Scarlet Star
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Scarlet Star
P Introduced Photo: Huirem Bhabini
Common name: Scarlet Star
Botanical name: Guzmania lingulata    Family: Bromeliaceae (Pineapple family)
Synonyms: Tillandsia lingulata,

Scarlet Star is quite a variable species; individual specimens differ considerably in some respects. Characteristic of the plant are smooth green leaves 45 cm long and 2 cm wide, with a flower stalk up to 30 cm long bearing small yellow flowers in the centre of a cup-shaped or funnel-shaped flower head of 4 cm long crimson bracts. The leaves come together to form a star shape in the middle. Scarlet Star is most popular for its brilliant pink or red flower bracts, but also can be found in shades of yellow and orange depending on the variety. What appears to be the flower on the plant is actually a grouping of modified leaves, called bracts. They are green at the beginning and little by little they start to color in bright colours depending on their variety. These bracts can last for about 5 months. The true flowers do not rise above the bracts, having a brief couple of days blooming period. Once the true flowering has taken place, the plant begin to wither and dies, but before dying it will produce offsets that grow at the base of the plant. Scarlet Star is native to rainforests of Central America, northern and central South America, southern Mexico and the West Indies.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in cultivation in Imphal, Manipur.

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