Genus Tillandsia, with more than 400 species distributed throughout the range of bromeliad family. He goes relatively far beyond the tropical zone, reaching the warm temperate regions of North and South America. Appearance and biological differences in the genus Tillandsia are very large.
With the exception of "Spanish moss" (Tillandsia usneevidnaya), all Tillandsia - pryamostoyatsie plants. Some of them are more or less well-developed stem, while others stemless. Leaves in a rosette or beams or distributed along the stem. As a form of leaves and inflorescence type vary greatly (sometimes a single flower).
All atmospherics (a concept introduced by Carl Metz, 1935) - succulent xerophytes, and include several hundred species of Tillandsia, and several species are very closely related genus frizeya. Atmospherics grow on rocks, trees and cacti, swamps and even on dry sand. They are densely covered with highly specialized absorbent scales have expanded leaf bases and root system they usually rudimentary or sometimes completely absent.
When roots are present, they act as hooks for fastening the plant substrate. Absorb moisture atmospherics directly from the air, and mineral nutrition they receive only from airborne dust and rainwater. One of the most common is the atmospherics Peruvian Tillandsia purpurea (purpurea), which is quite satisfied with minerals in the wind-blown dust and moisture, delivered in a dense fog, regularly coming from the Pacific Ocean.
It grows quite well in the hot desert, where, having no roots, just lying on the sand under the scorching rays of the tropical sun. A special kind of biological type of atmospheric bromeliads are "myrmecophilous" atmospherics. These include Tillandsia "Medusa's head" (caput-medusae), Tillandsia Butz (butzii), Tillandsia bulbosa (bulbosa), and other advanced Tillandsia with bulbous bases of leaves.
In these chambers "bulbs" living ants, which in turn brings the plant double benefit: it protects it from various pests, and furthermore provided with extra nutrients. Nutrients are decomposition products of various pests brought by ants in the chamber, and the ant excrement.
In large tanks Tillandsia frequent pemphigus and pemphigoid lotosolistnaya reniform, where they form stolons (whip), reaching neighboring bowls Tillandsia. Many Tillandsia long stem, including and "Spanish Moss", do not form a tank. They absorb water through scales that living cells through their legs osmotically (by pressure difference) transmit it inside the leaf.
While drying, the scales shrink, which does not interfere with gas exchange through the stomata, but reduces evaporation from the surface of the sheet. Genus Tillandsia is divided into subgroups: Allardtia, Anoplophytum, Ptytarrhiza, Diaphoranthema, Tillandsia, Pseudalcatarea, Pseudo-Catopsis.