Derek the Hybrid Detective
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DD0606 Neoregelia lilliputiana
by Derek Butcher - the Cultivar Detective.

This all started with a dispute as to what this species looks like at a recent Australian Bromeliad Society Show in Sydney but Ken Woods wanted to seek clarification. It is a good job he did because we have loads of information for you to digest.
First, most of us think we know what this species looks like. It was first described in 1974 by Pereira and I wonder how many of you have checked your plant against the description especially length of petal. To my mind it is a small form of Neoregelia ampullacea and if you compare the description of both species there is very little difference. Remember that N. ampullacea was described by Morren in 1885 and nobody knew where it actually came from. Subsequent findings up to 1960 consolidated the opinion of Lyman Smith as to its description given in Flora Neotropica in 1979. Plants collected since that date have also been allocated this name without amending Smith’s description. So it is a difficult area to be dogmatic in.
Was the plant concerned the hybrid Neoregelia ‘Lillipet’? This was alleged to be a hybrid between ampullacea and lilliputiana but a quick check of the cultivar Register shows ‘Lillipet’ having a reddish look about it suggesting another parent was involved somewhere. Ken decided to bite the bullet and contact Grace Goode who was the hybridist. Grace pointed out she had crossed a N. punctatissima with lilliputiana to get ‘Night Spot’. A quick check of the Cultivar Register will show a plant looking more like an N. ampullacea than the small N. lilliputiana. Here I must add that the N. punctatissima has been misidentified for years and is really yet another form of N. ampullacea. This is now covered in the Cultivar Register by using the name Neoregelia ‘Punctate’. Ken also found out that the parents of N. ‘Lillipet’ are N. lilliputiana x ‘Rose Marie’ and not lilliputiana x ‘Strawberry Cup’ as advised to the Registrar in 1994. This small correction is easily made. However there is a sister to ‘Lillipet’ namely ‘Lullaby’ that is out there somewhere and if anyone has this plant I would love to get a photo for the records.
There is a similar problem with ‘Night Spot’ which has a sister called ‘Flare Up’ and if anyone has this plant the same plea applies.
Is there a moral to this story? To my mind, if in doubt regarding identification of a species contact me and I will send the description. If a hybrid, check the Cultivar Register on or Cultivar Corner on and look at photos. If you do not have Internet access ask someone who has.

Ian Hook, 05/06 at BSA Autumn Show.
Ian Hook, Sydney 02/04.
Photo by Derek Butcher.
Neoregelia lilliputiana.
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Photos by Derek Butcher.
Ken Woods.
Neoregelia ampullacea.
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Neoregelia Lillipet.

Updated 16/06/06