Air Plants (Tillandsia bergeri)
Air plants are semi-tropical Epiphytic plants of the genus Tillandsia (family Bromeliaceae). The Bromeliaceae is widespread throughout South America and southern North America, and is best known for the pineapple. The pineapple is not an air plant, though.
Air plants are a common sight in Mallorca. Air plants don’t appear to grow in the open landscape in the Balearic Islands, to my knowledge. But you will encounter air plants outside most Mallorcan country farmhouses, and often in large ball shaped clusters like the one shown here.
I am not absolutely certain, but I believe that the plant shown here is a giant specimen of a Tillandsia bergeri. Should you happen to know better, please let me know. When in season, this air plant sports delicate small blueish-pink flowers. Quite delightful, really.
Epiphytes need no soil; they survive by absorbing moisture and nutrients through a coating on their leaves. The roots are used as anchors only.
Apparently, Tillandsia is a primary ingredient in a herbal supplement to treat pollen allergies.