Suggested by Derek Butcher as Hal's Nidus.
DD1209 Tillandsia Hal’s Nidus.
by Derek Butcher December 2009
This plant became a Tillnuts discussion when Mark Supple of Newcastle showed a photo of a flowering plant of his called T. fasciculata ‘Minor’. As you all know, I shudder at the use of this adjective because it means there are differences between this this plant and the species but nobody has bothered to define what these differences are. The advantage of Tillnuts is that we are all terrible poker players and love to show our hand so others can get involved. This was no exception where it appears this plant started its Australian life in the 1980’s when Hal Ellis from Victoria was importing plants with Garry Thompson. As is usual, offsets get exchanged and Chris Larson was not happy with the name ‘minor’ and started investigating. He even cornered Renate Ehlers at the Adelaide Conference in 1995. It was felt that the plant could be Rauh’s T. nidus which was still a somewhat unknown quantity at that time. Nothing further was done other than Chris and Maurice Kellett changing their name to T. nidus.
For the first time we will now show what Rauh said in 1983 but in English!
Tillandsia nidus - Rauh & Lehmann, Trop. Subtrop. Pflanz. 41: 19-22. 1983
Plant stemless, flowering to 20cm high, Leaves numerous, narrow, erect, occasionally secund, making a large rosette 5 – 6cm diam.
Leaf sheath indistinct, ca 3cm long, 1.4cm wide, pale brown lepidote.
Leaf blade erect, narrow triangular, to 20cm long, 1.4cm wide near sheath, channelled, long attenuate, green, dense grey lepidote.
Scape very short, 2 – 3cm long, 4mm thick.
Scape bracts 2 – 3, membranous, ca 2cm long, much shorter than the primary bract.
Primary bract leaflike, erect, the bottom ones with its sheath as long as the spike with long filiform dense grey lepidote blade, the upper ones shorter.
Inflorescence nestling, exceeded by the leaves, 8 – 10cm long, 5 – 8cm wide, densely bipinnate, with 10 – 14 erect, complanate, short stemmed, 4 – 5cm long, 1.5cm wide, ca. 5 flowered spikes.
Flower bracts densely imbricate, ca. 4cm long, 1.2cm wide, keeled, with short hooked tip, membranous, carmine red, at the bottom green, laxly lepidote, smooth, (when dry strongly nerved) much exceeding the sepals.
Sepals 25mm long, 6mm wide, acuminate, keeled, membranous, free, reddish at tip, otherwise whitish.
Petals 4cm long, 3mm wide, pale violet with white edges and a blunt weakly reflexed tip.
Stamens and Style protruding. Filament 22mm long. anther 7mm long.
Ovary 7mm long.
Habitat central Mexico without exact location.
Holotype BGH 46 409 in Heidelberg (HEID)
T. nidus had already been known for a long time by J. Zehnder, Kaktimex, Switzerland, without collection data and reached Dr. J. Rutschmann, Basel, as T. diguetii Mez on the basis of the nesting, deeply inserted inflorescence in the leaf rosette, and was sent to the collection in the Botanical garden Heidelberg. As such, it was published as a colour photograph by Rauh in the Journal of The Bromeliad Society Vol. XXXI, No., 5, 1981, pages, 218-219. Investigation has yielded however that it is not T. diguetii, because this plant resembles a young T. seleriana Mez with sessile inflorescence and amongst other things the base of the leaf rosette is a pseudo-bulb. Compared to T. nidus, T. plagiotropica Rohweder, has a flat spreading rosette ( fig. 9).
T. nidus may be one of the many natural hybrids, that have recently become known from Mexico.
Note – no mention made of reddening in the centre at anthesis.
Things have moved on since then because the next reporting we got was that De Rebus I, 1994 indicated this was a natural hybrid of fasciculata x ionantha. Note that we still did not know where it could be found in the wild! We do know that by 1997 Birdrock had it in their catalogue but no location. We do know that Renate Ehlers collected the plant in 2006 near Coatepec in the State of Vera Cruz, Mexico. We do know that with natural hybrids, back crossing occurs making it difficult to know what range this hybrid might have.
This then is what we know about the plant in the wild but can we link a plant imported in the 1980’s to T. nidus or T.xnidus? The safer option is to give this clone the name of T. ‘Hal’s Nidus’ and to use Mark Supple’s photo as an example. The reason why I picked the name is that if your plant can be traced to Hal Ellis or has a suspect name like ‘nidus’ you can at least follow the threads. There are certainly other plants that look similar to this plant and have doubtful pedigree which could be linked to ‘Hal’s Nidus’ but that is the decision of the owners.
As for the future where someone is trying to identify a plant at least we have photos of what we consider typical T. fasciculata, T. nidus and T. ‘Hal’s Nidus’
Now we go the Australia, where this plant became a Till discussion group relay discussion when Mark Supple of Newcastle showed a photo of a flowering plant of his so-called T. fasciculata ‘Minor’. Here we had the same name used for at least two different looking plants with the more common one having a single spike and it was eventually added to the BCR in 5/2015 as Tillandsia ‘Minor’. As you all know, I shudder at the use of such adjectives when linked to a species name because it means there are differences between this plant and the species, but nobody has bothered to define what are these differences. The advantage of the Till discussion group is that we are often terrible poker players and love to show our hand so others can get involved. This was no exception where it appears this plant started its Australian life in the 1980s when Hal Ellis from Victoria was importing plants with Garry Thompson. As is usual, offsets get exchanged and Chris Larson was not happy with the name ‘minor’ and started investigating. He even cornered Renate Ehlers at the Adelaide Conference in 1995. It was felt that the plant could be Rauh’s T. nidus which was still a somewhat unknown quantity at that time. Nothing further was done other than Chris and Maurice Kellett changing their plant name to T. nidus.
This then is what we know about the plant in the wild but can we link a plant imported in the 1980’s to T. nidus or T. xnidus ? The safer option was to give this clone the name of T. ‘Hal’s Nidus’ and to use Mark Supple’s photo as an example. The reason why I picked the name is that if your plant can be traced to Hal Ellis or has a suspect name like ‘nidus’ you can at least follow the threads. There are certainly other plants that look similar to this plant and have doubtful pedigree which could be linked to ‘Hal’s Nidus’ but that is the decision of the owners.
As for the future where someone is trying to identify a plant at least we have photos of what we consider typical T. fasciculata, T. nidus and T. ‘Hal’s Nidus’.
Now to phase 2. In May 2015 Ross Little reported that his Pinegrove Nursery ledger revealed Tillandsia fasciculata hybrid – "Guatemala BBK #2662, 5/86 Gleeson" AND he was still growing the plant under this name. It looked like ‘Hal’s Nidus’. May 1986 is a long while ago and what happened to the offsets that escaped from Pinegrove? Were they grown on as T. fasciculata hybrid? I suggest very little happened but with growers trying to guess father, for example T. nidus and T. velutina. T. velutina is an interesting one because it was not described until 1994 and Tillandsia fasciculata x velutina has recently gained notoriety with a Gardening Guru on TV. As you also know I dislike formulas because you never know who coined the formula unless you ask questions.
Because nobody has reported importing other than these two references all these lookalikes should be linked to ‘Hal’s Nidus’.
Now to phase 3. On 8/2011 Dennis Cathcart registered a T. ‘Coquette’ for an alleged natural hybrid found in Guatemala which Harry Luther had decided was probably (rotundata x capitata) . We do not know who may have imported this to Australia but we do know that Pam Hyatt was selling TX137 at the World Conference in Cairns in 2008. TX137 became ‘Coquette’ too. John Olsen tells me that there seemed to be few for sale but he bought one which still has TX137 on the label.
Are you interested in having an almost correct name on your plant and I don’t mean formula? Nobody has dissected a (rotundata x capitata) or even a (fasciculata x query) to show they are the same even though they look it. If you can trace your plant to its origins you will know what name to use. If you cannot, then put the problem at the door of those who change labels without recording their actions and just call it Tillandsia hybrid.
Thanks to Ross Little and Geoff Lawn for their valued input.
The following is a transcript, and pictures (following), from the Tillandsia discussion group on 'Hal's Nidus', 'Coquette' and 'Minor'.
Greg Aizlewood 12/05/15. Images , .
This is a plant that I got from John Buchanan in 2006 with the name tag attached. (fasiculata minor x Nidas).
I remember plants with similar breeding and background being discussed on a previous occasion and the name 'Hal's Nidus' being bantered around.
Please advise if the formular name on this plant is still current or has it now got a cultivar name.
I am unsure that the T. fasciculata X velutina floating around Brisbane is actually T. Hal’s Nidus – only that I know some changed their label to this in the interim and I know not if these labels were changed again to T. Hal’s Nidus.
Sometime around 5 years ago (?) I got a plant from Ross. It had no label. I speculated that it was T. Hal’s Nidus as it felt & looked the same. In flower it proved to have what I consider minor differences to T. Hal’s Nidus though others said that these were greater than I thought. Note: especially the scape length. This plant in Greg’s photo above looks to me to be Ross’s plant. Ross …?
I have been of the opinion, since flowering Ross’/Buchanan’s plant, that it was probably from the same batch (imports or seedlings) as T. Hal’s Nidus. Of course this is pure conjecture.
Also on the Bromeliads in Australia website there is a photo (by Ken Woods) of a plant from Qld "Possibly hybridised by Barry Genn, and labelled as such by Neville Ryan." Which looks like the one I have from Neville which is labeled T. xnidus and I do not think is the same as T. Hal’s Nidus or Ross’ plant.
Of course, when you get a natural hybrid – do they all look the same? Though we don’t have a record of where T. Hal’s Nidus or Ross’ plant originated from.
Ross may comment further as to whether he thinks that this is the same as his plant. & does it deserve another name???
PS – on the topic of T. fasciculata v. minor – there is a plant that is very common in Queensland collections being grown under this name. Does anyone have a picture of it flowering or know of its origins ?