Tillandsia Mock Orange
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Tillandsia Mock Orange
See notes. Name tangled with Rutchman's Orange, T. crocata, T. crocata var tristis, T. crocata Orange, Holm's Wintersun, Copper Penny, Buttercup, caliginosa x crocata, and re-makes, and back-crosses. All are highly variable in colour.
Ray Clark 06/20 as caliginosa x crocata
Ray Clark ... "Get your can openers at the ready please! I am full aware that these pareants are in all sorts of plants but!?
I have a lovely plant labeled caliginosa x crocata in flower, provenance is 'secure' in that the plant is ex Derek Butcher ex Peter Tristram ex Holm, but what is it? I have tried an advanced search of the BCR but that did not yield a result. Looking for Holm as a breeder I get plenty of hits but, my plant does not have enough copper in the flower colour for copper penny, quite gold in fact, any clues please?"

Chris Larson ... "Another name the 'Mock Orange' had for a while. I was told this is what they were. All came in as T. crocata Orange. Some had caliginosa shiny leaves so the overwhelming consensus of this group of experts was that they were this hybrid. So this is what the went as. Now all of my imports of T. cocata Orange go as T. Mock Orange which Derek created on the BCR for some and no-one noticed for a couple of years. This was used by me for all, except the original import of T. Rutchmans Orange - which was also imported as T. crocata Orange. They are a variable lot and there are also selfed seedlings around which had a label on under this name Ray. So anyone getting T. Mock Orange from me can get one of the various imports from different sources or selfed seedlings which matured many years ago. Unless someone cares to create a system for this I reckon the are all T. Mock Orange. I don't reckon there is any point in creating names for all the different sorts.
The specific hybrid T. Copper Penny has a range colours as well."

Derek Butcher ... "Ray: It depends on what you mean by provenance. It is not just a list of previous owners who may have had difficulty in identification. T. crocata is known to have petals from orange to yellow so you can't go on colour alone. Reading is attached which shows the minefield you are in. Provenance which traces back to the collector or hybridist concerned is the better option."

Chris Larson ... "Ray, T. Copper Penny goes back to Rainforest Flora (Link 13342). Peter & I imported these from Paul Isley. Others like George also may have. Paul said that he crossed T. crocata Orange (likely T. Rutchmans Orange, but this is not certain) back onto T. crocata - but that is not what the BCR says. Peter will tell you that these can vary from the copper of the T. Copper Penny (ex-isley) through to yellow crocata-ish flowers – and all from the source! Is this because this hybrid has been recreated?
Neither Peter or I have passed on T. Copper Penny (ex-Isley) under any other name.
All I’ve had have had great perfume. All are worth growing."

Chris Larson ... "Derek: If you remember:
1. The first imports of T. crocata Orange were later registered as T. Rutchmans Orange (Link 9960)
2. I had this second wave of T. crocata Orange labelled as T. Rutchmans Orange for a while until Len Colgan told me they were not. You guys in SA said the new, much later, imports of T. crocata Orange were definitely not T. Rutchmans Orange in this discussion group.
3. Everyone, including you and Len Colgan speculated about the other parent being T. caliginosa – and that some portion of these seedlings were definitely on the T. caliginosa side after they flowered, but mainly due to the absence of scales on portions of the leaves (like is shown in these photos) – but they all appeared to have the effect of T. crocata in them to some degree.
4. Both Peter Tristram & I did not know that you had created T. Mock Orange for a couple of years after you created it. So, I can’t speak for Peter, but my T. crocata Orange from a couple of sources and imports were then passed around as T. crocata X caliginosa – and they did vary. These sources were all likely to have come from Holm.
5. In the meantime, a few of us raised seedlings produced by the second wave of imports. I also passed seed from those plants around under this cross name. They were no more or less variable than the parent plants.
6. When Derek alerted us to the presence of T. Mock Orange (Link 10133) that had been registered some years previously – all of those T. crocata Orange that Peter & I imported, and all of those T. caliginosa X crocata or reverse, have been re-labelled T. Mock Orange in my collection. I am not sure what Peter has done. (But I keep the original T. Rutchman’s Orange labelled as such.)
7. Then in 2015 Tanja Richter - Mr Holm's daughter registered T. Holms Wintersun. (Link 13166)

There is a sea of slightly variable plants under the moniker of T. Mock Orange. There is also a sea of plants mis-labelled. All hybrids – pretty much the same as each other. Peter & I have speculated whether all subsequent to the original import named T. Rutchman's Orange have originated with Holm - very hard to know. If the BCR had grex names and form names, this could be dealt with. But alas."

Peter Tristram ... "Hi Ray, UD, Chris, all. It’s one of the Holm plants from 2006 and a fine one too. Can we swap for a piece as I don’t have one that orange? If you examine the sheaths they should be smooth, in part, so we suspected caliginosa in the mix. We’ll never know for sure so just enjoy it for it’s perfumed beauty. It might be a seedling from Rutschmann Orange and sure looks like RO x caliginosa of some sort or an F2. T.Buttercup is also a Holm creation. Renate gave it to me, ex Doetterer’s nursery, which she had just visited.
I wrote the above text before Chris posted his very informative and thorough email. As for Mock Orange, I haven’t named anything with that name other than a plant I got at a show. I am not even sure which, if any of my plants could be it."

Derek Butcher's registration notes ... "Tillandsia crocata ‘Rutschmann’s Orange’ by Derek Butcher 3/2008.
When Werner Rauh described T. crocata var tristis in Trop. Subtrop. Pflanz 43: 17. 1983 he mentioned how variable T. crocata was. At that time T. crocata was considered to be widespread in Brazil, through Argentina to Bolivia. He referred to a very large form collected by Dr J Rutschmann of Basel, Switzerland in the grounds of a hotel in Brazil, and which had a 6-7 flowered inflorescence and fragrant, dark orange flowers.
A year later Walter Till created T. caliginosa in Pl. Syst. Evol. 147: 282. 1984 and treated T. crocata var tristis as a synonym. T. caliginosa coming from Northern Argentina and Southern Bolivia.
The orange flowered T. crocata continued to offset and be grown by European specialists. In fact in 1996 it made its way to Australia as T. crocata ‘Orange’ where it would not offset fast enough to satisfy the demand. In dry Adelaide, Australia, ‘normal’ T. crocata have leaves 7cm long but leaves for ‘Orange’ are 13cm long. Nobody has succeeded in growing self set seed from this plant to prove it is a form of T. crocata and not a hybrid. However, it was collected in Brazil far from the habitat of T. caliginosa so this cannot be considered to be a parent and we are talking about a putative natural hybrid. Because of a man-made hybrid – see below, this clone needs a more specific name like ‘Rutschmann’s Orange’.
In 2004 Doetterer in Germany, was selling T. caliginosa, having obtained his stock from Holm. What is interesting is that a low proportion of these plants do not have the typical glabrous leaf sheath of T. caliginosa nor the typical dark brown petals. In fact they have T. crocata type leaf sheaths and almost orange petals. It would appear that some foreign pollen has crept into the seed raising project. Because of their hybrid origin they should be called ‘Mock Orange’. The problem with identification will be that fact that T. caliginosa also has long leaves which remind me of a live floppy mousetail compared to a dead stiff mousetail of T. myosura. We must remember here, that T. myosura was a ‘confused’ species for over 50 years until Walter Till created T. caliginosa in 1984.
So if you do have a T. caliginosa acting oddly, think of ‘Mock Orange’"

Updated 07/08/20