Tillandsia heliconioides
(Was Vriesea.)

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Tillandsia heliconioides
(Was Vriesea)
Ian Hook, Sydney, 01/10. Start of flowering.
Ian Hook, Sydney, 02/10. Hard to find flowers.
Photo Terry Davis. BSA 02/10. As "var. polysticha".
Peter Tristram 01/17
"Purple form". Barry Langridge 04/10.
Dale Dixon 01/20
Dale Dixon ... "Iíve been waiting patiently for this one. The bracts seemed fully formed weeks ago but the flowers have taken their time. Not sure if the bottom flower is yet to open or I missed it. Is it night pollinated? It certainly wasnít opened yesterday.
Tillandsia heliconioides does not look like your Ďtypicalí Tillandsia and I can see why itís gone back and forth between different genera. Still itís a nice species and Iím glad to have it in my collection. Hope it pups well."
Peter Tristram ... "It looks like the clone I collected near the Costa Rica / Panama border, on the Caribbean side in 1990. In my experience it selfs! Iíve never been able to get seedlings past the sprout stage though as I guess winter arrives and thatís the end. I grow it in my heated glasshouse. I have a few other clones, ex Gruber, too, if they survived winter as they arenít in the heated house. I should move them!"
Barry Langridge 01/23 "On location, the lowland tropical forests of Chiapas, Mexico"
Bruce Dunstan 08/23, Cerro Sapo, Darien, Panama. Used to be a Vriesea

Tillandsia heliconioides Humboldt, Bonpland & Kunth, Nov. Cen. & Sp. 1: 293. 1816. See Phytotaxa 279(1): 45. 2016
Vriesea heliconioides (Humboldt, Bonpland & Kunth) Hooker ex Walpers, Ann. Bot. 3: 623. 1852.
Tillandsia disticha Willdenow ex Schultes filius in Roemer & Schultes, Syst. 7(2): 1226. 1830; as synonym.
Platystachys disticha Beer, Bromel. 264.1857, nomen.
Vriesia falkenbergii Bull, Card. Chron. 11. 13: 759. 1880. Type. Bull Hortus s n (holotype n v), described from cultivation and probably without preserved specimen.
Vriesia bellula Linden, Cat. 109: 7. 1883. Type. Linden Hortus s n (holotype n v), described from cultivation and probably without preserved specimen, but typified by figure in Card. Chron. 11. 21: 140. 1884.
Vriesea disticha O.Kuntze, Rev. Cen. 3: 304. 1898, as to material cited, not as to basionym.
Guzmania obtusa Rusby, Mem. N. Y. Bot. Card. 7: 212. 1927. Type. Rurrenabaque, Yacuma, Beni, Bolivia, 0. E. White 1811 (NY), 25 Nov 1921.
Vriesea bullata hortus ex C. Chevalier, Bull. Soc. Nat. Hort. France V. 3: 349. 1930. Type. Hortus C. Chevalier (n v, fide Mez, Pflanzenreich IV. Fam. 32: 385. 1935).
Vriesea heliconioides var polysticha L. B. Smith, Phytologia 8: 222. 1962. Type. Wilson & Wilson 29 (holotype US), without locality Costa Rica now treated as the same as the type see Utley 1994

Desc from S&D
Plant rarely flowering over 4 dm high.
Leaves about 2 dm long, green above, suffused with red and sometimes spotted below;
Sheaths distinct, ovate-elliptic, obscurely punctulate-lepidote;
Blades ligulate, acute or acuminate, 15-30 mm wide, subglabrous.
Scape erect, usually much shorter than the leaves;
Scape-bracts erect, very densely imbricate, very broadly ovate, abruptly acute.
Inflorescence simple, oblong in outline, densely 6-18-flowered, to 20 cm long, 6 cm wide, distichous to polystichous.
Floral bracts very broadly ovate and triangular-acute or subrhombic, to 45 mm long, chartaceous, the base suberect, the middle spreading horizontally and the apex incurved and sharply carinate, bright red above the middle, greenish yellow at the apex;
Flowers erect, or suberect, subsessile, about 6 cm long.
Sepals lanceolate, acuminate, 27 mm long, thin;
Petals white, ligulate, acute, each bearing 2 ovate obtuse entire scales;
Stamens shorter than the petals;
Filaments not at all dilated apically.
Capsule about 5 cm long; coma reddish brown.
Type. Humboldt & Bonpland s n (holotype P, GH photo), Espinal, near Honda, Tolima, Colombia, 1801.
DISTRIBUTION. Epiphytic in rainforest, 100-950 m alt, southern Mexico to Bolivia and western Brazil.
MEXICO. CHIAPAS: Laguna Ocotal Grande, Ocosingo, 1954, DressIer 1550 (US); San Quintin, Las Margaritas, 23 Feb 1965, Breedlove 9126 (US); Raudales (Malpaso), 7 Apr 1966, Gonzalez Quintero 3517 (lPMEX). GUATEMALA. PETEN: Tikal, Apr 1931, Bartlett 12581-A (MICH); 26 Oct 1959, Contreras 313 (LL); 8 Jan 1960, 456 (LL); 8 Mar 1960, Lundell 16777 (LL); Aguada Las Cucas, Tikal, 5 Mar 1961, Lundell 16894 (LL, US). ALTA VERAPAZ: Cubilquitz, Aug 1904, Tuerckheim 8762 (US). IZABAL: Hopi, Entre Rios, 21 Apr 1940, Steyermark 39775 (F). BRITISH HONDURAS. Middlesex, 15 Sep 1929, Schipp S-22 (F, Z); Sibun River, 22 Jan 1935, Gentle 1489 (MICH); Lundell 6959 (GH). EL CAYO: Valentin, 1936, Lundell 6303 (MICH); Chalillo Crossing, 1936, Lundell 6515 (GH, MICH). TOLEDO: Machaca, 14 Dec 1949, Gentle 6932 (LL); San Antonio, 1 Dec 1951, Gentle 7532 (LL). HONDURAS. ATLANTIDA: Tela, Lancetilla Valley, 1927-28, Standley 52978 (US); 53204 (F); 53376 (US); Lancetilla, 1929, Chickering 71 (MICH); 1934, Yuncker 4953 (F); La Ceiba, 16 Jul 1938, Yuncker, Koepper & Wagner 8453 (GH, US); San Alejo, Apr 1947, Standley 7692 (F). COSTA RICA. PUNTARENAS: Santo Domingo de Golfo Dulce, Mar 1896, Tonduz 10075 (BR). ALAJUELA: Guatuso de San Rafael, 4 Aug 1949, Holm & Iltis 888 (US). SAN JOSE: San Isidro de el General, 4 Mar 1966, L. B. Smith 15314 (US). CARTAGO: Turrialba, 19 Jun 1947, DeWolf 112 (US). PANAMA. BOCAS DEL TORO: Chiriqui Lagoon, 10 Oct 1940, Wedel1 131 (MO). CANAL ZONE: Cano Quebrado, 14 Jun 1914, Pittier 6670 (US); Las Cascadas, Summit, 4 Jan 1924, Standley 29668 (US); Rio Chilibre, Juan Mina to Madden Dam, 9 Jul 1940, Bartlett & Lasser 16421 (MICH); Cruces Trail and Madden Dam Road, 1940, Bartlett & Lasser 16457 (MICH). PANAMA: Rio Chepo and Rio Bayamo, 27 Sep 1961, Duke 3975 (MO). DARIEN: Rio Chico headwaters, Jun 1947 , Allen 4610 (MO); Quebrada, 12 Jun 1959, Stern et al 250 (US); El Real, Rio Tuira, 15 Jun 1962, Duke 4815 (MO, US). COLOMBIA. GOAJIRA: Carraipia, 2 Aug 1944, Haught 4285 (US). NORTE DE SANTANDER: Oru, 17 Sep 1946, Foster 1736 (GH, US). SANTANDER: Barranca Bermeja, 2 Jul 1934, Haught 1297 (GH, US); 9 Oct 1954, Romero Castaneda 5008 (COL); 5046 (COL). VALLE: Las Juntas del Dagua, Cali, Lehmann 7768 (K). META: Cana Yerli, Rio Guejar to Cano Guaypayita, Dec 1950, 1drobo & Schultes 777 (US). ANTIOQUIA: without locality, Schmidtchen s n (W). VENEZUELA. MIRANDA: Parque Nacional de Guatopo, 20 Nov 1961, Steyermark 90184 (US, VEN). CARABOBO: Urama to San Felipe, 5 lan 1939, Alston 6078 (BM). ZULIA: Machiques, 29 Aug 1967, Steyermark 99870 (VEN). T ACHIRA: El Pinal, Aug 1966, Steyermark & Rabe 96701 (VEN). SURINAME. Brownsweg, Brokopondo, 5 Apr 1961, Kramer & Hekking 3227 (U); Oelemari River, 18 Mar 1963, Wessels Boer 960 (U). PERU. AYACUCHO: Kim¨pitiriki, Apurimac Valley, May 1929, Killip & Smith 23013 (US). BOLIVIA. SANTA CRUZ, Ichilo: Yapacani, Jun 1892, Kuntze s n (NY). BRAZIL. AMAZONAS: Rio Tucano, Rio Cauaburi, 26 Nov 1965, Maguire, Steyermark & Maguire 60292 (NY, US). Mato Grosso: Angelim, 14 Apr 1894, Lindman A-3329 (S).

Vriesea heliconioides var polysticha L. B. Smith, Phytologia 8: 222. 1962. Now treated as the same as the type see Utley 1994
Flowers in more than 2 ranks.
TYPE. Wilson & Wilson 29 (holotype US), without locality Costa Rica.
DISTRIBUTION. Known from the type collection only.

Detail from Flora of the Guianas Gouda 1987
5. Vriesea heliconioides (Kunth) Hooker ex Walpers, Ann. Bot. 3: 623. 1852. - Tillandsia heliconioides Kunth in H. B .K., Nov. Gen.& Sp. l:293. 1816.
Type: Columbia, Tolima, Espinal, near Honda, Humboldt & Bonpland s. n. (holotype P, GH photo). - Plate 24.
Tillandsia disticha Willdenow nom. in synon. ex Schultes filius in Roemer & Schultes, Syst. 7 (2): 1226. 1830;
Platystachys disticha Beer, Bromel. 264. 1857, nom. nud.
Vriesea disticha sensu Kuntze, Revis. Gen. Pl. 3: 304. 1898, as to material cited, not as to basionym.
Vriesea heliconioides (Kunth in H. B. K.) Hooker ex Walpers var. polysticha L. B. Smith, Phytologia 8: 222. 1962. Type: without locality Costa Rica, Wilson & Wilson 29 (holotype US).

Plant acaulescent, flowering to over 40 cm long, with a funnelform, 14-25 cm tall, rosette of 10-20 often pale- or rich green leaves.
Leaves thin, chartaceous when dry, 12-25 cm long, equaling to much exceeding the scape;
Sheaths distinct, tapering into the blade, elliptic, broadly convex, 5-8 x 2.5-4 cm, with broad membranaceous margins, pale-brown punctulate-lepidote, pale-brown at the base;
Blades arching, (linear-) lanceolate, often involute at the base, 8-20 x 2-2.7 cm, triangular subacute or rounded and apiculate, subglabrous.
Inflorescence erect, simple; scape 7-18 cm long, appearing stout and entirely hidden by bracts, glabrous;
Scape bracts erect, densely imbricate, the lower ones foliaceous, the upper ones ovate, apiculate, more than 4 times as long as the internodes, sparsely appressed-lepidote at the apex, pale-green and often tinged with red;
Raceme elliptic in outline to broadly cylindric, 8-20 x 4-6 cm, emarginate, (sub-) densely and distichously (immature?) or polystichously (caused by the twisting rachis) 4-12-flowered, with a few sterile bracts below and at the apex;
Rachis hidden, slightly flexuous, angled, glabrous;
Floral bracts suberect below and spreading in upper half, loosely sheathing the flower, submembranaceous, with finely veined surface (when dry), broadly ovate, 3-4.3 cm long, about 4 times as long as the internodes, exceeding (but exposing) the sepals, rounded or deltoid-acute, apiculate, often incurved at the apex, ecarinate, (sub-)glabrous outside, minutely brown-lepidote inside, yellow-green and often with a broad red band in the middle.
Flowers suberect, short-pedicellate (ca. 4 mm); sepals thin-coriaceous, finely veined when dry, lanceolate, 2.5-3 cm long, obtuse and apiculate, short-connate and finely carinate posteriorly, minutely brown-lepidote only inside;
Petals erect, the blade spreading, ligulate, ca. 4.5 cm long, whitish, bearing two highly adnate and entire or emarginate ligules at the base;
Stamens exposed, but shorter than the petals, about equaling the pistil, filaments flat at the base, not dilated apically, anthers dorsifixed (at l/3), linear-sagittate, basal free lobes and apex obtuse;
Ovary ovoid, tapering from near the base toward the apex, abruptly contracted into the slender style, stigmas linear.
Capsule cylindric, 3.5-5 cm long, subrounded and long beaked.
Distribution: S. Mexico to Bolivia, the Guianas and W. Brazil. Epiphytic in rainforest, 30-950 m alt. 15 collections studied. Surinam: Nickerie distr., area of Kabalebo-Dam project, Lindeman, de Roon et al. 912a (U); Brokopondo distr., Brownsweg km 115-116, Makambi-creek, Kramer & Hekking 3227 (U); 2.4 km S of Gansee, Feroe-creek, van Donselaar 1183 (U); Oelemari, near airstrip,Wessels Boer 960 (U). French Guiana: Rio Petite Ouaqui, de Granville B-5002 (U, P).

Culture and use: Easily grown in peat (pot-medium), in greenhouse at a shady and humid location, demands watering between the sheaths; very pretty colored and long lasting inflorescence, promising for commercial cultivation and hybridization.

Updated 26/10/23