Derek the Hybrid Detective
Click browser's "Back" button to return.

DD1005 Tillandsia tectorum Enano

Tillandsia tectorum Enano
This plant was imported by Maurice Kellett in Victoria AU from Werner Krauspe in the 1980’s. See advertisement in J. Brom. Soc 34(2): 89. 1984 which shows Tillandsia tectorum enanum minor. This plant breeds true from seed and many of us grow it in Australia.

First let us look at the name where ‘enanum’ in Latin means "not dwarf" and then there is ‘minor’ that means small. It is a confusion of terms. Someone may have been trying to latinise ‘Enano’ the Spanish for dwarf and Spanish is spoken in Peru where this plant is supposed to originate - according to Werner Krauspe. We know that Werner did import from Karel Knize in Peru but despite many other names being used by Knize in his catalogues in this period this is not mentioned! We know that Knize thought up many latinised names without even wondering if the plants would be properly described. It appears that Werner Krauspe was of a similar frame of mind!

So for the last 20 years this plant has been happily growing and being reproduced faithfully from seed as well as offset, throughout Australia. Enquiries on the Internet in 2005 suggest that this plant is not alive in the USA.
We knew that Die Bromelie intended to publish in 2005 a Special edition for the Tillandsia tectorum complex written by Lieselotte Hromradnik. Here was a chance to find out about OUR plant. It looked like a smallish T. tectorum but had totally blue flowers not bicolored blue and white. It rang no bells for Lieselotte and we had no provenance to help her.

Perhaps this plant may be found again in the wild but in the meantime we intend to give it the cultivar name of Tillandsia tectorum ‘Enano’ not to be confused with the T. latifolia ‘Enano’ of Paul Isley.

The plant can be described as being acaulescent, about 20cm diameter with a scape 7.5cm long. The inflorescence is compound, almost capitate, about 3cm long with lepidote primary and floral bracts as well as sepals. The petals are totally blue/violet. It is interesting that Baker in 1889, Mez in 1935 and Smith in 1977 refer to T. tectorum as having bicolour petals but Gilmartin in The Bromeliaceae of Ecuador in 1972 refers to petals as being violet (we presume totally)! It is perhaps with tongue in cheek that we continue with the name ‘Enano’ because the plant is not dwarf! However, it is much smaller and fluffier than the large T. tectorum usually associated with Ecuador.

Derek Butcher.

Photo by M. Romanowski.
Derek Butcher 02/15

Updated 09/09/16