Desc from JBS 1990 p151-3
Vriesea farneyi Martinelli & Costa, sp. nov.
Habitu V. barclayana (Baker) L.B. Smith appropinquat, sed rachi tereti simplici, inflorescentia glabra, sepalis breviter connatis, ovatis, apice obtusis et non apiculatis, petalis flavis et seminibus cum appendice apicali in brevi coma discedenti differt.
Plant saxicolous, flowering 66-70 cm high, propagating by short ascending shoots. Leaves 10-15 forming a subbulbous rosette 3.5-4 cm in diameter;
Sheaths purple, ovate, 10 cm long, 4.4 cm wide, densely lepidote;
Blades linear-triangular, 60 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide, green with very small purple spots, obscurely lepidote, dark red margin, long attenuate purple apex;
Scape suberect, stout, exceeding the leaves, 60 cm long, 0.5-0.7 cm in diameter;
Scape bracts imbricate, the lower ones green foliaceous, longer than the internodes, the middle ones elliptic red-purple with long, attenuate, castaneous apex, 10.5 cm long, 2.3 cm wide, the upper ones reddish purple, elliptic, with acute castaneous apex, 4.3 cm long, 2.8 cm wide, longer than the internodes.
Inflorescence simple, suberect, 11 cm long, rachis geniculate, 0.5 cm in diameter.
Floral bracts distichous, reddish purple, ovate, imbricate, ecarinate, obtuse apex, equalling the sepals at anthesis;
Flowers distichous, slowly secund at anthesis, pedicel stout, 0.7 cm long.
Sepals green, ovate, symmetric, connate, 3.2 cm long, 1.6 cm wide, with scales on the inner surface, obtuse apex;
Petals symmetric, 6.1 cm long, 0.8 cm wide, yellow, glabrous, free, flaccid and recurving at anthesis, 2 scales at base, 1.8 cm long;
Stamens free, exserted;
ovary 0.7 cm long, 0.2 cm in diameter, glabrous, placentae central;
stigma 3 divisions;
capsule up to 2.5 cm long, dark castaneous;
seeds fusiform, 0.8 cm long with the apical appendage divided into a short coma.
Type. BRAZIL. State of Rio de Janeiro: County of Santa Maria Madalena, Desengano State Park, Desengano Peak, on rocky cliffs, 1500-1600 msm, 17 IX 1986, C. Farney no.1217 and I. Caruzo (holotype RB; isotype NY); same locality , 17 XII 1986, G. Martinelli no.11989 & C. Farney, J. Caruzo (paratype RB).
Distribution: same locality, 05 X 1988, G. Martinelli no.13143 & al. (RB); same locality, 21 XII 1988, A. Costa no.258 & al. (RB); same locality, cultivated in Rio de Janeiro Botanic Gardens.
Vriesea farneyi Martinelli & Costa is unusual because its overall characteristics seem to relate to the subgenus Vriesea. With more keen analysis, especially of the seed, we consider it to belong to the subgenus Alcantarea even though the inflorescence is simple.
In addition to the seed, which is well characterized by the apical appendage divided into a short coma, the soft and curved petals at anthesis are also a characteristic in this subgenus.
So far, this new species has been found only in the County of Santa Maria Madalena on Desengano Peak, including the Desengano State Park. at 1600 meters above sea level in full sun. The vegetation where Vriesea farneyi was found is characterized as "Altitudinal Fields." The region is above the altitudinal limit of the Atlantic Forest in the highest peaks of the coastal mountains of eastern Brazil. It is notable for its isolation and the richness of its flora.
Conditions such as low temperatures, sun exposure, wind and other natural phenomena give this habitat a xeric character. The vegetation, which occurs in island-like masses, appears to be typical of that growing in shallow soil or on bare, steep rocks.