The genus was named after the director of the St. Petersburg (Russia) Imperial Botanic Garden Edward Von Regel in 1860. During his span at the Garden, he had over 3,000 species named after him as Russian imperialists were able to travel the world and send him thousands of plant species from all over the globe.
The bromeliad genus Billbergia was named for Swedish botanist Gustaf Johan Billberg by fellow Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg. Billberg was the son of a botanist and merely a hobbyist who traveled to Central America on a plant collecting expedition in 1826.
Watering bromeliads is somewhat unique in the fact that they take their water through the leaves and cups as well as the roots. The large broad-leaf varieties have large cups formed by the leaves. These cups act as reservoirs of water which the plants use as needed.