Tillandsia Dr. Ropata
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Tillandsia Dr. Ropata
From BCR - Wellington, New Zealand, First bloom date: May, 2008 General description: medium-sized plant 23-25cm diam., flowering 21 cm., inflorescence digitate, peduncle 10cm, spikes 6cm. long, 1 cm. wide. Stamens exserted.
Plant introduced into New Zealand in a commercial shipment of plants labelled "Tillandsia oaxacana" from Tropimeyer, Guatemala in 2002. This lot turned out to be approx. 90% T. velickiana, 10% T. matudae and one 'Dr. Ropata' that I know of (approx. 50% of the shipment were sold unflowered). 'Dr. Ropata' has a compound inflorescence and extended rachis not found in any of the other Guatemalan imports in this group. It seems reminiscent of T. matudae/velickiana in the leaf formation, spikes much closer to T. vicentina.
Etymology - "Dr Ropata" was a character in a local medical soap-opera on TV - he was a rather self-important South American import, whose behaviour eventually drove the Head Nurse to exclaim the immortal (in NZ) line "you're not in Guatemala now, Dr. Ropata"
Unknown parentage. Registered by Andrew Flower, NZ.
Andrew Flower 2008
Andrew Flower 12/18
Andrew Flower 12/18 ... "One extreme example {of variable branching} is Tillandsia Dr. Ropata from Guatemala, this one has three offsets with different numbers of spikes all on the same plant.
Plants are quite plastic in certain characteristics, governed by so-called "quantitative" genes, that will develop quite different forms of leaves, stems eg., depending on internal and external environment differences - much more than you get in sexual parts governed by "qualitative" genes. I'm not sure which category different spike development fits into!"
Andrew Flower 06/19. Children of Dr. Ropata.
Andrew Flower 06/19 ... "A little embarrassing. I have just had some fun with our Dr. Ropata (BCR reg. 10264) who hailed from Guatemala, and his children have turned out to be rather disparate to put it mildly. Pics of Dr Ropata and of his children attached -
Looking at the good Doctor's offspring there was obviously more than one parent involved: I'd suspect T. tecapensis and T. velickiana as possible grandparents here?
Dr Ropata came in with a shipment of "T. oaxacana" from Guatemala that turned out to be a mixture of velickiana and matudae plus Dr Ropata."
Brenton Cadd ... "Andrew that is a very mixed lot from the one plant. Shows that you should hold onto your seedlings and grow them to flowering to see what you get. Pity it takes so long for them to grow and flower."
Pam Butler ... "I love the T. Dr.Ropata. I wonder does anyone have this in Australia?"
Andrew Flower ... "Unlikely Dr. Ropata has visited Australia - there is only one Dr. Ropata, and I'm pretty sure I haven't sold any of his offsets yet."
Andrew Flower ... "Brenton: Yes, the logistiics are not great - these seedlings are 11 years old, long time to keep them around. I liked the look of the original "Dr. Ropata" plant and thought it was worth trying to see if it would breed true like a species (similar to the case of Sesca). Unhappily not!!!!
Incidentally, I just checked my original computer notes on the good Doctor, and I see that this batch of seed apparently resulted from my storing pollen from one inflorescence and transferred it to the stigma of a later flowering of the same plant some months later.... but subsequent offsets from the original Dr. Ropata self-pollinate anyway.
I won't bother sowing the seed anymore though."

Updated 17/08/19