Tillandsia magnispica Espejo et Lopez-Ferrari, sp. nov. Acta Bot. Mex. 86: 1-7. 2009
Herba epiphytica, acaulis, rosulata, florens usque 80 cm alta. Folia numerosa, vaginae distinctae, ellipticae, 7-10 cm longae, 4-5 cm latae; laminae anguste triangulari-lanceolatae, 37-55 cm longae, 1.3-1.7 cm latae, involutae, distaliter arcuatae; scapus inflorescentiae erectus, teres, 29-50 cm longus; inflorescentia simplicissima; spica anguste elliptica, complanata, 18-25 cm longa, 3.5-4.5 cm lata; bracteae florales distichae, imbricatae, late ovatae, 5-5.5 cm longae, 4-4.5 cm latae, carinatae, supera virides, basalia incarnatae, nervatae; petala 7-8 cm longa, ca. 1 cm lata, violacea; stamina subaequalia, exserta, stylus exsertus.
Plants stemless, epiphytic, flowering up to 80 cm high;
leaves numerous, forming a tank rosette ca. 40 cm in diameter;
leaf sheaths elliptic, 7-10 cm long, 4-5 cm wide, glabrous and dark brown adaxially, glabrous and light brown abaxially;
leaf blades narrowly triangular to lanceolate, 37-55 cm long, 1.3-1.7 cm wide at the widest part, coriaceous, lepidote, tapering to a long filiform and acuminate apex, margins involute;
inflorescence erect, simple, to 75 cm long;
scape 29-50 cm long, erect, stout, ca. 1 cm in diameter,
scape bracts polystichous, imbricate, rose-coloured, the lower foliaceous, the blades similar to the leaves, the upper bladeless or with much reduced blades, linear-subulate, the sheaths ovate, to 5 cm long and 3 cm wide, concealing the scape;
spike erect, narrowly elliptic to oblong, 18-25 cm long, 3.5-4.5 cm wide, complanate, up to 28 flowered, larger than the leaves,
floral bracts distichous, imbricate, longer than the sepals, glabrous, the basal ones rose-coloured, the upper ones bright green, marginally wine-coloured, widely ovate, conduplicate, carinate, acuminate, with a pungent apex, conspicuously nerved when dried, 5-5.5 cm long, 4-4.5 cm wide;
flowers, erect, sessile, successive;
sepals elliptic to oblong, glabrous, acute, the posterior tines carinate and shortly connate at the base, pale green, 3.4-4 cm long, 1-1.2 cm wide;
petals narrowly oblong to spatulate, glabrous, obtuse, free, violet at the upper half, white at the base, 7-8 cm long, ca. 1 cm wide,
stamens subaequal, filaments linear, 8.7-9 cm long, violet and complanate at apical end, white at the base, anthers oblong, yellow, 4.5-5 mm long;
ovary ovoid, green, ca. 7 mm long, 5 mm in diameter; style white, 8.7-9.5 cm long; stigma white, trilobulate, spiral conduplicate (Brown & Gilmartin, 1984), 4.5-5 mm in diameter; fruit not seen.
Type: Mexico, Oaxaca, distrito de Pochutla, municipio de San Pedro Pochutla, alrededores de Toltepec, ca. 4.5 km despues de San Jose Chacalapa, carretera Pochutla-Miahuatlan, 15°5l'47" N; 96°27'58" W 285 m s.n.m., selva mediana, 10 VIII 2001, A. Espejo, A. R. Lopez-Ferrari, J. Ceja y A. Mendoza R. 6312 (Holotype (in three sheets): UAMIZ; Isotype IEB).
Paratypes: Mexico, Oaxaca, distrito de Pochutla, municipio de San Pedro Pochutla, N of Pochutla, 1981, C. S Gardner 1445 (SEL, US, line drawing by Gard¬ner, 1982); distrito de Pochutla, municipio de San Pedro el Alto, 18 km al S de San Miguel Suchistepec, sobre la carretera a Pochutla, 1700 m s.n.m. Bosque de Pinus oocarpa sobre ladera metamorfica, 22.IX.1965, J. Rzedowski 20648 ENCB(x3), LL, MICH, TEX).
Tillandsia magnispica is endemic to Oaxaca (Espejo-Serna et al., 2007 p. 138), and known only from the Municipalities of San Pedro Pochutla and San Pedro el Alto, District of Pochutla (Fig. 4).
The material of the new species has been identified by some authors (Gardner, 1982, pp. 145-146; McVaugh, 1989, p. 58) as Tillandsia jaliscomonticola Matuda (Figs. 2, 3A), a taxon only known from Colima, Jalisco, and Michoacan (Espejo et al., 2004, p. 63) (Fig. 4 and Appendix), however the differences between the two taxa showed in the table 1 and figures 1, 2, and 3, are conspicuous.
Table 1. Comparative characteristics of T. magnispica and T. jaliscomonticola.
Interestingly, original specimens can be traced to the 1980's, labeled T. fasciculata var. unispica as one remembered name, most likely others including T. jalisco-monticola or T. sp. as well. The plant always has a single, tricolour spike and is easier to grow in cooler climes than the chunkier, more temperamental T. jalisco-monticola. So, the outcome was conclusive and agreement unanimous, rare in this deranged group: the plant in question was, without a doubt, the recently described Tillandsia magnispica.
Fortunately there was a second plant also in bloom or remaining evidence would have been destroyed. The photos are of the examined plant's 'sibling' pup as well as some floral parts for the always discerning taxonomists.
Rarely do plants of questionable identity so accurately fit a description.