Tillandsia 'Temascal' by Derek Butcher June 2017
Recent flowering of this plant by Ray Clark in Australia has prompted me to give as much detail as I can while registering the name in the BCR. Plants identified as being T. capitata are wide ranging with much discussion but no action as to the differences between those in Cuba to those found in the mainland particularly Mexico. When we do get detailed information this should be recorded at least as a cultivar. This plant seems to be widely grown in Australia with the main originating source being Tropiflora.
In this case we go back to 2002 (or was it before?) when Tropiflora Nursery in Florida found a distinctive T. capitata near Temascal, Mexico (Comment from Dennis Cathcart – Our plants have a much longer scape, but we are not growing them as severe as you. The plants in nature were in deep shade, on a cliff face, and had leaves about 30 inches long. Ours are grown brighter, but still are quite large.) and these were made available to keen Tillandsia growers including Len Colgan from Adelaide. Len’s plant flowered with a short scape (peduncle). Two years later, Renate Ehlers visited the area and found the plant. She had collected her plant/s in Mexico, Oaxaca, Temascal 150 m on rocks EM 040403, 26. 01.04. On returning home to Germany she was able to examine the collection carefully and decided they were the same and possibly of species status.
What I found a bit confusing was where the two collections were actually made. Dennis tells us it was near Temascal south of Vera Cruz which it is but actually in the state of Oaxaca. In any event Renate had examined both forms and considered them as being the same.
Plant to 20cm high with top leaves turning red at flowering. Leaves to 20 cm long. Peduncle to 4cm long. Inflorescence compound with about 5 spikes each with 2 flowers.
Remember that we are separating on geographical terms and a plant loosely called T. capitata ‘Oaxaca‘ may well be the same but this should be checked against the photos in the BCR. There is also a similar plant said to be from Cuba but if it was actually collected in Cuba then it needs to be looked at separately.
There is a possibility that this will be published under the ICN rules in the Journal 'Die Bromelie' some time in the future.