Tillandsia brachycaulos
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Tillandsia brachycaulos
Red when flowering and in extra light.
Ian Hook, Sydney 01/04, BSA sales 01/04.
Ian Hook, Sydney 01/04.
Ken Woods.
Ian Hook, Sydney 12/05.
Ian Hook, Sydney 12/05.
Howard & Debbie Martin, Reserve Champ. & 1st Class 10 BSA Show 06/12. Photo Terry Davis.
Ray Clark 03/17 (Adelaide, 8 years)

Tillandsia brachycaulos Rubra
Dawn Williams BSA comp. 12/09. Photo Ian Hook. (Chris Larson thinks possibly T. velutina)

Tillandsia brachycaulos var multiflora
See discussion under T. brachycaulos x caput-medusae in Tillandsia cultivars on this website.

Enquiry from Diane Colnale about a plant labelled abdita ‘Mex’.
Diane Cornale 08/19 as "abdita Mex"
Bob Hudson 08/19
Diane Cornale ... "This plant was bought at the 2012 TPE Auction. Label reads abdita ‘Mex’. So we suspect Mex is Mexico, but the abdita is not listed on FCBS or BinA site, but we have found it listed as a species in Google search. Any ideas please?"
Geoff Lawn ... "According to the authoritative New Bromeliad Taxon List (Gouda / Butcher) , T. abdita is an old synonym of the currently-recognised T. brachycaulos."
Peter Tristram ... "It’s a shame the taxonomists lumped the old abdita group, though...
I saw the old species at its type location in Costa Rica in 1990. The habitat was well over 1000 m higher than where common old brachycaulos grows in the lowlands, cooler and wetter in remnant trees in coffee plantations. The old abdita is harder to grow too and blooms and pups infrequently. As for the Mexican abdita, I was told that it also is a highland plant. It comes in a few forms too! It’s like the capitata dilemma, I suppose - not enough differences to separate them all."
Derek Butcher ... "This is linked to T. bradeana and is reported from CostaRica where it grows on the same mountain as T. brachycaulos. If you are really keen and are prepared to take your plants to bits you could check against the documents below.
It would seem that this clone is widespread in Australia but no one seems to know who gave it this name or history. Perhaps a registered cultivar name is a way to formally record its history."
Peter Tristram ... "Interesting Derek. I don’t remember this info in our many previous discussions. If brachycaulos grows anywhere near ex-bradeana/abdita, I sure didn’t notice, though there’s plenty along the coast, at the foot of the hill so to speak, in a very different life zone."
Chris Larson ... "A few of us call it in common terms “the old Mexican Abdita” or something similar. My tags say T. brachycaulos “Abdita Mex” & I have been guilty of passing it on like that."
Peter Tristram ... "Chris: This goes round in circles! I guess Derek is right! Not entirely about bradeana in Costa Rica, but about naming the other brachies. How about the dark red one with shiny leaves too, ex Mexico as far as I can gather? Bright green until it blooms, then, wow! I got a nice looker from Alan P at the pop up sale too. I wonder if Alan knows its provenance. It’s labelled T. abdita ex someone but I’m not going out searching labels now! Was it a certain Bob? It looks a big grower too. I also got a nice one from another Butcher but it was ex Paradisia I think. Most are variations on a theme but some forms are very distinctive . It might be a good idea to track provenance of the differing forms if we’re to justify cultivar names? Maybe other collectors can post their brachycaulos pics with any info they have."
Chris Larson ... "I’m happy with the descriptors. I’ll leave the "Mex Abdita" on my purple form. I just can’t work out when descriptors are considered fine and when things are supposed to be registered."
Chris Larson ... "I’ve also seen this as the T. brachycaulos ‘Mexican Bradeana’ come to think of it. It is basically a form of T. brachycaulos (though, as Peter says, it has some variation) from Mexico that some collectors need a name on to keep it different from all of the rest. T. brachycaulos Abdita Mexico or something like that works."
John Olsen ... "It does help to have some means of differentiating plants. I’m not a fan of taking a form of ionantha for example and calling it Smith for example. Then the link back to ionantha is hidden.
Now to abdita which became bradeana. I have a tall form from Tropiflora out of CostaRica. If anything it may have more similarity of form with some capitata but softer leaves. I have a compact form ie low inflorescence in the leaves which colours very dark red which traces back to Hobbs 2004. For all appearances they differ from the various plants I’ve bought as brachycaulos.
I’m sticking with bradeana with a bracketed brachycaulos reference. Likely we’ll have new species split out if we wait a while."
Bob Hudson ... "Here are some of my T. abdita/bradeana/ brachycaulos/capitata (see above). The first Photo(left) is the small forms and the second(right) is the larger forms. Some more colored than others. I have imported some others acquired from growers in OZZ."
Chris Larson ... "I think it has been solved. It should be T. brachycaulos "Abdita Mex". No probs. A range of plants emanating from the same region. As Peter says there is no hope of getting exact provenance. So long as we dont drop the T. brachycaulos it's all hunky-dory."
John Olsen 08/19 #1164 as bradeana 'Costa Rica'"
Andrew Flower 08/19 as abdita 'Costa Rica'"
John Olsen 08/19 #1164 as brachycaulos 'Mex' ex.Bob Hudson"
Chris Larson 08/19 #1164 as abdita 'Mex 1' ex.Cathcart"
Andrew Flower ... "I got a "Tillandsia abdita Costa Rica" from Tropiflora in 1994, attached pic of it flowering in 2007. Also got a "Tillandsia abdita Mexico" in the same shipment."
Derek Butcher ... "Andrew: Yes there is confusion in the ranks of taxonomists as to what is a T. brachycaulos. At the moment it includes abdita and bradeana as synonyms. From what I can gather, taxonomists have always agreed that these 2 species are linked to Costa Rica. There are plants circulating in Qld called abdita 'Mex' which suggests it was found in Mexico which is somewhere the taxonomists have not mentioned. It could only have been coined by the nursery trade and better covered by a cultivar name. If I had ever grown such a plant I would have tried to find its history and written about it but alas I have never grown this plant and can only suggest to others that it is an exception and should be written about as a cultivar.
You are growing this abdita Mex which must be different to abdita Costa Rica and I suggest that you may like to write a short article explaining the difference."
Derek Butcher ... "I got a "Tillandsia abdita Costa Rica" from Tropiflora in 1994, attached pic of it flowering in 2007. Also got a "Tillandsia abdita Mexico" in the same shipment."
Andrew Flower ... "John Olsen: Yes, many are satisfied with the name on the label but some like Diane and myself like to ask why. We try to mainly follow the taxonomist and wild collected plants and what they write about them to the minutest detail. In this case it seems to have been given this name by some unknown nurseryman and both Diane and myself are curious."
Chris Larson ... "As Peter says, this particular form ex-Mexico is known to some collectors. It is a T. brachycaulos – but someone need to differentiate it for us. Hence the name which denotes what we know of the history. As Peter says – the exact provenance of each form may not ever be known. You could write it up, but there are so many plants like this."
Derek Butcher ... "What happens to these variants when a taxonomist is not involved? To me just writing details on a plant label is insufficient and if there are several of such plants being grown a registered cultivar name is in order. I do this if I have been growing such plants but try to encourage others to do so if they have an inquisitive mind. Hence my encouragement to Diane."
Chris Larson ... "Yep. There is no science to apply. Peter & my point. Someone may do research in the wild & publish in the future and my tag will point in the direction if they do. But I think it is satisfactory to give it a cv name as per your suggestion.
The history for someone that wants to name it:
1. Been around for yonks. Collectors Corners import came in pre 1992
2. Was traded under the name T. abdita. Then changed to T. bradeana with the demise of T. abdita. I don’t know the year the taxonomists wiped it out. I have always had doubts about the name T. abdita as Renate told me not at the 1995(?) Conference in Adelaide when I tried to get her to explain the capitata / brachycaulos complex.
3. Before 2000 we already knew that this was a Mexican form of T. brachycaulos and therefore not T. bradeana. Peter had taken it apart and we knew it was T. brachycaulos. But I was of the opinion that this was still traded in the USA under the name T. abdita.
(Confusion abounds – before and after T. velutina was described in 1994, T. velutina was traded all over the world by the majority of the exporters – via the Guatemalans – as T. brachycaulos var abdida or T. brachycaulos ‘Abdida’. Those importing into the USA, largely, followed suit – except BRT.)
I think that Derek does many of the US importer/exporters a disservice. They largely used Selby Gardens as a source for names. I believe some of the names came from Harry Luther, but were taken out of context, where Harry probably said “looks like” & that went on the label without checks. Similar to what many do in Australia currently. “The expert says …” rather than “the expert guessed at the time …” when he was put on the spot to judge a photo between drinks at a conference.
Peter has a big talk/show weekend in Sydney, and so hasn’t weighed back in – I was interested in his comment about the Costa Rican populations of a typical T. brachycaulos plants coming from a different altitude to the ones that were called T. bradeana – with a distinct gap in between ranges. If I’ve got things right. Much of taxonomy did not (in the past) take into account geomorphology as a serious arbiter when T. bradeana was synonymised with T. brachycaulos. So, as a result, the synonomy may later be called into question. (Those thinking the changes to taxonomy are solely based on DNA should be aware that traditional taxonomy still plays a very big part , but is informed by DNA and geomorphology – calling them “the DNA changes” is inaccurate.)
Peter also mentioned, I think implied, that these so called T. abdita from Mexico may come from a distinct location and possibly at a greater altitude. The photo (attached) from the disc is the one I think of when I think of T. brachycaulos “Mexican Abdita’. Interesting that at one stage it appears that Renate was calling the Mexican plant bradeana – and it is still on the disc as this????
Any article & registration would have to have some detail in it with regards to the habitat. Does Peter, Pam Koides or Derek know?"

Tillandsia bradeana Mez and Tonduz Fedde, Repert. XIV. (1916) 252. – Treated as a synonym of T. brachycaulos in S&D but considered by Luther in Binomials 8, 2002 to include T. abdita even though there are several discrepancies in the descriptions – see below.
60. T. Bradeana Mez et Tonduz in Fedde, Repert. XIV. (1916) 252. – from Mez Bromeliaceae (1934)
Florifera ad 0,2 m alta, praecedentibus satis validior. Folia utriculatim rosulata, per anthesin extimis paucis exceptis fulgide rubra, decurvata, ad 0,2 m longa et super vaginam 20 mm lata, inde in apicem sensim angustata, minutissime lepidota specie glabra. Scapus brevissimus quidem sed tamen flores ultra foliorum rosulam efferens, densissime foliis omnino iis rosulae aequalibus indutus celatusque. Inflorescentia submultiflora, cyathidiiformis, corymbosa, densissima; bracteis primariis omnino foliaceis flammide rubris, spicas omnino celantibus; spicis ad 25 mm longis, 1-3-floris, evidenter distichis subflabellatis, sessilibus; bracteis florigeris glabris laevibusque, submembranaceis vel subcoriaceis, ovato-ellipticis, vix carinatis, late acutis, quam sepala brevioribus. Flores stricte erecti, e bracteis primariis emergentes, ad 70 mm longi; sepalis posticis inter sese altius quam cum antico connatis, ellipticis, acutis, submembranaceis, glabris, minute venosis, ad 17 mm longis. Petala strictissime tubulose erecta, saturate violacea, quam stamina optime breviora.
Costarica : bei San Jose (Werckle n. 37 in Herb. inst. phys.-geogr. Costaric. n. 16414). - Durch Tonduz eingefuhrt; bluht bei mir jedes Jahr. - Fig. 96.
0bs. Species n. 58-60 arctissime inter sese conjunctas pro speciei ejusdem formis minore, media et majors sumeres.

Plant flowering to 20 cm. high, strong growing.
Leaves forming an inflated rosette, a few outside leaves turn a shiny red at anthesis, decurved, to 20 cm. long, 20 mm. wide above the sheath, then narrowing to a tip, glabrous to the very small lepidote.
Scape very short, however producing flowers above the leaf rosette, hidden by the very dense leaf rosette.
Inflorescence almost many flowered, cup shaped like a corymb. very dense.
Primary bracts all leaf like, flaming red, concealing all the spikes.
Spikes to 25mm. long, 1 – 3 flowered, clearly distichous, fan shaped, sessile.
Flower bracts smooth, glabrous, almost membraneous or almost leathery, ovate elliptic, barely keeled, broad acute, shorter than the sepals.
Flower strictly erect, emerging from the primary bracts, to 70mm. long.
Sepals posterior pair joined higher than the front one, elliptic, acute, sub- membraneous, glabrous, minutely veined, to 17mm. long.
Petals strict, erect tube, deep violet, much longer than the stamens.
Habitat Costa Rica near San Jose

Tillandsia abdita L. B. Smith, Phytologia 8: 10 ,Pl. l , fig. 15-17. 1961.
Desc from S&D p1001 for protologue see jpg
Plant stemless.
Leaves numerous, suberect, 16 cm long, covered with appressed cinereous scales, reddish;
Sheaths merging with the blades;
Blades narrowly triangular , attenuate, ca 2 cm wide, slightly recurving.
Scape very short, wholly concealed by the leaves.
Inflorescence depauperate-compound, few-flowered, capitate, much exceeded by the leaves;
Primary bracts foliaceous but reduced, much exceeding the spikes;
Spikes densely 2-flowered, complanate.
Floral bracts oblong, acute, 17 mm long, exceeding the sepals, carinate, membranaceous, subdensely lepidote with pale brown appressed scales;
Flowers subsessile.
Sepals free, exactly like the floral bracts;
Petals and stamens unknown.
Type. Solis 314 (holotype F), Cerro de Escasu, San Jose, Costa Rica, Aug 1935.
DISTRIBUTION. Known from the type collection only.

Description by J Francisco Morales in INBio Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad 24 Sept 1999
Plant epiphytic
Leaves 9.5 – 19.5 (27.5) cm long, chartaceous to sub-coriaceous.
Sheath 2.3 – 3.3cm wide, cinnamon, adpressed lepidote, passing gradually to the blade.
Blade 1.4 – 2.2cm wide, triangular, densely lepidote, usually mulberry to reddish-mulberry.
Scape 5.5 – 10cm long, erect, hidden by the leaves.
Scape bracts leaflike, much longer than the inflorescence.
Inflorescence erect, 4 – 5cm long, capitate to sub-capitate, terminal, bracts much larger than the side branches which are less than 2cm, with 1 – 2 flowers.
Floral bracts 1.7 – 2.2cm, much longer than or equal to the sepals, ecarinate, nerved, glabrous, membranaceous to sub-chartaceous.
Sepals 1.7 – 2cm long, lepidote, membranaceous.
Petals lilac.
Capsules 2.9 – 3.6cm
Distribution Endemic. Cerros de Escazu, Cordillera de Talamanca (El Rosario, Llano Los Angeles), Cerros de Caraigres, Elevation between 1600 – 2000m

NOTES: From Derek Butcher.
Francisco Morales of Costa Rica has been doing some research (Sept 1999) into this species - Refer INBio Web site. He refers to Smith’s original description but does not point out the differences that he must have found and should have commented on. He has not responded to my queries! These are:-
Very short
5.5 to 10cm long
Floral bracts
exceed sepals
shorter or equalling
not carinate
not noted
If we follow this new information the matter becomes even more complex when we only rely on whether the bracts or sepals have trichomes. To my mind T. abdita differs from T. brachycaulos by having a pronounced scape and T. abdita differs from T. capitata by the purplish leaves (but then T. capitata can have these too!) In all it is very puzzling that a very variable T. capitata is accepted as, too, is a narrowly defined T. abdita (but proved variable - see above) both in description and geographical distribution.

Tillandsia brachycaulos Schlechtendal, Linnaea 18: 422. 1844.
Tillandsia cryptantha Baker, Jour. Bot. London 26: 142. 1888. Type. Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, Bourgeau 1423 (K, GH photo), 15 Nov 1865.TREATED BY GARDNER AS A SEPARATE SPECIES
Tillandsia bradeana Mez & Tonduz ex Mez, Repert. Sp. Nov. 14: 252. 1916. Type. San Jose, Costa Rica, Werckle 37 (costar 16412) (B, B photo 1191/23).TREATED IN BINOMIALS 8, 2002 AS THE CORRECT NAME FOR T. ABDITA
?Tillandsia flammea Mez in Pflanzenreich IV. Fam. 32: 478. 1935. Type. Costa Rica, Tonduz s n (B?, n v). Described from living material.

Desc from S&D p1000-1 INCLUDES THE TWO SYNONYMS SO IT IS BETTER TO USE THE DESCRIPTION IN MEZ 1935 – See below- Note differences in floral bracts and sepals
Plant stemless;
Leaves subrosulate, numerous, spreading to arching-decurved, often secund, 12-26 cm long, much exceeding the inflorescence, densely and finely appressed-lepidote;
Sheaths distinct, ovate, 3-5 cm long, brown-lepidote;
Blades linear, filiform attenuate, 8-20 mm wide, flat or involute.
Scape short to none, erect, slender, glabrous;
Scape-bracts foliaceous, very densely imbricate, equaling or exceeding the inflorescence.
Inflorescence compound at base or appearing simple and polystichous-flowered by the reduction of the spikes to a single flower each, densely capitate or subcorymbose, few-flowered;
Primary bracts like the scape-bracts with long foliaceous blades many times exceeding the axillary spikes;
Spikes with a few sterile bracts at base.
Floral bracts lanceolate or oblong, obtuse, about equaling the sepals, membranaceous, prominently nerved, glabrous;
Flowers erect, sessile.
Sepals narrowly elliptic, obtuse, 12-17 mm long, membranaceous, free or the posterior ones much connate even in the same spike;
Petals linear, 5-7 cm long, tubular-erect, violet;
Stamens and pistil exserted.
Capsule cylindric, acute, 4 cm long.
Type. Schiede s n (holotype B?, n v), Hacienda de La Laguna, Vera Cruz, Mexico.
DISTRIBUTION. Epiphytic in dry woods, 600-1200 m alt, Mexico, Central Ameri¬ca. MEXICO. SAN LUIS POTOSI: Tamazunchale, Ju11938, Foster 1172 (GH); 24 Jul 1940, Hitchcock & Stanford 7323 (US). VERA CRUZ: Tantoyuca, 1858, Ervendberg 276 (GH); Zacuapan, Aug 1906, Purpus 2105 (GH, NY, UC, US); Apr 1919, 8217 (MO, NY, UC, US); Xalapa, 3 Aug 1947, Barkley, Howell & Webster 2622 (TEX); Barkley, Paxson & Webster 2629 (F, TEX). MORELOS: San Antonio, Cuernavaca, 1 Dec 1932, Froderstrom & Hulten 1332 (S). OAXACA: Ixtlan de Juarez, 21 Jun 1939, Schultes 662-A (GH). TABASCO: Tierra Colorada, 17 jun 1888, Rovirosa 193 (US); Tenosique, Jun 1892, Beristain 7825 (F, GH). CHIAPAS: Rio Jatate, Ocosingo, 8 Apr 1967, Breedlove 15633 (DS). CAMPECHE: Vapor, Palizada, JuI 1939, Matuda 3882 (GH, MEXU). YUCATAN: Merida,Jul 1865, Schott 557 (F); lzamal, Gaumer 742 (F, US); 21 Feb 1906, Greenman 404 (CH); Chichen Itza, 29.Jun 1932, Steere 1622 (MICH); 1938, Lundell 7578 (GH, MICH, US); Muna, Jul 1932, Steere 2166 (MICH). GUATEMALA. PETEN: Uaxactun, 7 Apr 1931, BartIett 12514 (GH); La Libertad, 20 Apr 1933, Lundell 2908 (MICH); 12 Jun 1933, 3753 (MICH); Tikal, 1959, Lundell 15307 (LL, US); 15596 (LL); 16067 (LL, US); Feb 1960, Contreras 568 (LL); 570 (LL); 646 (LL, US); 648 (LL); May 1960, 987 (LL, US); Jun 1960, 1040 (LL); 1071 (LL); Ju11960, 1353 (LL). IZABAL: Izabal to Mariscos, 30 May 1966, Jones & Facey 3523 (NY, US). SAN MARCOS: Rio Cabus, Volcan Tajumulco, 12 Mar 1940, Steyermark 37638 (F). ZACAPA: Gualin, 15 Jun 1909, Deam 6298 (US). SANTA ROSA: Santa Rosa, Ju11892, Heyde & Lux 3539 (GH, US); Cuilapa, 24 Nov 1940, StandIey 78181 (F). HONDURAS. CORTES: San Pedro Sula, 15 Ju1 1887, Thieme 190 (US). COMAYAGUA: Siguatepeque, 22 Jul 1964, GiImartin 1007 (US). YORO: Coyoles, 1938, Yuncker, Koepper & Wagner 8190 (GH, US). PARAISO: Rio California, Sierra de la Villa Santa, 31 Dec 1950, Williams 17335 (EAP, US); Escuela, 8 Ju1 1964, GiImartin 942 (US). SALVADOR. SANTA ANA: Desagiie, 6 Feb 1951, Rohweder 103 (HBG); 105 (HBG); Agua Caliente, 12 Jul 1951,Rohweder 121 (HBG). SONSONATE: Los Cobanos, 10 May 1951, Rohweder 112 (HBG). LIBERTAD: Santa Tecla, 28 Mar 1951, Rohweder 106 (HBG); Laguna de Zapotitin, 9 Apr 1951, Rohweder 108 (HBG); 1 Jun 1951, 113-116 (HBG). CHALATENANGO: Rio Sumpul, 21 Nov 1950, Rohweder 122-123 (HBG). NICARAGUA. CHINANDEGA: Chinandega, 27 Jan 1903, Baker 2158 (POM). CARAZO: Santa Teresa, 27 Dec 1968, Atwood 1275 (US); 1276 (US). RIVAS: Belen 7 Jan 1969, Atwood 1923 (US). WITHOUT EXACT LOCALITY: Levy 91 (B); Wright s n (US). COSTA RICA. GUANACASTE: Tilaran, Jan 1926, StandIey & VaIerio 44170 (US); 45729 (US); 30 May 1932, Kupper s n (M). SAN JOSE: El Brazil, Santa Ana, 9 May 1930, Dodge 7891 (GH). PANAMA: CHIRIQUI: Remedios, 30 May 1946, Allen 3478 (MO, US). WITHOUT EXACT LOCALITY: Wagner s n (M). LOCAL NAMES. Yucatan. Spanish: gallitos. Mayan: chu, mexnuxib, miz.

Tillandsia brachycaulos Schltdl., Linnaea 18: 422. 1844. in Selbyana 15(2). 1994
SPECIMENS EXAMINED. Aragua: Maracay, Jardines de la Facultad de Agronomia de la UCV, 450 m, 15 Agosto 1988, Carnevali & I. Ramirez 2739, (VEN); Ocumare de la Costa, bosque seco tropical atmosfericamente seco, 0-50 m, 26 Enero 1986, Carnevali. I. Ramirez & Fleming 1989 (VEN); 4-5 km NE de Tejerias. Autopista Caracas-Valencia, bosque seco premontano, 400-500 m, 7 Marzo 1986, Carnevali & I. Ramirez 2003 (VEN). Bolivar: Distrito Paez, La Grulla, 6 km al SE de Upata, bosque semideciduo, 340 m, Julio 1978, Delascio & Liesner 6830 (VEN).
This species was previously known only from Central America, from Mexico to Panama. It is to be expected in Colombia. Tillandsia brachycaulos is another instance of a basically Caribbean or Central American member of the genus that reaches its southernmost limit in Venezuela. Other examples are Tillandsia fasciculata Swartz. T. balbisiana Schultes f., T. flexuosa Swartz, and T. juncea (Ruiz & Pavon) Poiret.
Tillandsia brachycaulos is widespread and locally common in Venezuela, but has been overlooked by previous plant collectors since it looks like a sterile plant of something like T. variabilis Schltdl., especially since the bracts of the Venezuelan populations are not as brightly colored as the Central American populations.

Tillandsia brachycaulos var. multiflora L B Smith, Cont. Gray Herb. 154:35, Pl 4, fig.3. 1945
SAID BY UTLEY (DEREBUS I 1994)TO BE caput-medusae x brachycaulos a natural hybrid – as yet to be proven. No plants following this description have been found in the vicinity since the original collection.
Plant stout; spikes to 4-flowered
(Originally ‘robustior; spicis elongatis, sublaxis, ad 4-floris.’)
Type Steyermark 29465 (Holotype F), Rio Hondo, Zacapa, Guatemala, 10 Oct. 1939.
Distribution. Known from the type collection only.

From Mez 1935
59. T. brachycaulos Schlechtend.Linnaea XVIII. (1844) 422;
Morr. in Belg. Hortic. XXVIII. (l878) 185, t. 11. –Vix ultra 0,15 m alta. Folia utriculatim rosulata, omnia ut in specie praecedente et sequente arcuatim decurvata, usque ad 0,25 m longa, super vaginam ad 18 mm lata, inde in apicem sensim angustata, per anthesin omnia flammide rubentia, vel extrema tantum virentia, minutissime lepidota glabrorum speciem praebentia. Scapus quamvis brevis tamen manifestus, flores ultra rosulae centrum efferens, densissime foliis omnino iis rosulae aequalibus indutus et celatus. Inflorescentia subpauciflora, cyathidiiformis, valde abbreviata subcorymbosa; bracteis primariis quam vaginae scapales mediae interioresque saltem bene brevioribus cet. illis isomorphis, spicas omnino celantibus; spicis quam maxime reductis 1-floris, flore altero reducto nonnunquam accedente, brevissimis; bracteis florigeris membranaceis, ovato-ellipticis, haud carinatis, sepala superantibus. Flores stricte erecti, ad 50 mm longi; sepalis posticis inter sese altius quam cum antico connatis, ellipticis, rotundatis, glabris. Petala pallide vel saturate violacea, tubulose erecta, quam stamina breviora.
Mexico: Hacienda de la Laguna (Sc h i e d e), Tabasco (Rovirosa n. 193), bei Tihuatlan (Karwinsky). Yucatan (Gaumer n. 742. Schott). Guatemala: bei Sta. Rosa (Heyde und Lux, ed. Donnell-Smith n. 3539). Honduras (Thieme n. 190). Nicaragua (Levy n. 91). Costarica (Herb. inst. phys.-geogr. Costaric. n. 2927, leg. Pittier). Panama (Wagner). - Von Tondus lebend eingefuhrt.

Translated by Butcher:
Plant barely up to 15cm high
Leaves forming a rosulate utriculum, all as in the preceding and following species decurved, up to 25cm long, to 18mm wide above the sheath, then gradually narrowing to the tip, near anthesis all a flaming red or merely green at the ends, the minutest lepidote showing the species as glabrous.
Scape very short but visible, flowers being produced above the centre rosette, clothed very densely by all the leaves equalling the rosette and hidden.
Inflorescence few flowered, cyathiform, very short corymbose.
Primary bracts at least on the inside much shorter than the middle of the sheath of the scape bracts, otherwise the same shape, totally hiding the spikes, larger than the spikes that are reduced to 1 flower, sometimes other flowers are reduced to near this, very short.
Floral bracts membranaceous, ovate elliptic, not at all carinate, exceeding the sepals
Flowers strictly erect, to 50mm long.
Sepals posterior ones higher connate than with the anterior sepal, elliptic, rounded, glabrous.
Petals pale or deep violet, tubular erect, shorter than the stamens.

Detail from Mez 1935
58. T. flammea Mez nov. spec. –
Infra 0,1 m alta. Folia explanato-rosulata, ad 0,12 m longs, super vaginam ad 8 mm lata, inde in apicem acutissimum sensim angustata, per anthesin rosulae omnia fulgide flammea, quam maxime appresse lepidota glabrorum speciem praebentia. Scapus plane nullus, unde flores inter folia rosulae intima emergentes. Inflorescentia pauciflora, e bracteis primariis omnino foliis rosulae aequalibus nec multo diminutis, spicas quam maxime reductas, 1-floras in axillis gerentibus et omnino celantibus formata; bracteis florigeris membranaceis, subovatis, acutiusculis, glabris, haud carinatis, sepala paullo superantibus. Flores stricte erecti, genitalibus computatis ad 65 mm longi; sepalis posticis binis manifeste altius inter sese quam cum antico connatis, ellipticis, rotun-datis, membranaceis, glabris, ad 20 mm longis. Petala strictissime tubulose erecta, saturate violacea, quam stamina optime breviora.
Costarica: von Tonduz lebend ubersandt.

Translated by Butcher:
Under 10 cm high.
Leaves a flattened rosette, to 12 cm long, above the sheath to 8 mm wide, then gradually narrowing to a very acute tip, throughout anthesis the whole rosette a bright scarlet, making a much more strongly appressed lepidote than glabrous species.
Scape clearly absent, from whence the flowers emerge internally between the leaf rosette.
Inflorescence few flowered, primary bracts equaling the rosette leaves not much smaller, spikes greatly reduced, having 1 flower in the axil and all hidden;
floral bracts membranaceous, subovate, becoming acute, glabrous, not at all carinate, exceeding a little the sepals.
Flowers strictly erect, genitalia together to 65 mm long;
sepals posterior pair clearly higher connate than the anterior one, elliptic, rounded, membranaceous, glabrous, to 20 mm long.
Petals very strictly tubulose erect, deeply violet, much shorter than the stamens.
Costa Rica: living plant sent over by Tonduz.

Key in Mez shows T. flammea has no scape and T. brachycaulos has short scape.
Key from Mez 1935
:: Inflorescentia sessilis vel subsessilis.
- / Sepala libera ==> 57 . T. cryptantha.
- - // Sepala postica altiuscule connata.
- - - ' Plane acaulis, floribus in rosulae centro nidulantibus ==> 58. T. flammea.
- - - - " Inflorescentia scapo brevi, undique foliato super rosulam elata.
- - - - - ! Flores ad 50 mm longi ==> 59. T. brachycaulos.
- - - - - !! Flores ad 70 mm longi ==> 60. T. Bradeana.

Tillandsia cryptantha Baker in Journ. of Bot XXVI 142 (1888)
Treated by Gardner (1982) as a species in its own right with the comment, “It may be distinct from T. brachycaulos based on photo of the type”. This was accepted by Luther and is in the Binomials listing.
No further information is available but we do know that on 1/3/1983 Walter Till made a comment on the Holotype folio that in his opinion this was a synonym of T. brachycaulos. Therefore, from April 2015 Butcher will be following this judgement.

Tillandsia cryptantha Baker in Journ. of Bot XXVI 142 (1888)
Treated by Smith & Downs as a synonym of T. brachycaulos.
57. T. cryptantha Bak. in Journ. of Bot. XXVI. (1888) 142. – From Mez 1935
Parvula, vix ultra 0,2 m alta. Folia manifeste utriculatim rosulata, usque ad 0,25 m longa, super vaginam usque ad 20 mm lata, inde in apicem subfiliformem sensim angustata, utrinque lepidibus appressis in vivo quoque canescentia. Scapus brevissimus nunc brevis, densissime foliis iis rosulae aequalibus obtectus et celatus. Inflorescentia pauciflora, in scapi apice ultra rosulam paullo elata cyathidiiformis, flores inter bracteas primarias maximas emergentes ostendens; bracteis primariis omnino foliaceis, ex, ovato-elliptico perlonge laminigeris, sicut folia lepidotis, in axillis spicas quam maxime abbreviatas quasi rudimentarias 1- vel rarissime 2-floras gerentibus; bracteis florigeris submembranaceis, ex ovato acutis, apicem versus medio prominulo-lineatis nec revera carinatis, in parte superiore lepidotis, usque ad 20 mm longis, sepala superantibus. Flores stricte erecti, ad 45 mm longi; sepalis fere aequaliter liberis, submembranaceis, late ellipticis, rotundatis, haud carinatis, laevibus vel minute venoso-lineatis, ad 14 mm longis. Petala pallide violacea, sepalis 2,5-plo longiora, tubulose erecta, quam stamina optime breviora.
Mexico: bei Cuernavaca (Bourgeau n. 1423), bei Tehuacan (Purpus). Nicaragua : bei Chinandega (C. F. Baker n. 2158). – Von Purpus lebend eingefuhrt.
Translated by Butcher:
Plant small, barely more than 20cm high.
Leaves many forming an inflated rosette, up to 25cm long, 2cm wide above the sheath, then narrowing to an almost filiform tip, both sides with appressed scales, becoming grey.
Scape very short to short, hidden, covered by and equalling the very dense leaf rosette.
Inflorescence few flowered, in the top of the scape a little above the leaf cup, displaying its emerging flowers between the large primary bracts.
Primary bracts all leaf like, (10cm long- from Baker 1889), from ovate elliptic to long blades, as lepidote as the leaves,
Spikes in the axils, much abbreviated, almost rudimentary, producing 1 or rarely 2 flowers.
Floral bracts submembranaceous, from ovate to acute, top towards the middle with prominent lines, never actually keeled, the upper part lepidote, up to 20mm long. exceeding the sepals.
Flowers strictly erect, to 45mm long, (short stout pedicels- from Baker 1889)
Sepals equally free, sub membranous, broad elliptic, (oblong- from Baker 1889), rounded, not at all keeled, smooth or with small lined veins, to 14mm long.
Petal pale violet, 2.5 times as long as the sepals, (=35mm long) forming an erect tube, much shorter than the stamens.
Habitat Mexico, near Cuernavaca (Bourgeau n. 1423), near Tehuacan (Purpus), Nicaragua, near Chinandega (CF Baker n. 2158)

311. T. CRYPTANTHA Baker in Journ. Bot. 1898, 142.
Leaves few in a rosette, lanceolate-acuminate from an ovate base an inch broad, 8-9 in. long, 1/2 in. broad at the middle, coriaceous, finely lepidote. Peduncle much sliorter than the leaves; bract-leaves crowded, with long lanceolate free points. Inflorescence a dense globose multifarious capitulum; flower-bracts ovate -acuminate, 4 – 5 in. long, like the leaves in texture. Calyx above 1/2in. long; sepals oblong, acute. Petals not seen. Capsule twice as long as the calyx.
Habitat: Mexico; Cuernavaca, Bourgeau 1423!

Updated 12/01/20