Wholesale Bromeliads of Australia

Newsletter No 20 - September 2017

by Wholesale Bromeliads 8. December 2017 05:03



Recent Changes to Bromeliad Genera

There has been a massive, complicated study (2016) of the Tillandsioideae subfamily which has significantly altered the genera in this group.

 The study was titled ‘Taxonomic Revision of the Bromeliaceae subfam. Tillandsioideae based on a multi-locus DNA sequence phylogeny & morphology’.

Authors were Michael Barfuss (Austria), Walter Till (Austria), Elton Leme (Brazil), Juan Pinzon (Mexico), Jose Manzanares (Ecuador), Heidemarie Halbritter (Austria), Rosabelle Samuel (Austria) & Gregory Brown (USA).

The 2016 Study involved phylogenetic DNA studies ie DNA analysis was used to determine the relationships of these plants in terms of their evolution. In simple terms the species were grouped (in clades) according to their genetic sequencing.  Phylogeny is based on the assumption that more closely related species evolve with similar genetic sequencing & physical characteristics.

Morphological analysis was also used (study of form & structure of the bromeliads) – habitat, habit - leaf formation, central tank formation, & analysis of petals / ovaries / stigma / pollen / seeds.

 In essence – three existing genera (Tillandsia, Vriesea & Mezobromelia) in the Tillandsioideae subfamily have been split into smaller groups.


 The new genera that have been created in the Tillandsioideae subfamily are:

Barfussia Named in honour of Michael Harald Johannes Barfuss from Vienna, Austria who has contributed enormously to the understanding of the DNA of Bromeliaceae, especially of the Tillandsioideae. He was a prime author of the 2016 Paper.

These bromeliads have an unusual stigma type (convolute [rolled up longitudinally] – obconic [inverted cone shaped])

Habitat: Andes – Ecuador to Brazil

Goudaea: Named in honour of Eric John Gouda from Utrecht, The Netherlands who is a long term researcher in bromeliads & one of the authors of the 2016 Paper.

Habitat: Colombia to Central Peru

 Gregbrownia: Named in honour of Gregory K Brown, Professor of Botany at the University of Wyoming, Laramie, USA – one of the authors of the 2016 Paper. He has done much work on stigma structure in the bromeliad family.

Habitat: Andes of northern Peru & Ecuador

 Jagrantia: Named in honour of Jason Grant.

Habitat: Costa Rica to Colombia  

Josemania: Named in honour of Jose Manuel Manzanares Vilaplana from Quito, Ecuador, leading authority of Ecuadorian Bromeliaceae - one of the authors of the 2016 Paper.

Habitat: Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador & Peru.

 Lemeltonia: Named after Elton Martinez Carvalho Leme from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, leading authority on Brazilian bromeliads & one of the authors of the 2016 Paper.

Habitat: Central America to Peru extending to Eastern Venezuela & the Guiana’s.

Lutheria: Named in honour of Harry Edward Luther (1952 - 2012)from Sarasota, Florida, one of the most experienced bromeliophiles in the world & an author of the 2016 Paper.

Habitat: North Eastern South America

 Pseudalcantarea: Named for resembling the flowers of Alcantarea.

Habitat: Mexico to Nicaragua  

StigmatodonThe name of this new genus comes from the Greek word stigmatis plus odon, the latter meaning tooth, in reference to the irregularly denticulate to lacinate ('toothed') stigma lobe margins.

Habitat: South Eastern Brazil

Wallisia: This genus name first showed up in 1870 but was not accepted. These species have an unusual stigma type, identified in the 2016 Study, the only species identified with this type so far.

Habitat: Ecuador & Peru with W. anceps growing in other areas  

Zizkaea: Named in honour of Georg Zizka, Professor of Botany at the Goethe-Universitat, Frankfurt/Main, Germany, who has much contributed to the understanding of the phylogeny of Bromeliaceae.

Habitat: Greater Antilles

Waltillia: Named in honour of Dr Walter Till who is an Austrian botanist & bromeliad specialist at the Vienna University.

*NOTE: These new genera have involved not only the species but also the related cultivars & intergenerics.  Some of the cultivars are now a cross between two different genera & thus have changed to an intergeneric. Some have reversed from an intergeneric to a cultivar & some have changed intergeneric name.


The new genera that have been created in the Bromelioideae subfamily are:

Sincoraea: There has been the re -establishment of the genus Sincoraea in the Bromelioideae subfamily with 11 Orthophytums now Sincoraea. This has also impacted on the x Neophytum many of which are now x Sincoregelia.

Wittmackia: This new genus has also been established in the subfamily Bromelioideae.


Whilst all of this seems very complicated – one of the main tasks we have to undertake as bromeliad growers is to go through the lists detailing the bromeliads that have changed genera & note the bromeliads that we own; note the new genus name; then rename our plants.

 Keep a note on the plant tab of the old genus for reference incl for plants sales.  Most growers will only have a few of the plants listed so the task should not be too onerous.