PLANT - Making a large clump, with 3-6cm long ,lcm thick rooting stems which abundantly spread from the base. Single rosette flowering to 17cm high from the base where the bottom leaves start. Leaves ca 10 making a large rosette 8cm high and 10cm diameter.
LEAF SHEATH - Indistinct, 2cm high, 1.5cm wide, lighter than the blade, pale violet, top side of the base glabrous, underneath dense lepidote.
LEAF BLADE - Erect to spreading, thin triangular, 1.5cm wide next to sheath, tapering to a long narrow tip, ca 10cm long, channelled, dense appressed lepidote. Scales with green centre.
INFLORESCENCE - Simple (always ?) to 12cm long, bent.
SCAPE - Erect to bent, to 6cm long, densely enclosed by the scape bracts.
SCAPE BRACTS - Leaflike at the bottom, the upper ones forming sheaths with short tips, erect, almost enveloping the stem, green, dense white lepidote, at the bottom glabrous, becoming similar to the flower bracts.
SPIKE - Bent, to 5.5cm long, 1.5cm wide, acuminate, complanate, ca 6 flowered. After flowering the flower fades at the top.
RHACHIS - At flowering not visible, green, glabrous, flat edged.
FLORAL BRACT - Erect, longish lancelike, short tipped to 3cm long, 0.8cm wide, grey green, dense appressed lepidote, occasionally with age almost glabrous, at the base naked, exceed the sepals.
FLOWER - Subsessile, to 4cm long.
SEPALS - Longish lancelike, to 20mm long, 5mm wide, acuminate, membranous, green, thin, the posterior ones slightly keeled, with large white scales.
PETALS - Tongue shaped, weakly reflexed at the tip, 4cm long, 5mm wide, blue violet, at the bottom white.
STAMENS & STYLE - Deeply enclosed, filaments white, plicate in the middle section. Anthers yellow, Style with lobes exceed the anthers.
HABITAT - Growing on rocks, Cochabamba Valley, 2700m, S. BOLIVIA.
DIFFERS FROM T. BOLIVIENSIS IN THAT:
1 - Rooting stems abundantly spreading from the base.
2 - Leaf sheath pale violet brown.
3 - Scales not spreading, partly appressed.
4 - Flower stem exceeds leaves.
5 - Inf lorescence simple, bent.
6 - Floral bracts imbricate, dense lepidote, at the bottom naked, green, occasionally with age almost naked.
7 - Rhachis of the 5-6 flowered spike flat edged not winged.
8 - At anthesis rhachis not visible.
9 - Sepals not naked, the tips scattered lepidote.
10 - Posterior sepals subcarinate not wing keeled.
11 - Flower of T. boliviensis white and T. cochabamba petals are bluish violet, at the bottom white.
12 - Stamens and style deeply enclosed.
13 - Filament pleated
14 - Style with lobes exceed the anthers
Tillandsia cochabambae is a decorative, very easily cultivated small Tillandsia, that reproduces itself by many offsets, all at the base of the bare, leafless, rooted stems.
T. cochabambae seems to be variable regarding the flower colour; so much so that there are forms with pale blue to white flowers.