Aechmea

(from aichme, point; referring to the rigid points on the calyx). Bromelidcew. The ./Echmeas are closely allied to the Billbergias, from which they are dis tinguished by smaller flowers, which are little exserted from the calyx and not widely expanding, short filaments and small anthers, sharp-pointed sepals and conspicuous sharp-pointed fiower-bracts. They are epiphytic herbs, of about 60 species, natives of Trop. S. Amer. Flower cluster arising from a cluster or rosette of long, hard leaves, which are usually serrate ; petals 3, tongue shaped,obtuse or pointed,2-3 times the length of the spine-pointed calyx-lobes; stamens 6, shorter than the petals: ovary inferior, 3-celled. The flowers are sub tended by (in the axilsof) flower-bracts; the entire head or flower-cluster is often reinforced or subtended by conspicuous leaf-bracts; in the compound-inflorescence types, the individual branches are usually subtended by branch-bracts. In some species, as A. Laliudei and A. Maria-Regina, the large colored leaf-bracts are the most conspicuous part of the plant. In others, as A. Veitchii, the entire head is the showy part. M