This week, my hat’s off to Billbergia nutans, or ‘Queen’s Tears’ as it is commonly called. That has GOT to be one of the toughest houseplants in my possession! It suffered such neglect (by me) this past summer, I thought for sure it wouldn’t bloom this winter. Happy and astounded to say I was wrong. By now, it’s been pushing out blooms for weeks, and I finally took some pictures. My favorite part of its flowers are those little bi-colored ribbons that curl so elegantly at the bottom.
I wonder a bit over the common name of this showy South American epiphytic bromeliad. Several sources explain the ‘Tears’ part from the drops of nectar that drop from the flowers. I also think the form of the flower is rather dramatic and droopy, but it still doesn’t explain the other part. Which ‘Queen’ is it referring to? And why was she so sad? I imagine it must have been a Spanish or Portuguese queen, as I don’t imagine indigenous South American populations celebrated queens in the same way the Europeans did. Or, maybe they did? Perhaps the queen in question belonged to one of the tribes ravaged by the invading colonialist thugs. In that case, I can totally see why she was crying.
No matter… the Queen on my window sill is lovely, and I will do my best to treat her better in the future. She is most certainly a noble one.