|PERSONAL BIBLIOGRAPHY REPRODUCTIONS--FORTYFIVE
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50. KRULIK, GERALD, The Relatives of Spanish Moss, PUP TALK (Saddleback Valley Bromeliad
Society), 15(7)p. 5-7, July, 2008.
The Relatives of Spanish Moss
By Jerry Krulik
Everyone knows Spanish Moss, or Tillandsia usneoides. It may not be the showiest plant, or the
first one that a grower acquires, but is one of the more interesting ones. I will make the
not-so-bold prediction, that anyone who has Spanish Moss, has more plants of this species than
any other one in their collection. Each and every tiny stem, terminated often by a flower, is a plant
in its own right. Each stem will grow when cut free from its neighbors, just like any other bromeliad
sprout. So every little piece that breaks free and is re-hung, can continue to grow.
So everyone knows Spanish Moss, right? Now quickly, tell me the name of ONE of its 29 other
close relatives! Lots of silence out there, I will bet. I had to look them up myself. There are maybe
700 or so named species and varieties of Tillandsias. Botanists split up large genera into smaller
groups of sub-genera for convenience in working with more closely related forms. The Tillandsia
subgenus grouping called Dianphoranthema, of which T. usneoides is a member, is a group of
about 30 species, subspecies, and varieties, as different websites list slightly different numbers.(1)
The Diaphoranthema Tillandsias are further broken up into six smaller groupings, as shown here.
1. CALIGINOSA Group 2. MYOSURA Group 3. LOLIACEA Group
T. caliginosa T. andicola T. bryoides
T. cotagaitensis T. anguloa T. copynii
T. porongoensis T. gilliesii gilliesii T. loliacea
T. tenebra T. gilliesii polysticha T. spiralipetala
T. hirta T. tricholepis
4. RECTANGULA Group 5.CAPILLARIS Group 6. RECURVATA Group
T. aizoides T. capillaris T. landbeckii landbeckii
T. brealitoensis T. castellanii T. landbeckii andina andina
T. erecta T. kuehhasii T. landbeckii andina v rigidio
T. funebris T. virescens T. recurvata
There are quite a number of other names in this group, which have been sunk as synonyms of the
other existing names. For a complete list of the synonyms, check out the Bromeliad Photo Index of
the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies.
Many of these names are not plants which are very familiar to me. I picked out a representative
species from each of the six groups, to illustrate the groupings. All of these plants are tiny to fairly
small, and the whole group, if you can acquire all of them, will fit into a very compact area.
T. porongoensis is, or was, found only in Argentina, south of Malanzan in the state of La Rioja. It
has not been seen in the wild for years, and may be a natural hybrid between T. duratii and T.
T. hirta comes from Bolivia, the type coming from the Punata in the state of Cochabamba.
T. copynii comes from Brazil, with the type from near Paracatu.
T. brealitoensis is an Argentine plant, from the state of Salta. The type comes from Valle
Calcahaquies, on the road to Brealito.
T. kuehhasii is found in Bolivia. The type comes from the state of Chuquisaca/Potosi, from the road
between Sucre and Ravelo.
T. mollis is from Bolivia. The type is from the state of Tarija, between Tarija and Narvaez.