Tillandsia xiphioides
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Note: the following sub-species and forms have been raised to species status -
Tillandsia xiphioides var. arequitae is now Tillandsia arequitae
Tillandsia xiphioides ssp. prolata see Tillandsia prolata
Tillandsia xiphioides var. tafiensis see Tillandsia tafiensis

Tillandsia xiphioides
Ken Woods.
Ken Woods, long flower spike form.
Ken Woods, short flower spike form.
Brenton Cadd 12/16
George Nieuwenhoven 12/15 from Bolivia.
Brenton Cadd ... "here is one that I got from Len back in 2002 and this is its first flowering for me. Mind you it has grown a fair bit for me in that time, it was a small pup when I got it. Len had it named as xiphioides small caulescent, the folage is about half the length or less of an average xiphioides but as you can see it is caulescent. So far it has only given me the one pup right at the base of the original plant. Since I have taken the photo I have cut the main stem into four lenghts to see if I can get more pups from it, it will be interesting to see what happens."
George Nieuwenhoven ... "I can confirm that is has a strong scent a bit like a Gardenia flower, thanks to Len this plant is finding its way into many collections."
Andrew Flower 11/16
Andrew Flower ... "Currently flowering here, T. xiphioides "small form, Argentina" grown from seed supplied by Chris in February 2002.
Interestingly this one from Chris's "small form" seed (17cm dia., 20cm tall in flower, inflorescence 3cm dia.) is pretty much the same size as other xiphioides I have imported over the years.
A smaller xiphioides I have is one from seed I collected 76 Km east of Cachi, and it has an inflorescence starting at present while the plant is only 11cm. dia.
Do you have any information on where your seed originated, and what sort of size Mum was Chris?
I appreciate that tillandsias raised from seed in cultivation are likely to vary considerably in size compared to those grown in their natural habitat, and indeed they vary greatly in cultivation too. Thanks again for the seed."
Chris Larson 10/19 as "v. minor"
Chris Larson 10/20
Chris Larson ... "Here is a little beauty. From Europe in 2011. Collection data on the tag.What is surprising is the altitude only 600m. I couldn’t get much scent from this one.
The tag reads "T. xiphioides v. minor 600m LH#7307 El Volcan, Sanluis, Arg"."
Justin Lee 02/19
Geoff Beech 02/19
Justin Lee ... "The flower seems much larger than usual. It's about 6cm across. Scent also seems stronger than others that flowered this season. Ex Len Riddell."
Geoff Beech ... "xiphioides from about two weeks ago, also larger than usual. ex Chris larson"


Tillandsia xiphioides ssp. xiphioides var. tafiensis
Note: this has been raised to species status, see T. tafiensis



Tillandsia xiphioides var. lutea
Note: var. lutea should have cream/yellow petals, NOT pure white.
Ken Woods 01/10 (same plant, different lighting. Unknown if var. lutea)
KW, larger clone 01/10.
Ken Woods 02/11.
Peter Tristram.
Len Colgan.
Comments from Len Colgan:
"In response to your query about the habitat of T. xiphioides var lutea:
I did not really get very close to the habitat in either of my expeditions to Bolivia, although I did travel through the west and centre of the correct province, Chuquisaca.
It grows on the eastern side of Chuquisaca, at a latitude roughly halfway between the general area where the different coloured forms of T. streptocarpa and T. duratii live and the southern province of Tarija. But that is a long way!
It is also at a lower altitude (of about 1300m) than most of the forms of T. xiphioides that I personally collected, but about the same altitude as the different coloured forms of T. streptocarpa and T. duratii (which grow much further north).
I obtained a specimen from Lotte (the discoverer) many years ago. I think Derek got his original plant from her also. Whereas Derek managed to flower his plant, my inflorescence aborted for some reason. But it gave me a number of offsets that were progressing beautifully until our 47C heat wave early this year. The large clump got badly burnt, and is only now showing signs of some recovery, albeit with 90% of the leaves removed and plants separated. I am sure I gave one or two people a pup at some earlier time.
Lotte described the colour of the petals as “yellow”. However, having seen Derek’s plant, plus some in Europe, and now Peter's pictures attached, I would say that the colour varies from creamy-white through to creamy-yellow. Cream is probably an average description. Above extra picture is from my “Bolivian Tillandsias” presentation for everyone’s benefit. I think the petal colour is a bit “creamier” (Photoshop not used!!).

Peter Tristram 28/10/13.
Peter Tristram 3/11/13. lutea and xiphioides
Peter Tristram 14/11/13. xiphioides sold as tafiensis
Peter Tristram 28/10/13 ... "Many of you will be blooming T. xiphioides at this time of the year. Apart from the lovely white flowered forms I also have a more compact clone of the variety lutea flowering. These are very slow growing. The only source of this species that I know of is Lotte Hromadnik and she likely grew them from seed collected about 1980. It is reported from about 1300m, low for Bolivia, and the localities listed in the description and her database seem odd for xiphioides – in the Amazon basin, or I can’t locate them. I wonder if Len travelled the area of Chuquisaca Department and can narrow the habitat down?"

Len Colgan 29/10/13 ... "I have had T. xiphioides var lutea for many years, also from Lotte. However, it did suffer in the horrendously hot day a few years ago when hundreds of my tillandsias died, and consequently is yet to flower for me. Yes, I did travel through the state of Chuquisaca which, from memory, is directly north of the southernmost state of Tarija, and covers a lot of the Andean mountains. Hence, even at an altitude of just 1300m, I would expect to find T. xiphiodes.
The lowest altitude I ever descended to was about 1000m in Tarija, from where I collected at least three different forms of T. xiphiodes. Unfortunately, we did not go near the type location of var lutea, which is why I had to get it from Lotte herself.
I think Derek flowered it, with pale cream flowers. Is that the case, Derek?"

Derek Butcher 30/10/13 ... "Yes, I have flowered it but it must be bleaching by the Adelaide sun because I can't get the yellow that the Germans get. This got me thinking as to whether it was worthy of varietal status."

Peter Tristram 30/10/13 ... "Hi UD, I can assure you the flowers are pale yellow NOT white, just a tad more though, than in my photos. I should take a comparative pic. If I had tweaked the white balance I might have nailed the colour. Then, maybe you scored a dud colour-wise! I have at least 1 other clone budding so let’s see how yellow it is.
Len, thanks for the habitat info. 1300 m would be quite warm I imagine. Love to go there one day!"

Steve Haines 2/11/13 ... "As Peter mentioned it is xiphioides flowering time, I have a few different kinds flowering at the moment, here are some pics.
1st photo; T. xiphioides var tafiensis, large and somewhat translucent,white flower that is shortlived.
2nd; a small compact form from Maurice that come from Germany, small but brilliant white flowers.
3rd & 4th; T. xiphioides var lutea, a larger spike with definite pale yellow flowers. (I hope the photo's show the colour). As the new flowers push out they are almost a canary yellow colour that seems to fade a little as the flowers fully open.
All these plants have a beautiful fragrances, each slightly different, with xiphioides var lutea being the most pungent according to the boss,(that being Leanne)."

Peter Tristram 03/11/13 ... " (comparison photo) The photos are fine and the colour is obvious. I agree that the lutea form is the most fragrant too. Here is a comparison shot as well. Too damned hot today to take better photos!"

Len Colgan 3/11/13 ... "Thanks for sharing those pictures of forms of T. xiphioides.
I do not know whether or not it is strictly correct to label the first of them as T. xiphioides var tafiensis. The description of this variety stipulates large purple flowers, and I personally only use this name if that is the case. However, in the USA, they do not have the purple flowered form, and use the var tafiensis tag for any very scurfy forms, undoubtedly with white flowers, whether or not they come from anywhere near Tafi in Argentina.
The second form from Germany most probably originated from me. Maurice can confirm if that is the case. It is a smaller form with gun-barrel grey leaves, and was collected by the River Mizque in Bolivia.
What is really interesting about collecting T. xiphioides in Bolivia, rather than in Argentina, is that widely separated habitats yield quite different forms, making it possible to have a varied mini-collection of T. xiphioides types."

Chris Larson 3/11/13 ... "One of the things that Marj Mc & I noted on our trip – my first to Argentina – was that Isley’s tafiensis is very very similar to the form that grows right beside the road just over the ridge out of the Tafi valley – only about 1 or 2 km from the pass (& the only ones we could find at the correct altitude near the Tafi valley) – but still within the state of Tafi. I agree that this is not var tafiensis by the description. The site of the blue flowered var. tafiensis to be found near there (according to Smith & Downs) is some 10 or 15 miles away. Which I never found due to lack of detail on maps at that time – Google maps make life easier for collectors now – but AQIS makes it harder."

Derek Butcher 3/11/13 ... "I can only back Len on this one. As the DVD says -
Tillandsia xiphioides Ker-Gawler var. tafiensis L. B. Smith, Phytologia 20: 173. 1970.
Tillandsia friesii sensu Castellanos, An. Mus. Nac. Hist. Nat. Buenos Aires 37: 501, pl. 1. 1933; in part, non Mez, 1906.
Differs from Type in -
Leaf-scales with narrow lobes, making the leaves tomentose-lepidote.
Floral bracts 5-6 cm long. Sepals 30 mm long; Petals violet.
Type. Schreiter 7176 (holotype US, isotypes GH, NY, LIL), Managua (Colalao del Valle), Tafi, Tucuman, Argentina, Dec 1931.
Distribution. Epiphytic, 2000-3000 m alt, northwestern Argentina. Tucuman, Tafi: Quebrada de Amaicha, El Molle, Nov 1932, Schreiter 8835 (GH, LIL).
We have the true blue in Australia and we should not settle for second best. It took me several years to convince Rainforest Flora that they had the wrong name on their plants and there is a possibility this could be the source of wrongly identified stock. Many years ago now in trying to keep up with the latest I did import from Germany only to get white flowers. Luckily the supplier listened to my plea and on the second attempt I got the blue!
So if your 'tafiensis' flowers white please change the label to straight xiphioides. Remember here that 'lutea' only applies if the petals are a yellowish hue."
Peter Tristram 14/11/13 ... "Hi all, another white "tafiensis" from Deutschland, from a Botanic Garden as well! At least the luteas are flava."
Len Colgan 15/11/13 ... "I know that this could originate from anywhere in Argentina or Bolivia, but it does look like the Rio Mizque form from Bolivia recently shown by Grant. What is your opinion Grant?"
Peter Tristram 15/11/13 ... " I’ll ask Uwe – he has access to the Goettingen database."
Ray Clark 11/18 Ex. Butcher as aizoides (probably xiphioides minor)
Ray Clark 12/18 xiphioides v. lutea
Ray Clark ... "I’ve had this plant for more than six years and this week it has flowered, the tag says T. aizoides, (probably xiphioides minor).
Derek passed it to me with a wry grin on his face and said that he "thought that it was grown from seed but from the look of it something was astray! Let’s wait until it flowers and then we’ll know", well here we are.
The first flower erupted from nowhere and I would agree, T. xiphioides minor, same flower spike and same delightful fragrance.
Then today just as I was about to post I took one more look, the tiny offsets had even tinier yellow flowers on them! The growth reminds me of bandensis but I am not convinced."
Derek Butcher ... "In 1998 I got this seedling from Ken Woods that I assumed was T. aizoides but all it did was offset with the older offsets getting a bit bigger each year. Anyone who has grown T. pringlei will know what I mean. Anyway, no flower but as soon as it gets a move to Ray's place it does its deed. Looks like a xiphioides to me."

Dale Dixon 11/20

Dale Dixon ... "T. xiphioides var. lutea (subg. Aerobia). This lovely variety is named so because of the yellow petals. The specific epithet is derived from the Latin luteus meaning Saffron Yellow or Sallow. Naturally it is found on vertical cliffs at 1300 m around Chuquisaca, Bolivia."



Tillandsia xiphioides var. prolata

Len Summer's plant, from Len Colgan 01/12. Photo Chris Larson.


Tillandsia xiphioides Rio Misque form.
Bolivia. See notes above.
Ken Woods, Rio Misque form from Bolivia (by D.B.) 11/06.
Ray Clark 10/13, from Derek Butcher.



Notes on the polymorphic Tillandsia xiphioides Ker Gawler by Eric J Gouda in Journ Brom Soc 65(2): 111-121. 2015
Tillandsia xiphioides was described in 1816 by Ker Gawler in Botanical Register 2: t. 105 (and accompanying text) from Buenos Aires, Argentina (the species is not currently known from this area). It is doubtful if a specimen has been preserved as the type (Smith & Downs 1977), but the species is well typified by the plate (Fig. 1). It seems to me that the typical specimen is a relatively large one, with spreading leaves, that can be compared in size with the clone in Fig 2. That plant is also visible in Figure 4b.
Tillandsia xiphioides also grows in Bolivia and one doubtful record is known from Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (specimen not seen). It belongs to the subgenus Anoplophytum, having flowers with spreading petal blades and the narrow petal claws forming a tube, included stamens (often with plicate filaments) and the slender style with the stigma often emerging from the throat of the corolla.
The species has a large distribution over Argentina and Bolivia and is highly variable and although 3 varieties and 1 subspecies have already been described (for a distribution map see Hromadnik, 1989), this does not cover the whole range of variation. It seems that there are many distinct ecotypes and plants from numerous local populations look different. Differences are found in plant size, succulence, leaf arrangement (more-or-less secund or spreading), leaf pubescence (densely lepidote to tomentose, and cinereous-green to silvery white), and the size and number of flowers in the spikes (many forms are typically 2- or 3-flowered, but some are up to 7-(10-)flowered).
The smallest form known to me (Fig.3) is from South Bolivia, Tarija - near Entre Rios, 2800 m elevation. The same small, very succulent form has been collected in the same province by Renate Ehlers (see Fig. 10). This is a very delicate and compact form that changes habit in cultivation depending on growing conditions. In my private collection it seems to grow smaller each year and did not flower up till now (Fig. 3). At the Utrecht Botanical Garden, where it gets fertilization on a regular schedule along with more space and light during the winter, it grows much faster and flowers regularly. At the moment I'm growing also a piece rom the plant collected by Renate Ehlers (Fig. 4d) and it has just started producing an inflorescence. I am hoping some flowers will develop later this year.
Often Tillandsia xiphioides starts to make a spike in autumn, but then develops very slowly or stops before producing any flower in winter. My small greenhouse is situated WNW at the back of my house, which is bad for light conditions during winter. This explains suppressed growth and flowering in the above mentioned form.
This winter I was lucky that a few specimens from different forms produced flowers, starting with the large robust form collected by my father in Bolivia (locality unknown, Fig.2 and Fig. 4b) that has a strong, sweet fragrance. A very slender leaved and smaller form also collected by my father in Bolivia (Tarija Mnt., 2300 m) is flowering at the moment and could be compared with Tillandsia xiphioides var. minor Hromadnik (1989). It is smaller in all parts, less succulent and is weakly fragrant (Fig. 5 & 4c). Even smaller is the specimen from Bolivia, Villa Montes close to the border with Argentina at 1500 m elevation (Fig. 6).
Another larger form is Tillandsia xiphioides var. lutea L.Hrom. ( 1990) from Chuquisaca, Bolivia, which has cream-yellow petals (Fig. 7). A colour that is difficult to get right in a photograph, because it often looks white on the photo. The floral bracts are salmon-brown in contrast with the other forms that have greenish (soon pale brown) floral bracts that are partly transparent. This plant was collected by Helmut & Lieselotte Hromadnik (collection number 5183) and shared with us by the Botanical Garden Heidelberg.
A long caulescent form (leafy part of the stem about as long as the leaves), currently flowering (Fig. 8) and under study, has a very short peduncle and peduncle bracts 5-6 times as long as the internodes, the upper reaching the middle of the lowermost floral bracts. The floral characteristics are not very different from other forms of Tillandsia xiphioides, but that of the peduncle bracts and inflorescence in general are. This specimen was also collected by my father in Bolivia, Cochabamba - Tolata in November 1989 and is flowering for the first time in my collection. It is very different from T. xiphioides subsp. prolata H. Luther (1996), described as a long caulescent subspecies of T. xiphioides (Fig. 9).
Typical for all varieties of Tillandsia xiphioides is the relatively short peduncle, shorter than the length of the spike, which is not the case in T. xiphioides subsp. prolata. Also its habit is very different from other varieties, its distribution is northwards out of the range of T. xiphioides and therefore it is better to distinguish this as a species on its own right, otherwise we should include T. diaguitensis A. Cast. (1929) as a subspecies of T. xiphioides too. That this taxon deserves a species status can also be concluded from the phylogram published by Till & Barfuss (2014).

Tillandsia prolata (H. Luther) Gouda & Barfuss comb. et stat. nov.
Basionym: Tillandsia xiphioides subsp. prolata H. Luther (1996), J. Bromeliad Soc. 46(5): 211, figs 10, 11.
Type: Bolivia: Dept. La Paz, roadside from La Paz to Mecapaca, valle de la Luna, Rio Abajo, Alt. 2500 m., 5-10-1995. D. Cathcart Cathcart B-2 = Cathcart s. n in hort.
Selby: (holo SEL, iso LPB).

Tillandsia prolata is a taxon that is in between T. xiphioides and T. diaguitensis. It would be very helpful to include more species of the T. xiphioides complex in molecular studies to learn more about the relationships between these species.

Another variery that deserves to be a species to its own right is Tillandsia xiphioides var. tafiensis L.B.Sm. (1970).It has variously purple-blue petals like several other species from the Tillandsia xiphioides complex and has a different form of indumentum (strongly asymmetric trichomes). More study is needed to compare this species with other species of the Tillandsia xiphioides complex (see also Hromadnik 1989, 1990, 1991), like Tillandsia gerdae Ehlers (1987), Tillandsia cochabambae E.Gross & Rauh (1986) and Tillandsia recurvispica L.Hrom. & P Schneider (1987).

Tillandsia tafiensis (L.B. Sm.) Gouda comb. et stat. nov.
Basionym: Tillandsia xiphioides var. tafiensis L.B.Sm. (1970), Phytologia 20: 173.
Type: Argentina: Prov. Tucuman, Tafi, Managua, Alt.2000 m. 12-1931. R. Schreiter 7176 (holo US, iso GH, K, LIL, NY).

The forms shown here are just a few of the many variations found within the wild populations of Tillandsia xiphioides. I do not think it would be very helpful to describe each form as an infraspecific taxon of Tillandsia xiphioides: enough intermediate forms can be found to completely confuse the definitions of any infraspecific groups we try to describe.

167. Tillandsia xiphioides Ker-Gawler, Bot. Reg. 2: pl. 105. 1816.
Desc from S&D
Plant flowering 15-30 cm or higher; roots present; stem from very short to 15 cm long, simple or few-branched.
Leaves numerous, polystichous but sometimes almost distichous, erect to spreading, more or less curved or contorted, to 25 cm long but often much shorter, densely cinereous- or ferruginous-lepidote;
Sheaths large, densely imbricate, making the stem appear 1-2 cm in diameter, passing imperceptibly into the blades;
Blades narrowly triangular, subulate-attenuate, flat, to 2 cm wide.
Scape from almost none to 12 cm long but always much obscured by the upper leaves, erect;
Scape-bracts densely imbricate and covering the scape, elliptic-oblong, thin, the lower ones caudate and lepidote, the upper apiculate and nearly or quite glabrous.
Inflorescence always simple and distichous, lance-oblong, acute, to 12 cm long without the petals, 2-10-flowered;
rhachis flexuous to 3 mm in diameter, narrowly alate.
Floral bracts densely imbricate, usually several times longer than the internodes, lance-oblong, acute, to 7 cm long, much exceeding the sepals, ca 14 mm wide, submembranous, strongly nerved with a broad scarious nerveless margin, glabrous or sometimes the lower ones sparsely lepidote, stramineous or suffused with red or violet, ecarinate;
Flowers sessile, to 10 cm long.
Sepals linear-lanceolate, acuminate, to 42 mm long, free glabrous, submembranous, prominently nerved, the posterior carinate;
Petals white or violet, fragrant, the claw linear, blade broadly elliptic, obtuse, spreading, ca 2 cm wide, conspicuously crenate-serrate;
Stamens elongate, barely included or exserted from the throat of the corolla;
filaments filiform, straight; anthers linear, 8 mm long; pistil exserted; style slender;
Ovary slenderly prismatic.
Capsule stout, abruptly short-beaked, 3 cm long:

Key to subspecies and vars of T. xiphioides
1 Petals white => 2
1 Petals other colours => 3
2.. Plant stemless, petals 6-9 mm => var minor
2.. Plant stem from very short to 15 cm long petals to 2 cm wide => var xiphioides
2.. Plant stem mostly about 25-40 cm long => subsp prolata NOW SPECIES IN OWN RIGHT
3... Petals yellow => var lutea
3... Petals blue => var. tafiensis NOW SPECIES IN OWN RIGHT

Tillandsia xiphioides Ker-Gawler var. xiphioides
Tillandsia suaveolens Lemaire, Ann. Soc. Royale d'Hortic. Paris 179. 1843. Type. Deschamps Hortus in Morren Icon (K).
Anoplophytum xyphyoides Beer, Bromel. 254. 1857; nomen.
Tillandsia macrocnemis Grisebach, Symb. Argent. Gott. Abh. 24: 332. 1879.
Type. Near Cordoba, Argentina, Hieronymus 423 (CORD, GOET, US photo), Feb 1876.
Phytarrhiza xiphioides (Ker-Gawler) E. Morren, Belg. Hortic. 29: 370. 1879.
Tillandsia sericea Hortus ex E. Morren, Belg. Hortic. 29: 370. 1879; nomen.
Tillandsia odorata Gillies ex Baker, Jour. Bot. London 25: 214. 1887; nomen. Based on Gillies s n (BM, GH), Mendoza, Argentina.
Tillandsia xiphoides E. Morren ex Wittmack in Engler & Prantl, Nat. Pflanzenfam. 2 (Abt. 4): 57. 1888; error.
Tillandsia unca Hicken, Physis I: 26. 1912; non Grisebach, 1874. Based on Pastore s n (SI).

Leaf-scales mostly with broad lobes.
Floral bracts to 7 cm long.
Sepals to 42 mm long;
Petals white
Type. Probably none extant. Species adequately typified by original description and plate.
Distribution . Epiphytic and saxicolous in dry habitats, 700-2600m alt, Bolivia, southern Brazil, Paraguay (! Mez), Uruguay, northern Argentina.
BOLIVIA. Cochabamba: Cerro San Pedro, 14 Oct 1956, Jimenez 24 (US). Potosi, Nor Chichas: San Antonio, Dec 1931, Cardenas 93 (GH, SI). BRAZIL. Rio Grande do Sul: Gruta de Lourdes, Sao Pedro de Alcantara, 1 Nov 1950, Schultz 767 (US); 25 Sep 1965, Reitz 6770 (HBR). URUGUAY. San Jose: Sierra Mahoma, 1939, Chebataroff s n (MVM); s d, Larriera s n (MVM). ARGENTINA.Jujuy: Tilcara, 16 Feb 1926, Venturi 6889 (US); 27 Jan 1940, Cabrera7702 (GH); Est. Volcan, 20 Jan 1927, Castillon 315 (GH, LIL). Salta: Capital, Dec 1913, Rodriguez s n (GH, LIL, NY); Cafayate, 27 Dec 1913, Rodriguez 1201 (BA, GH, US); 7 Jan 1914, 1252 (US); 19 Oct 1948, Skottsberg s n (GB); La Candelaria, 5 Oct 1931, Schreiter 6735 (GH):Catamarca: Andalgala, 26 Sep 1915, Jorgensen 1105 (GH); Punta Balastro, Santa Maria, 2l Dec 1933, Peirano s n (GH, LIL). Tucuman: La Florida, Dec 1896, Bruch s n (NY); Campo de las Arcas, Trancas, 3 Feb 1917, Schreiter 5523 (GH, NYI Quebrada de La Hoyada, Tafi, 25 Sep 1920, Schreiter 1377 (GH, LIL, US); 23 Nov 1921, 1099 (LIL, US); Raco, Trancas, 23 Nov 1920, Venturi 1316 (MVM, US, Z); Rio Loro, Burruyacu, 5 Nov 1923, Venturi 2495 (US); Sierra de la Candelaria, Trancas, 20 Oct 1924, Venturi 2495 (BM); 2495-A (GH); Colalao to Tolombon, 19 Oct 1948, L. B. Smith 4646 (US). La Rioja: Sierra Velasco, Jan 1879, Hieronymus & Niederlein 9 (CORD); Sierras Ulapes, San Martin, s d, Stuckert 13244 (CORD); Chamical, Dec l895, Bodenbender in Kurtz 8923 (CORD); Quebrada de Penon, 17 Jan 1907, Kurtz 14239 (CORD). San Juan: Jachal, 28 Feb 1937, Spegazzini s n (BAB). Mendoza: Cacheuta, Nov 1913, Sanzin 276 (MVM); without exact locality, Miers 640 (BM); Gillies s n (BM, GH). Cordoba: Sierra de Cordoba, Rio_Primero, Sep 1874, Hieronymus s n (NY); Cordoba, Nov 1877, Hieronymus 912 (CORD, F, GH, GOET, US); 1879, Lorentz 123 (BM, GH); Dec 1891, Kuntze s n (NY); s d, Stuckert 3506 (G); Sierra Achala, Jan 1895, Kurtz 8413-A (CORD); San Vicente, 10 Nov 1899, Stuckert 7606 (G); Estancia San Tiodoro, Rio Primero, 13 Oct 1904, Stuckert 14473 (CORD); Dean Funes, Dec 1910, Lillo 10718 (GH, LIL); 30 Nov 1916, Sanzin 1156 (MVM); Capilla del Monte, Sierra Chica, 29 Apr 1918, Osten 13465 (MVM); 22 Oct 1923, 17114 (MVM); Serrezuela, 8 Dec 1942, Bartlett 19223 (MICH, US).

Tillandsia xiphioides Ker-Gawler ssp. prolata H. Luther J. Brom. Soc.46: 211-2. 1996
A Tillandisa xiphioides Ker-Gawler typo et varietatibus affinis, sed caule inflorescentiaque longiore differt.
TYPE. Bolivia. La Paz: roadside from La Paz to Mecapaca, Valle de la Luna, Rio Abajo, 2500-3000 m elev., Aug. 1993, D. Cathcart B-2 legit, flowered in cultivation, 5 Oct. 1995, D. Cathcart s.n. (holotype: SEL; isotype: LPB).
Plant a caulescent, sometimes rootless, mound-forming lithophyte or terrestrial (!D. Cathcart);
flowering 40-75 cm tall.
Leaves densely imbricate along the stem, stiffly sub erect to spreading, 12-20 cm long, silver-grey.
Leaf blades narrowly triangular, attenuate, 5-10 mm wide, somewhat nerved, rigid but not especially succulent.
Scape erect, 12-18 cm X 2- 3 mm.
Inflorescence lanceolate, 8-15 X 1-2 cm, distichously 3 to 5-flowered.
Floral bracts narrowly elliptic, acute, 45-58 mm long, thin-coriaceous, nerved, pale green to yellow-tan.
Flowers opening in the late afternoon and remaining open 24-48 hours, strongly and sweetly fragrant at all times.
Sepals narrowly elliptic, acute to acuminate, 33-36 mm long, thin-coriaceous, nerved, the adaxial pair carinate, pale green.
Corolla with spreading to re flexing blades.
Petals oblanceolate, obtuse, 7-8 cm long, the margins of the blade becoming strongly undulate, white.
Stamens and style exserted due to the reflexing of the petal blades.

The Valle de la Luna site represents both a very high elevation and northwest outpost for Tillandsia xiphioides. The habit of the plant is also unique within the complex of T. xiphioides; in fact the collector expected the plants (sterile when collected) to be some form of T. latifolia Meyen or T. incarnata HBK based on their appearance.

The long leafy stem, thinner, scarcely succulent leaves and rather elongate inflorescence at once separates this taxon from all the described varieties of T. xiphioides but the bract and flower size and structure seems consistent enough to include it at the sub specific level. Actually, the reproductive structures and phenology show much more congruence with the type of this species than do those of the variety tafiensis L. B. Smith. The latter seems more similar to the complex of T. zecheri W. Till.

Similar long-stemmed populations of Tillandsia have been described within the species of T. ionantha Planchon and are also known to exist in certain high elevation populations of T. latifolia var. divaricata Bentham; the latter plant is often a stemless epiphyte at sealevel and a caulescent (to nearly 1 m long) lithophyte at 1500-2500 m in Ecuador.

Tillandsia xiphioides Ker-Gawler var tafiensis L. B. Smith, Phytologia 20: 173. 1970.
Tillandsia friesii sensu Castellanos, An. Mus. Nac. Hist. Nat. Buenos Aires 37: 501, pl. 1. 1933; in part, non Mez, 1906.
Description from S&D
Differs from Type in:
Leaf-scales with narrow lobes, making the leaves tomentose-lepidote.
Floral bracts 5-6 cm long.
Sepals 30 mm long;
Petals violet.
Type. Schreiter 7176 (holotype US, isotypes GH, NY, LIL), Managua (Colalao del Valle), Tafi, Tucuman, Argentina, Dec 1931.
DISTRIBUTION. Epiphytic, 2000-3000 m alt, northwestern Argentina. ARGENTINA. Tucuman, Tafi: Quebrada de Amaicha, El Molle, Nov 1932, Schreiter 8835 (GH, LIL).

Tillandsia xiphioides Ker-Gawler var. lutea L Hromadnik Die Bromelie 1/1990 p12-15
Plant flowering to 20cm high.
Leaves to 15cm long, dense erect silvery lepidote
Scape 5 – 10cm long, covered with scape bracts.
Inflorescence simple, 2cm wide, to 10cm long, a tipped lanceolate sword shape.
Flowers sessile, scented.
Flower bracts 5 – 6cm long, tipped lanceolate, unkeeled, green, rarely with violet-red overlay, smooth, glabrous, the underneath scattered lepidote, much exceeding the sepals.
Sepals 3 – 3.7cm long, the posterior pair sharply keeled and connate for 2mm, green.
Petals 7 – 9cm long, yellow, platte broad-oval, the edges serrated and strongly wavy
Style the upper third yellow
Type locality Bolivia, Dept. Chuquisaca, Prov. Luis Calvo, single or in small groups on vertical cliffs in Serrania Inca Huasi in the neighbourhood of Ortes Muyupampa, 1300m alt, leg H&L Hromradnik Nr.5212, 27 July 1979 (WU)
Differs from Type in:
Petals yellow
Habitat different

Tillandsia xiphioides Ker-Gawler var. minor L Hromradnik Die Bromelie 3/ 1989 p65
Plant stemless, growing on rocks in groups, flowering to 10cm high.
Leaves ca. 8cm long, at the base 2cm wide, next to sheath 8mm wide, strongly grooved, erect, somewhat secund and forming a small rosette.
Scape missing or very short, enclosed by scape bracts.
Inflorescence to 8cm long, 0.8cm wide, 2 – 3 flowered, tipped lanceolate, green.
Flowers sessile, scented.
Flower bracts to 45mm long, glabrous, green, tipped lanceolate.
Sepals to 30mm long, nerved, glabrous, thin membranous, green, the posterior pair short connate and sharply keeled.
Petals white, to 75mm long, platte 6 – 9mm wide, lanceolate, tipped, more or less spirally twisted, edges serrate.
Type locality Argentina, Prov. San Luis, on steep rocks in the Sierra de San Luis above San Francisco del Monte del Oro, 1200m alt, leg H&L Hromadnik Nr. 7315, August 1981 Holotype (WU)

Differs from Type in:
Plant smaller
Flowers smaller
Petals narrower


Updated 04/12/20