was Tillandsia pretiosa
now Wallisia pretiosa
(See DD02/17: for all new (DNA resolved) species & Cultivars.)
Click thumbnails for full size, scaled to a new window.

Wallisia pretiosa
Andrew Flower 05/16.
Photo Andrew Flower 2014
Andrew Flower ... "June last year we discussed Tillandsia pretiosa - including my plant grown from seed collected in 1997 at 1900 m in Ecuador by a DBG member. At the time I didn't have a photo of this in flower, however it is now blooming here again - pics attached.
Derek Butcher was interested in the ratio of the inflorescence height to width:
My AB871962 infl. is 8cm wide, 16cm high - a neat 2-1.
Smith and Downs T. cyanea is 2.2-1; Rauh's T. pretiosa is 1.8-1.
Compared to the 2-1 ratio of this T. pretiosa, the Selby Gardens specimen shown last year in Peter Tristram's photos is considerably elongated.
One significant distinction between T. pretiosa and T. cyanea (Apart from the considerably larger flower in T. cyanea) is the tip of the sepals: short-pointy ("broadly acute") in cyanea, long-pointy ("acuminate") in pretiosa. So for reference I have attached my pic from last year showing the sepals on AB871962."
Derek Butcher ... "Thanks for photos. These have been added to the DVD.
Your concept of T. pretiosa links to the European current concept but I am interested in the Aussie plants which seem to be linked to Marie Selby. We must remember that Harry Luther placed Smith's T. cyanea var elatior as a synonym of T. pretiosa.
Things ain't simple when you get differing Botanist's opinions. You must have read the comments I make in the New Bromeliad Taxon list. Because of lack of input from the Americans, decisions made these days have a more European flavour."


Tillandsias with Paddle-shaped inflorescences by D Butcher 2000
(anceps, cyanea, lindenii, pretiosa, umbellata)
There has been some interesting photographs submitted to the Internet about this group and it shows that there is some confusion as to names. First we have to ignore the use of colour purely because the beta cyanin in the blue petals creates havoc with colour film irrespective of brand and produces reddish tones. We have argued this point for many years in Adelaide and have never come up with an answer. I had thought that digital cameras might have solved the problem but it seems that the make of camera also effects the result. So the finer points of colour are out.
I thought I would solve this naming problem for good and all and draw up a chart. This follows:

. Name. Scape. Spike. Axis visible anthesis. Petal. White centre. Floral bracts nerved
. anceps. short. 10-15cm x 5.5cm. no. 5.5cm long narrow and spreading. no. no
. cyanea. short. 16 x 7cm. no. 8cm long wide and spreading. no except v. tricolor. no
. lindenii. long. 20 x 5cm. no. 7cm long wide and spreading. yes. yes
. pretiosa. long. 20 x 11cm. yes. 8cm long wide and spreading. yes. very strong
. umbellata. long and thin. 6 x 3cm. yes. 7cm long wide and spreading. yes. yes
The combinations should make it easy to pick out the species but do they? With such a colourful inflorescence, hybridists have been at them since the end of the 1800's and if the botanists couldn't identify the species, how could the hybridists know what they were pollinating with! So there are lots of problems out there!
From the botanist's point of view let me quote from Lyman Smith's Studies in the Bromeliaceae XVI (1951)

The name, "Tillandsia lindeni", sets a new high for confusion in the Bromeliaceae. As used here it applies to the "long-scaped” species first noted by Regel, and not to the "short-scaped" species that E. Morren described as new under the same name. Regel, after publishing his species twice as "lindeni," for no explained reason changed to "lindeniana" for his third and best-known description, and a year later proposed "morreniana" as a new name for Morren's species to avoid duplication of the "lindeni" he now disowned. Morren, not to be outdone in weird reasoning, proceeded to make Regel's earlier species a variety "regeliana" of his, the later, "lindeni."
Regel and Morren argued back and forth in print over the names and status of their two finds and were later further confused by Andre. Meanwhile, the horticultural writers, struck by the great beauty of the plants, published a profusion of notes and illustrations without stopping to verify names and identities. In several instances they managed to illustrate "lindeni" of Regel while labeling it "lindeni" of Morren.
Regel contented himself in arguing the priority of his name and the specific distinction of the two entities involved. Morren considered them varieties of the same species and went on to add further varieties, still under the wrong "lindeni," with the paradoxical result that three of them must now be transferred from "lindeni" of Morren to "lindeni" of Regel, since the two species were founded independently, and on different types.
Again we meet confusion in the battle of Tillandsia lindeni. Both species were collected by Wallis and, as reported by Regel, one came from Zozoranga in Ecuador and the other from Huancabamba in Peru. Morren claimed that they were but a single collection, but later collections would refute this and also indicate that Regel had reversed species and localities. Actually, all collections since the types indicate that the species with the long scape is Peruvian and that with the short is Ecuadorian.
The earliest specimen of Tillandsia lindeni to be illustrated was few-flowered and rather resembled T. umbellata, but later more vigorous plants had larger inflorescences that contrast sharply with that species.

After all this investigation you would have thought that Lyman Smith would have known all there was to know about this group but we find that his T. cyanea var. elatior is now treated as a T. pretiosa.
Let us also look at THE chart to see the differences between T. lindenii and T. pretiosa. The T. pretiosa spike is twice as long as it is wide, in fact quite a fat fellow, and in the photograph by Werner Rauh in BSIJ #6 1984 we clearly see the axis at the time of actual flowering. The photograph from Jose Manzanares is not as clear cut but it does show the non-flowered bracts at the top of the spike much closer together. If we look at the photograph on page 209 in Baensch's Blooming Bromeliads (1994) we will see no changes in the positions of the floral bracts and a somewhat skinny spike suggesting this is T. lindenii or a hybrid of it.
If you have anything that can add to our knowledge of this group please let us know.

Key from Mez 1935
b) Inflorescentia densa, optime flabellata.
l. Bracteae sepalis permulto longiores; petalorum laminae ellipticae.
- § Bracteae ad 0,125 m longae ==> 332. monstrum
- §§ Bracteae ad 40 mm longae ==> 333. anceps
2. Bracteae sepalis paullo longiores vel ea subaequantes; petalorum laminae maximae, suborbiculares.
- § Inflorescentia multiflora; flores sibi superpositi.
- - + Sepala rotundata
- - - ° Scapus elongatus; petala ad faucem albo-maculata ==> 334. Lindeniana
- - - °° Scapus abbreviatus; petala aequaliter cyanea ==> 335. Morreniana
- - ++ Sepala acutissima ==> 336. pretiosa
- §§ Inflorescentiae pauciflorae flores juxtapositi adspectu subumbellati ==> 337. umbellata


Updated 23/05/17