Tillandsia Red Dragon
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Tillandsia Red Dragon
cv(?) of ionantha var vanhyningii. Not yet registered (07/23)
Chris Larson
'Old one'
Chris Larson
Ray Clark 06/23

Chris Larson ... "I'm just querying - still a little undecided.
A plant came in from Asia a couple of years ago under the title T. ionantha var vanhyningii and I reckon it is different. Prior to this I had seen the one from Franz Gruber - which was different, but I reckon not the same as this one. (See 'Old one' above)
From what I know, the variety comes solely from around the Sumidero Canyon - down in south west Mexico (Chiapas).
Given the couple of years since we have had this plant - it doesn't appear to be reverting to the growth pattern of the old type. So I think it is different. What do others think that are growing it?"
Chris Larson 06/23 ... "As you can see above, I have been questioning the name of this plant for a couple of years.
Originally it came in from Thailand - a very elongated form. Here they have grown less elongated - but still longer than the other forms we have had for years.
The other major difference that I have pointed out here before is the nature of the floral bracts which are clearly visible at anthesis, whereas all of the other forms have well included floral bracts.
As Bruce said one time - out of all of the sources of T. ionantha var vanhyningii he collected - the only one that appears different is this one - but that was some time ago.
Since I could get no clear answers in my probing of the origins, and no-one could give me a cv name - I have been noting descriptors being used - most commonly Jumbo, which I have used myself a couple of times. A Google shows this name is being used as well as T. Red Dragon.
I spoke to Sam from Singapore today & asked if he knew a name for this plant. He said that the name used in Thailand is T. ionantha var vanhyningii 'Red Dragon'.
I have looked and this name is not currently being used so I will be forwarding the details to Geoff shortly to be registered.
I am interested in those that have been to habitat as to whether the longer plants with the visible floral bracts have been noted - but have not received an answer. I've been to San Cristobal De Las Casas twice - but never made it up the Sumidero Canyon - or to the areas nearby where it has been recorded. I am unsure if there are any other areas of habitat further afield.
I have also posted comparative pics on international Facebook pages to no reply.
If anyone can shed any further light, please do.
So this is as far as I can get with T. ionantha var vanhyningii 'Red Dragon'."
Ray Clark ... "Hi Chris, this is the form I got from you earlier this year.
Are we talking about the same plant? This one is approximately 150mm tall and 55mm across at the crown.
It was labeled T. ionantha var vanhyningii (tall)."
Chris Larson ... "Yes, that is the one. It has been around for a while. The caulescent nature is the first giveaway, but the nature of the floral bracts are also distinct."
Eric Gouda ... "Chris, I have one that appears to be a hybrid of T. ionantha var. ionantha and var. vanhyningii that is long caulescent, but does not show any floral bracts.
Also note this reference in 'The Encyclopedia of Bromeliads' : Tillandsia vanhyningii (M.B. Foster) Beutelspacher & García-Martínez: Recognition of Tillandsia vanhyningii on species level makes Tillandsia ionantha paraphyletic, so it should be recognised on variety level again. - Ancona, J.J.; Pinzón, J.P.; Díaz, J.J.O.; Morillo, I.R.; Tun G., J.; Palma S., C. & Till, W. (2020) Botanical history and typification in the Tillandsia ionantha complex. TAXON 70: 1–10 (online)."

Updated 29/07/23