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Tillandsia utriculata


Tillandsia utriculata, commonly known as the spreading airplant or the giant airplant,<ref>Template:PLANTS</ref> is a species of bromeliad that is native to Florida and Georgia in the United States, the Caribbean, southern and eastern Mexico (Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Oaxaca, the Yucatán Peninsula), Central America, and Venezuela.<ref name=m>Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families</ref><ref name="GRIN">Template:GRIN</ref><ref>Flora of North America, Tillandsia utriculata Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 286. 1753. </ref><ref>Biota of North America Program, 2013 county distribution map</ref><ref>Checklist of Mexican Bromeliaceae with Notes on Species Distribution and Levels of Endemism Template:Webarchive retrieved 3 November 2009</ref><ref>Checklist of Venezuelan Bromeliaceae with Notes on Species Distribution by State and Levels of Endemism retrieved 3 November 2009</ref><ref>An Annotated Checklist of the Bromeliaceae of Costa Rica retrieved 3 November 2009</ref><ref>Acevedo-Rodríguez, P. & Strong, M.T. (2012). Catalogue of seed plants of the West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Botany 98: 1-1192.</ref><ref>Carnevali, G., J. L. Tapia-Muñoz, R. Duno de Stefano & I. M. Ramírez Morillo. 2010. Flora Ilustrada de la Peninsula Yucatán: Listado Florístico 1–326.</ref>

Two varieties are recognized:<ref name=m/>

  1. Tillandsia utriculata subsp. pringlei (S.Watson) C.S.Gardner - eastern Mexico
  2. Tillandsia utriculata subsp. utriculata - most of species range

Florida populations of Tillandsia utriculata are highly susceptible to attack by the invasive weevil Metamasius callizona, and have been devastated virtually throughout their range.<ref>Frank, J.H., Cave, R.D. (2005) Metamasius callizona is destroying Florida's native bromeliads [p. 91-101 IN:] Hoddle, M. S. (ed.) Second International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods, Davos, Switzerland, September 12–16, 2005. USDA Forest Service FHTET-2005-08. Vol. 1. http://fcbs.org/articles/M_Callizona_Frank_Cave.pdf</ref> Tillandsia utriculata holds more impounded water in its leaf axils (up to a liter) than does any other Florida bromeliad. Accordingly, it is much the major host of aquatic invertebrate animals. Loss of habitat for those animals compounds the disaster of destruction of the plants.<ref>Frank, J. H., Fish, D. (2008) Potential biodiversity loss in Florida bromeliad phytotelmata due to Metamasius callizona (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae), an invasive species. Florida Entomologist 91: 1-8 http://journals.fcla.edu/flaent/article/view/75750/73408</ref><ref>Cooper, T.M., Frank, J.H., Cave, R.D. (2014) Loss of phytotelmata due to an invasive bromeliad-eating weevil and its potential effects on faunal diversity and biogeochemical cycles. Acta Oecologica 54: 51-56.</ref>



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