Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Fuzzywuzzy Airplant, Colored Pencil by Karen Coleman, US
Listing: Endangered, Preservation of Native Flora of Florida Act
The Plant’s Story
This member of the pineapple family lives attached to branches of trees in hardwood swamps and cypress forests. Tillandsia pruinosa’s tentacle-like leaves emerge from a swollen, bulbous base and are covered with dense, silvery hairs; thus its common name, fuzzywuzzy airplant. In the United States, its range is limited to Lee and Collier Counties in Big Cypress National Preserve and nearby areas. The “river of grass” of the southeastern Everglades gradually gives way to rising elevations, which support the cypress swamps, hammocks, mangroves, and prairie habitats of Big Cypress. Nourishing a variety of unique plant and animal life, the diminutive Tillandsia pruinosa’s existence depends on the continued protection of these special areas. In spite of the great size of the preserve, non-native species penetrate its deepest coves. Its most recent intruder is a Mexican weevil whose larvae tunnel through the base of bromeliads decimating bromeliad populations.
The Artist’s Story: Karen Coleman
In January 2006, my husband and I joined a group from the Audubon Naturalist Society on a nature trip to the Florida Everglades. I was intrigued by the name and description of the fuzzwuzzy airplant. I fell in love with the fuzzywuzzy. I made a quick sketch and took lots of photos in order to do a finished work when I returned home. I completed the piece in colored pencil in 2008.
More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA.