return to: checklist; keys; family Bromeliaceae

Bromelia pinguin L.

Terrestrial bromeliad; leaves, linear, coarse, with sharp teeth along the margins; inflorescence paniculate, pedunculate, well elevated above the crown, subtended by bright red bracteal leaves; inflorescence branches, bracts among the flowers and sepals bright white; petals purple; fruits succulent, yellow at maturity, edible, with very acid flavor. (Image at left photographed at Botanical Garden Alfredo Marin, Puerto Morelos, Q.R.)

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The leaves yield a fine-textured fiber; dense plantings serve as effective barrier hedges.

Numerous medicinal properties are recorded by Morton (Morton 1981): fruit juice as vermifuge, diuretic, and treatment for rheumatism. Fruits contain a proteolytic enzyme, pinguinain, which is reputed to be effective in clearing of intestinal parasites.