Tillandsia ionantha
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Tillandsia ionantha
Click HERE to jump to listing of registered ionantha cultivars.
Birgit Rhode at Bromeliads XIII.
Ken Woods 12/06.
Ken Woods 06/09.
Derek Butcher 05/11. See -
Detective Derek 0511
Ian Hook, Sydney 05/04. Giant form, possibly 'Apretado'
Chris Larson 11/16 as var. maxima*
*Chris Larson ... "T. ionantha var maxima – imported as T. ionantha 'Huamelula' back in the early 90’s."
Alan Phythian 11/17
Bob Hudson 10/17
Bob Hudson 10/18
Bob Hudson ... "Another beaut T. ionantha. It should have a name

Apricot Crush?
. Note the very dark nearly black petals."
Vic Przetocki 07/18 "Giant form"
Rob Bower 07/18
Derek Butcher ... "Vic: There are at least 4 cultivars that can be called giant. To help you out I m going to suggest 'Penito'. What do others think?"
Chris Larson ... "I would not go to T.Penito as I dont think it is that. i reckon that Vics doing the right thing in not lumping it with something which it is probably not - which would , from my point of view, make that name pointless."
Rob Bower ... "After the meeting at Pams and her collection of ionanthas, I thought I would send these in. The big one is similar but not the same as the giant form from Vic recently. Nice hot red colour. The smaller red one is slow growing and pretty much always red. If anyone has some variety names in mind that would be good."
Chris Larson 11/18
Chris Larson 06/19 BOE1593
Chris Larson 07/19 BOE714
Chris Larson 11/18 ... "This is one I’ve always thought of registering. Many of you have it already – no one has ever said no. To my mind it was the best one from an Isley batch in 2006. But do we need another name?"
Chris Larson 06/19 ... "From Mr Boeker in Germany, hence ionantha BOE 1593. Very similar in form to the one labelled Mex in your nearest Bunnings, or T. ionantha 'Huamelula' around the world (which emanates from Asia) but is different to the ones in the states."
Dale Dixon 11/20 BOE 080
Dale Dixon ... "I got this wild collected T. ionantha from Peter Tristram a while ago. It came with the collection number BOE 080.
It flowered for me in mid November last year and right on time here it is flowering again. I remember not being impressed with its colour last year and thought that it must just be a ‘dull’ form of the species. Well...I moved all my Tillandsias into the new shade house in June this year and the T. ionantha now get more direct light and it appears to have made a difference. BOE 080 is just the most vibrant pink. And the rest of my T. ionantha were just as colourful. Amazing what changing the light exposure can do. I’ve written to Andreas to see if there is additional collection data for this individual."

T. 'Truchlik'. Unregistered ionantha form. See seperate cultivar entry this website.
Peter Tristram 01/21 ex. Truchlich
Bruce Dunstan 12/20 "Truchlik"
Peter Tristram "Truchlik" ... "Hi Bruce, I got it from a friend of Lotte, in Austria. She took me to visit him (Herr Walter Truchlich). He had a great collection and spent time in Mexico so it might have been one of his collections."
Bruce Dunstan "Truchlik" ... "Thanks for the information. I noticed the spelling with the K in the German Journal. I guess one day we should think about a cultivar name for this plant. Like a small version of T. Ron?. First flowering for me, usually this plant is more interested in multiplying. I have another from you from the same source that has much thinner leaves, also flowered but I didn't get to take a photo, sadly."

Ian Cook 12/20 "Hand Grenade"
Ian Cook "Hand Grenade" ... "Flowering here in Adelaide at present is T. Ionantha 'Hand Grenade'. Compact inflorescence sitting low in the rosette."

Ed: See also unregistered cultivar? / hybrid? temporarily called 'Red Dragon'.

Tillandsia ionantha var. van_hyningii
NOTE: this ionantha variety has now been raised to species status. See "T. vanhyningii" entry.

Chris Larson 07/11.
Peter Tristram 10/14.
Nanette Collingwood 08/16
Chris Larson ... "Not often seen in colour & flower. Taken by me at Bob Hudson's place during the World Bromeliad Conference."
Peter Tristram ... "The variety 'van hyningii' isn't often posted and is slow growing plant. I gather it is not easy to find in Mexico now as the canyon where it grew is now a dam. Pam might know more. I have a few forms and Chris and I found a monster in Colombia at Gruber’s."
Bob Hudson 06/19
Chris Larson 08/19 "From Asia, probably tissue culture."
Chris Larson 05/21
Chris Larson 07/22
Pamela Koide Hyatt 07/22
Pamela Koide Hyatt ... "Bird Rock Tropicals, 07/22.
Someone got promoted to SPECIES status! Tillandsia ionantha var. van hyningii was first described by Mulford B. Foster in 1957. Foster discovered the now Tillandsia vanhyningii (pronounced van-HIGH-nin-gee-eye) in the Sumidero Canyon of Chiapas, Mexico, growing along steep limestone cliffs in large formations. At first glance, Foster was sure it was a new species, but after blooming and observing the plant, it appeared the have the same composition as many other forms of ionantha. In a paper last year, Carlos Beutelspacher and Roberto Garcia-Martinez argued for the reclassification of Tillandsia ionantha var. van hyningii by elevating it to species status due to the caluescent growth habit not observed in other varietals or cultivars of ionantha. The name change was accepted, and so Tillandsia vanhyningii is born. The name, which can be difficult to say, honors long time Tillandsia collectors, the Van Hynings."

Tillandsia ionantha var. zebrina
See also Cultivar T. 'Zebrina'.
In 1994 this was included into the definition of T. ionantha - from a Botanists view it fits within the range of ionantha.
Shortly after, it was included in the Cultivar Registry as T. 'Zebrina' by Derek Butcher
as there were sufficient horticultural differences to warrant "keeping the name alive".
Now listed as T. 'Zebrina' a cv. of ionantha.
Peter Tristram 08/11
Bob Hudson 12/12
Greg Aizlewood 09/14 as 'variegated form'

Tillandsia ionantha var. stricta - was 'Rosita'.

From BCR ... "'Rosita' = cv. of ionantha, Isley?, <1987
(Mexico - always red - to 10 cm. diameter) - Koide said, "The plant referred to as 'Rosita' is the same as Tillandsia ionantha 'Stricta' - This variation is endemic to one location in Oaxaca, Mexico. Red throughout its entire life and has very narrow, nearly filiform leaf blades". Now known as ionantha v. stricta (Koide)."
Peter Tristram 10/12.
Chris Larson 11/16 ex. Isley
Bob Hudson 01/17 "'Rosita' growing in a spiral leaf pattern"
Peter Tristram ... "This is what I got as T. ionantha Rosita in the mid '80s and what Chris sold (still sells) as v. stricta a few years ago. Very similar if not identical. I have Rositas from a few sources and they vary only in size but the overall shape and leaf density is pretty consistent, and reddness if grown bright. Chris has sold some that look like larger 'v. stricta' too.
Great plants anyway - never have too many! Too many ionantha forms to name them all!"
(Ed. - Note Pamela’s BSI Journal article of 1993, it says that the then proposed T. ionantha var stricta was created to apply to the previously named T. ionantha Rosita.)
Bob Hudson
Gary May 11/19 as Rosita
Gary May 11/19 var. stricta 'Silver Leaf; and 'Green Leaf'
Gary May ... (Rosita) "This came from Bob Hudson about 5yrs ago. Very dark, noticably heavier than other ionantha of similar size. Really slow growing but it was worth the wait. H 11cm, W total 9cm, W bulb 4cm. Stiff leaf. 40mins north of Brisbane, almost all day under 1% galvanised birdwire."
Gary May ... (var. stricta) "In my collection there are quite a few variations in the ionantha v. stricta group. Size, colour, degree of leaf recurve etc. Here are my medium size, green leaf and silver leaf. Approaching flowering the green leaf remains light green whereas the silver leaf turns a pleasant deep red."
John Olsen 11/21

Tillandsia ionantha Mexico Ex. Lau.

Harold Kuan 12/19 as ionantha "Curly Top Batch"
Harold Kuan ... "Just sharing this very festive-looking T. ionantha 'Curly Top batch'. Started flowering about November.
As soon as it flowered I managed to capture it with the good camera, but realised that unfortunately when it had three flowers poking through I only had time to capture it with my phone.
A lovely little plant! I remember Chris telling me that this was a particular clone he picked out of a batch of ionantha 'Curly Top' – hence the description."
Bob Hudson ... "Good evening Harold. See the BCR for photos of the real 'Curly Top'. Your plant may be T. Curly Leaf ?"
Chris Larson ... "This plant also goes by the name T. ionantha Mexican ex Lau. Collectors Corner imported this batch prior to my employment - Brent was supervising the import if I am correct.
T. ionantha Curly Top was selected as the best from this batch that show the particular trait and sent to Bob Hudson. I later isolated another few that show the same trait as T. Curly Top and have been propagating these. These may or may not be vegetative propagations from the original T. Curly Top.
Under certain conditions the T. Curly top sends up pups which are very flat. For a while I thought this was different and some crept out as T. Flat Top - due to people asking for them - but these all ended up being T. Curly Top.
So Harold, yours are normally tagged T. ionantha Mexico ex Lau. Many will have these forms in their collection. I think that Bertie Flower also got some accross to NZ in the '00s
I really like this form."
Chris Larson ... "BTW. The little scurfy T. ionantha Mexico which is available in the nearest Bunnings to you is a great example of the Registrars problem. (This is different plant from the form T. ionantha Mexico ex Lau that Harold showed above.) When it is grown in a similar latitude to Cairns but at around 450m altitude, it grows to a similar size to what we sell it - forms small offsets to approx 2-3 cm. But if it is grown nearby, at sea level - same as Cairns, it doesn't flower readily, and reaches a size similar to T. ionantha var maxima (approx 15 cm). T. ionantha var maxima is the name of the large plant that comes from Huamelula and prior to be being described was called T. ionantha Huamelula. (I refuse to use this name for this plant, as it is very different to the forms of T. ionantha var maxima that Bird Rock Tropicals & Rainforest Flora sells.) I've noticed some eBayers selling clusters of this plant (supplied by Collectors Corner) as "T. ionantha Mexico Mini" with each plant in the cluster being 10 to 15 mm - the vendors detailing it in the associated blurb as a small form - they haven't a clue, as they buy small plants and they sell small plants. This plant is around all over the world as T. ionantha Huamelula from CC's supplier - a name which CC refuse to use for the reasons stated.
These are the things that need to be taken into account as Registrar, and why (I think) Derek throws up his hands. Good luck Geoff! It is a big call in assessing each request for registration."
Chris Larson 12/20 "Curly Top Batch"
Chris Larson ... "This one has been around for nearly 30 years. Imported from Alfredo Lau way back when. Out of this batch came the lovely little T. ionantha Curly Top (which also had the name T. ionantha Flat Top for a while - sorry, my mistake).
Sometimes there is an orangey shade to them, other times it is dark, burnt, red - all dependent on culture. This time it is something else and, as with some Mexican T. ionantha, they mostly have this nearly exserted bracts - sorry for the terminology - similar to T. ionantha var stricta amongst others."

Tillandsia ionantha (Mexico) in Australian Stores.

Dale Dixon 11/20 as var. Mexico
Dale Dixon ... "I thought my T. ionantha were finished for the year then I looked up. I bought this one with Var. 'Mexican' on the tag. It’s a lovely vibrant red. Does this one have a registered name?"
Chris Larson ... "This is the tag on Collectors Corner's polypaks. So my assumption is that's what we are looking at. It certainly looks like that plant.
We receive this as T. 'Huamelula'. I have seen it on an international web site as such. Someone on that forum said it is not - and I agree. I sent a pic to Pam Koide-Hyatt, she agrees it is not.
Others that have been to Huamelula (on Pams tours) say this form is not there.
T. Huamelula is now T. ionantha var maxima. But as it has little similarity in appearance to this we cannot use this name. I refuse to use the name Huamelula.
So we sell it as T.ionantha Mexico."
Dale Dixon ... "I got it from a private collector in Sydney so don’t know the provenance. It’s certainly different to other ionantha that I have and bears some resemblance to 'Mayan Flame' on BinA. What do you think."
Derek Butcher ... "You could try matching it up on the BCR listings. Under Advanced Search, type "Ionantha Group" in the Notes section--and up come 145 cultivar names, which include T. ionantha hybrids."
Ed. ... "See also 2nd row of pics at top of this page "var maxima", and Chris Larson's comments in 'Tillandsia ionantha Mexico Ex. Lau.' section above.
T. 'Huamelula', T. ionantha var maxima, T. ionantha Mexico Ex. Lau, T. ionantha Mexico (in Aust), and others need to be considered when looking at these labels."

Tillandsia ionantha var. maxima
Chris Larson 11/06
Chris Larson 07/22
Bob Hudson 09/22
Chris Larson (07/22) ... "T. ionantha var maxima - the plant that comes from Huamelula. A few Aussies have been to the habitat for this plant on Mexican tours.
The plant is supposed to be a little greener than other forms of T. ionantha, have a more open rosette than many, and have wider thicker leaves - brittle. So says the description by Pam KH in the early 90s BSI article describing it - it is on the disc. It is larger than many forms, but there are a few other forms much larger.
These strings were all bunched together before I pulled them apart. This is the reason some rosettes aren't quite so open - they were restricted in their growth. Given the opportunity they will be more like the ones at bottom left - so that's what they should look like.
Many of the plants in Aussie collections under this name are not correct."
Ed. ... "See also Chris Larson's comments in 'Tillandsia ionantha Mexico Ex. Lau.' section above.
T. 'Huamelula', T. ionantha var maxima, T. ionantha Mexico Ex. Lau, T. ionantha Mexico (in Aust), and others need to be considered when looking at these labels."

Tillandsia ionantha – a guide to its Cultivars as at January 2021.
Input by Pamela Hyatt, Justin Lee and Derek Butcher.
See also Journal Brom. Soc. 43(4):161. 1993.
T. ionantha has a wide coverage in Derek Butcher's DVD. Just one of the notes is called 'Ionantha cultivars' and shows how difficult it is if you lose a label.
Hopefully this table will assist identification by placing all the registered cultivars in one place.
Geoff Lawn ... "If only cultivar groups were clear-cut, but in the BCR T. ionantha hybrids became too prolific and it was easiest to just lump them with pure ionantha types as the T. ionantha in the parentage was visually obvious.
Where does one draw the line though, because a number of "pure ionantha" registered cultivars are intraspecific crosses between named ionantha cultivars, such as T. Big Kahuna.
Probably your best guide is in 'Bromeliads in Australia' where Ian Hook separated the "pure" ionantha group with photos into one group as ionantha cultivars -- I counted 86 distinct types listed, practically all linked to the BCR entries."
Click thumbnails for larger images or Click BCR number to jump to full BCR web page.

About Time
BCR=#11048, photo: Bill Timm
Cuicatlan x Pine Cone, Florida
Agua Blanca
BCR=#10283, photo: Derek Butcher
ionantha x magnusiana, Mexico
BCR=#14342, photo: P.Pacharapong
capitata (orange form) x ionantha, Thailand
BCR=#11976, photo: Paul Isley
streptophylla x Fuego, California
Apalala Regal
BCR=#14042, photo: P.Pacharapong
Roja x Pole, Thailand
Apretado BRT
BCR=#14772, photo: Pamela Koide-Hyatt. Bird Rock Tropicals. Slow growing and therefore large at flowering. 12cm high x 6cm wide
Apretado RFI
BCR=#14773, photo: Chris Larson. 1cm to 5cm high x 2cm wide. Rainforest Flora Inc. (See discussions this website 'Apretado')
Aunt Betty
BCR=#13369, photo: Andrew Flower
ionantha "rubra" x hondurensis
Aurea Grandis
name used by Isley before changing to Sumo Size White
Baby Domingo
BCR=#16497, photo: Jesrey Valencia
Fuego x Ron, Hawaii
BCR=#13693, photo: Xiao Kong
Cone Head x Fuego, China
Big Hawaiian
BCR=#14921, photo: Jerry Domingo
Apretado BRT x ionantha v. maxima, Hawaii
Big Kahuna
BCR=#15483, photo: Jerry Domingo
Peach x ionantha v. maxima, Hawaii
Bill Paylen
BCR=#12158, photo: Paul Isley
ionantha x caput-medusae, California
Black Beauty
BCR=#14120, photo: C. Sanchez-Mariscal
Black Marmalade
BCR=#14632, photo: Woody Kaotun
BCR=#15936, Thailand, photo: Chris Larson
Brilliant Spring
BCR=#13959, photo: P.Pacharapong
ionantha (Mexico) x Showtime, Thailand
Cai Mei-Jin
BCR=#14481, photo: Hao Chu
(rodrigueziana X brachycaulos) x ionantha, Taiwan
Celtic Spire
BCR=#10678, photo: Dennis Cathcart
Druid x ionantha var. van-hyningii, Florida
Charon's Crystal
BCR=#14086, photo: P. Pacharapong
ionantha (Mexico No.5001) x Mali Dofitas, Thailand
Charon's Gem
BCR=#14085, photo: P. Pacharapong, Pachara Orchids
cv. ionantha (Mexico), Mexico/Thailand
Charon Red Scarlet
BCR=#14234, photo: P. Pacharapong
ionantha (Mexico No.5108) x bradeana (Costa Rica), Thailand
Charon Sparkle
BCR=#14357, photo: P. Pacharapong
capitata var. guzmanioides x ionantha (Mexico No.4760), Thailand
Christmas Flame
BCR=#13233, photo: Pachara Orchids
Found in Mexico.
Christmas Pink
BCR=#13221, photo: Jenny Lynn
N.Ryan, Australia
Chu Jui-Sui
BCR=#14226, photo: Hao Chu
ionantha var. vanhyningii x Fuego, Taiwan
BCR=#15063, photo: Pachara Orchids
Cone Head
BCR=#8035, photo: Tillandsia International.
Seems different to other pics on BCR ?? (See also this website 'ConeHead')
(Not?) Cone Head
BCR=#8035, photo: Val Honeywood, Aus.
Koide said, "Another large cultivar of unknown origin" (See 'Hand Grenade', 'Pine Cone' and 'Huamelula').
BCR=#8043, photo: Pamela Koide Hyatt
Nat. Hyb. circinnatoides x ionantha, found in Mexico
BCR=#10141, photo: Derek Butcher
A form being distributed by the company Corsa SA in Europe and quite widespread and named in Australia
Crown Ruby
BCR=#13077, photo: Andy Tan
jalisco-monticola x ionantha, Malaysia
BCR=#13232, photo: Andrew Flower
Andrew Flower in New Zealand
Curly Fountain
BCR=#15727, photo: Kelvin Tan
Cultivated in Singapore.
Curly Leaf
BCR=#15693, photo: Chris Larson
Asia, imported to Aust.
Curly Top
BCR=#10459, photo: Derek Butcher
Bob Hudson
Desert Lights
BCR=#14948, photo: Vic Przetock
Domingo's Pretty
BCR=#16403, photo: Jerry Domingo
ionantha var. vanhyningii x brachycaulos, Mexico
Domingo's Stripes
BCR=#16647, photo: Jerry Domingo
ionantha var. vanhyningii x ionantha (Mexico), Hawaii
Dragon Blood
BCR=#14194, photo: C. Sanchez-Mariscal
Philippines. See also Dragon Fire
Dragon Fire
BCR=#14187, photo: C. Sanchez-Mariscal
Fuego x Black Beauty, Philippines
Dream Boy
BCR=#13692, photo: Xiao Kong
BCR=#8060, photo: Dennis Cathcart
ionantha albino form, Mexico
BCR=#14039, photo: P. Pacharapong
Maria Teresa L. x Mayan Feathers, Thailand
Fire Bug
BCR=#10945, photo: Bill Timm
Humbug x Fuego, Florida
Fire Fountain
BCR=#10714, photo: Dennis Cathcart
capitata (yellow form) x Druid, Costa Rica
Fire Up
BCR=#13730, photo: Jasmine Koh
Flare Up
BCR=#10947, photo: Bill Timm
Billy Boy x Fuego, Florida
Fuchsia Sensation
BCR=#13789, photo: P. Pacharapong
ionantha x Roja, Thailand
BCR=#8091, photo: Pachara Orchids
from Guatemala, leaves stiffer than v. stricta
Fuego Yellow
BCR=#12733, photo: Hiroyuki Takizawa
see JBS Japan 2014
BCR=#10142, photo: Jane Wu
from Isley 2010 seems similar to Apretado etc
Hand Grenade
BCR=#8105, photo: Dennis Cathcart
from Honduras – Cathcart
BCR=#8107, photo: Jane Wu
name used in Germany - ?Peanut
spare, photo: .
Hawaiian Frost
BCR=#15482, photo: Jerry Domingo
Hawaii. (grex sibling to Hawaiian Orange ?)
Hawaiian Lavender
BCR=#13867, photo: Jerry Domingo
Hawaiian Orange
BCR=#15481, photo: Jerry Domingo
Hawaii. (grex sibling to Hawaiian Frost ?)
Hawaiian Peach
BCR=#15158, photo: Jerry Domingo
ionantha v. van-hyningii x ionantha v. van-hyningii, Hawaii
Hawaiian Red
BCR=#13678, photo: Jerry Domingo
Hawaiian Vacation
BCR=#16667, photo: Jerry Domingo
ionantha(Mexico) x intermedia, Hawaii
BCR=#12789, photo: Seth Charoenwong
From Thailand
BCR=#8116, photo: Pamela Koide-Hyatt
now = v. maxima
Holm's Volcano
BCR=#13195, photo: Tanja Richter
ionantha var. ionantha x delicata, Germany
Ice Sorbet
BCR=#15066, photo: Pachara Orchids
Icy Elf
BCR=#15065, photo: Pachara Orchids
Icy Elf
BCR=#15065, photo: Pachara Orchids
Jett's Champion
BCR=#15454, photo: Claudio D Sanchez
John's Clone
BCR=#11524, photo: Pamela Koide Hyatt
ionantha x seleriana, California
La Muerte
BCR=#13390, photo: Jane Wu
Lemon Sherbet
BCR=#13954, photo: Andy Tan
variegated sport of x rectifolia, Malaysia
Little Thing
BCR=#12453, photo: Eric Gouda
ionantha x abdita/brachycaulos, Netherlands
Little Velvet
BCR=#14150, photo: Woody Kaotun
spare, photo: .
Magic Blush
BCR=#8164, photo: Derek Butcher
ionantha v. stricta x magnusiana
Maidens Blush
BCR=#8165, photo: Derek Butcher
ionantha x Druid
Mandarin Gem
BCR=#15064, photo: Pachara Orchids
BCR=#12639, photo: Terry Davis
Probably from Bob Okasaki, Hawaii
spare, photo: .
Maureen Green
BCR=#11788, photo: Andrew Flower
bradeana x Rosita, New Zealand
Mayan Feathers
BCR=#13768, photo: P Pacharapong
Wild collected ionantha, Mexico
Mayan Flame
BCR=#14084, photo: P. Pacharapong, Pachara Orchids
Mayan Pearl
BCR=#14060, photo: P. Pacharapong
Mayan Regal
BCR=#14061, photo: P. Pacharapong
Mayan Totem Pole
BCR=#12648, photo: Pachara Orchids
Mayan Vase
BCR=#14038, photo: P. Pacharapong
Methaporn Delight
BCR=#14495, photo: Warairak Charoenchan
Thailand. Variegated form of ‘Druid’
Mexican Pink
BCR=#13170, photo: Seth Charoenwong
BCR=#15085, photo: Pachara Orchids
Mini Q
BCR=#15854, photo: Mi Mi Lee
Apretado F2, Taiwan.
BCR=#10143, photo: Derek Butcher
named by Bob Hudson of Cairns. AU, for a very small form selected from a seed batch. Flowers at 3cm tall
Minnie White
BCR=#11748, photo: Bob Hudson
Named by Bob Hudson. Has been growing and stable for several years now(BH).
BCR=#12641, photo: Paul Isley
By Isley? links to Gary Hammer as Pachara Predator and the German ‘Kristate’?
Nick Mavrikas
BCR=#10083, photo: Edwin Ho
Pink Panther x Hand Grenade, Florida
BCR=#15880, photo: Hiroyuki Takizawa
Oriental Holy Fruit
BCR=#16591, Haselnuss x Druid. photo: Zhijian Wu
Oriental Red
BCR=#14708, Fuego x Druid. photo:BCR
spare, photo: .
Pachara Predator
BCR=#12645, photo: Pachara Orchids
Pachara Red Phoenix
BCR=#13076, photo: Patpong Pacharapong
Roja x ionantha (Mexico No.9576), Thailand
Pachara Red Velvet
BCR=#12623, photo: Patpong Pacharapong
Roja x Totem Pole, Thailand
Pachara Solarish
BCR=#11196, photo: Pachara Orchids
Wild collected ionantha, Mexico
Pachara Tropicana
BCR=#13094, photo: Pachara Orchids(left) Xiao Kong(right, at flowering)
velutina x Pachara Solarish, Thailand
from Taxco Mexico
= v. stricta fa. fastigiata
BCR=#8224, photo:
large form similar to ‘Apretado’, from Bromelifolia, Guatemala. (See also this website 'Penito')
Pine Cone
BCR=#8229, photo: Dennis Cathcart
from Cathcart
Pink Beauty
BCR=#14915, photo: Chris Larson
from Asia
Pink Champagne
ionantha x Druid. N.Ryan Qld, photo Bruce Dunstan
Pink Delight
Qld, photo Pam Butler
Pink Fantasia
BCR=#15420, photo: Vic Przetocki
Druid x ionantha 'Mexicana', Western Australia
BCR=#10946, photo: Bill Timm
Peanuts x praschekii, Florida
BCR=#12609, photo: Seth Charoenwong
ionantha seed, Thailand
Premium Red
BCR=#15067, photo: Pachara Orchids
BCR=#12731, photo: Paul Isley
Queen's Trinket
BCR=#11380, photo: Pamela Koide Hyatt
flabellata x ionantha, California
Red Bug
BCR=#10085, photo: Bill Timm
Humbug x ionantha 'rubra',Florida
Red Burst
BCR=#11544, photo: Andy Tan
ionantha var. stricta x fasciculata, Malaysia
Red Cat
BCR=#16511, photo: Bruce Dunstan
ionantha x seleriana, Queensland
Red Dragon - unregistered 07/23
cv? of var hyningii? Photo: Chris Larson
spare, photo: .
spare, photo: .
spare, photo: .
Red Impala
BCR=#13806, photo: P. Pacharapong
Roja x Totem Pole, Thailand
Red Rock
BCR=#13391, photo: Joe Zhang
Red Ruby
BCR=#16410, photo: Kevin Tan
BCR=#8253, photo: -/Chris Larson
variegated form – Other names given which seem only to be a variation in the actual variegation such as ‘variegata’, albomarginata’, and ‘Yuko Johnson’ in Taiwan for an almost albino
See T. Renate on this web site for discussion.
BCR=#12909, photo: Paul Isley
BCR=#8259, photo: Bob Hudson
= ionantha v. stricta
BCR=#8263, photo: Andrew Flower
from Guatemala – more soft open rosette with a fluffy silver appearance
Ruby Black
BCR=#14631, photo: Woody Kaotun
Scarlet Rose
BCR=#13952, photo: Grant Paterson
Qld – Grant Patterson
Small Mexican
BCR=#8283, photo: Pachara Orchids
from Alfredo Lau in the early 1990’s and widespread at least in Australia & New Zealand. As the name implies, flowers when quite small. Sometimes labelled 'Mexican Lau'
Seth Firecracker
BCR=#13169, photo: Seth Charoenwong
capitata (rubra) x ionantha (Honduras), Thailand
Seth Red Wine
BCR=#12601, photo: Seth Charoenwong
Hondurensis x Fuego, Thailand
Seth Ruby
BCR=#13276, photo: Seth Charoenwong
capitata (rubra) x ionantha (rubra)
Shirley Evans
BCR=#10088, photo: Bill Timm
Druid x schiedeana, Florida
Silver Surprise
BCR=#8280, photo: Jenny Lynn
ionantha var. van-hyningii x ?, Queensland
Splendid Journey
BCR=#15886, photo: Mi Mi Lee
Apretado RFI x Sumo Size White, Taiwan
Succulent Form
BCR=#15881, photo: Hiroyuki Takizawa
Summer Coral
BCR=#14062, photo: P. Pacharapong
velutina x Pachara Solarish
Sumo Size White
BCR=#10144, photo: Ron Jell
A large white flowered form named by Isley(originally as 'Aurea Grandis')
Sun Bright
BCR=#14547, photo: P. Pacharapong
Roja x Totem Pole, Thailand
Supattra's Glitter
P.Pacharapong. Thailand
Supattra's Glitter
P.Pacharapong. Thailand
Super Boy
BCR=#15487, photo: Steve Molnar (sometimes as "Big Boy")
Super Frost
BCR=#15487, photo: Jerry Domingo
Tall Velvet
name from Tillandsia International
Thai Silk
BCR=#14151, photo: Woody Kaotun
Little Velvet x funckiana, Thailand
Timm's Celtic Twist
BCR=#11054, photo: Bill Timm
Druid x Timm's Twister, Florida
Timm's Outburst
BCR=#10948, photo: Dennis Cathcart
Domingensis x Fuego, Florida
Timm's Royal Treasure
BCR=#10943, photo: Dennis Cathcart
ionantha ? x ?, Florida
Tinca Fire
BCR=#8308, photo: S. Littlefield
cv ionantha, Florida
Totem Pole
BCR=#10145, photo: Benedict Tay
from Isley – a large form similar to 'Apretado'. Also known as 'Fuego Totem Pole'
Truchlik Unregistered ionantha from Germany ex. Peter Tristram, photo: Bruce Dunstan. See T. Truchlik this website.
Tuti Fruiti
BCR=#13815, photo: Andrew Flower
NZ Andrew Flower
Two Tone
BCR=#12642, photo: Paul Isley
Possibly a Sport of 'Fuego' from Isley
Uncle Vuth Pearl
BCR=#14630, photo: Woody Kaotun
Vanilla Signature
BCR=#14818, photo: Woody Kaotun
ionantha x (ionantha x brachycaulos), Thailand
BCR=#13274, photo: Seth Charoenwong
(brachycaulos x concolor) x Fuego
BCR=#8325, photo: Pachara Orchids
ionantha x brachycaulos, Nat Hyb and remakes
Victoria Reverse
BCR=#11787, photo: Andrew Flower
brachycaulos x ionantha, New Zealand
Wait N'C
BCR=#8328, photo: Bill Timm
ionantha var. van-hyningii x Druid
White Knight
BCR=#13932, photo: Bob Hudson
From Holm in Germany. Was known as ‘Alba’
Wild Thing
Unregistered in 01/22, photo: James Lester, Australia
Xiamen Sunshine
BCR=#16621, photo: Yu Mu
variegated Apretado RFI, China
Xianxi Treasure
BCR=#16646, photo: Shen Ming Liu
ionantha (green) x streptophylla, Taiwan
BCR=#8340, photo: Dennis Cathcart as 'Zebrina Mex'
a cultivar with light cross markings on the leaves

Tillandsia ionantha; Its Varieties, Forms, and Cultivars by Pamela Koide in J. Brom.Soc. 43: 160-3. 1993
Tillandsia ionantha is one of the most common and interesting species of the genus Tillandsia. One of the most delightful of the miniatures, its tufting, silvery rosette reaches only 1½ to 4 inches in height. The leaves, covered with silvery scales, are seldom over 2 inches long. It is rather easy to grow and adapts well to our outdoor southern California climate. If left to grow into a cluster, this species will form a large ball in a very short time. Some people have grown these clumps to the size of a basketball, a spectacle when the whole cluster blushes red at bloom time. The common name for this species is "Blushing Bride," referring to the red blush during anthesis. Although several forms and varieties are available to the collector, there are only two varieties recognized in Harry Luther's AN ALPHABETICAL LIST OF BROMELIAD BINOMIALS, but three in Lloyd Kiff's A DISTRIBUTIONAL CHECK-LIST OF THE GENUS TILLANDSIA. Descriptions of the varieties, forms, and cultivars follow:
Tillandsia ionantha var. ionantha is the most common and available variety. It was described in 1855 by Jules Emile Planchon. This variety is the most widespread, growing from Mexico to Costa Rica at altitudes of 450 to 5,000 feet. It varies somewhat in appearance from country to country, as well as within each country. It grows in dense masses in moist forests, as well as on exposed deciduous trees and rocks in arid regions. It can vary from silvery color with thin leaves, to green and lush, with thick, succulent-type leaves. When it starts to flower, the entire plant turns a brilliant rosy red. The narrow, tubular flowers are large for the size of the plant, topping the foliage by 1 to 1 ½ inches. The petals are vivid purple.
Tillandsia ionantha var. vanhyningii was described by Mulford Foster in 1957. It is endemic to one region in the state of Chiapas in southern Mexico. It is lithophytic, growing on vertical limestone cliffs overhanging Rio Grijalva. This variety is caulescent (with distinct stems). The leaf color is a silvery pale green to white. In habitat, it produces large mats of rosettes. When the plant blooms, the foliage will flush bright pink, and produce the same vivid purple flowers as variety ionantha. Pups emerge from the base of the old mature leaves to form new leads. As this species is geographically isolated and morphologically and ecologically distinct, it fits Luther's criteria of a subspecies.
Tillandsia ionantha var. zebrina, the third variety listed in Kiff's book, was described by Bert Foster in 1982. Harry Luther thinks that this should be considered a form and not a true botanical variety. It was collected in Guatemala and differs from the typical species in its beautifully banded leaf blades.
Tillandsia ionantha var. scaposa is the synonym of the species Tillandsia kolbii. T. kolbii was described by Walter Till and Stefan Schatzl, in 1981. The species has little in common morphologically with the species T. ionantha. It occurs at much higher elevations in pine-oak cloud forests. It is characterized by a scapose, occasionally compound inflorescence. Although the type locality is Oaxaca, Mexico, it is found most commonly in Guatemala.
Tillandsia ionantha `Druid' was introduced in 1984. This is a Mexican variation of T. ionantha var. ionantha that appears normal until it blooms. It then turns an unusual yellow color and produces flowers with white petals. I have seen numerous examples of this phenomenon in the genus Tillandsia and have always considered them to represent an albino form. Every generation of offsets continues to produce the same colorless inflorescence and flowers, indicating a fixed genetic trait.
T. ionantha `Rosita', `Peanut', and `Apretado' are cultivars mentioned in Paul Isley's book TILLANDSIA. The plant referred to as `Rosita' is the same as T. ionantha "Stricta," so called by several commercial tillandsia nurseries. This variation is endemic to one region in Oaxaca, Mexico. It is an isolated population found growing on oak trees at approximately 6500 feet elevation with T. fuchsii var. fuchsii. Other plants growing in the vicinity are the peach form of T. capitata, T. fasciculata, T. leucolepis, and the orchid Epidendrum parkinsonianum. It is red during its entire life, and has very narrow, nearly filiform leaf blades. During anthesis, it turns a brighter, brilliant red, and the flower petals are purple. I consider this a distinct variety and propose the name T. ionantha var. stricta.

T. ionantha var. stricta hort. ex Koide, var. nov.
A typo T. ionantha Planchon sed cui similis foliis pertenuibus et perpetuo rubris differt.
Type: Mexico: Oaxaca; 6 km east of El Camaron, elev. ca.. 2000 m. Epiphytic on Quercus sp. Koide & Schuster s.n. legit., April 1982. Flowered in cultivation, P. Koide s.n. (SEL, holotype; US, MEXU, isotypes).

T. ionantha `Peanut' is actually a form of the above-mentioned variety. It grows within the population of T. ionantha var. stricta and appears rather randomly. It, too, is red throughout its life, but morphologically different. Instead of growing onto an open rosette, its leaves stay erect, close together, and very tight. This characteristic is continued in offspring as well as in young seedlings. On account of its distinctive growth habit it is described below as forma fastigiata. According to H. Luther a "forma" is used to designate biologically trivial variations of a species that occur sporadically within a natural population. If these variants occur in a cultivated population, they should be designated a cultivar.

T. ionantha var. stricta forma fastigiata, Koide, forma nov.
A typo T. ionantha var. stricta Koide sed cui similis foliis fastigiatis differt.
Type: Mexico: Oaxaca; 6 km east of El Camaron, elev. ca.. 2000 m. Epiphytic on Quercus sp., growing intermingled with typical T. ionantha var. stricta, Koide & Schuster s.n. legit., April 1982.
Flowered in cultivation, P. Koide s.n. (SEL, holotype; US, MEXU, isotypes).

The last named, `Apretado' ; appears to be a variation of the Mexican T. ionantha var. ionantha. I have on occasion, found specimens of it growing in Mexico. They seem to grow larger than the typical species, and the leaves are succulent, slightly stiffer and more erect. They grow quite large as they are reluctant to bloom.

T. ionantha `Rubra'. This name is used to describe a cultivar sold by Guatemalan nurseries, It has semisucculent green leaves, which recurve from an open rosette. When it blooms it turns a light pink-rose color, and has purple flowers. I do not know the exact distribution of this plant.
T. ionantha `Fuego'. Another variation sold by Guatemalan nurseries, is red throughout its life, but differs from the Mexican T. ionantha var. stricta in that the leaf blades are somewhat stiffer and more upright. The rosette is closed. It has purple flowers.I do not know its distribution.
T. ionantha `Huamelula' was recently brought into cultivation from Mexico. It grows on lava rocks on the west coast of Oaxaca. The plants are very large in comparison to the typical species. A single specimen can be 3-4 inches in diameter. It has beautiful green leaves, forming a symmetrical rosette. During anthesis it turns a vivid pink-orange color, and produces large purple flowers.
T. ionantha `Peach' is a variation found near Taxco, Mexico. It is more typical of the species T. ionantha var. ionantha in size. The leaves are pale green until the plant blooms. Then they turn peach. The leaves are also softer than the typical species. It also produces purple flowers.
T. ionantha `Hand Grenade' is a very large form which resembles a hand grenade. According to Dennis Cathcart, this form is from Honduras and appears to have indeterminate growth. It is a sparse bloomer and occasionally will crest.
T. ionantha `Cone Head' - is another large cultivar. Its origin is not known to me.

To summarize, we can agree that the species Tillandsia ionantha is not only attractive but variable. As the species appearance changes, individuals have applied various names to distinguish one type from another and in so doing have created a nomenclatural nightmare. I hope that the names of these cultivars, varieties, and forms can be clarified before it becomes an impossible task.

Updated 29/07/23