Tillandsia Miniata
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Tillandsia Miniata
Cv. of T. aeranthos ?
The 'Miniata' group by Isley.

Tillandsia ‘Miniata’ by Butcher 9/2013
In 2006 Rainforest Flora sent a quantity of T. aeranthos "Miniata" to Garden World, in Melbourne. Chris Larson questioned Paul on this plant. Paul said that these smaller T. aeranthos (5-6 cm diam) just appeared in his nursery as seedlings. He stated that no chemicals such as Bonzi were used, and that this was not a possible cause of this mutation. He was not aware of another parent, in the proximity, which is likely to have caused this new cultivar through hybridization - but could not rule this out as they did not flower. If this is the case how could they have given this name because ‘miniata’ is a colour like scarlet and nothing to do with miniature! Or is it American spelling? Be that as it may, the name is here to stay, whatever its meaning.
Further selection is being made from this seedling batch with names of ‘Minime’ (< 4cm diam) and ‘MiniMiniMe’ (ca 2.5 cm diam) because these have even smaller rosettes of leaves. While this may take several years we expect that one offset will become a ‘normal’ size and flower.

Most of these small plants have formed clumps but not flowered but flowers are not a prerequisite for sales where plant form can also have an appeal to the general public. In 1995 I got a plant called T. aeranthos miniata from Keith Bradtberg who said the plant originally came from Paul Isley. I still have a clump or two and when giving away bits I invariably ask the recipient to tell me about it when it flowers. Alas, I have had no answer in the last 15 years.

So when Bruce Dunstan showed his photo of a flowering ‘Miniata’ my first thoughts were that the only similarity to T aeranthos was the floral bract. Bruce is known for his “feeding” so I was not surprised to see one plant in the clump larger than the others AND flowering.

If anyone has grown T. xiphioides or T. pringlei from seedlings they will know they get a clump of small plants and suddenly you get one plant growing faster than the rest and will be the first to flower. I have a special interest in T. xiphioides because in the 1990’s Keith Golinski sold me a clump of T. aizoides which stayed like T. aizoides for about 5 years and then one or two plants decided to grow bigger than the rest and became a T xiphioides! Back to the flowering ‘Miniata’ which I intend to register.

Remember that these are mutations and their offsets could revert to normalcy at any time but then the ‘weakness’ could mean a return from normal offset back to dwarf.

We wait to see what the future will bring.

Chris Larson 01/23
Chris Larson 11/23
Chris Larson 01/23 ... "This subject has come up a few times.
This is T. aeranthos 'Miniata' in flower from a 2006 import from RFI. See normal sized 'Miniata' on the periphery - and some starting to "go normal" in the middle. I don't know if they will end up being normal size. The foliage has reverted to approx 1/2 the size of a "normal T. aeranthos". The flowers are small - fingers in the photo for scale."
Bob Hudson ... "Very interesting observations. It is still a great looking plant."
Stephen Haines ... "My clump of T. aeranthos 'Miniata' has done a similar thing although yet to flower."
Chris Larson 11/23 ... "This one has stayed small while it flowers - unusual. Sorry that it isn't clear - but I have 2 flowers atm, and both are looking sparse like this."

Updated 20/11/23