Tillandsia caput-medusae
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Tillandsia caput-medusae
Ken Woods 12/05
Andrew Flower 01/13. "alba" Hort. from Pam Koide '96.
Rob Bower 10/20

Tillandsia caput-medusae E. Morren, Belg. Hortic. 30: 90. 1880.
Tillandsia langlassei Poisson & Menet, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. Paris 14: 237. 1908. Type. Providencia, Guerrero, Mexico, Langlasse 1013 bis (P, K), 29 Apr 1899.
Desc from S&D p988-9
Plant stemless, flowering 15-25(-40) cm high.
Leaves often exceeding the inflores¬cence, covered with coarse pale slightly spreading scales;
Sheaths broadly ovate or elliptic, strongly inflated, forming an ovoid pseudobulb, merging gradually into the blades;
Blades linear-triangular, attenuate, involute-subulate, usually much contorted, to 15 mm wide.
Scape erect or ascending, slender; scape-bracts densely imbricate, foliaceous.
Inflorescence simple or digitately compound from 2-6 spikes;
Primary bracts broadly ovate, usually smaller than the floral bracts and with little or no blade, lepidote;
Spikes suberect to spreading, often curved, linear-lanceolate, acute, to 18 cm long, 6-12-flowered with several reduced sterile bracts at base;
Rhachis nearly straight, slender, angled, glabrous.
Floral bracts suberect or divergent, imbricate, ovate-lanceolate, obtuse but the apex often inrolled and appearing acute, ecarinate, to 2 cm long, equaling or slightly exceeding the sepals, barely more than twice as long as the internodes and exposing the rhachis, char-taceous, prominently nerved, nearly or quite glabrous, red, pink, and green;
Flowers subsessile.
Sepals oblong, obtuse, subcoriaceous to chartaceous, prominently nerved, glabrous, the posterior ones somewhat connate;
Petals linear, erect, 3-4 cm long, violet; ( there is a white petalled form)
Stamens and pistil exserted.
Capsule slenderly cylindric, 3-4 cm long.
Type. Morren Icon (K). No plant material preserved apparently.
DISTRIBUTION. Epiphytic, 40-2400 m alt, Mexico, Central America.
MEXICO. SONORA: Alamos, 18 Mar 1910, Rose, Standley & Russell 13061 (US). CHIHUAHUA: Barranca de Wa¬pajeachi, May 1893, Hartmann 547 (GH); Western Chihuahua, Barranca Legion, Sierra Madre, s d, Hewitt B (GH). SINALOA: Calomas, Sierra Madre, 18 Ju1 1897, Rose 1799 (US); Rosario, 14 Apr 1910, Rose, Standley & Russell 14503 (NY, US); San Juan, 1921, Ortega 4122 (US). DURANGO: Ojito, Rio Piaxtla, 12 Apr 1943, Lundell 13010 (GH, LL). NAYARIT: Ahuacatlin ("Agua Catlan"), 27 May 1849, Gregg 995 e p (MO); Tepic, 5 Nov 1925, Ferris 5789 (DS); 11 Ju11951, Gentry 10844 (MICH); Volcin Ceboruco, 20 Apr 1951, McVaugh 12057 (MICH); La Galinda, 4 Ju11955, Lewis s n (US). JALISCO: Guadalajara, 25 Jun 1892, Pringle 5334 e p (F, GH, MO, NY, POM); Barranca del Rio Santiago, May 1912, Diguet s n (MICH). VERA CRUZ: Zacuapan, 1929, Skwarra s n (GH, US). PUEBLA: Ajenjibre, 16 May 1952, Cantu s n (MEXU, US). MORELOS: 9 Apr 1923, Reko 4663 (US); Jun 1923, Skwarra s n (GH); 17 (GH); Apr 1927, Reiche 585 (M); 2 Feb 1932, Froderstrom & Hulten 1331 (S); 30 May 1939, Nage1 8020 (GH); 9 Mar 1952, Matuda 26034 (MEXU, US); 24 Oct 1962, Castaneda 17 (IPMEX, US). MEXICO: Tejupilco, Temascaltepec, 25 May 1932, Hinton 689 (GH, K); Pantoja, 3 Dec 1932, Hinton 2856 (K, NY); Pungaracho, 6 Apr 1933, Hinton 3750 (K); Zacualpan, May 1954, Matuda 30555 (MEXU, US). DISTRICTO FEDERAL: Mexico City, 1900, Herrera in Rose 147 (US). MICHOACAN: Ar¬teaga, 24 Oct 1961, King & Soderstrom 27 (US). GUERRERO: Taxco Viejo, 28 Apr 1936, Abbott 130 (GH); Vallecitos, Montes de Oca, 24 May 1937, Hinton 10227 (K); km 338.3, Acahuizotla, 20 Aug 1948, Moore & Wood 4687 (BH, US). OAXACA: Pinotepa, May 1844, Galeotti 4919-B (US); Chivela, 16 Apr 1910, Orcutt 3300 (F, GH, MO, US); 74 miles southeast of Oaxaca, 22 Jun 1960, King 2974 (TEX). CHIAPAS: Monserrate, Purpus 10197 (US); Chicomucelo, 14 Jul 1941, Matuda 4509 (LL, MEXU); Fraylesca, Siltepec, 13 Mar 1945, Matuda 5279 (GH, MEXU, US); Tuixcum, Mozintla, 16 May 1945, Matuda 5537 (GH, MEXU, US); Ocozocuautla, 10 Apr 1947, Moore 2542 (BH, US); Raudales (Malpaso), 7 Apr 1966, Gonzalez Quintero 3521 (IPMEX). GUATEMALA. HUEHUETENANGO: Libertad, Rodriguez 468 (P). ALTA VERAPAZ: Rio Polochic, Pancajche, 10 Apr 1941, Standley 91923 (F). PROGRESO: Baranquillo, 17 May 1942, Steyermark 46438 (F, GH). GUATEMALA: Lake Amatitlan, Mar 1890,J. D. Smith 1951 (US); 17 Jan 1906, Kellerman s n (US); 17 Apr 1937, Muenscher 12367 (F); 15 Mar 1941, Standley 89544 (F, GH); Amatitlan to Palin, 26 Mar 1922, Greenman 5844 (GH, MO). RETALHULEU: Rio Samala, San Sebastian to Santa Cruz Mulua, 23 Feb 1941, Standley 88149 (F, GH). ESCUINTLA: Escuintla, Mar 1890, J. D. Smith 2010 (GH, NY, US); 24 Jan 1939, Standley 63494 (F); 14 Mar 1941,89327 (F); 89399 (F); 16 Mar 1941, 89633 (F, GH). SANTA ROSA: San Juan Utapa, Jun 1893, Heyde & Lux 4643 (US). JUTIAPA: Jutiapa, 2 Nov 1940, Standley 76155 (F). HONDURAS. MORAZAN: Rio la Orilla, Aug 1943, Rodriguez 239 (F); Quebrada de Santa Clara, Rio Yeguare, 17 Dec 1946, Standley & Williams 1603 (F). ATLANTIDA: Ceiba, 23 Ju11938, Yuncker, Koepper & Wagner 8609 (F, GH, MO, NY, US). PARAISO: Ojo de Agua, 11 Dec 1946, Standley, Williams & Molina 1303-A (F). SALVADOR. SANTA ANA: Volcan Santa Ana, 19 Feb 1946, Carlson 1069 (F); Lago de Coatepeque, 25 Jan 1951, Rohweder 255 (HBG); 16 Apr 1951, 258 (HBG); 259 (B); Hacienda San Jose, 5 Feb 1951, Rohweder 257 (HBG). SONSONATE: San Antonio del Monte, 23 Mar 1922, Standley 22148 (GH, NY, US); lzalco, Mar 1922, Standley 22185 (GH, US); Santa Emilia, 27 Apr 1951, Rohweder 265-266 (HBG). LIBERTAD: Santa Tecla, 7 Apr 1951, Rohweder 260-261 (HBG); Laguna de Zapotitan, 9 Apr 1951, Rohweder 262-263 (HBG). SAN SALVADOR: San Salvador, Renson 321 (NY, US); 27 Nov 1950, Rohweder 253 (HBG); 11 Dec 1950, 254 (HBG); 23 Apr 1951, 264 (HBG). SAN VICENTE: San Vicente Mar 1922, Standley 21158 (US). USULUTAN: Laguna de Alegria, 21 Jan 1951, Rohweder 256 (HBG). NICARAGUA. ZELAYA: Siuna, 7 Jan 1970, Atwood 3164 (US). MATAGALPA: San Ramon, 1963, Heller 5672 (F). WITHOUT EXACT LOCALITY: Gamier 2007 (GH). COSTA RICA. GUANACASTE: Nicoya, Dec 1899, Tonduz 13648 (BM, US); Las Canas, 2 Feb 1926, Standley & Valerio 46672 (US). PUNTARENAS: Cascajal, 2 Jul 1949, Holm & Iltis 223 (US). ALAJUELA: El Coyolar, Apr 1924, Standley 39984 (US); 40072 (US). SAN JosE: San Jose, Oct 1908, Werckle 17471 (GH); 17475 (GH); 10 Feb 1924, Alfaro 33972 (US); Santa Ana, 14 May 1966, Jimenez 3951-A (F, US).

From McVaugh in Flora Novo Galiciana 1989
Tillandsia caput-medusae E. Morr. Belgique Hort. 30: 90. 1880.
Tillandsia langlassei Poisson & Menet, Bull. Mus. Hist. Nat. {Paris} 14: 237. 1908.
On trees, tropical deciduous or subdeciduous forest or sometimes in oak forest, up to 1500 m in the Pacific lowlands and foothills and the basin of the Rio Santiago, flowering Mar-May.
Son., Chih., Dgo., Sin., Nay., Jal., Col., Mich., Gro. (Langlasse 1013 bis, type of T. langlassei), Mex., Mor., D.F., Oax., Pue., Ver., Chis.; Centr. Amer. The type is a drawing made by Morren from a cultivated plant originally from Mexico (K, the holotype).
Nay., La Galinda (T. H. Lewis, 4 Jul 1955); between Tepic and Jalcocotan (Norris 13581); Puga (Feddema 880); Tepic (Ferris 5789, DS, not seen); Ahuacatlan (Gregg 995 in part, in 1849, MO, cited by Smith, not seen); lava-flows from Volcan Ceboruco (Feddema 417, McVaugh 12057); Jal., Mpio. Mezquitic, Rancho San Antonio Texas, ESE of San Andres Cohamiata (Bauml & Voss 1573); Mpio. Puerto Vallarta (Las Palmas, McVaugh 25580; 4 km SE of Puerto Vallarta, Rzedowski 16363); Mpio. Cabo Corrientes (18 km N of El Tuito, Lott 1032; camino a Ixtlahuahuey, Magana 338, Magana & Tellez 174, all MEXU, cited by Magana, not seen); camino a Juan Gil Preciado (Magana et al. 324, 332, both MEXU, cited by Magana, not seen); near Guadalajara (Pringle 5334, in part, cited by Smith, not seen); barrenca du rio Santiago (Diguet in 1912); km 18, road from Colima to Manzanillo, 337 m (Valenzuela Z. 106, IBUG); Mpio. Aquila, Ostula (J. H. Hill 42).
Acaulescent, 15-25 (-40) cm high in flower;
leaves 6-10, often surpassing the inflorescence, coarsely pale-lepidote;
sheaths ovate, 3-7 cm long, strongly inflated and forming an ovoid pseudobulb 5-8 cm long, merging gradually into the blades,
blades linear-triangular, involute-subulate, 15-40 cm long, up to 10-15 mm wide near base, usually much coiled or contorted;
inflorescence erect or ascending, simple and distichous-flowered or (mostly) digitately compound, the spikes 2-6, erect or spreading, linear-lanceolate, acute, 6-12-flowered, up to 15 cm long;
bracts of the scape (peduncle) imbricated, foliaceous, the lowermost like the rosette leaves, the uppermost up to 10-15 cm long;
primary bracts ovate, 1.5-3 cm long, often smaller than the floral bracts and nearly or quite bladeless, lepidote, pink;
floral bracts nearly erect or divergent, imbricated, ovate-lanceolate, obtuse (but often inrolled at apex and in profile acute), not keeled, 1.6-2 cm long, little more than twice as long as the internodes and exposing the rachis, equalling or little longer than the sepals, thin with numerous prominent fine nerves, nearly or quite glabrous, red or pink to green;
flowers subsessile;
sepals oblong, obtuse, subcoriaceous or papery, prominently nerved, glabrous, the adaxial (posterior) pair connate;
petals linear, tubular-erect, 3-4 cm long, violet ("morados") or "mauve" (G); stamens and pistil exserted; stigma spiral;
fruit cylindric, 3-4 cm long, 5-6 mm in diameter; seeds 100-140,1-2.5 cm long.
Sometimes confused with Tillandsia balbisiana, which also occurs in the Pacific lowlands. Usually the two are easily separated by the differences in the floral bracts, which in T. balbisiana are smooth, hard, and lustrous, in contrast to those of T. caput-medusae, which are lined (at least when dry) by numerous parallel elevated nerves. The leaf-sheaths in T. balbisiana change more abruptly into the blades than those of T. caput-medusae, and the leaves and scape-bracts tend to be abruptly reflexed rather than coiled or contorted.

Updated 05/11/20