The bromeliads (family Bromeliaceae) is a family of monocotyledenous flowering plants native to the New World tropics. About genera and 3,590 species are known. Some, such as Aechmea fasciata, are epiphytes – that is, they grow on trees, large cacti, rocks, and other supports, but do not obtain nourishment from them. The leaves of many bromeliads form a "vase" that catches and holds water and dissolved minerals from which nourishment is obtained. In the vase, entire life cycles of small animals and plants may occur.