Tillandsia prolata

1389

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This is an interesting plant that was first found and collected by Tropiflora, Dennis Cathcart, on a 1993 expedition. The habitat is the geologically incredible ‘Valle de la Luna’ outside of La Paz, Bolivia. An area of highly eroded hard clay and sandstone that resembles, to some, the surface of the moon. There are thousands of pinnacles and steep cliffs. The occasional shelf holds many species of cacti and at least one Tillandsia; Til. prolata. The plants grow in huge clusters of thousands of plants. All are connected and form long, caulescent stems with short, broadly triangular leaves, covered with silvery trichomes. Roots may or may not form. The inflorescence is a simple spike to about eight inches, with dry, brown bracts and bearing large white, fragrant flowers with spreading petals forming an open corolla.

When first discovered, it was unknown in cultivation, and it was assumed that it would likely not survive at sea level. The habitat is just short of 12,000 feet of altitude with a very dry atmosphere. Harry Luther at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens described the plan as Tillandsia xiphioides ssp. Prolata after flowering it in cultivation in 1995. Since then it was elevated to a full species; prolata, by Gouda and Barfuss in 2015.

For best results, grow bright and on the dry side. Otherwise the culture is like that of many other high altitude, dry growing Tillandsias which seem to thrive in almost any conditions. 

Tillandsia prolata
Tillandsia prolata