A rare large species from Bahia, Brazil that has an upright vase shape to about 30 inches tall, with wide, stiff and very spiny leaves. The most outstanding character is that it takes on a red coloration from the leaf tips downward to about half the leaf as it matures. The remainder of the leaf is light green.
Does not bloom often and there is sometimes a bit of confusion with this species and similar Hohenbergia castellanosii, a larger plant with wider leaves and larger spines. Although the coloration is similar, the Hohenbergia has a ‘bloom’ or light veneer of a waxy powder over the leaf surfaces. Aechmea ampla is glabrous or glossy.
Of course, the surest way to tell is by the bloom, if you are lucky to see one! Aechmea ampla has a laxly, bipinately branched green spike with very long branches and short sub branches bearing green sepals with pink flowers.