Tillandsia Splendid
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Tillandsia Splendid
cv. of cacticola population from near Aricapampa, Peru. Dimmitt
Pam Hyatt 03/18
Peter Tristram 03/18 Succulent form ex. Knize
T. Splendid. Pamela Koide Hyatt, Birdrock Tropicals 11/19

Chris Larson ... "I have long had a plant which I assumed was this plant. I note that the BCR calls it T. Splendid (cv. of cacticola population from near Aricapampa, Peru) without a photo & the RFI Tillandsia cvs calls it T. cacticola Splendide with the photo below(Ed.copyrite) – that is if I have the story right & they are the same plant – more assumptions.
I have had the plant for over 25 years. Does anyone know the history of the plant being imported here and if there is a pic of it flowering? Obviously, as Mark Dimmitt used it in hybridising, it has flowered at least once in cultivation??? Anyone with pics?"
Pamela Koide Hyatt ... "I don't want to cause too many problems, but I currently have T. cacticola 'Splendid' in bloom. I have bloomed it only a few times in the past 25 years since I first acquired it from Mark. Mark was at my nursery several months ago before it bloomed and I pointed it out to him and he confirmed that it was T. cacticola 'Splendid'.
This morning I took these photos of the blooming one and sent them to Mark Dimmitt for confirmation. He has responded that yes my plant is T. cacticola 'Splendid', although my larger one has more leaves than he remembers. He also said that it is a slow grower.
Paul and I acquired plants from Mark when he was moving on from tillandsias. I have always tried to be very careful with labels and I always thought that my T. cacticola 'Splendid' looked different than the one on Paul's site, but Paul's was T. cacticola 'Splendide', so I figured it was a different plant.
Mark has two hybrids with T. cacticola 'Splendid', one with duratii v. saxitilis and the other is with aeranthos.
I have bloomed both and they appear to have my form of T. cacticola 'Splendid' in them and not the caulescent form that is on Paul's site."
Peter Tristram ... "Chris and I have had this ‘Splendida’ discussion before. The caulescent plant Chris refers to is not what I know as var. splendida, which I originally obtained from HEL at Selby in 1988 as a new variety of cacticola. This is the same as Pam’s plant and Paul has this form too – I purchased one (He only had a few, all likely fried now) in 2012 and Bob Hudson also gave me one but I can’t remember if it originated at Pam’s or Paul’s. Knize also was selling it in the noughties and Chris and I have some from him that survived the gas (most died). They are all very succulent, large plants with large sheaths, like in Pam’s pics. They have very pointed, flattened, sharply carinate floral bracts (shiny bright pink too) and this was to be one of the defining features in the then pending varietal description. I vaguely remember Pam’s name mentioned! It’s a stunning form of the cacticola/purpurea/straminea complex. I have only bloomed it once as has Chris I think and posted the pics ages ago. Attached is a close-up of the inflorescence of one from K.Knize."
Caulescent cacticola var. splendida? Peter Tristram 03/18 ex. Dennis Cathcart as cacticola ?

Peter Tristram ... "Chris, regarding the caulescent ‘cacticola’ I have a very old form, from RFI in the early ‘80s and can’t remember blooming it! I’ll look for it and take a pic today. It is similar, to a ‘cacticola’ I got from Dennis in 2010 – see attached pics. Dennis’s plant is larger though. In 2003, MF, MR and I saw caulescent cacticola/purpurea in grassy slopes growing among other Tills (2600 m approx) but none survived. Mick probably has better digitals than my crappy scans. We saw lots of others in this complex too but most died after the gassing. Michael and Mick might still have a few, I don’t. I guess, over the importing years, I must have lost hundreds of plants in this complex to the dreaded gas. Criminal!"

Tillandsia 'Splendide' - unregistered and apparently unrelated to 'Splendid'.
"Splendide 3"
"Splendide 20191030" Chris Larson 11/19
"T. cacticola Silver Straight Clone" Tropiflora screen shot.

Chris Larson ... I’m going to revisit a post I did years ago. I sorted out a fair bit of this in that original post & subsequent discussions. Some of these discussions are on Bromeliads in Australia under Tillandsia Splendid and in looking at B in A, maybe that discussion was really only in March last year, as the dates of the photos hint at.
This post is mainly for Alfonso’s benefit – but also some other collectors that may have availed themselves of a T. cacticola "Splendide" recently.

So the original post was concerned with a plant that I have been growing since (probably) the 80s as a T. cacticola in my back yard (probably sourced from Peter Tristram). I also imported (which appeared to be) the same form from Guatemala 15 or so years ago as T. cacticola. They both looked, for many years like the pic labelled "Spendide 3" above (this photo I nicked from the net).
I have moved my plants to a couple of different conditions at work and produced the much more robust plants in the photos with the date 2019-10-30.
Around the time of that previous post I found that Rainforest Flora had a very similar plant on their site called T. cacticola "Splendide" – so I assumed it to be this.

During that discussion we also touched on a similar, unrelated, plant which is on the BCR as T. cacticola Splendid. A foliage photo of T. Splendid is shown above (see Pam Hyatt 03/18 photo). More photos, including flowers, are on the Bidrock site, the BCR, and, of course, B in A.

The conversation is detailed under T. Splendid on B in A, where Peter Tristram has a photo of the plant from Tropiflora which is caulescent – which could be one of Franz’s forms. But then check the photo currently on Tropifloras site as T. cacticola Silver Straight Clone – and doesn’t it look just like my pics with the dates! (at least in the nature of the foliage.)

But until mine flowers we cannot register it, or even know if it is really a T. cacticola. I definitely haven’t bloomed mine.
Also the Isley plant under the name T. cacticola Splendide is never shown in bloom, as far as I can tell.
As Peter says in the B in A dialogue – he doesn’t think he has ever seen his bloom.
Anyway ….. I have been propagating mine by cutting the stem. It has never branched naturally to my memory. Quite a few people have been adding this plant to their collections over the past couple of years – under the name T. cacticola 'Splendide' – which is why Alfonso asked me some questions to which I don’t have answers.
Hopefully mine will flower shortly and we can get some answers. It can’t be that long with the size they have achieved recently."
Comments from Tropiflora web site ... "T. cacticola Silver Straight Clone – A tall-growing form of this species of northern and central Peru where it lives as an epiphyte in thorn forests of the arid foothills in the eastern Andes. Many variations, forms and cultivars have been selected from this species that long been popular with hobbyists.
This form has a long stem with many broad, curling, silvery leaves. The inflorescence is about 18 to 24 inches tall, above the foliage, and is topped with a cluster of pinkish-lavender branches. In nature this plant grows in mostly full sun in an arid climate, receiving most of its moisture from nightly fogs.
For best results keep in a bright and airy location."
Derek Butcher ... "Chris: Sure is a problem. Only 'Splendid' has been registered in the BCR. Why it was linked to cacticola and not straminea, I don't know. If floral bracts are wide and close together I think cacticola. If floral bracts are narrow and have spaces between I think straminea. Thus I don't have an opinion on the non-flowering caulescent plant.
So, when your plant does flower it would be great to get it registered with a name quite different to Splendid."
Justin Lee ... "I flowered it years ago but unfortunately I did not bother to keep records or photos back then. See pointless photos below that show the unremoved spike."
Derek Butcher ... "Justin: At least you flowered yours. Regrettably I am not much good on herbarium specimens. To think that I once thought that only Adelaide had problems in flowering KK imports."
T. cacticola caulescent Justin Lee 11/19
Andrew Flower 11/19 comparison
T. Splendid. Pamela Koide Hyatt, Birdrock Tropicals 11/19
Andrew Flower ... "Chris: Just for interest, I have a Tillandsia cacticola "Caulescent" that came in from the US in 2000 - would have been Tropiflora or Tillandsia International I think - so I photographed it alongside a "real" T. cacticola flowering here at present - grown from seed ex Eric in 2008, his number 143.
The caulescent plant has never flowered here - and vegetatively it looks like a lot of acaulescent stuff that also came from the US around the same time labelled "T. purpurea" (but that's another of Derek's cans of worms)."
Pamela Koide Hyatt ... "Here is one of my T. cacticola 'Splendid' in bloom. My plants were acquired from Mark Dimmitt and labeled - T. cacticola cv. Splendid, (#1981-501-01) Peru Aricapampa vicinity. The plants always have a wide rosette, and they are very large, with thick foliage. The blooms have long branches, as in the photo. I recently sent images to Mark and he confirmed that this is the plant he called 'Splendid'.
I used to think that RF's T. cacticola Splendide was a typo, but it seems to always be caulescent, and Splendid is not."
(Ed. See also top of page.)

Updated 17/01/20