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

Tillandsia chusgonensis
* This plant is in circulation as T. balsasensis.

Ken Woods as balsasensis. 09/08
Helmut Hromadnik, from Lotte's book.
Tony Tucker, Perth 07/19

* This plant is currently (09/08) being discussed by the Tillandsia group.
It was referenced in the SA Bromeliad Society newsletter (see Club News, S.A., SA3205)-
Derek Butcher ... "There were several mounted Tillandia to look at and smell! One that caught Adam's and my eye was a plant that Len had brought in clearly with the wrong name. We knew that Len had brought in Lotte Hromadnik's book on the T. tectorum group so he could announce this fact to the world but we beat him to it. You see we have been growing T. balsasensis for many years in Adelaide having scrounged spare pieces from Maurice Kellett in Melbourne. I had flowered my plant years ago and in my butchering could not link it to the name. It went into the too hard basket. When Margaret & I were translating Lotte's work for her, we stumbled across this T. chusgonensis and although not an exact fit for OUR plant is was very close indeed. So if you have ever scrounged a T. balsasensis from Len or Maurice Kellett remember the new name!"
Chris Larson ... also reports that, "Some of you have this from Maurice, as did I and I also got a good clump from Clarrie Borsch, many years ago. Clarries and Maurices plants seem the same. Many of you will also have pieces from me. Those of you with the plant T.balsasensis should look at the SA Newsletter and at Lottes green T.tectorum book."
Tony Tucker ... "Nice illustration of the petals fading from blue and white (left) to a more purplish as it dries."
Peter Tristram ... "Iíve never bloomed any, not Chrisís, nor Lotteís, nor Franzís."
Chris Larson ... "Lotteís coming into flower here at present. Must be our wonderful climate. Franz's were badly burnt by MeBr in early 2014. They struggled for so long - & now are powering.
Very nice photo Tony, captures the plant well."
Nanette Collingwood 06/20
Chris Larson 01/21

Tillandsia chusgonensis L. Hrom., Die Brom. Sonderheft 5: 52-6. 2005.
A Tillandsia balsasensis Rauh habitu minori solum usque ad 15 cm alto, caulibus brevioribus densioriter foliatis, foliis brevioribus adpresse lepidotis, inflorescentiis semper simplicibus folia non superantibus, scapo brevi dense lepidoto, spicis 12-20 mm longis plerumque bifloris (rariter trifloris), bracteis floriferis 10-14 mm longis extus lepidotis, sepalis 11 mm longis et pistillo petalisque paulo longioribus differt. Typus: Peru, Depto. La Libertad, Prov. Sanchez Carrion, vertical rock-walls in the valley of Rio Chusgon, 2500 m, 08.03.1997, H. & L. Hromadnik HR 23112 (holo USM, iso WU).
Plant strongly offsetting, with a stem, forming hemispherical cushions on vertical rocks, flowering 10-14 cm high;
Leaves spreading to flattened, to ca. 5 (-7) cm long, densely felty with narrow, eccentric, rather appressed silvery-white scales;
Sheaths densely imbricate, enclosing the stem, broad triangular, at the base 12 mm wide, 8 mm high, membranous, nerved, inside glabrous for 5 mm high, outside densely scaled from the base;
Leaf blades 2 mm wide and thick above the sheath, furrowed, stiff, dense with brittle, rather appressed scales, tapering to a filiform tip;
Scape 1-3 (-5) cm long, 1.5 mm thick, dense protruding scaled, green;
Scape bracts densely imbricate, 12-15 mm long, 5 mm wide, long-oval, thin membranous, nerved, outside densely scaled, inside glabrous, with their sheaths entirely enclosing the scape, the lowermost foliate, the upper lanceolate;
Inflorescence simple, almost as long as the leaves or shorter, erect to sticking out at right angles and bent down;
Spike strongly complanate, lanceolate, 12-20 mm long, 5-7 mm wide, 2 (-3)-flowered; Rhachis lepidote, bent at an angle, 4-angular; the 2-3 lower bracts in the sterile portion similar to the uppermost scape bracts, internodes 2.5 mm covered densely by imbricate floral bracts, also postfloral;
Flowers sessile, 16 mm long;
Floral bracts densely imbricate, oval, tipped, 10-14 mm long, 6 mm wide, thin membraneous, outside large flaky scaled and densely lepidote at tip, somewhat nerved, the tip keeled and towards the spike axis bent, pink;
Sepals 11 mm long, 2 mm wide, narrow lanceolate, acuminate, the posterior pair sharply keeled, uniformly 2 mm connate, thin membraneous, glabrous, smooth, below greenish, upper half pink;
Petals 17 mm long, virtually tongue shaped (from 1.5 mm at the base broadened to 2 mm wide), tips rounded, bent back, white with wide violet band;
Stamens 12 mm long, filament thin, threadlike, anthers 2.5 mm long, basifixed, thin filiform, olive, pollen pale beige; Pistil 19 mm long,
ovary green, 2 mm high, triangular-oval, style thin, white, stigma white with filiform spreading lobes.
Habitat and range: This species is known only from the type locality and nearby suroundings of the Maranon headwaters. The plants grow in small spherical cushions on vertical rock walls along the Rio Chusgon, a tributary of the Rio Maranon.
In Smith & Downs (1977: 763), two localities of T. reducta are recorded. The first, Caja-marca to Cochabamba, Ferreyra 3216 (holo US, iso USM), is the type collection of T. reducta. The second is "Hacienda Cochabamba, right bank of Rio Chusgon, Huamachuco, 26 Jun 1958, Lopez & Sagastegui 2785 (TRP, US)". It is relatively sure, that this collection is T. chusgonensis, that in a non-flowering condition and from a distance, does show some similarity with T. reducta, a species that does not occur in this area.
T. chusgonensis is very similar to T. balsasensis, but presents some different characters in its habit: e.g., it has short inflorescences so that the plant cannot be considered to be T. balsasensis or any other known species.
The new species differs further from T. balsasensis (values in brackets) by the following characters:
Plant small, flowering at most 15 cm high (to 25 cm); the shorter stems densely leaved, the leaves shorter, narrower and felty appressed scaled; the always simple inflorescence just reaches the length of the leaves; the scape short, 1-3(-5) cm, and densely scaled (to 10 cm long and glabrous); the spike 1.2-2 cm long (2.5-4 cm) and usually only 2-, rarely 3 flowered (5-10-flowered); floral bracts 10-14 mm long, lepidote outside, (8-10 mm and glabrous); sepals 11 mm long (9 mm). The petals and the style are somewhat longer than in T. balsasensis, but (contrary to the first description) white in both species and with a wide violet band.
The location of T. chusgonensis is also in the river system of the Rio Maranon, but much more south than Balsas and almost 1000 m higher.
T. chusgonensis is also slow-growing, but on no account profusely flowering. None of the plants have flowered since their collection in 1997 so no decisions could be made regarding their identity. It appears that August 2004 was exactly the right time to treat the plants with the ethylene gas from ripe apples as they flowered in March 2005, just in time to examine them more closely and write up the description.
This species is named after its place of discovery on the Rio Chusgon.

Updated 10/01/21