Tillandsia hildae
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Tillandsia hildae
Eric Beltrame. "Bought from Tony Lea some 25 years ago. Many pups, but this is the first flowering."
Sharon Lee 05/16. Bought in Rockhampton.
Eric Beltrame 01/09.
Eric Beltrame 02/10.
Note from Eric Beltrame : "I have since picked what seed there was, swaped some and planted the rest. I got around 700 seeds but not all the ones I planted germinated. Sending you photos of some that have germinated on coconut husks.
They took approx 10 days to germinate, some a bit longer. I haven't lost any to fungus and as you can see by the images what germinated are doing very well.
I have left the one pup the mother produced to see how long it would take for the pup to flower because as you know when you take off a pup it tends to set it back for awhile. At the moment the pup is about half size standing about 15 inches tall and the mother has started to throw another pup at the moment only one and a half inches high but the exciting news is the half grown pup has produced 5 pups of it's own. These are around 3 inches tall now and very thick and healthy. I thought that the pup might have been dying in the heart but it is perfectly healthy.

Dave Weston 03/16. photo Lynn Hudson
Peter Tristram 03/16
Peter Tristram 03/16 ... "There are many forms of hildae ! The one in bloom is from my original plant that was imported in the 80s from WKs (ex KK no doubt) not easy to photograph where it is and roots are firmly bound to the mesh. Bruce did wonders with this clone too, feeding mega-doses of nutrients with mega response! The white form came from KK about 10 years ago and is so damned slow irrespective of fertiliser. Of course, we have no idea of where KK collected these forms, whether different localities or from the same area and what altitude.
The species sure suits the tropics, as Lynns pic above shows. I cannot grow it well outside here, especially in winter cold and or prolonged wet are an issue. I reckon Bruce could grow it from seed to bloom in 5 years. Andrew! Keep plants very warm and well fed, in bright light!"


Tillandsia hildae Rauh, Jour. Brom. Soc. 21(1 of new title): 139, photo 1-4. 1971, nomen; Akad. Wiss. & Litt. Mainz 1973(3}: 19, figs. 9-13. 1973.
Planta vel acaulis vel caule brevissimo, tum basi eiusdem plantis adventitiis numerosis; folia numerosa, arrecta, durissima, rosulam usque ad 90 cm altam et ad 90 cm diametientem formantia. Vagina late ovalis, usque ad 12 cm lata, 20 cm longa badia; lamina usque ad 70 cm longa, late linguiformis, supra vaginam usque ad 8 cm lata, paulatim in apicem mucronulatum excurrens, marginibus erectis, subtus anguste et subtiliter sulcata, laete vel obscuro-alutacea, valde albo-lepidoto-fasciata, supra cano-viridis, minus distincte fasciata. Scapus usque ad 1 m longus, basi axe usque ad 3 cm diametienti, atroviolaceo. Bracteae scapi dense imbricatae, longiores quam internodia, 5 cm longa, bracteae basales foliis similes, lamina erecta scapo appressae dense lepidotae. Inflorescentia paniculata, pyramidalis, usque ad 80 cm longa, basi usque ad 90 cm lata axe tenui glabro leniter geniculato; ramuli paniculae semel vel bis ramosi, rami basales cum parte axis apicali usque ad 45 cm longi. Bracteae primariae longiores quam pars sterilis foliosa, late triangulatae, usque ad 5 cm longae, lepidotae, marginibus membranaceis. Bracteae secundariae usque ad 2,5 cm longae, longiores quam pars sterilis foliosa ramorum secundi ordinis, atroviolaceae, fere glabrae. Spicae laxae usque ad 20 cm longae axe tenui leniter geniculato viridi vel atroviolaceo, glabro. Bracteae florales longiores quam internodia, erectae, marginibus se obtegentes, durae fere glabrae, margine virides (in statu sicco atrae, valde nervosae), ecarinatae, oblongo-ovales, acuminatae, usque ad 25 mm longae, 10 mm latae. Sepala breviora quam bracteae florales, se obtegentes, oblongo-ovales, mucronulatae, 20 mm longae, 7 mm latae, virides, apicibus violaceis. Flores ebracteis longe exserti, caeruleo-violacei. Petala tubum angustum formantia, linguiformia, 40-45 mm longa, 4 mm lata, apicibus reclinatis ; antherae et stylus exsertae.
Habitat: Peruvia septentrionalis, saepe in rupibus abruptis in valle fluminis Rio Chamaya inter 800-1100 m. s. m.
Holotypus: Rauh 24319 (Aug. 1970) in inst. bot. system. heidelbergensi (HEID).

Desc from S&D p902
Plant stemless or short-caulescent, with basal offsets.
Leaves numerous in a funnelform rosette, stiffly erect, thick coriaceous, marked with broad white cross bands especially beneath;
Sheaths distinct, broadly ovate, 20 cm long, 13 cm wide, dark castaneous;
Blades subligulate, attenuate, 70 cm long, 8 cm wide, covered with pale appressed scales in the white bands but the scales only between the nerves in the dark bands.
Scape erect, to 1m long, 3 cm thick at base, blackish violet;
Scape-bracts densely imbricate, densely lepidote, the lower subfoliaceous, the upper ovate, acute.
Inflorescence very laxly tripinnate, pyramidal, 80 cm long, 90 cm wide; axis flexuous; Primary bracts like the upper scape bracts, exceeding the short bracteate sterile bases of the branches;
Spikes lax, to 20 cm long;
Rhachis flexuous, slender, dark violet.
Floral bracts erect, exceeding the internodes but much less than twice as long, ovate, acute, 25 mm long, exceeding the sepals, ecarinate, strongly nerved, subglabrous, the green margin drying purple.
Sepals narrowly ovate, apiculate, 20 mm long;
Petals tubular-erect, linear, 40-45 mm long, blue-violet;
Stamens and pistil exserted.
Type. Rauh 24319 (holotype HEID, isotype US), frequent on sheer cliffs, valley of Rio Chamaya, 1100 m alt, Cajamarca, Peru, Sep 1970.
DISTRIBUTION. Saxicolous, 1000-1100 m alt, Cajamarca, Peru.
PERU. CAJAMARCA: km113, Acapulco to Pucara, Rio Huancabamba, Jaen, 10 Jan 1964, Hutchison & Wright 3516 (UC, US, USM).

T. hildae ware nach dem Schlussel von L. B. SMITH (Phytologia, Vol. 20/3, 1970, p. 151) in den Verwandtschaftskreis der in Kolumbien beheimateten T. rariflora Andre zu stellen. Sie scheint mir jedoch naher verwandt zu sein mit der bislang nur unvollstandig beschriebenen und von Weberbauer zwischen San Pablo und San Miguel (Nord-Peru) gesammelten T. platyphylla MEZ., die vom Verf. an steilen Felswanden im Tal des Rio Utcubamba gesammelt werden konnte.
T. hildae ist mir bereits seit dem Jahre 1956 bekannt und wurde stets nur vegetativ angetroffen. Auch die im hiesigen Botanischen Garten kultivierten Exemplare sind bislang nicht zur Blute gelangt. Erst auf der letzten Peru-Reise im Jahre 1970 gelang es meiner Frau, Hilda Rauh, einige bluhende Exemplare zu sammeln. Ihr zu Ehren wurde deshalb die Pflanze mit dem Spezies-Namen hildae belegt.
T. hildae ist aufgrund der Blattzeichnung eine der auffalligsten und schonsten Tillandsien der peruanischen Trockentaler, die vegetativ eher an eine Aechmea als an eine Tillandsia erinnert. Nur die mexikanische T. leucolepsis MacDougall, zu der T. hildae keine verwandtschaftlichen Beziehungen aufweist, besitzt eine ahnliche Blattzeichnung. In der Kultur (Abb. 11) wird these noch viel intensiver, da am naturlichen Standort die weiBen Schuppen von einer dicken Staubschicht der stark verwitterten Felsen bedeckt sind.
T. hildae wachst nur an steilen, bruchigen und deshalb nahezu unzuganglichen Steilwanden (Abb. 9) des tief eingeschnittenen und niederschlagsarmen Trockentales des Rio Chamaya, einem NebenfluB des Rio Utcubamba, der bei Jaen in den Rio Maranon mundet. Sie tritt in Massenbestanden in Hohenlagen zwischen 800 und 1100 m auf und ist vergesell sehaftet mit Deuterocohnia longipetala, Peperomia dolabriformis (grau und dickblattrige Form) sowie Kakteen, Epostoa lanata, Trixanthocereus blossfeldiorum, Armatocereus rauhii, Seticereus chloracarpus ( ? ), Melocactus bellavistensis, Acacia macracantha und einer kleinblutigen Bombacaceae (Abb. 9).
Infolge der extremen Trockenheit des Standortes ist T. hildae ein ausgesprochener Xerophyt. Die Blatter sind sehr halt und derb und besitzen ein relativ dickes Wasserspeicherparenchym.
Hinsichtlich Blattform und Blattzeichnung scheint these Art variabel zu sein. Es wurden Formen gefunden mit auffallend schmalen Blattern und wenig ausgepragter Zeichnung und solche mit breiten Blattern und deutlicher Querbanderung. Die Variabilitat bleibt in der Kultur erhalten. Bemerkenswert ist ferner die tiefdunkelviolette, fast schwarze Farbung der Infloreszenzachse und der floralen Brakteen.

Translated by Derek Butcher:
T. hildae according to the Key by L. B. Smith, Phytologia, Vol. 20/3, 1970, p, 151, is in the complex with that of T. rariflora and others in Colombia. It seems to me however linked with the only incompletely described up to now and collected by Weberbauer between San Pablo and San Miguel (North-Peru) called T. platyphylla Mez, on steep rocks in the valley of Rio Utcubamba.
T. hildae was already known to me since1956 and was always found only vegetatively. Also the specimens cultivated in the local botanical garden have not reached the flowering stage up to now. Only on the last Peru trip in 1970, did my wife, Hilda Rauh, succeed in collecting some flowering specimens. It was in honour of her that this plant was given the name hildae.
T. hildae is one of the noticeable and beautiful Tillandsia of the Peruvian dry valleys, that looks vegetatively rather like an Aechmea than a Tillandsia, on the basis of the leaf markings. Only the Mexican T. leucolepsis MacDougall, to which T. hildae has no relation, has similar leaf markings. In cultivation (fig. 11), this becomes even much more intensive because the white scales of a thick dusty coating are worn away growing on rocks at the natural location.
T. hildae grows only on steep, broken and therefore virtually unwalkable steep areas (fig. 9), in the deeply incised and broken down dry valley of the Rio Chamaya, a tributary of the Rio Utcubamba, that joins at Jaen with the Rio Maranon. It grows on the high land between 800 and 1100 m in masses with Deuterocohnia longipetala, Peperomia dolabriformis, (grey and thick leaved form) , as well as Cactus, Espostoa lanata, Trixanthocereus blossfeldiorum, Armatocereus rauhii, Seticereus chloracarpus (? ), Melocactus bellavistensis, Acacia macracantha and a small flowered Bombacaceae (fig. 9).
T. hildae is, because of the extreme dryness of the location, called a xerophyte. The leaves are very hard and rough and have a relatively thick water storage parenchyma.
Regarding leaf form and leaf design, these seem to be variable. Forms were found with notably narrow leaves and little featured design and such with wide leaves and clear cross bands. This variability remains in cultivation. The deep dark violet, almost black colour of the inflorescence axis and the floral bracts is furthermore remarkable.


Updated 28/08/19