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Paepalanthus bromelioides (photo P.Jolivet)


Paepalanthus bromelioides






History and etymology

The genus was named by Kunth in 1835, and the species was described 73 years later by Silvera as Paepalanthus bromelioides. The name comes from the Greek meaning Paipale "Arine" Anthos and "flowers", an allusion to the color of its flowers.


From South America, endemic to Brazil, it is located on an isolated mountain in the state of Minas Gerais: Serra do Cipo. It is located at 120 km north of the city of Belo Horizonte.


The Serra do Cipo whose altitude varies between 800 and 1300 m is composed of metamorphic rocks. The poor and sandy soils on which grow Paepalanthus are dry. In this climate, the rainy season extends over seven or eight months, and a dry period occurs, where the plant only receives abundant moisture mist. Strong winds sometimes sweep the boards, with temperatures in winter may be low, but without freezing. The associated plants are often associated with genera Barbacenia, Coccoloba, Vellozia ... We must also mention the presence of anthills (Nasutitermes) built at the base of plants, Paepalanthus rises gradually as the latter increases.


Perennials terrestrial plants, 60 cm to 90 cm high. Leaves are glaucous green, vertical, arranged in a rosette form a reservoir.

Traps are formed by leaves in gutters, gathered at their bases, which hold a little water. The prey are dying in the bottom of the cone, the tissue degradation is perfromed only by bacteria.

The prey is mostly insects: Coleoptera, Diptera, Lepidoptera ... Some insects and spider (Latrodectus geometricus example) have made their plant as a hunting land, and don't care about the trap.

The small white flowers, clustered in cymes, are carried by large and numerous scapes.


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