Tillandsia lotteae
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Tillandsia lotteae

Len Colgan 04/13.
Len Colgan - two forms from Bolivia, 1995.
Peter Tristram 04/13.
Len Colgan....."originally collected in 1993 just north of Villa Abecia in Bolivia.
For those who have obtained this general species from me, this form is BOL #26.
It was the most southerly habitat where I found T. lotteae, and was by far the largest form. Some of the plants at the location were more than 50cm high, but I restricted myself to two plants about 35cm high.
The first attached image is very old and of low resolution, but was taken around 1995 at my first flowering.
The second image would be third generation since then, now in flower. This plant is somewhat smaller (30cm high) than its great-grandparent and has disappointingly smaller flowers.

I have different forms of T. lotteae, from different locations, growing together. Over the years, seed has germinated on the shadecloth immediately behind these plants, which I have grown on, despite knowing that they are a very, very slow species, especially when I do not fertilise them at all. The largest seedlings are now 10cm across and 18 years old. There are lots of smaller ones, of course."

Peter Tristram..."I well remember the thrill of first seeing this species pictured in the BSI journal when it was described but it was a while before I finally obtained some.
Tropiflora! A story of dubious credentials accompanied those plants. (A story that can not be repeated here), I finally brought some home only to be gassed, with most dying. Despite its tough-looking appearance I have found it quite sensitive to MeBr and have lost many from my German imports too. I have never flowered either of the 2 remaining Tropiflora specimens. Len has had the privilege of seeing these magnificent Tillandsias in habitat, something most of us can only dream of. I have a few of Len's seedlings too, now about 3cm or so."

George Nieuwenhoven 03/13.
Peter Tristram 06/15.

Andrew Flower 06/17
Len Colgan 06/17. Lotte in habitat & 1995 seedlings

Peter Tristram ... "I got some lotteae from Dennis in 1996 when I went to the World Conf in Orlando and bloomed the first one in 2015! Slow! Have you bloomed any yet?"
Andrew Flower ... "I got two different clones in the early/mid 1990's, and at least one (1994) came from Dennis. Bit of a saga with these!
Idea is always to get at least two different clones of a species to increase chance of obtaining seed. These two little devils flowered quite regularly from 1996/7 onwards, but never both in the same year. They took it in turns to flower.... incidentally they are a big favourite with the local flies (see pic).
In 2008 they finally flowered together, and I got seed on both -though you will see from the pic, they are not the fastest-growing tillandsias on the block. Still, up to 4cm in 8 years - mustn't grumble."
Len Colgan ... "I brought back four slightly different forms of T. lotteae from Bolivia in 1993. I mounted them on separate pieces of cork, but hung them together. In 1995, a few flowered and set seed themselves, becoming intermixed. Consequently, being unable to separate collecting numbers, they were set down together. Almost all germinated, and I have given away many of the seedlings over the years.
Anyway, 22 years on, the largest are 16.5cm in size. Still a long way to go! Lotte did tell me that her own seedlings were equally slow, even though I never fertilise.
I have attached an early image of Lotte in habitat, and a couple of old images from 1995 showing two different forms. Hopefully, someone is interested.
Also I have attached a picture of a number of the 1995 T. lotteae seedlings on a large piece of cork. The two biggest ones (16.5cm) are most likely the large form of T. lotteae from Villa Abecia (shown in the earlier email). In fact, one of the plants from Villa Abecia, collected by Helmut Alber, was so huge that I did not initially recognise it as this species. Sadly, Helmut kept it for himself, even though he is really a cactus collector. I know he sold it in Germany.
As the image indicates, there is quite a variation in the sizes after 22 years. But that is not surprising, especially knowing it is possible the seed came from different forms."

Adam Bodzioch 03/18
Len Colgan 03/18
Adam Bodzioch ... "Takes a while but always a nice till in bloom."
Len Colgan ... "Because this species is virtually non-existent at the type location, due to over-collecting, some people claim it is in danger. However, I know of at least twelve different locations where it can be found, some on private property into which I was granted access. Lotte did not know of them all, but of course she has been to other places I have not visited.
It is very slow growing, as Peter Tristram said. From all of the naturally produced seed (I didn't interfere) that I set down in 1995, 23 years ago, the largest plant is now only 11cm in size, while there are still several only 3cm in size. The second group, from about 2000, are much more numerous, with the largest being 7cm in size. They all grow well in Adelaide. I do not fertilise."
Andrew Flower ... "Pic of my two Tillandsia lotteae populations, finished flowering about a week ago - they came originally from Dennis Cathcart's early 1990's trip to Bolivia. I only ever got seed from them when they both flowered the same year, that was in 1989, and this year is only the second time this happened in 20 years.... normally one or other of them flowers nearly every year!
Len - I agree they are not the fastest cats on the block: my seedlings sown in 1990 are now between 5 and 6cm high and pretty solidly built. Must admit they receive a "tonic" 2-3 CF with each watering, which is pretty much daily in the growing season, and weekly in the off-season - in the growing-on house with min. night 11c and minimum day rise to 18C. on a multi-stage thermostat."

Updated 11/07/18