The Mexican bromeliad weevil (Metamasius callizona) entered Florida through imported plants in the late 1980s. By 2009 it spread to most of south and central Florida. We once saw this plant, the Cardinal Flower, frequently on our hikes in this area.
This is the first one of this size we have seen in years. When the botanist pointed it out to us, slightly off trail, we all were excited to see it. I believe as a result of the weevil, called the “Evil Weevil” by bromeliad lovers, the T. fasciculata along with the Giant Air plant (Tillandsia utriculata) are now listed as either threatened or endangered.
It is amazing how quickly an insect inadvertently moved from its native area to a new area can affect the native flora, unfortunately negatively in this case.