Desc. from S&D p 802-3
Plant stemless, flowering 13-25 cm high.
Leaves about 10-20, erect or suberect, subfasciculate, to 38 cm long, always exceeding the inflorescence, completely covered with small appressed cinereous scales;
Sheaths evident, triangular;
Blades linear, very slender, filiform-attenuate, 1-2 mm thick at base.
Scape erect, very slender;
Scape-bracts imbricate and wholly covering the scape, the lower ones subfoliaceous, the upper lanceolate, acute.
Inflorescence simple, narrowly lanceolate, strongly complanate, densely few-flowered, 30-45 mm long, 6-10 mm wide.
Floral bracts erect, imbricate and more or less covering the rhachis, elliptic, acute, about 2 cm long, exceeding the sepals, convex but scarcely carinate, membranaceous, strongly nerved, red, lepidote;
Sepals free, lanceolate, acuminate, to 19 mm long, carinate, glabrous;
Petal-claw linear; blade suborbicular, 10-14 mm in diameter, spreading, violet or blue;
Stamens deeply included, exceeding the pistil.
Capsule slender, acute, to 32 mm long.
Type. Vellozo s n, lost, if any specimen were ever made. Typification is on the basis of the description and plate, especially the latter. There is no locality data given for this species so it is assumed from the title of the work that the type is from the vicinity of Rio de Janeiro.
DISTRIBUTION. Epiphytic in forest, 0-930 m alt, central to southern Brazil.
BRAZIL. GOIAS: Serra dos Veadeiros, 8 Jan 1895, Glaziou 22197 (P). RIO DE JANEIRO: Serra de Nova Friburgo, Saldanha in hb. Schwacke 4586 (! Mez). SAO PAULO: Santo Amaro, 20 Nov 1893, Edwall s n (SP); in G. & G. de SP 2239 (C); Sao Bernardo, 26 Oct 1913, Brade s n (SP); Butanta, 31 Oct 1917, Hoehne s n (SP); 28 Sep 1920, G. Gehrt s n (SP); Una, 23 Aug 1939, Foster 384 (GH, R); Cotia, Sao Paulo, cult. 14 Oct 1940, M. Kuhlmann s n (SP); Paiol do Meio, 15 Oct 1940, A. Gehrt s n (SP); Santos, 14 Oct 1961, A. Seidel s n (US). PARANA: Curitiba, 1828, Sellow 4684 (B, B photos 1191/13, 1191/14, GH, probably the type collection of Tillandsia selloa K. Koch); Dec 1884, Galvao in hb. Saldanha 8839 (R); Itaiacoca, Ponta Grossa, 17 Mar 1904, Dusen 4240 (R, S); Jacarei, 22 Sep 1908, Dusen 6816 (S); 21 Sep 1914, 15555 (GH, S); Itaperusu, 17 Oct 1910, Dusen 7397 (BM, S, US); Pinhaes, cult. 17 Dec 1910, Dusen 11592 (S); 6 Nov 1914, 15852 (GH, S, US); Florestal, Curitiba to Paranagua, Tessmann in Mus. Paranaense 2770 (US); Campininha, Piraquara, 23 Dec 1951, Hatschbach 2720 (US); Jaguatirica, Campina Grande do SuI, 28 Oct 1962, Hatschbach 9474 (US); Sitio do Belizario, Campina Grande do Sul, 23 Nov 1966, Hatschbach & Guimaraes 15253 (US).