A terrestrial bromeliad, up to 3 m tall, distributed from southern Mexico and the Caribbean south to Brazil, Colombia and Ecuador, where it grows in savannas, scrublands and deciduous forests, at elevations up to 1500 m. It forms rosettes of upright, lanceolate leaves with sharp spines along the margins, bright green above and grayish green below. As the plant matures, the leaves closer to the center of the rosette change their color to red while the ones at the exterior remain green. It develops an inflorescence with a multitude of pink-purple flowers with a whitish base, followed by juicy, edible fruits covered by a yellowish-brown husk. The fruits are traditionally used to prepare a delicious, refreshing drink called "Atol de Pina" and are much appreciated for their appealing, sweet-sour taste. The fruits ship well and are now being considered as a potential new crop for larger scale production. Bromelia karatas tolerates poor soils and drought and it is a very attractive, multi-purpose plant for tropical and warm-temperate regions.