Once You Go Black...

|CU Aechmea 'Prieto' fruit after flowering|

|CU Aechmea 'Prieto' fruit after flowering|

Once you go black you can never go back!  The ultimate in my collection of recent cool finds.  May I introduce to you Aechmea 'Prieto' (pronounced 'eek-mee-uh').  Aechmeas are bromeliads and a relative of the pineapple.  They come to us from the tropical americas.  This particular Aechmea is ice cold in the looks department.  In other words, one of the coolest of the cool bromeliads that you could grow.

|Aechmea 'Prieto' Foliage + Form|

|Aechmea 'Prieto' Foliage + Form|

Look at it!  It is one alluring plant.  Have you ever seen leaves so black?  And the flowers and fruit, forget about it, are beyond astonishing.  They extend on delicate black wand-like stems from the vase of foliage.  The flowers themselves, not pictured, appear on the ends of the rich red fruit the color of the hottest blue-black flame edged in orange-yellow notes of color.  I just happened to find this beauty while wondering through one of Hollywood's newest nurseries called Dream Garden.  Google 'em.  They've got some pretty amazing finds.

The Aechmea had finished flowering but the contrast of the persistent rich red fruit and the ebony-like foliage had me at hello.  Now I'm not sure where else you could find this plant (maybe one day from The Plant Provocateur), but you should check out Aechmeas and other bromeliads.  They make ultra cool house plants as well as tropical touches for a warmer climate outdoor lounge or garden.  Here's a little something to whet your appetite...check it out.