Southern needleleaf: Red or Not

Rick Battle who participated in the Eugenia Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society walk 1-4-2019 at the south Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area (ORCA) sent two tupendous photos of southern needleleaf (Tillandsia setacea). Note the redness of just one individual in the photo above.

Why do some southern needleleaf plants become red?

Some experts say that the cause is cold temperatures. But, Indian River County, especially in coastal locations like ORCA, has not experienced cold temperatures in quite a few years.

Other experts claim that the cause is excessive sunlight, i.e., a sunburn, yet plenty of reddened southern needleleaf plants at ORCA are in shady spots. The other atmospheric bromeliads found at ORCA, a.k.a air plants, like Spanish moss (Tillandsia useneoides)  and ball moss (Tillandisa recurvata), are covered with a greyish reflective scales, but southern needleleafs are green (or reddened).

Why are some people redheads?


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