Tillandsia vernicosa
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Tillandsia vernicosa
Ken Woods 06/05
David Sheumack 08/06.
See comments below.
Mark Supple 04/12
David Sheumack. - "This photo shows two forms of T. vernicosa. The one on the left came from Karel Knitze back in 1989, the one on the right came from Paul Isley in 1990. The Knitze one has much greyer leaves and they are somewhat wider than the right hand specimen from Isley. The Isley form has distinctly green leaves. I have always thought there may be some difference however this is the first time they have flowered at the same time and they look identical."

Chris Butler 04/10
Ken Woods 08/10
From Chris & Anna to Tillandsia discussion group...
"...photos of what we now think to be T. vernicosa, we sent photos previously to Derek, then we thought it might have been T. Evita but it was not fully in flower at the time, he suggested we wait until flowering.
Now leaning more towards T. vernicosa, based on information on Derek’s 2009 Tillandsia disk, not so much the T. Evita because of the flower. In many of the photos we have looked at in various sources the T. vernicosa appears to have more grey foliage than our plant. However on the Australian Brom site the photos taken by David Scheumack show both grey and green foliage."

Reply from Chris Larson...
"There are a lot of forms of vernicosa coming from a wide area of habitat. There are green & grey forms. There are also different reds & oranges in the spikes (to my slightly colour blind eyes). I see no reason to doubt vernicosa."

Bruce Dunstan 04/13
Len Colgan 06/17
Bruce Dunstan 2013 ... "I was expecting an erect spike rather than this pendent one ?"
Chris Larson ... "Pendant is OK - my collection from northern Argentina is.
Very silver for vernicosa but I think still OK - many on the disc are silver.
There's a fair range in both areas found (Bolivia through Paraguay & northern Argentina)
and in altitude (55 - 2250m). So there is a fair range of forms."
Derek Butcher ... "I am not so sure of your pendent. The plant is already pointing down and the peduncle just carries on."

Len Colgan 2017 ... "There are a number of forms of T. vernicosa, which is spread somewhat widely, especially around Bolivia. They can range from small to large, and can have soft green leaves up to stiff, even brittle, grey leaves. I have attached a couple of pictures of Bolivian forms, one taken by Roberto Vasquez."
Peter Tristram ... "Good to see some forms of the delightful T. vernicosa. I guess Len and Chris saw many types in Bolivia and Argentina and anyone else who's been to habitat of the species. Mine vary from less than 10 cm to over 30 cm in bloom though most are pretty hard leafed."
Steve Molnar 03/18
Pam Butler 01/21
Chris Larson 07/22 "neat stocky form from Europe"
Bruce Dunstan 04/24 "Mini form ex. Germany"

Derek Butcher 04/15. ... “The species has an interesting history. We know that vernicosa means varnished and can only assume this refers to the floral bracts but it is not mentioned by the botanists. They refer to smooth or slightly veined. T. vernicosa was named by Baker in 1887 closely followed by T. drepanophylla and T. polyphylla AND no mention of trichomes on the tips of the floral bracts. In 1935 Mez shows these as 1 species – T. vernicosa, and all of a sudden we see reference to trichomes on the tip of the floral bracts. Where did this detail come from? Is it present on all specimens. I have looked at the herbarium specimens and cannot see this feature. Lyman Smith accepted Mez's view.
It would seem we should follow Harry's philosophy that a plant does not have to have all the stated attributes to be accepted as that species.

Tillandsia vernicosa Baker, Jour. Bot. London 25: 241.1887.
Tillandsia drepanophylla Baker, Handb. Bromel. 176. 1889. Type. Paraguay, Balansa 710 (P).
Tillandsia polyphylla Baker, Handb. Bromel. 178. 1889. Type. Sorata, San Pedro, Larecaja, La Paz, Bolivia, Mandon 1183 (P).
Desc from S&D p794-8
Plant stemless, flowering to 3 dm high.
Leaves many in a dense fasciculate rosette, to 18 cm long, covered with pale tightly appressed fine scales;
Sheaths obscure;
Blades very narrowly triangular, rigid, 20 mm wide, deeply channeled.
Scape erect, rather slender , equaling or shorter than the leaves;
Scape-bracts densely imbricate, broadly elliptic, rigid, lepidote like the leaves, the lower short-laminate, the upper rounded.
Inflorescence digitate from 3-5 equal spikes, to 7 cm long;
Primary bracts like the upper scape-bracts, much shorter than the spikes;
Spikes erect, sessile, narrowly lanceolate, 10 cm long, 9 mm wide, complanate, densely 20-flowered.
Floral bracts densely imbricate, broadly elliptic, obtuse, 10-15 mm long, from slightly shorter to slightly longer than the sepals, ecarinate, nearly or quite even, lepidote at apex, coriaceous, rose when dry.
Sepals free, elliptic, obtuse, to 11 mm long, ecarinate, rigid, even, glabrous;
Petals 20 mm long, white, the blades erect, narrowly elliptic, 8 mm long;
Stamens and pistil barely included, the filaments plicate.
Type. Christie s n (holotype K, GH photo), "Parana," interpreted by later authors as the state in southern Brazil, but judging from the range of the species it is more likely the city in the Province of Entre Rios in Argentina. Cultivated and flowered at Kew, Oct 1861.
DISTRIBUTION. Saxicolous and epiphytic in dry woods, 55-2550 m alt, Bolivia, Paraguay, northern Argentina.
BOLIVIA. SANTA CRUZ, Cercado: Sierra de Santa Cruz, May 1892, Kuntze s n (NY); Ve1asco: Jul 1892, Kuntze s n (NY). TARIJA, Gran Chaco: Villamontes, Jager s n (LIL); 25 May 1971, Krapavickas et al 19202 (US). CHUQUISACA, Oriente: Charagua, Apr 1934, Cardenas 2689 (F, GH). PARAGUAY. BOQUERON: Lorna Pora, Apr 1917, Rojas 2534 (BA); Cerro de Pa1rnas Chicas. Chaco, Jan 1938, Rojas 7896 (GH). CONCEPCION: Colonia San Lazaro, Rio Apa, Rojas 5644 (BA, GH). SAN PEDRO: Puerto Rosario, 18 Mar 1958, Woolston 951 (US). CORDILLERA: San Bernardino, 25 Aug 1915, Osten & Rojas 8112-A (MVM, S); Tobaty, 1967, Schinini s n (HB); Jul 1967 , 4-SA (US). PARAGUARI: Paraguari, Aug 1893, Lindman A-1939 (S). Without exact locality: Central Paraguay, 1888-1890, Morong 554 (NY, US). ARGENTINA. JUJUY: Puesto Viejo, 11 Feb 1936, Castellanos s n (BA). SALTA, Oran: Ju11931, Ragonese s n (BA, GH); Quebrada de Yaqui, 5 Feb 1925, Schreiter 3955 (BA, GH, LIL). FORMOSA: Jorgensen 2804 e p (GH, US). CHACO: La Palma, Jorgensen 2004 (MVM, SI); Colonia Benitez, JuI 1931, Schulz 78 (BA); Feb 1935, 812 (GH); Fontana, Resistencia, Jun 1934, Meyer 5 (LIL, SI); 15 May 1945,8840 (A); Rio Negro, Resistencia, Castellanos s n (LIL); Rio Araza, 15 May 1945, Meyer 8839 (LIL). CORDOBA, Punilla: Cascadas de Olaen, 18 Apr 1939, Hosseus s n (CORD). CORRIENTES: Paso de la Patria, San Cosme, Meyer 8843 (LIL); Rio Santa Lucia, Mburucuya, 6 Feb 1962, Pedersen 6439 (C, US); Paso de la Patria to Puerto Gonzalez, 16 May 1967, Krapovickas & Cristobal 12997 (P).

From Baker 1889
The following species were recorded at 71, 75, and 85 respectively
Tillandsia vernicosa Baker, Jour. Bot. London 25: 241.1887.
Leaves about 20 in a dense rosette, lanceolate-acuminate, 6-8- in. long, narrowed gradually from a scarcely dilated base ¾ in. diam. to the subulate apex, thick, rigidly coriaceous, finely lepidote, pale green, smooth and shining on both surfaces. Peduncle under ½ foot long; bracts imbricated, only the lower with free points. Spikes about 4, forming a short panicle, dense, l-2 in. long, under 1/3 in. diam; flower-bracts ovate, ½ in. long. Calyx as long as the bract. Petal-blade white, oblong, ¼ in. long. Stamens not protruded beyond the tip of the petal.
Hab. Parana, Christie! Described from a living plant that flowered at Kew in October, 1861

Tillandsia drepanophylla Baker, Handb. Bromel. 176. 1889. Type. Paraguay, Balansa 710 (P).
Leaves densely rosulate, thick, rigid, linear, falcate, ½ ft. long, ½ in. broad low down, densely finely lepidote. Peduncle as long as the leaves. Spikes 3-4, crowded, distichous, dense, 2-3 in. long, ? in. diam. ; flower-bracts oblong lanceolate, ½ in. long. Calyx equalling or rather exceeding the flower-bract. Petal-blade oblong, white, ¼ in. long. Hab. Paraguay, Balansa 710 !

Tillandsia polyphylla Baker, Handb. Bromel. 178. 1889. Type. Sorata, San Pedro, Larecaja, La Paz, Bolivia, Mandon 1183 (P).
85. T. POLYPHYLLA Baker. –
Leaves very numerous, very rigid, linear-subulate from an ovate base 1 in. diam., a foot long, ? in. broad low down, densely adpresso-lepidote. Peduncle as long as the leaves; bract-leaves long-pointed. Panicle of 8-12 crowded dense distichous spikes 1-1½ in. long, ¼ in. diam.; flower-bracts oblong, acute, reddish, ½ in. long. Calyx shorter than the bract. Petal-blade small, oblong.
Hab. Bolivian Andes; Sorata, alt. 8000 ft., Mandon 1183 !

From Mez 1935
208. T. vernicosa Bak. in Journ. of Bot. XXV. (1887) 241.
T. drepanophylla Bak. Bromel. (1889) l76.
T. polyphylla Bak. Bromel. (1889) 178. –
Usque ad 0,3 m alta. Folia haud bulbose rosulata, usque ad 0,18 m longa, e basi nonnunquam 20 mm lata in apicem subulatum pungentemque persensim angustata, perrigida, profunde canaliculata, utrinque lepidibus parvis et quam maxime appressis pallidis obtecta. Scapus stricte erectus, foliis brevior vel ea subaequans, densissime imbricatimque vaginis rigidulis, late ellipticis, superioribus apice bene rotundatis, internodia .superantibus indutus. Inflorescentia pauci- vel subpauciflora, 2-pinnatim panniculata, digitatim e spicis 3-5 aequalibus composita, folia sueto paullo tantum superans, usque ad 70 mm longa; spicis dense flabellatis, bracteas primarias longe superantibus, usque ad 20-floris, stricte erectis, sessilibus, usque ad 0,1 m longis et 9 mm latis, anguste lanceolatis, acutis, satis complanatis; bracteis florigeris stricte erectis, dense imbricatis, coriaceo-rigidulis, dorso laevibus vel minute tantum prominulo-venosis, apicem versus lepidotis, rotundatis, haud carinatis, ad 10 mm longis, sepala subaequantibus. Flores erecti, ad 20mm longi; sepalis aequaliter liberis, rigidulis, glaberrimis laevissimisque, ellipticis, rotundatis, ad 11 mm longis. Petala sepalis ad 8 mm longiora, alba, anguste elliptica, erecta, genitalia superantia. Bolivia: Sierra de Velasco et de Sta. Cruz (O.Kuntze), am Sorata (Mandon n. 1183). Paraguay: Dept. Chaco, Loma Para (Rojas n. 2534), Cerro de Lambare (Balansa n. 710), ohne Standortsangaben (Christie, O. Kuntze, Morong n.554). Argentina: Prov. Salta, Tartagal (Hauman n. 1595), Metan (Castellanos n. 30/1927), Ledesma (Spegazzini in herb. Agr. Min. n. 14202), Oran (Ragonese n.3l/l733), Chaco Central, bei Formosa (Niederlein n. 29a), Colonia Benitez (Schulz n.3l/7741), Las Palmas (Jorgensen n.2004); vgl.Castellanos in Anal. Mus. Nac. Hist. Nat. XXXVI. (1931) 375.

Updated 11/04/24