Tillandsia bella
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Tillandsia bella
Peter Tristram 05/17
Len Colgan 10/17
Peter Tristram ... "This is the delightful T. bella (in the aeranthos group), which has been discussed before (2010!). It is similar to another hailing from the Germans – T. polzii, but more succulent and with larger floral bracts and petals (often labelled as such in European collections too). Such a variable group, the aeranthos mob! Apart from all of the variations we call aeranthos there are also winkleri and jonesii that have been split off and that we have here and a few others that most of us have never heard of (named by Strehl as well). It’s a slow propagator unfortunately but might add interesting something to a hybrid, as Holm has shown."
Len Colgan ... "This species that I believe is T. bella is flowering. As you can see, it is in the extended T. aeranthos group described by Strehl, but has lighter, brighter green leaves than other related species, and is somewhat more succulent.
The name "bella" means "beautiful" I reckon, and that does seem justified. It is my favourite from that group.
Does Peter (or others) agree with that name for this species, which I obtained without identity years before Strehl's works were published?"
Peter Tristram ... "Yes, got to be T. bella. I got plants from Renate too, unnamed ex Strehl, that are also T. bella – basically identical to the ‘polzii’ I got from Holm that I figured was T. bella. Classy species, I agree."
Chris Larson 04/19
Chris Larson 06/22
Chris Larson ... "T. bella from Europe – the last import where provenance paperwork was lost. Possibly from Renate. Check the fine scales on the floral bracts giving them a frosted look. And the more pronounced scales at he tip of the floral bracts – much different to aeranthos."
Bryan Atkins 03/24
Bryan Atkins ... "At last a plant that lives up to its name, T. bella, one of the aeranthos group but more succulent with bright lime green leaves."

Tillandsia bella T. Strehl sp. nov. (Fig. 7-11,35,36) Iheringia, Ser. Bot., Porto Alegre, n.54, p19-44, Dec 2000

Diagnosis: Planta caulescens; florens ad 10-30 cm alta. Folia viridi; lamina ad 10-12 cm longa, ad 1.8-2cm lata. Inflorescentia simplex; 5-6 flora; bracteae scapi foliis similes, longiores quam internodia; bracteae florales ad 2.3-2.5 cm longae, ad 1.6-1.8 latae, rubrae. Sepala ad 1.5-1.9cm longa. Petala ad 2.5-3cm Ionga, apex acutis, coerulea.

Holotypus: BRASILIA. Rio Grande do Sul. Capapava, Pedra do Segredo, 6. VIII 1990,. T. Strehl 1097 (HAS 31017). Paratypus: ibidem,. 6.XII 1989, T. Strehl 1064 & J. C. da Silva (HAS 30590).

Plant saxicola, strong and simple roots, stem as a rule well developed, 20-30 cm long. naked rhizome, only the sheaths of the leaves remaining at the end of the year.
Leaves 12-16, disposed polistichously compactly:
Sheaths membranacea, transparent, short, 1cm long, 1-2 cm wide;
Blades triangular, acuminate, succulent, grooved-concave, apex somewhat obtuse, green, 8-10 cm long, 1.5-1.8 cm wide at the base, with appressed scales, inconspicuous on both faces.
Scape erect, glabrous, at the base covered by green bracts and close to inflorescence red bracts.
Inflorescence compact, simple, polistichous, 5 cm long, 5-6 flowers.
Floral bracts large, inflated, imbricate, red or rosy, with white scales especially close to the apex; more on the outer face, lineal oval, not keeled, 2.3-2.5 cm long, 1.8-2 cm wide, rounded apex, mucronate.
Flowers erect, sessile.
Sepals membranaceous, transparent, more clear than the bracts, the abaxial free, the adaxial connate to 3-4 mm from the apex, carinate, 1.5-1.9 cm long.
Petal blades elliptic, round. acuminate apex, part evident at anthesis, 2.5-3 cm long; the claw white and the blade dark blue. Stamens included, 1.5-1.7 cm long; filaments a little enlarged before anthesis. Strongly plicate especially in the top half, white;
anthers yellowish, lineal, approximately 4 mm long.
Ovary oval, narrowing to the apex;
Style 1.2-1.3 cm long, white:
stigma longer than the anthers.
Capsule cylindrical.
Habitat: pendant on the sandstone walls of rocks in the formation called Pedra do Segredo.

Fenologia: No particular time of flowering; it has been seen flowering in the months of January, March, April, July, August, October and November.

Etymology: the name makes reference the beauty of the species and of the place where it grows.

Comments: the species seems linked with T. polzii R. Ehlers, but differs in the following characteristics:
Leaves almost glabrous, green;
Inflorescence compact, rachis not visible;
Bracts, sepals and much smaller petals than in T. polzii and the blades of the petal dark blue.
In the aspect and in the color it reminds a little of T. aeranthos, but differs in the texture of the leaves, the form of the bracts and petals and in the number of flowers.

Updated 02/04/24