Canopy Family | Aechmea setigera

Aechmea setigera

Aechmea setigera Jerry Harrison Panama
Photo by Jerry and Linda Harrison


Aechmea setigera is a large bromeliad native to tropical America. Like many bromeliads, it is epiphytic and usually found high in trees. It grows to 1.5 m tall, with leaves up to a meter long and 3.5 to 7 cm wide with black spines along the edges. Bright red bracts up to 20 cm long surround the base of the inflorescence stalk, which is covered with many flowers and often more than a meter in length. Spikes have 2 to 4 fertile flowers. Petals are pale yellow or greenish-yellow, and up to 3.5 cm long. The flowers produce a lot of nectar, which accumulates in the flower tube. Fruits are fleshy berries containing 8 seeds, reddish in color. In Panama, Aechmea setigera flowers from February to May, and fruits during the rainy season.

This bromeliad attracts a wide variety of creatures – ants live at the base of the leaves, and fruits are dispersed by birds, despite that the fruits are not overly colorful or well-exposed when mature.

Aechmea setigera is fround in Panama, Colombia, Venezuela, the Guianas and in Amazonia Brazil. In Panama, it is common at Pipeline Road and throughout the lowlands and foothills, and is most abundant in the wettest areas along Panama’s Caribbean coast. It can be seen around all the Canopy Family lodges.