Powdery Strap Airplant
||Scientific name: Catopsis berteroniana (J.A. and J.H. Shultes) Mez.
Common names: Powdery strap airplant, powdery catopsis, West Indies catopsis, yellow catopsis, mealy wild pine.
this plant in Florida: Illegal collecting, Mexican bromeliad weevil (Metamasius callizona), habitat destruction.
Distribution: Florida, Mexico, West Indies, Central and South America.
in Florida: Collier, Miami-Dade, and mainland Monroe Counties.
Habitat: Rockland hammock, slough, marine tidal swamp; usually found in strong light, on high branches of host tree.
Description: Tank epiphyte; when flowering, grows to 40 – 130 cm
(16-51 in.); leaves are yellowish-green, up to 45 cm (18 in.), with a
white, chalky, powdery covering, especially at the base; 15-50 flowers
with white petals (1.0 - 1.2 cm; 3/8 - 1/2 in.) develop on a stout
scape, usually with 2-8 lateral branches; floral bracts (6-8 mm; 1/4 -
1/3 in.) and sepals (1.2 cm; 1/2 in.) yellow-green; seed capsule 1.5 cm
(1/2 - 5/8 in.) long; seeds often germinate on the capsule.
flowering: All year, especially fall – winter.
One of 2 known carnivorous bromeliads, it is thought to trap insects
in its tank with the slippery powder on its leaf bases.
Coile NC. 2000. Notes on Florida's Endangered and Threatened
Bureau of Entomology, Nematology and Plant Pathology, Botany Section.
Contribution No. 38, 3rd ed., Gainesville, FL.
Florida Natural Areas Inventory.
1997. Matrix of Habitats and Distribution by County of
Species of Florida. Florida Natural Areas Inventory/The Nature Conservancy.
Long RW, Lakela O. 1976. A Flora of Tropical Florida.
Banyan Books, Miami. 178 p.
Luther HE, Benzing DH. 2009.
Native Bromeliads of Florida. Sarasota, FL. Pineapple Press,
DB (ed.). 1979. Plants, Vol. 5. In: Rare and Endangered Biota of
Florida, P.C.H. Pritchard (ed.). University Presses of Florida,
Gainesville, 175 p.