Tillandsia polzii
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Tillandsia polzii
Peter Tristram, 07/10. Top plant bella(?), bottom polzii, see below.
Ken Woods. "Dark leaf form", 07/10.
From Peter Tristram....
"There are many interesting species, particularly from the east coast of Sth America, in the subgenus Anoplophytum. Many we are familiar with, like stricta, gardneri, tenuifolia, geminiflora and aeranthos but others are less common, until stocks multiply. From the southern end of the range (Rio Grande do Sul) comes T. polzii. Two clones are in bloom so hopefully seed will be a plenty! It is vaguely like T. aeranthos though larger and coarser in foliage, larger, more blue flowers and pretty slow too."
Correction from Peter Tristram 28/11/10
A few months back I posted some pics of T. polzii. After discussions with Renate, I have figured out that the larger, green-leafed plant is T. bella. If you have obtained a T. polzii from me and it is very open and green then it is T. bella. It is often sold in Europe as T. polzii. The real polzii is the other plant with the very secund, well-scaled leaves. (Leaves somewhat numerous (ca 10 – 15), laxly polystichous, distinctly secund, 6-11 cm long, both sides dense grey lepidote.)
Follow-up note from Derek Butcher: "The moral of the story is that if you have both bella AND polzii you keep them near each other in your collection so you can pick the subtle difference!"

Bruce Dunstan 02/14.
George Nieuwenhoven, 11/10. See notes below.
Peter Tristram, 11/10. See notes below.
Peter Tristram, 11/10. aeranthos x polzii unregistered hybrid. See notes below.
Peter Tristram, 06/15. polzii x aeranthos unregistered hybrid from Holm.
It has been decided the polzii was actually bella and this hybrid registered as T. Holm's Azurite.
George Nieuwenhoven 2/11/2010. Tillandsia aeranthos large flower.
"Just thought one of you might like to clarify this plant, I obtained it from Maurice a while ago labelled "aeranthos large flower form", it behaves very un-aeranthos like in that it only produces one pup after flowering and we all know how prolific this species can be. The flower is indeed larger and as the picture shows almost purple in colour. Perhaps Maurice can enlighten us first of all but any input will be appreciated.
Derek Butcher's reply...
How long is a piece of string? How large is large? From Big Len's point of view large may be large but from my height large can be huge. As the DVD tells us, petals can vary from 17 to 27mm long. This is some variation! If you only collected T. aeranthos you could be seeking the whole range of sizes and also a range of colours. Maurice was shrewd enough not to tell you what size to expect! If you are really serious about these minor differences then regrettably you have to advise where in the wild it was collected and hope that T. tenuifolia was not close by!
Reply from Peter Tristram...
It is an interesting group with so many variations over the range and other species in the mix too. The attached picture is of a plant from Germany with the following info supplied by Uwe:
T. polzii (det. W. Till 6/2008) "T. aeranthos Winkler s.n. Typ III" Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul - Prof. Winkler s.n. Typ III - BG Tübingen, Oliver König *** In: Ehlers, Bromelie 1997(1): 11-15 a "T. aeranthos, Rio Grande do Sul, bei Alegre, leg. Prof. Winkler (Ulm)"
So when does aeranthos stop being polzii or winkleri or tenuifolia? It has very stiff silver foliage unlike all of my other polzii and aeranthos. Walter says polzii but I'm keen on winkleri. It has selfed like aeranthos tends to do so seed will be available in 6 months or so.
I reckon a trip to Rio Grande do Sul would be enlightening!
Derek Butcher... But if you went to RG do S you would only muddy the water even more!! >:-} When Renate did Mexico she did it systematically often visiting the same site several times over the years. With others like RG do S I am not so sure. What happens is that you have the locals doing their thing like Teresia Strehl who is no longer with us. Then successive Germans doing their botanising with little real cohesion. Currently, it seems that Hofacker is flavour of the month where plants now flowering in Germany seem different to what was collected before in the same area.
So we have splitters and lumpers and we go round in ever decreasing circles! As Walter said recently, synonymy is a personal choice. In all probability your photo is the same as what I already have on the DVD as being within the broad range of T. aeranthos. If Eric Gouda had his way, they would all be T. tenuifolia and there would be no fun left!
Peter Tristram. T.aeranthos x polzii for comparison...
Here are a couple more of Holm’s hybrids (Deutschland). This aeranthos x polzii (unregistered)hybrid is new to my collection. Both are very attractive and a good addition to the growing pool of mongrels. Quite a few others are budding, with some pretty unusual parentages or part unknown. The cold nights are slowing things down though.
Derek Butcher 09/12/10...You may like to add that if the plant can be traced back to Renate Ehlers such as the plants of Len Colgan and myself then you are fairly sure of correct identity.

Tillandsia polzii sp. nova. Ehlers R. Die Bromelie 1: 11-13. 1997

Plant flowering to 25cm. high, epilythic, growing in dense clumps, short stemmed.
Leaves somewhat numerous (ca 10 – 15), laxly polystichous, distinctly secund, 6-11 cm long, both sides dense grey lepidote.
Sheath 3cm long, to 1.7cm wide,elliptic, indistinct, to the glabrous nerved base both sides dense grey scaled, the edges bent and with large asymmetric scales.
Blade to 9cm. long, to 1.3cm wide next to the sheath, narrow triangular, acuminate, arranged outwards like a claw, channelled, the edges strongly bent, leathery.
Scape bending over, well exceeding the leaves, to 10 cm. long, 5mm diam., glabrous.
Scape Bracts laxly imbricate, the scape visible, the lower ones similar to the leaves, the upper ones always short tipped, erect, internodes as long as the sheath.
Inflorescence simple, laxly polystichous with 3 to 6 sessile scent less flowers, 4-5 cm long, 2.5cm. wide, the flowers more or less spreading.
Floral Bracts 2.3 – 3.2 cm. long, exceeding the sepals, 1 – 1.6 cm. wide, oval, acute arched, very thin membraneous with hyaline edges, red, the bottom glabrous, the tip densely lepidote and keeled.
Sepals 2.12 – 2.15 cm long, 5 –6 mm wide, narrow elliptic, acuminate, thin membraneous, glabrous, the posterior pair almost totally joined and with a strong keel thickened at the base.
Petals 3.5 – 3.8 cm long with to 1.1cm. wide, elliptic, acuminate,blade, blue ( # 51 wisteria blue), blades strongly spreading, the bottom white, narrowing to 2mm at base.
Stamens enclosed in the flower, at anthesis visible from above, Filament 1.5 – 1.7 cm long, plicate, ( 1-3 times pleated,untwisted to 2.8 cm long), 1.2mm wide at base, narrowing at the tip, narrow where it joins the anther, very thin ribbon like, white.Anther 4mm long, 0.5 mm wide, linear, joined at base, yellow. Pollen egg yellow. Style 1.7 – 1.9cm long, thin, white. Stigma 2mm high , 2mm wide.Lobes spreading, thin, yellow white. Ovary 3.5 – 4.5mm high, 2.5 – 3mm wide, egg shaped, light green.
Type locality Brazil, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Mina Macaque (between Casapava and Baje), saxicolous, leg. Franz Polz, E Markus & Edmund Kirschnek s.n. 1979.(Holotype HK, Isotype WU)

Differs from T. aeranthos in
1. Leaves fewer, laxly arranged, secund, grey lepidote.
2. Scape longer and bent over.
3. Inflorescence lax with few, more-outspreading not wholly erect flowers.
4. Floral Bracts larger, lower ones acute not filiform, the upper portion denser lepidote and keeled.
5. Sepals much longer.
6. Petals to 3.8 cm long compared to 2.7 cm , the platte to 1cm wide and acuminate, much more spreading, lighter blue.

Named after Franz Polz of Munich

A new Tillandsia from Rio Grande do Sul by Franz Polz in Die Brom 1: 16-17. 1997

This started almost 17 years ago. Ernst Markus, Edi Kirschnek and I, had already been on two trips to Cactus country in Peru and wanted to see Cactus flora in Brazil. Although confirmed cactus lovers we were also interested in Tillandsias, no miracle, because everyone of us had for many years been friends with the late Alfred Blass. As for knowing Tillandsias, all three of us only had restricted knowledge.

In linguistic sense, we prepared for this trip by getting a small Portuguese/German dictionary because of a lack of knowledge of the Portuguese language. But thanks to overall friendliness and helpfulness, we found it easy. Cactus-wise we could not have done better: we had contacted beforehand with Dirk van Vliet, a Notocactus specialist in Holambra S.P., and had a letter of introduction. This contact rewarded us not only with cordial hospitality but with one durable friendship. After a long welcome and sightseeing in the local area, the friendships we made provided us with great discussions naturewise and also with location information.

First goal was the famous Iguacu Falls in the neighbouring state Parana on the border with Argentina. It is right: this grandiose remarkable area should not be missed by any visitor of Brazil. From the Falls our route went southwards through the state of Santa Catarina across to Rio Grande do Sul, the state of landed estates and gauchos, that is the border of the southern-most state of Brazil to Uruguay. We had already determined that in broad streches of agricultural land we could expect patches of higher ground. In the distance we could see original vegetation along narrow strips by the rivers and in areas inappropriate for farmland. On the other hand, we also found miraculous mountain landscapes with deep canyons, high waterfalls and impressive araucaria forests. We were quite content in finding cactus country that could not be compared with what we had seen in Mexico. We saw lots of tillandsias. In the course of the trip the following were listed in my diary: pohliana, tenuifolia, loliacea, stricta, usneoides, crocata, duratii, lorentziana, gardneri, aeranthos, bergeri, geminiflora and naturally, a number that we could not identify.

Finally we come to the place of discovery of a Tillandsia, whose description by Mrs. Renate Ehlers appears in this Journal: that comes from the south of Rio Grande do Sul, not all that far from the border to Uruguay. The south east highlands of Brazil runs out here into rolling hills, that finally flows into the plains of Parana -Ebene. The area near Mina Macaque, the place of discovery between the provinces of Pacapava do Sul and Baje, a particular feature was a row of lofty rocky knolls of reddish sandstone layers, that had scattered shrubbery. The altitude was about 300 m. In the diary under 6th September at the location of the Tillandsia it shows: aeranthos with question marks and geminiflora. On a night trip to the Tagesziel Baje, Edi Kirschnek thought that the find could be something new; a good clue because I did not trade him for it.

Updated 09/01/17