Tillandsia variabilis

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Leatherleaf airplant
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
(unranked): Commelinids
Order: Poales
Family: Bromeliaceae
Subfamily: Tillandsioideae
Genus: Tillandsia
Species: T. variabilis
Binomial name
Tillandsia variabilis
  • Platystachys moritziana Beer
  • Tillandsia brachypoda Baker
  • Tillandsia domingensis Mez
  • Tillandsia houzeavii Chapm.
  • Tillandsia laxa Griseb.
  • Tillandsia moritziana Beer
  • Tillandsia polystachia var. alba Wittm.
  • Tillandsia sublaxa Baker
  • Tillandsia valenzuelana A. Rich.

Tillandsia variabilis, the leatherleaf airplant,[3] is a species in the genus Tillandsia. This species is native to Bolivia, Costa Rica, Veracruz, Oaxaca, San Luis Potosí, Tabasco, Chiapas, Yucatán, Puebla, Venezuela, Colombia, the West Indies and southern Florida.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11]

Tillandsia variabilis is an epiphyte growing in the branches of various trees in moist forests. It is up to 40 cm long including the inflorescence, usually single but occasionally in clumps. Leaves are narrowly triangular, soft and brittle, up to 30 cm long. Inflorescence is usually simple, sometimes with 2-3 branches but never palmately branched. Bracts are red, green or purple, less than 1 cm wide, covering and obscuring the rachis. Flowers are lavender to blue, up to 3 cm long.[4][9][12][13][14][15][16][17]


  1. ^ Tropicos
  2. ^ The Plant List
  3. ^ "Tillandsia variabilis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 9 December 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Flora of North America v 22
  5. ^ Morales, J. F. 2003. Bromeliaceae. In: Manual de Plantas de Costa Rica, B.E. Hammel, M.H. Grayum, C. Herrera & N. Zamora (eds.). Monographs in systematic botany from the Missouri Botanical Garden 92: 297–375.
  6. ^ Luther, H. E. 1995. An annotated checklist of the Bromeliaceae of Costa Rica. Selbyana 16(2): 230–234.
  7. ^ Holst, B. K. 1994. Checklist of Venezuelan Bromeliaceae with notes on species distribution by state and levels of endemism. Selbyana 15: 132–149.
  8. ^ Idárraga-Piedrahita, A., R. D. C. Ortiz, R. Callejas Posada & M. Merello. (eds.) 2011. Listado de las plantas vasculares del departamento de Antioquia 2: 9–939. Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín.
  9. ^ a b Wunderlin, R. P. 1998. Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida i–x, 1–806. University Press of Florida, Gainesville.
  10. ^ Mez, Carl Christian. 1919. Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 16: 73.
  11. ^ Flora de la Península de Yucatán
  12. ^ Schlechtendal, Diederich Franz Leonhard von. 1845. Linnaea : Ein Journal für die Botanik in ihrem ganzen Umfange 18: 418.
  13. ^ photo of specimen of Tillandsia variabilis at Missouri Botanical, collected in Oaxaca, Mexico
  14. ^ Richard, Achille. 1850. Historia Física Política y Natural de la Isla de Cuba, Botánica 11: 267.
  15. ^ Baker, John Gilbert. 1887. Journal of Botany, British and Foreign 25: 280.
  16. ^ photo of isotype of Tillandsia houzeavii (synonym of Tillandsia variabilis) at Missouri Botanical Garden, collected in Florida
  17. ^ Chapman, Alvan (Alvin) Wentworth. 1883. Flora of the Southern United States (ed. 2) Suppl.: 655.