Tillandsia roseiflora
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Tillandsia roseiflora

Peter Tristram 06/13. Labelled as brachyphylla
Peter Tristram 06/13. As 'grosse' form.
Peter Tristram ..."Winter is red Brazilian bloom time. These are 2 forms of T. roseiflora. The smaller one was imported by a few of us as brachyphylla many moons ago though there were doubts. Eventually it was described as T. roseiflora by Renate in the mid ‘90s. T. brachyphylla is extremely rare both in cultivation and in nature, occurring at only a couple of locations in Rio. The larger form I obtained in Germany (as ‘grosse’ form) and it hasn’t disappointed. It began to pup then all 3 buds bloomed. I think I will have months of pleasure admiring this plant. I imagine this group of species would prefer some protection in cooler climes. They seem easy to grow for me if protected from summer burn and given a feed now and then. They like reasonable humidity. More common ones are kautskyi and sprengeliana, mainly because of seedling production."

Chris Larson 08/13. Recent import.
Peter Tristram 06/17
Peter Tristram 06/19
Peter Tristram 06/17 ... "This delightful Brazilian species was first introduced in Australia as T. brachyphylla, T. regnellii or T. organensis, from various sources in the US. I guess it could still be labelled by one of those names in older collections. Eventually the species was described by Renate Ehlers and William Weber so we knew what we had. It was many years before the other two species could be verifiably obtained, in Germany at that.
It has a close relative, T. heubergeri, also described by Renate, that differs mainly in having no branches and lepidote floral bracts and comes from the Chapada Diamantina area to the north. T. roseiflora grows much further south. Both are adorable!
Some folk, including Barry Genn, Nev Ryan and me, have been growing T. roseiflora from seed for some years so many clones are starting to get around these days. I am busy cross-pollinating the plants already in flower and awaiting some other nice Tills to blooms to hybridise with. I am particularly keen to cross it with T. gardneri var. rupicola."
Peter Tristram 06/19 ... "These roseiflora are being used to set true seed on, only pollen taken to be whacked on other candidates. The two roseiflora are mature seedlings from Barry Genn so I've been crossing them as well as with some roseiflora from other sources."

Tillandsia roseiflora R. EHLERS & W. WEBER spec. nov. Die Bromelie Sonderheft 3 1996 p52-56

A tillandsia sprengeliana KLOTZSCH ex MEZ habitu majore minus bulboso, foliis longioribus latioribusque adpresse lepidotis cinereo-velutinis; bracteis scapi longioribus; inflorescentia majore spicis numerosis usque ad 5-floris longioriter stipitatis composita; bracteis florigeris longioribus distincte carinatis; sepalis longioribus adaxialiter distincte carinatis et petalis longioribus differt. Typus Brasilia Estado Rio de Janeiro, prope Nova Friburgo, 1200 m s. m., epiphytica, leg. K. & R. Ehlers, EB 81213, Julio 1981. (Holotypus: HB, Isotypus: WU); Estado Rio de Janeiro, Serra dos Organos, prope Petropolis, Mata do Facao, leg. E.M.C. Leme, s. n., 1986 (Paratypi: HB, WU).

Plant epiphytic, stemless, normally growing single but rarely in small groups, flowering 7 - 15 cm high, 6 - 15 cm wide, forming a slightly secund, subbulbous, sometimes (particularly in cultivation) wide dense rosette with many grey appressed lepidote leaves.
Leaves: up to 11 cm long, numerous (25 - 50), rather soft, dark green, resembling grey due to cinerous scales on both sides.
Sheath: 2 -3 cm long, 1 - 1.7 ( - 2) cm wide, elliptic, flat, little distinct from the blade, equally coloured as the blade, only the base glabrous, then both sides densely whitish-grey lepidote.

Blade: 3 - 7 cm long, narrow triangular acuminate, slightly canaliculate, with an indistinct keel, secund, sometimes spreading, both sides densely regular fine white lepidote, the margins with fine white trichomes, appearing uniform grey felt.
Scape: 3 - 5.5 cm long, 3 - 4 mm in diameter, shorter than the leaves and hidden by the rosette, ascending to curved, glabrous, covered by the sheaths of the subfoliate, imbricate, up to 7 cm long scape bracts;
internodes 7 - 9 mm, the almost erect blade 2 - 5 cm long, triangular caudate, densely lepidote like the leaves.
Inflorescence: exceeding the rosette, 5 - 8 ( - 10) cm long, 3 - 4 cm wide, oval, mostly bipinnate, seldom simple, with 7 - 16 densely erect spikes (rhachis not visible).
Spikes almost erect or spreading up to 45°,
Primary bracts: 2 - 5 cm long, 1.2 - 1.7 cm wide, the bottom ones longer than the spikes and caudate, the upper ones as long as the spikes or shorter and acuminate, the spikes enfolding the broad side and a large portion hidden, nerved, inside punctulate lepidote, outside pink, the tip fine white lepidote, towards apex always slightly lepidote.
Spike 2 - 4.5 cm long, 9 - 23 mm wide, complanate, 2 - 10 mm stipitate, 1 - 5 flowered with often an extra sterile stiped flower at the tip, the apical branch often reduced to one flower.
Floral bracts: 1.2 - 2.5 cm long, 8 - 12 mm wide, exceeding the sepals by about 2 mm, oval, acute, thin membranaceous with almost hyaline margins, nerved, carinate, inside scattered punctulate lepidote, outside bright red or yellowish-pink, mostly glabrous or scattered scales at the tip, some others having punctulate scales.
Sepals: 1.2 - 1.7 cm long, 3 - 4 mm wide, lanceolate acuminate, thin membranaceous, light green with pink tips, sligthly nerved, glabrous, free or the posterior pair connate for I - 2 mm and distinctly and prominently carinate.
Petals: 1.7 - 2.6 cm long, 2.5 - 3 mm wide, narrow oblanceolate, forming an erect tube with an open throat, the rounded tip spreading, upper one intensively violet - pink, the bottom one white.
Stamens: enclosed.
Filament 1.5 - 1.7 cm long, thin filiform, straight, white, equaling the style.
Anther 3 - 3.5 mm long, 0.5 mm wide, linear, fixed at base, light ochre coloured.
Pollen yellow.
Style 1.1 - 1.5 cm long, white, thin.
Stigma 1.5 x 1.5 mm. Lobes erect or spreading, pink. Ovary 2 - 3 mm high, 1.5 - 2.5 mm wide, oval, green.

Differs from T. sprengeliana. KLOTZSCH ex MEZ:
Plant much larger, almost bulbose, cultivation often an almost broad rosette whilst T. sprengeliana retains its bulbose shape.
Leaves longer and wider, grey appressed lepidote and grey - velvet.
Scape bracts longer.
Inflorescence larger, with numerous, more flowered (up to 5), longer stipitated side branches.
Floral bracts longer, distinctly carinate.
Sepals longer, the posterior pair distinctly carinate.
Petals longer.

Differs from T. geminiflora BRONGNIART:
Leaves more secund and grey-lepidote.
Inflorescence dense.
Floral bracts surpassing the sepals,
Sepals glabrous and less connate.

Differs from T. organensis EHLERS:
Growing epiphytically;
Plant: bigger with more and bigger leaves.
Leaves grey-lepidote, not white-lepidote, with narrow-triangular blades. In cultivation the plants mostly loose the bulbous form while T. organensis remains bulbous.
Scape longer with longer scape bracts,
Inflorescence larger and more dense, the branches longer and composed of more flowers. Primary bracts bigger,
Floral bracts carinate.

Habitat: Brazil, relatively widely distributed, however not in great numbers, usually only a few plants.

Material studied: South of Rio in the Serra do Mar bought by Amanda Bleher; in Organ Mountain near Petropolis; Mata do Facao leg. Elton Leme, 1986; between Teresopolis and Novo Friburgo, 1200 m, EB 81213; between Petropolis and Teresopolis s. n. leg. Roser 1988; in Espirito Santo near Domingos Martins EB 8181.
In Washington Herbarium 1979 photographed by K. Ehlers; T. rosea Estado da Bahia s.n.; T. rosea 117, Teresopolis Organ Mountains; T. brachyphylla s.n. Road to Bahia; T. rosea?, T. globosa, Brazil, in trees in rainforest, leg. Mrs. Abendroth No.109, April 1959.

Comments: The plant has been for many years in culture in Brazil and Europe. It was exported by Amanda Bleher, an orchid and bromeliad nursery, under the name T. regnellii.
This small and beautiful grey Tillandsia was often confused with T. brachyphylla. So the plants shown in Werner Rauh "Bromelien", photo no.86, in the "Journal of the Bromeliad Society" July - August 1980 front page and in V. Padilla " The colorful Bromeliads", page 13-14 are identical with the now described T. roseiflora.

Wilhelm Weber received the plant from Amanda Bleher in 1971 and 1985 and made a botanical drawing. He was puzzled as to which plant it was related. The plant he got in 1971 he put near T. brachyphylla whereas the one he received in 1985 he noted T. aff. sprengeliana !

Updated 03/08/19