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Species, Argentina, Bolivia.
Peter Tristram 01/20 ... "It looks like T. australis is represented in Australia by 2 basic forms. The one most Collectors have comes from the southern range and clones were collected by Chris Larson and imported from RFI and MSBG and no doubt others. These have more strappy (and sometimes tatty), lime green, softish foliage and a fairly lax inflorescence whereas the newer form, ex Germany (either as unknown, krukoffiana or samaipatensis) looks more like an Alcantarea with harder, shorter, pointed, bluish-green, finely frosted foliage. Its inflorescence is more compact though still very large with tighter bracting and sharply angled branching. I gather this form grows near Samaipata and/or Cochabamba in Central Bolivia."
Peter Tristram ... "Many of us grow T. australis, grown either from adventitious pups or seed. These will all be from plants that Chris and Marj McNamara brought back from Argentina (early ‘90s?) and I got from Selby in 1988 – all pretty similar really. In 2009 I obtained a gnarled tank Till with a bunch of purple adventitious pups from Petra Hensel at the German Conference in Marburg. She got it from an old collector in the east and was sure it came from Bolivia. It grew into an imposing, Alcantarea-like plant with densely stacking foliage much like Alc roberto-kautskyi. It has had me puzzled. Quite a few pups will be in collections too, as T sp ex Petra, maybe with Bolivia added, or the like. I puzzle no more as it just has to be a form of T. australis. It has only just produced flowers and the branching will continue so it’ll end up with one hell of a spike. For me it’s a hernia hazard too! I have a feeling that some of the plants I got from the east as T. samaipatensis will turn out to be this form of T. australis as well. If anyone obtained a purplish adventitious pup labelled samaipatensis it will be one of these East German acquisitions. Well, another mystery solved I guess, still plenty to go.
|Chris Larson form 11/08
||Peter Tristram 10/17 ex. Petra Hensel (Northern form)
||Peter Tristram 10/17 Selby or Chris Larson
There are 2 pics of the Marburg plant taken about 6 weeks apart and one of an australis that’s either the Selby clone or one of Chris’s which is also coming into bloom. The label is buried in the roots somewhere. Compare the foliage. If I tried to grow the older imports where the Marburg plant is (50% white cloth) they would have brown leaf tips, go yellow and look very crappy, preferring semi-shade. I’ll be whacking one of Petra’s australis in full sun with the Alcs and see how it goes!
Chris, what was the habitat of your australis, given its apparent preference for shade? I'd guess that the Selby form came from somewhere nearby too. Did you see the species in Bolivia? I know from the DVD that Len saw it near Narvaez and wonder whether this population was like Chris's or Petra's. Either way both are stunning tank Tills."
Chris Larson ... "Mine were collected at the type locality of T. albertiana – on the trip with Marj in 1996. Nearly all, including the ones we collected, were growing on cliffs which were quite wet, and facing south – so most in constant shade. The cliffs were full, and easy to reach. They were all single plants with a few adventitious offsets. Not a clump that I could see.
Type for albertiana says: Type. Vervoorst 7255 (holotype LIL, isotype US), on rocky banks, near El Potrerillo (Ruta Nacional no.9, km 1418), Rio Grande del Sauce, Candelaria, Salta, Argentina. El Potrerillo was quite a ways away- 10 or 20 kms - on the flats where there were frosts in early May. T. albertiana & tenuifolia & australis were up a narrow gorge – very protected.
The only australis I saw in flower was on the other side of the very narrow valley, facing north in full sun, but in the partial shade of the trees/scrub at the top of the cliff – a scan of my slide in the pic attached from fcbs.org. There were only a few plants here (facing north) in the bright light.
We saw it also in dense forest as an epiphyte up nearer the Bolivian border. At least that’s what we thought it was. We couldn’t get to it – I didn’t see it in flower, and took Marj’s word for it."
I do have a photo, but it is a dark blob amongst the heavy foliage – definitely a brom – but not much other detail. Deep within the tree on the sturdy parts. It was along a creek/river. Road from Embarcion to Yacuiba ( around ½ way turn left for 10 or 20 km) - up near the Bolivian border. I reckon it could have been anything & was voting to stop – but Marj said – “no definitely T.maxima”."
Peter Tristram ... "Thanks for info! It seems to be quite variable and has a fairly extensive habitat range. It’ll be interesting to see what the other plants from Germany flower like and whether they are australis. Epiphyte too! It’d be a strong branch to support one!! I wonder if Marj photographed it?
I just checked labels and the green leafed australis coming into bloom at Repton is one of Chris’s. I also have australis from Lotte from two trips, 2006 and 2009. The 2006 plants are dead ringers for Chris’s collection which makes sense as they are from El Potrerillo, Argentina, where Chris collected his. I bloomed one last year just thinking it was from Chris. The 2011 plants look more like Petra’s plant and are from Monteagudo – Padilla, Chuquisaca, Bolivia, which is way north of the Argentinian border not that far from Samaipata. Did you visit that area, Len?"
|Chris Larson 10/17
||Ray Clark 11/17
Peter Tristram ... "It looks like T. australis is represented in Australia by 2 basic forms. The one most Collectors have comes from the southern range and clones were collected by Chris Larson and imported from RFI and MSBG and no doubt others. These have more strappy (and sometimes tatty), lime green, softish foliage and a fairly lax inflorescence whereas the newer form, ex Germany (either as unknown, krukoffiana or samaipatensis) looks more like an Alcantarea with harder, shorter, pointed, bluish-green, finely frosted foliage. Its inflorescence is more compact though still very large with tighter bracting and sharply angled branching. I gather this form grows near Samaipata and/or Cochabamba in Central Bolivia."
|Peter Tristram 01/20 (Northern form)
Dale Dixon ... "I had no idea how stunning this species is. This is the first flowering for me and so glad to have it in my collection. This individual came from Ray Clark. I was still living in Sydney so I’ve had it over two years now. It probably got very harsh conditions on the back deck but in the shade house it has thrived. Does it produce pups after flowering?"
Adam Bodzioch ... "Well done in flowering the australis. I don’t know how big they have to get before flowering. I have 3 plants in pots, one is 800mm across by 700mm high with no sign of an infloresence."
Pam Butler ... "From memory mine was at least 1metre x 1metre at flowering. Too big to take into a meeting!"
Mark Supple ... "Mine did but it didn’t produce any before it flowered like most do, have a heap still in the same pot pictured below."
Dale Dixo ... "There’s hope for mine then. Maybe Ray can elaborate further as whether his clones produce pups after flowering."
Ray Clark ... "Dale: I had forgotten that I sold some pups. The attached photos are of a second generation pup so same vintage as yours, currently about 800mm across including burnt leaf tips.
|Mark Supple 11/20
||Ray Clark 11/20
The original came from Chris Larson in February 2013 and you can see from the second pic that pups are forming so you’ll have progeny me thinks."
Peter Tristram ... "A few years ago I posted pics of this species. Following on from Dale’s post, there seem to be two very different forms of T. australis in Australia, though not sure what the distribution is like in the wild. Most of us have the southern form that Chris Larson had collected and I obtained from Selby in the ‘80s and has been widely grown from seed. The northern form, from the Cochabamba area of Bolivia, where krukoffiana and samaipatensis also grow, is so different in foliage, more like a stacked, bluish Alcantarea and far less prone to burn. The inflorescence is stockier too but otherwise pretty similar. The Cochabamba form also gives adventitious pups more like krukoffiana. Unfortunately, most of the plants of australis (and various forms of krukoffiana) that I brought back from Europe were misnamed, mostly as samaipatensis, which is very different in foliage and the shape of the adventitious pups. They are all fantastic, structural Tillandsia for any collection, but need space!"
|Peter Tristram 11/20 (Northern form)
Tillandsia australis Mez, Repert. Spec. Nov. Regni Veg. 16: 75. 1919. (see Mabberley Taxon 33: 444. 1984)
Tillandsia maxima Lillo & Hauman, Annales Mus. Nac. Hist. Nat. Buenos Aires 29: 245,416. 1917, non Strangeways, 1882.
Tillandsia rubra sensu Grisebach, Symb. Argent., Gott. Abh. 24: 332. 1879; non Ruiz & Pavon, 1802. Based on Lorentz & Hieronymus 287 (B, CORD, US), San Andres, near Rio Seco, Oran, Salta, Argentina, Sep 1873.
Tillandsia maxima var. densior L. B. Smith, Lilloa 14: 97, figs. 13,14. 1948. Type. Rio Caine, Campero, Cochabamba, Bolivia, Cardenas 2113 (CH), Oct 1939.
Desc from S&D p719-721
Plant flowering 8-24 dm high with the inflorescence extended.
Leaves many in a spreading rosette, to 1m long;
Sheaths ample, to 3 dm long, covered on both sides with fine appressed brown scales;
Blades ligulate, subrounded and apiculate, 6-12 cm wide, thin-coriaceous, subglabrous.
Scape very stout, erect and then decurved;
Scape-bracts densely imbricate, foliaceous.
Inflorescence amply tripinnate, very variable, glabrous;
Primary bracts like the scape-bracts, large and conspicuous;
Branches suberect, to 40 cm long, the basal third sterile, then bearing 1-7 spikes;
Secondary bracts much reduced, ovate, acute;
Spikes lanceolate to linear, 11-30 cm long, sublaxly to subdensely 8-22-flowered, strongly complanate.
Floral bracts suberect but relatively narrow and more or less exposing the rhachis, broadly elliptic, subobtuse, 22-40 mm long, equaling or slightly exceeding the sepals, even (! Castellanos) and apparently fleshy, becoming coarsely rugose when dry, ecarinate, not incurved;
Sepals free, subob¬tuse, 22-40 mm long, submembranous, strongly nerved, the posterior carinate;
Type. Lorentz & Hieronymus 287 (holotype LIL, isotypes B, CORD, US), San Andres, near Rio Seco, Oran, Salta, Argentina, Sep 1873.
DISTRIBUTION. Saxicolous and epiphytic, 700-3900 m alt, southern Bolivia and adjacent Argentina.
BOLIVIA. LA PAZ, Larecaja: Sorata, Cerro de S. Iminapi, 1 Apr 1858, Mandon 1186 e p (P); Jan-Mar 1857, 1187 e p (BM). COCHABAMBA, Ayopaya: Samapata, Cardenas 3387 (GH); Mizque (?): Sevingania to Vilavila, 14 Nov !948, Foster 2554 (US); Totora (?): km 450, Cochabamba to Santa Cruz, Nov !954, Cardenas 5207 (US). TARIJA, Arce: La Merced, Bermejo, 20 Nov !903, Fiebrig 2161 (GH, US). ARGENTINA. JUJUY: San Lorenzo, Nov 1911, Jorgensen s n (BAB); Afatal, San Pedro, 13 Oct 1929, Venturi 9829 (GH, S, US); Ledesma, Serrania de Calilegua, 16 Oct !943, Fabris 4487 (LP). SALTA: Rio Seco, Oran, Sep !873, Lorentz & Hieronymus 538 (CORD, K). TUCUMAN: Quebrada La Hoyada, 22 Dec !900, Lillo 2663 (GH, NY); Quebrada de Lules, Oct 1918, Schreiter s n (GH); 8 Dec !918, 801 (GH); 10 Feb 1920, Venturi 784 (GH, US); Las Juntas, 4 Oct !928, Venturi 7679 (GH, US); 6 Jan !953, Petersen & Hjerting 925 (C).
LOCAL NAME. Horka (FOSTER 2554).