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leatherleaf airplant, tillandsia cambiante

Habit Plants usually single, rarely clustering, flowering to 40 cm.



15–20, many-ranked, spreading, gray-green or flushed rose, 12–30 × 1–2 cm, finely appressed-scaly;

sheath pale to nearly chestnut brown, ovate, flat, not forming pseudobulb, 2–4 cm wide;

blade narrowly triangular, tapering evenly from base to apex, nearly plane to channeled, soft, brittle, margins involute, apex attentuate.


scape conspicuous, erect or ascending, 3–10 cm, 2–5 mm diam.;

bracts densely imbricate, erect, blade often hanging, like leaves but gradually smaller;

sheath of bracts narrowing abruptly into blade;

spikes erect or ascending, never palmate, linear, compressed, 5–20 × 0.8–1.2 cm, apex acute; simple or laxly 2–3 lateral branches.


5–30, conspicuous;

sepals with adaxial pair connate, oblong, keeled, 1.5–1.8 cm, thin-leathery, slightly veined, apex obtuse, surfaces glabrous;

corolla tubular, petals erect, lavender-blue, ligulate, to 3 cm;

stamens exserted;

stigma exserted, conduplicate-spiral.


to 3 cm.


bracts laxly imbricate, erect, green, red, or purple, broad (covering all or most of rachis, rachis not visible at anthesis), elliptic, keeled toward apex, 1.8–2 × 0.6–0.9 cm, leathery, base visible in fruit, apex acute, surfaces glabrous.

Tillandsia variabilis

Phenology Flowering spring–fall.
Habitat Epiphytic in moist, shaded habitats
Elevation 0–30 m [0–100 ft]
from FNA
FL; Mexico; Central America; South America; West Indies
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]
Parent taxa Bromeliaceae > Tillandsia
Sibling taxa
T. baileyi, T. balbisiana, T. bartramii, T. fasciculata, T. flexuosa, T. paucifolia, T. pruinosa, T. recurvata, T. setacea, T. simulata, T. usneoides, T. utriculata, T. ×floridana, T. ×smalliana
Synonyms T. houzeavii, T. valenzuelana
Name authority Schlechtendal: Linnaea 18:418. (1844)
Source Flora of North America vol. 22.
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