Previously called T.maxima - (largest)
Native distribution and habitat: T. australis is a native to Bolivia and Argentina where it grows from seal level to around 1200 metres 3,500 - 12,000ft. It is a species that grows on steep rocks, where it has to endure periods of both dry and rainy weather.
Growth habit: T. australis is a huge saxicolous (clinging on rocks) or occasionally epiphyte monocarpic bromeliad with a spectacular pending spike. This species has long been known as Tillandsia maxima, but this name proved to be invalid as it was already in use for an obscure bromeliad from Central America.
Foliage: It has star-shaped form up to 1,6 metres in diameter. Leaves can be 800mm long
Flowers: The plant producers an inflorescence 80-240 cm long, dark-red or purple, amply 2 times branched, very variable, glabrous; Primary bracts like the peduncle-bracts, large and conspicuous; Branches suberect, to 40 cm long, the basal third sterile, then bearing 1-7 spikes; Secondary bracts much reduced, ovate, acute; Spikes lanceolate to linear, 11-30 cm long, sublaxly to subdensely 8-22-flowered, strongly complanate. Floral bracts suberect but relatively narrow and more or less exposing the rhachis, broadly elliptic, subobtuse, 22-40 mm long, equaling or slightly exceeding the sepals and apparently fleshy, becoming coarsely rugose when dry, ecarinate, not incurved; Stout, erect and then pending. Scape-bracts densely imbricate, foliaceous. The flower have violet petals.
Cultivation: The foliage of the rosette overlaps basally to forms a reservoir (phytotelma), in which rainfall and leaf litter can accumulate, allowing the plant to draw upon their water reservoir during periods of drought. Grow it in bright filtered light both indoors and out. In the garden it grow best where it will get morning sun, but will also grows equally well in direct mid-day sun in hot summer climates.
- Checklist of Bolivian Bromeliaceae Retrieved 21 October 2009
- BSI Cultivar Registry Retrieved 11 October 2009
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