Tillandsia cf. imperialis x deppeana by J Lautner in Die Brom 2: 85. 2008
translated by Butcher
On a Mexican trip, that among other things took us through the Federal state of Veracruz fuhrte, we found on 17.Feb.2001 near Tlapacoyan on remnant trees a beautiful stand of Bromeliads although the landscape was otherwise very much degraded. In the hilly area, grazed usually by livestock or converted to coffee plantations, we saw wonderful groups of T. imperialis besides miscellaneous orchids - mostly in flower - however also T. deppeana, T. kirchhoffiana, T. gymnobotrya, Catopsis sp. and a Vriesea sp. From previous experience we knew T. imperialis only from 1800 m high or more, I wanted to collect a young plant from this rather low area at 1300 m.
This collection was grown for some years before this Spring when it started to produce a flower spike. I was surprised at the size and that the inflorescence was developing quite differently - namely longer - and a different colour to what you expect with T. imperialis. The blue flowers confirmed it is linked to T. imperialis E. Morren ex Mez , but the inflorescence was branched, as you would find in T. deppeana Steud., I can only suggest that it is a hybrid between both plants, where T. imperialis is dominant. A hybrid is feasible because we often saw both species on the same tree.
On the Internet you can find under http://fcbs.org/pictures/Tillandsia.htm an illustration of T. deppeana x imperialis, from Pamela Koide. With this plant the T. deppeana is the dominant parent. Our plant seems more attractive and interesting to me, because the form of the inflorescence of T. imperialis is very striking however and not found in Tillandsia as a whole.
I hope that the plant also produces a few offsets soon to secure its survival.
Derek Butcher ... "Interesting. 'Southern Christmas' is a one off F1 hybrid, whereas deppeana x imperialis as collected in the wild could include back-crossings. But then if only one collection were made in the wild and this were propagated it could have a separate cultivar name.