Tillandsia Penito
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Tillandsia Penito
cv. of ionantha.
Ian Hook, Sydney, 03/08.
Ray Clark 01/17
Ray Clark ... "Chris, you've piqued my interest with your feedback on ionantha imported into this country. I have 'Penito' and 'Fuego' amongst others. Pictured is 'Penito' which i picked up at the Adelaide conference in April 2009, seller unknown. What I find interesting is that I have never been able to mount it, it keeps falling over. I hung it a few years ago and it appears to have mutated into two plants, never flowered"
Chris Larson ... "These ones are always a little floppy as they get older…….. I tend to grow them hanging down.
One thing of note with the plants we received under this name is that they do not seem to pup as readily from the base, as is the case with most other forms. Nearly always from on the side not near the base, up the top near the tip, & sometimes they dichotomise at the tip. So this plant is behaving typically.
In some cultural conditions these tend to flower regularly and do not get the size or the length."

John Olsen 5/18 'Cone Head' with 'Penito' on left
'Penito' John Olsen 5/18
'Penito' Chris Larson 5/18

John Olsen 9/5/18 ... Picture of my plants labelled as 'Cone Head' (largest one ~8cm) on right and 'Penito' on left.
John Olsen 9/5/18 ... My 'Penito'. Rather similar to 'Cone Head' but larger and a touch redder.
Chris Larson 9/5/18 ... 'Penito'. The plants we imported from Guatemala for quite a few years contained T. 'Penito' - I have seen 1000s. It was in no way similar to John's 'Cone Head'. It was always very large with succulent leaves. It is however similar to Rob's plant, though. It did vary a bit, and most elongated with age. Not that I am saying that Rob's plant (a photo of which is attached) is 'Penito' - but I couldn't argue against it.

Chris Larson 11/06/23 ... I just posted these comments on Facebook today. I am unsure of why tags are not being updated. All those big chunky straight thick brittle leaved T. ionantha that you have from me were imported as T. ionantha Penito. I saw 10s of 1000s of Penito over the years from Guatemalan exporters such as Bromelifolia, Tucan & others. The small ones like the one on Facebook today is identical to some we received from Guatemala as T. ionantha var ionantha. Note the very wide leaf base and the very triangular shape of the leaf. T. ionantha var ionantha was very variable - but this one, in my opinion, sits squarely there. T. Penito on the other hand has longer leaves, not so triangular - and in cross-section can be almost round.

My comments on Facebook today:
Post 1:
Tillandsia ionantha Penito. This cultivar of T. ionantha was imported into Australia in large numbers between 1990 & 2014. It is a little variable but can be distinguished by long straight thick leaves. It grows to at least 7cm tall, but can elongate to around 20cm in certain cultural conditions.
Somehow there have been other T. ionantha floating around collections under the name T. ionantha Penito. These appear rather regularly on Tillandsia Addicts.
Unless yours looks like the ones on the BCR - it is not T. ionantha Penito.
Post 2:
A very lovely form of T. ionantha.
But this is the one floating around Qld under the wrong name as "Penito". Check the Bromeliad Cultivar Registry - it is not even similar to T. ionantha Penito. Even well known tillandsia growers are making this mistake.
I dont know what you can call it - but not Penito.
Post 2 second time when she wanted a name:
Yes, many of the well known growers have this as T. ionantha "Penito". The term was coined by a firm called Bromeliifolia in Guatemala - one of the largest exporters from Guatemala in the 70s to around 2005? when they shut down. I imported Penito from them on at least a dozen occasions.
There are 100s of forms of T. ionantha floating around Australian collections that are not named. Yours is one. I believe it would have been imported as T. ionantha var ionantha from Guatemala from the looks of it. I'd put money on it being Guatemalan if I was a gambler.
There are a number of different forms which we imported from Guatemala under this name - ie T. ionantha var ionantha.
One thing I believe we should get away from is insisting that every form of T. ionantha has to have a different cultivar name. Cv names should be reserved for only the very distinct.

Updated 01/07/23