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Tillandsia sprengeliana: small plant, big flower

Tillandsia sprengeliana growing on a branch with finger tips for scale. (c) T. Hughes

This is by far one of my all time favourite plants. It is fully mature at only 8cm tall and produces vibrant pink flowers 3.5cm long – that’s almost half the size of the plant!

Tillandsia sprengeliana is an unusual miniature epiphyte that is somewhat reminiscent of an artichoke. It grows amongst Brazilian coastal forests and occurs between two regions; Punta Negra and Macae and is most abundant on the island of Cabo Frio in the state of Rio De Janeiro.

I currently have 4 examples of this species and I am proud to show my first successful inflorescence – a cluster of flowers arranged along a stem. The genus Tillandsia is typically pollinated by butterflies and then seeds are distributed by birds.


It is also interesting to note that historical records have shown that this species was primarily a resident of coastal vegetation, but recent studies have shown it can also live, and thrive, in montane savannah, which demonstrates a great adaptive capability. Hopefully this aspect also suggests an increasing distribution as this species is rare.

Although CITES appendix II listed, thankfully it is not affected by international trade as the species is now maintained sustainably in captivity, and has been successfully grown by seed.

If your interested in reading more about plants take a look at Herbology Manchester

Treats of Turrialba

2 Responses

  1. Reblogged this on Herbology Manchester.

  2. Love this. I had no idea there was a herbarium in the museum, I often have a wander around.

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