and why it is so highly sought after by plant collectors.

It has been a part of the tropical plant collection at Denver Botanic Gardens since 1978 and is currently on display in the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory along the north pathway closer to the east side.

The species name (hieroglyphica) of this plant refers to the dark horizontal banding patterns. This plant is endemic to southeast Brazil where it would naturally grow attached to tree branches. A mature plant has 30-40 leaves up to 3 inches wide and can reach 3 feet wide at maturity. Mature plants typically bloom in late spring/summer when plants are mature. Flower spikes are quite tall, 2 to 3 feet high and bear creamy yellow flowers.

Be sure to seek out this plant on your next trip through the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory.

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