Bromeliad alcantarea imperialis
We were hiking in the spectacular mountains of Teresópolis near Rio de Janeiro at an elevation of about 1,500 meters. The fog shrouded the steep trail and we had to travel tightly together so that we would not shower the last in our group below us with the loose rocks that constantly fell from our feet. The trail tightly switch-backed up through nearly vertical granite spires and as we came through the fog line the sun shone through the mist and lit up the granite peaks in a brilliant gold which gave the place an eerily Hobbit-like feel. On the sheer walls around us giant bromeliads, alcantarea imperialis rose like sentinels shrouded in the mist. It was truly remarkable to see these giants of the Bromeliad world in their native habitat.
This species can withstand relatively cool nights but will not tolerate hard frosts for extended periods of time. They form huge vases which can hold large quantities of water. They require adequate root room to really grow large growing up to 1.5 meters diameter and an impressive 3.5 meters in height! The genus Alcantarea, with approximately 20 species is an offshoot of the much larger genus Vriesea. For such regal plants, the genus is fittingly named after the 2nd Emperor of Brazil. We sell these amazing plants in quart containers and are approximately 8” diameter and height.