Self-Sustaining 'Avatar Plant' Draws Life From The Air We Breathe
You’ve already seen Avatar in the theater at least a dozen times and of course you’ve got your own deluxe edition of James Cameron’s lush, eco-inspired flick on DVD. For some die-hard Avatar geeks, memories of the epic film are perhaps just beginning to get a little blurry around the edges, which is why we’re here to plant yet another Pandora seed in your noggin.
First, we summon you to set the proper tone by revisiting this super-dreamy ‘Pandora on Earth’ photo gallery! Now that you’ve got visions of exotic, otherworldly landscapes, kooky species and bizarre-o plant life floating around in your head, you’ll probably appreciate the fact that real-life tillandsia air plants were used as the model for Cameron’s lush rain forest. The Avatar filmmaker was so enchanted with the quirky–looking plants that he even gave one to Sigourney Weaver as a birthday gift and friendly reminder of their incredibly successful working relationship.
As with so many of the alien-like botanicals featured in the Avatar slideshow above, tillandsia plants – which are part of the Bromeliad family (think pineapples, Spanish moss and other rosette-shaped flowering species) – are most definitely Earth-bound yet could easily pass for something that Jake Sully and crew might analyze back in the lab. What makes them really unique (aside from their obvious appearance) is the fact that their trichome leaf structures gather air bound moisture and nutrients for sustenance, meaning that they don’t even require soil to survive. Maintenance is as simple as soaking them underwater for roughly 8 hours every 2 weeks to completely rehydrate them.
Nature is such a beautiful thing!