National Park Henri Pittier

Situated 100 km west of Caracas, this was the first park of its kind in Venezuela, named after a Swiss botanist. The area of more than 1000 square kilometer is situated in the Cordillera de la Costa. Altitude ranges from sealevel to 2000 meter resulting in a large diversity in flora en fauna. More than 500 species of birds - amongst them the quetzal - are recorded and the biotopes include dry forest, rainforest, cloudforest, swamp, mangroves and beach.

A road from Maracay to the coast passes through a cloudforest with many bromeliad species from the subfamily Tillandsioideae. An endemic is Guzmania mucronata, a big species (leaves up to 50 cm in length) with an inflorescence resembling an artichoke.
In the lower parts of the park grow epiphytes from subfamily Bromelioideae, mainly the genus Aechmea.

Pictured below are Aechmea aquilega and Tillandsia flexuosa, the latter growing in bushes on rocky terrain near the seaside. It has a zigzag shaped inflorescence (hence the speciesname) and it is a very variable plant in terms of the torsion and the markings of the leaf, the plants here have light and dark bands on the leaves. New shoots are developing from the stalk of the inflorescence.