Billbergia Violet Beauty
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Billbergia Violet Beauty
From Cultivar Registry ... "(See 'Violet Queen') - Probably distachia cultivar? hybrid? - Typical form and coloration of species distachia but with violet colors in inflorescence - Striated form exists - Padilla said, "Striking bluegreen foliage makes a fine foil for rose bracts and large open violet petaled flowers".
amoena (speciosa) x euphemiae, J.Giridlian <1962"

Billbergia Violet Beauty Median
(Ed. ... "This does NOT appear to just be the "faintly striated form" of Violet Beauty discussed below.")
Vic Przetocki ... "Billbergia 'Violet Beauty Median' will be entered on the BCR in the near future. Got this plant a very long time ago as Bill. Violet Beauty striata from another local grower. It did not want to flower for me so decided to put it in the glass house which did the trick and flowered for the first time this month. Did not want to release the plant until I saw what the inflorescence looked like so over the years have kept growing the best variegated pups. May have links back to Queensland from Olwen Ferris' 1982-83 Bromeliad sales catalogue."

Vic Przetocki 09/21, first flowering.
Ian Hook ... "If hard to flower, then it doesn't seem to grow just like B. Perriam's Pride or Santa Barbara ? The flower on it certainly doesn't look like the disticantha source they have."
Vic Przetocki ... "Hard to say whether Bill. distachia has anything to do with 'Violet Beauty' as far as being it's parent. Scape bracts have just about lost all their colour before the first flower opens."

Billbergia 'Striata' by Derek Butcher 2002
It seems to be a fact of life that growers of Bromeliads always seem to want something new, be it new species or cultivar with the old acquisitions being pushed to the darkest corner of the garden. It also seems to be a fact of life that those darkest corner plants cling to life and pop up in the most unexpected circumstances. Usually they are non-descript plants as well!
Billbergia 'Striata' is no exception and seems to be a name easily understood and coined by the general nurseryman. To the bromeliad grower the name in itself means nothing and yet "striata" is a name given loosely to any plant with the slightest of variegation irrespective of its contrasts.
I have one example that has arisen in Australia and I am sure has also arisen in the USA but not reported on.
There is currently discussion in Australia as to what is Billbergia 'Violet Beauty' which is a plant that looks like B. pyramidalis (narrow leaf form) until it flowers. This plant appears to link with the description in Bromeliads by Padilla (1973). Our inflorescence is roughly at a 90 degree angle to a more or less erect scape with petals a totally pale violet colour. There is also a weakly striated form in Australia.
Some 20 years go Olwen Ferris reported that we should take care in identifying the weakly striated form of B. 'Violet Beauty' because there was also a weakly striated form of B. pyramidalis around. Only when they flowered could you tell the difference!
What has intrigued me is that Don Beadle (Mr Billbergia, to the Americans) has never seen a B. 'Violet Beauty' in the USA although I doubt it has disappeared there completely.
Recently we acquired a plant with Billbergia "Striata" on the label in South Australia from an unknown source (they always seem to be unknown in these circumstances!) and I thought we had the answer. On flowering we found that the plant was neither B. 'Violet Beauty' nor B. pyramidalis but was a Billbergia amoena with green petals and blue tips! We decided to call this plant B. 'Imposter' for obvious reasons.
So if you see a weakly striated plant with the erect Billbergia flower of red petals with violet tip please let us know that there is one still around - somewhere!

Updated 26/09/21