You have to wonder why this beautiful plant has such a weird name, right? Well when this spectacular variegated form of Ae. zebrina first appeared in cultivation, the beautiful variegation proved to be, shall we say, “less than stable”. Chester Skotak named the plant based on this unfortunate characteristic. Thankfully, this trait has pretty much gone by the wayside with successive generations of variegated plants being produced.
Aechmea zebrina is a spectacular species even without variegation. Large growing with stout stolons and beautifully silver banded foliage, it graces the forest of the Andean foothills of Ecuador and Peru on the Amazonian side. The inflorescence is spectacular as well, a large head of orange and yellow branches and bright orange scape bracts.