Tillandsia espinosae
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Tillandsia espinosae
Chris Larson 06/16
Andrew Flower 06/16
Chris Larson ... "This is a T. espinosae I got from Barry Genn. More than 10” across, much larger and less stiff leaves than my other form."
Andrew Flower ... "There is a (TV) espinosae "large form" flowering here (NZ) at present too, it is 12 inches (31cm) diameter, and also has stamens and style reaching well out
The "large form" I have came from Dave Anderson in 2007, and would almost certainly have been one of Len Trotman's imports from a USA nursery. Interesting to comare this "Large form" inflorescence with one of the old, smaller (18 cm dia.,) espinosae Peru that came from Tropiflora in 1994 (see attached pic) where AB781 is "large form" and AB5068 is the smaler Peruvian form.
I would hesitate to concede the two plants illustrated here are the same taxon, and hope some expert opinion is forthcomming."
Derek Butcher ... "(See description below.) I find it interesting how the botanists look at this species. In 1951 Smith named a small plant with stiff leaves. In 1972 Gilmartin saw a wider population with various sized plants and even mentioned stolons. In 1977 Smith ignored these findings in his Tillandsioideae.
I also note that the style exserts from the flower tube which is not mentioned by either botanist. I wonder if it is yet another case of movement of the sex parts to get pollination. I'll bet you did not see the relative positions when the flower first opened!"
Chris Larson ... "It does look a lot different to the “normal” form. I think we are talking the same thing after looking at the plant again today. I actually looked at the measurements again (as I just guessed from memory last night) & it is around 15” – or around 38cm.
I agree – there are considerable differences."


Tillandsia espinosae L B Smith, Contr. U.S. Natl. Herb. 29: 498. 1951, see Grant, Vidalia 2(2): 23-5. 2004
Vriesea espinosae (L. B. Smith) Gilmartin, Phytologia 16: 163. 1968.

Desc from S&D
Plant stemless, flowering 15-16 cm high.
Leaves many, densely rosulate, divergent or spreading in all directions, very densely lepidote throughout with minute cinereous subappressed scales;
Sheaths broadly ovate, scarcely distinct from the blades;
Blades rigid, nearly straight, linear-triangular, long-attenuate, pungent, 6-7 mm wide, involute when dry.
Scape erect, slender, about equaling the leaves, sparsely appressed-lepidote;
Scape bracts erect, densely imbricate, elliptic, obtuse, thin, red, appressed-lepidote. Inflorescence simple, linear-lanceolate, 7 cm long, 8 mm wide, complanate, subdensely 6-flowered;
Rhachis slender, slightly flexuous, deeply excavated, sparsely and obscurely lepidote. Floral bracts erect, slightly imbricate but concealing very little of the rhachis, oblong-elliptic, obtuse, 25 mm long, much exceeding the sepals, ecarinate, enfolding the flowers when dry, thin, bright red, sparsely lepidote;
Pedicels stoutly obconic, 3 mm long.
Sepals free, elliptic, obtuse, 12 mm long, ecarinate, thin, very sparsely and obscurely lepidote;
Petals 30 mm long, violet;
Stamens included, filaments plicate toward apex.
Type. Espinosa E-1205 (holotype GH), Huaico, Sierra de la Toma, Loja, Ecuador, 9 Jan 1947.
DISTRIBUTION. Epiphytic, dry open scrub and woods, 200-900 m alt, coastal Ecuador and Peru.
ECUADOR. MANABI: Puerto Cayo to Jua (Joaz), 13 Oct 1952, Fagerlind & Wibom 617 (S, US); Jipijapa, 18 Mar 1964, Gilmartin 887 (US). ORO: Santa Rosa, 29 Aug 1954, Rauh & Hirsch E-5 (US). PERU. PIURA: Canchaque, 4 Oct1954, Rauh & Hirsch P-2127 (US). AREQUIPA: Canana, 18 Mar 1954, Rauh & Hirsch P-539-A (US).

Vriesea espinosae (L. B. Smith) Cilmartin, 1968 (Phytologia vol. 16, no. 2) pp. 163-164.
Tillandsia espinosae L. B. Smith, 1951 (Contrb. U.S, Nat. Herb. vol. 29, no. 10) pp. 198 -199, fig 65, d, e.
Detail from Gilmartin 1972
PLANT ca. 30 cm tall, stemless, growing in clumps several meters in diameter, each plant connected to next one by a stolon ca. 12 cm long by 8 mm in diameter covered by many short, imbricate leaves;
LEAVES 14-22 cm long, blades 0.7-1.2 cm wide, narrowly triangular, involute, densely silvery, gray, lepidote, apex attenuate to filiform;
SHEATH ca. 2.0 cm long by 1.5 cm wide, pale brown;
SCAPE ca. 2 mm in diameter, erect, scarcely exceeding leaf-rosette;
SCAPE-BRACTS 2.0-2.5 cm long, erect, inrbricate, apex subacute, nearly all of uniform length, red, elliptic,
INFLORESCENCE 6.0-9.0 cm long by 8 mm wide, simple, distichous, having ca. 6 flowers, slightly lepidote, red;
FLORAL BRACTS ca. 2.5 cm long by 1.0 cm wide, oblong-elliptic, ecarinate, enfolding flowers, bright red, slightly lepidote without, glabrous within, apex acute, papery;
SEPALS l.1-1.3 crn long by 5 mm wide, green, rose tipped, free, elliptic, obtuse, papery: PETALS 3.0-4.0 cm long, blade violet, with two scales ca. 1.0 cm long from petal base, stamens included;
OVARY ca. 6 mm long by 2 mm in diameter, in flower around February to April, distance between flowers ca. 1.2 cm.
MATERIAL EXAMINED: Espinosa E-1205 (GH, TYPE; US, photo and fragment) epiphytic, Huico, South of La Toma, Prov. Loja, 1400 m, Sept. 1946; Fagerlind and Wibom 617 (US) common epiphyte, between Puerto Cayo and Juaz (Joaz), west of Jipijapa, Prov. Manabi, 13 Oct. 1952; Rauh, Hirsch E 5 (US) in Bombax woods, near Santa Rosa, Prov. El Oro, 200 m, 29 Aug. 1957; AJG 887 (US) epiphytic, common locally, ca. 2 km south of Jipijapa, Prov. Manabi, ca. 60 m, 18 March 1964.

NOTES: The petals of AJG 887 clearly show basal scales indicating that the species belongs in Vriesea. Although the description of the type specimen does not mention the stolons it is probable that the stolons were simply not collected. The other collections show the stolons between plants. The species seems to be restricted to xerophytic communities west of the Andes.


Updated 19/03/17