Tillandsia Caput Medusae is a species of flowering air plant from the bromeliad family. It is an extremely popular air plant and one that is found in every serious Tilly collection.
Tillandsia Caput Medusae is named after the mythical Greek Gorgon Medusa. Medusa was a female monster with snakes as hair. The air plant resembles the twisting and chaotic shape of that hair and is an appropriate name. It is sometimes commonly referred to as just Medusa’s Head or Octopus Plant.
In their natural habitat T.Caput Medusae are found growing from Central America to Mexico. They are myrmecophytic (mutual association with ant colonies) and epiphytic (grow on other plants). This species of air plant has thick, tapering and twisting leaves which can grow to be up to 25cm in length. The leaves are a light green color and slightly grey because of fine hairs (trichomes).
Tillandsia Caput Medusae has a bulbous base and it is thus recommended that it be displayed or mounted horizontally or upside down. Because of the thick base the air plant is susceptible to rot if water is left to sit. Caputs are actually ageotropic, which means they don’t orientate themselves according to gravity, so the leaves will grow wildly regardless of position.
When blooming the plant produces red-green spikes that turn a cherry red before flowering. The flowers are the typical deep purple like most air plants. It flowers from the bottom up, and lasts around 3 weeks. Thereafter, the plant typically produces offsets (pups).
Tillandsia Caput Medusae is a wonderful plant, both because of it’s peculiar shape and awesome features.