Sim Eng Hiang’s photographic skill and passion for his tillandsia plants and floral arranging reveal themselves in every page of this stunning book that highlights these unusual floral creatures.
There are over 600 species of tillandsias, members of the large bromeliad family. Sometimes called “air plants” because they seemingly exist on air, tillandsias don’t really have roots but receive nutrients through miniscule white fuzzy scales on their leaves. Thus, since the plants grow without roots or soil, they can be mounted on driftwood, pieces of bark or anything that will employ the designer’s creativity and display the plant to full advantage.
In this coffee-table-style book, Eng Hiang offers a few pages of basic instructions on the plants’ simple needs of air, water and light, but the book primarily is filled with glorious photographs of his own tillandsia collection. All are captured in natural light against a dark background that causes the plants to often appear iridescent and seemingly leap from the pages.
Eng Hiang includes photos of many varied forms, such as the cascading clusters of Tillandsia araujei, the red flowering Tillandsia andreana, and Tillandsia capitata ‘Yellow,’ which turns yellow at its center when in bloom. Growth habits accompany many of the photographs.
In order to showcase his plants’ wide diversity of forms, Eng Hiang photographs them in various stages of maturity and in myriad display forms, also revealing his skill as a floral arranger. Whether attached to a piece of bark, permitted to cascade down a branch, growing in dramatic bonsai arrangements or adorning rocks, tillandsia display possibilities are unlimited.
One quibble: The photos might have been better organized, with bonsai displays in one section, different varieties of plants in another and so on. But this in no way detracts from the beauty readers will find in these pages. Exotic Tillandsia is both practical and striking and will be a welcome addition to any tillandsia library.
Also available as an ebook.