Aechmea Cylindrata, or Aechmea Gamosepala?

I'm not alone in the confusion here. I have seen my plant labeled at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens as Aechmea cylindrata, even though the real A. cylindrata looks a little more like this "Blue Cone". It couldn't possibly be an A. gamosepala though, because it's simply too massive in every respect! The leathery rosette is over a foot tall, and so is the densely packed neon inflorescence.

I purchased it from the Gainesville Bromeliad Society booth a few years back, and though it was simply labeled as Aechmea gamosepala "Giant Form" I haven't been able to find any information on the supposed giant form of this species. Is it simply an evil twin of the diminutive A. gamosepala? Those icy flowers sure do look wicked...


  1. There are several folks who I think could give you a correct ID.
    All are members of the San Francisco Bromeliad Club.
    Members David Feix, Dennis Westler, Dan Arco and Wess Shilling are all top notch knowledgeable in all things 'Bromeliad'
    Dennis and Dan often post on Facebook. Perhaps you could pique their attention with your question.
    They are all extremely generous with their knowledge.

  2. Wow, I don't know but it is incredible! Good luck!

  3. How confusing plant IDs can be. I love the inflorescence of my little gamosepalas. The larger version of both plant and flower is very nice.

  4. Michelle:
    Thanks for the tips! I'm not friends with any of them on Facebook yet, but maybe one of them might see my post on another forum...

    Isn't it pretty? I don't think you can get a more exotic looking plant in the coastal south.

    NanaK: I have about 3 varieties of gamosepala planted together, and I'm working on collecting the other matchstick style broms in the Ortgiesia subgenus too! Maybe I can do some hybridizing once I get enough of them!

  5. GORGEOUS - I have never seen anything like this before! I have no idea which one :)

  6. Definitely this is Aechmea gamosepala, as Ae. cylindrica has a much thicker flowering stem, and the flowers are more "scrunched" together, how's that for technical language! I grow both, and I have a white flowered form of Aechmea gamosepala that is as large spiked as your plant, but the bracts are cherry red. check it out on my flickr photostream if you type in Aechmea gamosepala alba, you'll see my photo of same.

  7. If you like the flowers in this Ortgiesia group, you should get A. caudata, A. kertesziae, A. 'Pioneer', although none of these are as elegant as the "matchstick" flowers of A. gamosepala. The alba form of A. gamosepala is nice too. I am impressed if you actually grow bromeliads from seed, I wouldn't have the patience, but wish someone would grown on seed from some of my Vrieseas for me, such as V. bituminosa the next time it blooms!

  8. Steve, one more link to a photo of some of the Ortgiesii group in one of my garden designs, this photo has several forms of Aechmea recurvata and A. caudata...

  9. Thank you so much for your expert assessment! I am collecting broms in the ortgiesea group such as A. apocalyptica, A. caudata, and I even have an actual A. cylindrata "blue cone" which is why I questioned the incorrect labeling on the gamosepalas in the botanical gardens. here's a link to the cylindrata:

    By the way, I love your garden designs and how you incorporate "cold hardy" tropicals into your landscapes in lush abundance!

  10. This is definitely not A. cylindrata, which has a much more dense inflorescence.

    I'm a member of the Gainesville Bromeliad Society, and one of the members gave me a huge clump of this plant, and some of the other members said that this is the "true Aechmea gamosepla" and that the small ones everyone has growing as A. gamosepla are a different plant, but still in the Ortgiesia subgenus.

  11. Hello!

    I'm botanic illustrator and brazilian.
    this bromélia is amazing!...I have this plant in my tropical garden
    the correct name is "Aechmea gracilis Lindeman"

  12. First of all, your illustrations are absolutely stunning. Second of all, are you sure that's the same bromeliad? Here's a link to more info about it, and it looks a bit different.

  13. Thank you!
    Welcome to my blog!
    Not sure ... I know of three bromeliad with the same flower…
    Do you have photo of leaves?



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