Tillandsia Dimmitt's Delight
Click thumbnails for full size, scaled to a new window.

Tillandsia Dimmitt's Delight
cv. of intermedia (viviparous form). Isley 1987
John Olsen 10/17
Justin Lee 12/19
Justin Lee 01/23 ex Len Summers

Justin Lee ... "Dimmitt's Delight in flower today. It seems to be a bit larger than John's plant in the BCR, so I'm a little bit doubtful of the label. Any thoughts ?"

Chris Larson 04/01/2023 ...
Subject: T. Dimmitt's Delight - what is it?
Hi all
For those with a memory - this is a mixture of my memory - Derek's Word Doc - and a 2017 photo on the BCR of John Olsen's plant.
Can anyone with more info add to it.

Back in the 80's I bought T. Dimmitt's Delight - and it looked mighty like what I learnt was T. intermedia.
In fact, as far as my memory serves me, all of these T. Dimmitt's Delight had their labels changed to T. intermedia around the time that Derek wrote the attached article - 1993.

Check BinA - Not too much help there.
Check the BCR - Not too much info there of use to this issue.
Both of these sources at least have a photo of something which looks T. paucifolia - ish.

The question is where did John get his T. Dimmitt's Delight in the BCR photo of 2017 - which is a long way down the track from the late 80's when the imports of T. intermedia as T. Dimmitt's Delight were done.
Is this just another T. paucifolia? Albeit a very nice one.

Chris Larson 07/01/2023 ... " Still no info on this one yet.
Direct questions:
1. John Olsen - I think I asked you this when I got one from you - what is the source of this one?
2. Anyone - does anyone know where this form on the BCR originated?
3. Anyone - does anyone remember a plant like the one on the BCR trading under this name back in the early Dimmitt days? - the late 80s early 90s.

TILLANDSIA INTERMEDIA MEZ by Derek Butcher Fulham, S.A. in Bromeletter 31(1): 12-3. 1993
This story of a tangled web started in 1898 when Mez described a plant collected by Langlasse as Tillandsia intermedia. It had a long flower stem, was viviparous, and came from the Pacific coast of Mexico at Zihuatanejo. If you have a detailed atlas you should find it 17.37N, 101.34W.
Previously in 1878 Baker described T. paucifolia, but in 1889 reconsidered and put T. paucifolia under T. bulbosa. This bit of information had me looking at the plants I have under the name of T. bulbosa. I have 3 or 4 different forms and one I imported from the U.S. some ten years ago is more scurfy than the others and last year's flower head does not seem to look like a T. bulbosa.
Check Paul Isley's book "Tillandsia" for comparisons. I'm now eagerly waiting for it to flower again for closer comparison but at the moment I am thinking T. paucifolia! Perhaps you too might like to check your own collection. Smith's key differentiates by having T. bulbosa with orbicular leaf sheaths and T. circinnata with ovate or elliptic leaf sheaths. My key has step A58 showing T. paucifolia as having a long cylindric bulb compared to the shorter more oval bulb of T. bulbosa.
I'm not sure what happened in the intervening 50 odd years but in 1951 in Smith's studies in the Bromeliaceae XVI we find Tillandsia circinnata Schlect with T. paucifolia Baker and T. intermedia Mez included in the synonyms and this detail was reproduced in Flora Neotropica in 1977.
In 1982, Wilhelm Weber pointed out that after studying the type specimens in Berlin the name T. circinnata was originally applied by Schlechtendal to a very different species which we now know as T. streptophylla. See B.S.I. Journal 1982 pages 28-31.
Renate Ehlers was still puzzled with T. paucifolia because she found that "T. paucifolia" on the Pacific coast of Mexico had extra long flower stems. Those from Florida, the Caribbean Islands, and the coasts facing the Gulf of Mexico had short flower stems. Finally in 1991 we have the following article. This is a broad translation of an article by Klaus and Renate Ehlers in Die Bromelie 2/1991 page 46.

"Mez described in 1898 a plant collected near Cihuatanejo by Langlasse No.370 as TilIandsia intermedia. The isotype is in the Humboldt Herbarium in Berlin. It is distinguished from T. paucifolia Baker by
(1) Coming from the Pacific coast of Mexico between Zihuatanejo and Puerto Vallarta.
(2) The different habit in that it is a narrow plant with long mostly twisted, not sharp leaf blades, a very long flower stem & different spike. The plant is very variable with a reported giant form from Maruata to 60cm long and 140cm long when flowering. Whilst there is viviparous offsetting there is also basal offsetting and can completely cover a bush or even a tree. Other plants can be scarcely 5cm long.
The Ehlers have made numerous journeys into these special areas and have not been able to find any distinguishable differences amongst the various young plants. The feature of viviparous growth (such as in T. baileyi, T. stricta, T. cacticola, T. argentea) can hardly be used to split into a subspecies or a variety. The isotype deposited in Berlin shows that the viviparous growth emerges from the lower half of the inflorescence. The result is that T. intermedia Mez is a good species rather than being a synonym of T. paucifolia Baker.
T. paucifolia subs. schubertii F.Ebel and Roeth in Flora pages 179-187, Halle 1988 is considered a synonym of T. intermedia Mez. The classification of the plants ranging from Florida to Cuba need further wide study."

You should be able to find Puerto Vallarta quite easily on any Mexican map but Maruata is a bit more difficult. It is found at 18deg 16' N, 103deg 20' W.
The cultivar 'Dimmitt's Delight' is clearly T. intermedia and probably does not need this cultivar name now that it is NOT a T. paucifolia! Paul Isley does mention in his book 'Tillandsia' that this plant comes from Mexico and if what Renate Ehlers says is true must come from the Pacific coast.
T. paucifolia var. prolifera is a plant given this name by the U.S. nursery trade and has no botanical standing but this too must be considered as being another T. intermedia Mez.
If you are aware of any collections of this T. intermedia Mez NOT on the Pacific coast of Mexico please let me know and I will advise Renate Ehlers.

Updated 09/06/20