Tillandsia brachyphylla
Click thumbnails for full size, scaled to a new window.

Tillandsia brachyphylla
Peter Tristram 06/11
Peter Tristram 05/12
Chris Larson 04/22
Peter Tristram 06/11..."After 30 years I think I finally have found one of my assortment of little red Brazilians is almost certainly T. brachyphylla. It is really quite a different plant to all of the others with a very branched spike and very different leaves. In the hope of finding another (???) Iíll freeze some pollen as it wonít self for sure.

Peter Tristram 07/14
Peter Tristram 09/17
Peter Tristram 07/14 ... "The plants pictured will need to be seed grown before they can become more available. Unfortunately the brachyphylla is flowering alone so will have to be hybridised I guess.
I used to wonder why extremely rare species like brachyphylla, which only grows on a couple of inselbergs in Rio (like sucrei I gather), was not on CITES.
Mind you, you need to be Spiderman to collect it, up Pedra da Gavea."
Peter Tristram 09/17 ... "In 2011 and 2012, I was privileged to get a few clones of T. brachyphylla before the restrictions were enforced. Thankfully these two have coincided with blooming and hopefully some seed will be set. Seed is the only way many of these Brazilian rarities will ever become available. Itís a very attractive but ever so slow growing species, related to easily propagated species such as T. gardneri, geminiflora, kautskyi and sprengeliana. The last attempt resulted in no seed unfortunately. I will, however, use lots of pollen with other lovely Tills."
Druce Dunstan 04/22
Peter Tristram 2007 Gravea Rock & Chasm
Peter Tristram 2007 Mark & Peter
Peter Tristram 2007 Lotte's brachyphylla
Peter Tristram 2007 Vr. brasicoides
Peter Tristram ... "Good work, Bruce! Is this one ex Lotte? I took some pics of it in a crack at the top of Gavea "rock". Not an easy climb. There's another rarity that's endemic to that big "rock" too."

Key to Brazilian Tillandsias, with red or pink petals from Die Bromelie, Sonderheft 3 1996

1. Stamens - exceeding the flower tube => paraensis
- included in the flower tube => 2

2. Leaf blade - filiform and grasslike => globosa
- triangular => 3

3. Plant - 4 - 8 cm in diameter => 8
- 10 - 25 cm in diameter, forming a more or less spreading rosette, stemless => 4

4. Floral bracts - lepidote => 5
- glabrous or nearly so: Plant 6 - 15 cm diameter, inflorescence elliptic or globose, spikes elliptic, sublax with 1 - 3 (- 5) flowers, floral bracts carinate, glabrous or punctulate lepidote, sepals glabrous => roseiflora

5. Inflorescence - elliptic or subglobose => 6
- elongate => 7

6. Leaves - soft, green or reddish, appressed lepidote, spike lax, 2 - 4 flowered, floral bracts shorter than sepals, petals red - violet => geminiflora
- soft, grey, densely lepidote with spreading trichomes, spikes dense, 3 - 12 flowered, floral bracts densely lepidote, exceeding the lepidote sepals => gardneri

7. Leaves - subsucculent, stiff, inflorescence with 4 - 6 spikes => chapeuensis
- Plant only 11 - 13 cm in diameter, an open silvery star-shaped rosette, leaves appressed lepidote, inflorescence with 5 - 7 spikes => grazielae

8. Plant - short - caulescent => 9
- stemless, forming an erect, often subbulbose rosette, leaves often somewhat secund, inflorescence elliptic or subglobose, flowers red or violet, filament not plicate => 10

9. Plant - 3 to 5 cm in diameter, pine cone shaped, dorsiventral, pendant, leaves green, silvery appressed lepidote, inflorescence simple, distichous => reclinata
- 4 to 8 cm in diameter, an erect-secund rosette, the basal leaves recurved, leaves cinereous-lepidote, inflorescence compound, spikes lax, floral bracts carinate, shorter than the lepidote sepals, the posterior ones carinate and 4 mm connate => sucrei

10. Floral bracts - glabrous or nearly so => 14
- lepidote => 11

11. Inflorescence - simple => 12
- bipinnate: Leaves channelled, regularly lepidote with coarse cinereous scales, inflorescence with up to 8 spikes which are laxly 3 - 4 flowered, the posterior sepals carinate, 1/3 to 1/2 connate, lithophytic growing at sea level => brachyphylla

12. Inflorescence - with polystichous flowers => 13
- with distichous flowers: Plant ca. 4 cm in diameter, short caulescent, small pine cone shaped, pendant, leaves grey appressed lepidote => reclinata

13. Leaves - secund, thin and soft, grey with appressed trichomes, looking like grey velvet, scape densely lepidote, inflorescence simple, sometimes compound of up to 3-flowered spikes, floral bracts carmine-red, sepals slightly lepidote, free, posterior ones carinate, petals violet-rose => heubergeri
- Leaves not secund, subsucculent, green, covered with coarse grey scales, plant pendant, floral bracts rose, sepals more lepidote, petals pink => thiekenii

14. Posterior sepals - not carinate => 15
- carinate => 16

15. Leaves many, green-grey, densely lepidote with irregular cumulated coarse trichomes, appearing rough pruinose, epiphytic at sea level => sprengeliana
- Leaves many, narrow triangular, with appressed trichomes, appearing metallic, epiphytic 700 - 1000 m => kautskyi

16. Plant - 2.5 to 5 cm in diameter, rosette of broadly triangular leaves with shorter blade, very densely and regularly silvery subpruinose lepidote, appearing like silvery velvet, sepals carinate and short connate, lithophytic 1800 - 2200 m => organensis
- Plant bigger, up to 15 cm in diameter, rosette often bulbose, leaves grey - green appressed grey lepidote, appearing like grey velvet, bipinnate with 1 - 3 (-5 ) flowered spikes, floral bracts conspicuously carinate, posterior sepals carinate, epiphytic => roseiflora

Tillandsia brachyphylla Baker, Jour. Bot. London 26: 16. 1888.
Anoplophytum binoti E. Morren ex Baker, Handb. Bromel. 200. 1889; nomen. Based on Morren Icon (K) from Binot s n (LG? n v).
Desc from S&D p807 and Die Bromelie Sonderheft 3 1996 p32-3
Plant. growing on rocks, single or in small groups, stemless, flowering 10-15cm high, 3-5cm wide, forming an erect mostly secund sub-bulbose rosette.
Leaves: 20-30, up to 9cm long, almost erect and densely upright, grey-green, because of dense rough pruinose scales appearing whitish-grey, the margins with large rough winged trichomes.
Sheath 1.5-2cm long, 1-1.8cm wide, elliptic triangular, little distinct.
Blade 2-7cm long, narrow triangular attenuate, secund, canaliculate, with the edges bent into a groove, whitish grey pruinose lepidote, seems like felt.
Scape: 2.5-6cm long, slender, almost erect to bent over, almost glabrous, covered with 3-4 imbricate, elliptic, long acuminate scape bracts.
Inflorescence: up to 4cm in diameter, subglobose, 5cm long, bipinnate with 4Ė7 almost densely erect spikes.
Primary bracts: similar to scape bracts, exceeding the spike, red, densely lepidote.
Spike up to 3cm long, lmm wide, up to 5mm thin stipitate, lax with 2-4 sessile flowers (often with an additional terminal sterile bud);
Rhachis strongly geniculate, thin, glabrous, visible.
Floral bracts: 1.3-2cm long, as long as the sepal, 9-10mm wide, elliptic, acute, mucronate, membranaceous, nerved, indistinctly carinate, bright brick red, glabrous or punctulate lepidote.
Sepals: 1.3-2cm long, 3.5-4mm wide, lanceolate acuminate, light green, punctulate lepidote, the posterior pair carinate and joined for 1/3-1/2.
Petals: 1.8cm long, 2.5-3mm wide, ligulate, the rounded tip recurved, upper part intensively red, the bottom white.
Stamens: enclosed. Filament 1.3cm long, thin ribbon like, straight, white.
Anthers 2mm long, 0.3mm wide, linear, fixed at base, yellow.
Style 1cm long, white, upper third red.
Stigma small, red.
Type. Glaziou 8018 (holotype K, GH photo; isotype P), Pedra da Gavea, Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara, Brazil, 29 Jun 1885.
DISTRIBUTION. Saxicolous, 800-850 m a1t, Rio de Janeiro State and Guanabara, Brazil.
BRAZIL. RIO DE JANEIRO: Serra dos Orgaos, 1887, Moura s n (R). GUANABARA: Pedra da Gavea, s d, Frazao Armando s n (RB, US); May 1897, Ule 4174 (CORD); s d, J.G.. Kuhlmann 2098 (HB); Oct 1925, Luetzelburg 20022 (M); 10 May 1926, 20047 (M); 20 Jun 1926, 20060 (M); 8 Apr 1952, L. B. Smith & Mus. R 6431 (R, US).
Material studied: EB 8122 leg K. & R. Ehlers July 1981, Rio de Janeiro, Gavea.
EB 8644 leg K. & R. Ehlers July 1986, Rio de Janeiro, Dois Irmaos.

The plant is extremely rare and there are only few examples represented in collections. It is relatively common in its natural habitat, the rock walls however are often hundreds of meters almost vertical and so the plant is well protected from the collectors.

The plants with the name T. brachyphylla currently being grown are likely to be some other small wrong named tillandsias. Another name which has been confused with T. brachyphylla is the so-called T. regnellii which is going to be called now T. roseiflora. "T. brachyphylla" in the second edition of the book "Bromelien" by Werner Rauh and in the Journal of the Bromeliad Society, July /Aug. 1980, title page (photograph by Werner Rauh) and on page 13 of "The Colourful Bromeliads" by Victoria Padilla is in fact now T. roseiflora.

Updated 01/05/22