DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR JEREMY BURGESS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Flowers of Billbergia nutans. The picture shows a terminal inflorescence of B. nutans. The individual flowers hang downwards; the sepals (to top) are green and pink, and enclose the petals, which are green with a blue edge. The yellow structures to the bottom of the picture are pollen-bearing anthers, beyond which extend the styles with a green feathery tip (4 visible). The inflorescence is borne on a long pink spathe, here in the background, behind the flowers.B. nutans is an epiphytic member of the Bromeliad family, native to Brazil. The bright colour of the flowers is typical of bird-pollinated species. The flowers also weep droplets of nectar, giving rise to one of its common names, "Queen's tears" A popular houseplant, it is also called "The Friendship Plant", due to the ease with which small offset pieces take root, and so can be given away to friends.
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