Billbergia amoena (Loddiges) Lindley, Bot



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Billbergia amoena (Loddiges) Lindley, Bot. Reg. 13: sub pl. 1068.1827.

Desc from Smith & Downs

Plant propagating by short erect or sometimes long and spreading rhizomes.

Leaves 8-20 in a subellipsoid rosette, very variable, 3-6 dm long, from densely lepidote on both sides to nearly glabrous;

Sheaths large, elliptic, broad;

Blades ligulate, broadly rounded or acute, apiculate, slightly narrowed toward base, usually all green but some­times tinged with red or white-spotted, 17-55 mm wide, serrulate to subentire.

Scape usually erect, glabrous, green or red;

Scape-bracts suberect, elliptic, apiculate, usually dark red.

Inflorescence usually compound but sometimes simple, lax, nearly glabrous;

Primary bracts like the scape-bracts, large;

Branches few, few-flowered.

Floral bracts minute, the upper reniform, apiculate;

Flowers sessile.

Sepals narrowly elliptic, broadly obtuse or acute or minutely apiculate, 20-30 mm long, white-flocculose at the extreme apex;

Petals never spiraled, linear, obtuse, 35-56 mm long, bearing 2 fimbriate scales at base, exceeding the stamens but soon recurved;

Ovary slenderly cylindric, 10-15 mm long, sulcate or smooth (see var. robertiana), green.


Key to Varieties of Billbergia amoena as at 2006 by Butcher
1. Ovary smooth var robertiana

1a. Ovary sulcate 2


2. Stolons long 3

2a. Stolons short 4


3. Petals green with blue tips var. stolonifera

3a Petals wholly green var. stolonifera forma viridiflora


4. Sepals green except for dark blue apex 5

4a.Sepals green but red toward the apex var. minor

4b Sepals red at base var. carnea
5. Petal blades wholly green var. viridis

5a Petal blades not wholly green 6


6. Petals dark blue at apex var. amoena

6a. Petals yellow at apex var. flavescens




Billbergia amoena var amoena

Tillandsia amoena Loddiges, Bot. Cab.1:pl. 76. Oct 1818.

Bromelia pallida Ker-Gawler, Bot. Reg. 4: pI. 344. Dec 1818. Type. Description and plate.

Pitcairnia discolor Loiseleur , Herb. Gen. Amat. 5:pl. 345. 1821. Type. Plate, Noisette Hortus.

Tillandsia variegata Vellozo, PI. Plum. 134.1825; Icon. 3:pl. 132. 1831. Type. Description and plate.

Pourretia magnispatha Colla, Hort. Ripul. App. 2(Mem. Acad. Sci. Torino 31): 334, pI. 19. 1827. Type. Description and plate.

Eromelia Iaevis Karlsruh Hortus ex Roemer & Schultes, Syst. 7(2): 1238. 1830; nomen.

Billbergia chlorocyanea de Vriese, Hort. Acad. Lugd. Bat. PI. Rar. 1854; cf. Linnaea 26: 755. 1853-55. Type. Description, Leiden Hortus s n.

Billbergia discolor (Loiseleur) Beer, Bromel. 121.1856.

Billbergia pallida (Kew-Gawler) Beer, Bromel. 121. 1856.

Billbergia variegata (Vellozo) Beer, Bromel. 122. 1856; non Schultes filius, 1830.

Eillbergia pallescens K. Koch & Bouche, Ind. Sem. Hort. Berol. for 1856(App.): 5. 1857; nomen novum.

Eillbergia Iaevis Van Tieghem, Mem. Acad. Sci. Inst. France 21: 120, 227, pI. 4, figs. 131-144. 1871. Type. Description and figures, Paris Hortus.

Billbergia pallens hortus ex Riviere, Jour. Hortic. France 708. 1872; nomen.

Billbergia pallidiflora hortus ex E. Morren, Belg. Hortic. 25: 20.1875; nomen; non Liebman, 1854.

Billbergia speciosa sensu Baker, Handb. Bromel. 73. 1889; non Thunberg. 1821.

Billbergia wiotiana de Jonghe ex Mez, Repert. Sp. Nov. 14: 241. 1916. Type. Liege Hortus s n (LG, photo GH); 1865, Paris Hortus (B, clonotype).

Billbergia wacketii Mez, Repert. Sp. Nov. Fedde 16: 7. 1919. Type. Alto da Serra, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wacket in Konigsberg Hortus s n (B, photo B 1195/9-11).

Billbergia amoena var rubra M. B. Foster, Bromel. Soc. Bull. 6: 76, fig. 1956.
Leaves green or red.

Inflorescence erect.

Sepals and petals green with blue apices.

Type. Loddiges Hortus in Lindley s n (holotype, CGE; photo GH).



Distribution. Terrestrial, saxicolous, and epiphytic, from near sea level to 1050 m alt, eastern Brazil.
BRAZIL. Saint-Hilaire 149 (P); Sellow bromel. 34 (P); Lindman A-5 (S). Bahia: Ituracu to Jequie, 18 Oct 1948, Foster 2447 in part (US); Itabuna, Kennedy 1028 (US). Espirito Santo: Vitoria, Jul1939, Foster 189 (GH, US); 190 (R); 199 (GH, R); 9 Aug 1940, 876 (GH); Santa Teresa, Ju11940, Foster 1219 (GH); 1220 (GH); Cachoeira de Itapemirim, Vargem Alta, 21 Aug 1948, Brade 19321 (RB, US). Minas Gerais: Catas Altas, Saint-Hilaire C-270 (P); Serra de Ouro Preto, Feb 1892, UIe s n (R); Serra do Cipo, km 148, 1 Sep 1933, Melo Barreto 8324 (R); Jul1940, Foster 606 (GH); Feb 1958, M. Magalhaes 17037 (IAN); Santa Bar­bara, Caraca, 22 Ju11940, Foster 683 in part (GH); Diamantina, Mar 1970, Irwin et aI 27812 (NY, UB, US); 27961 (NY, UB, US); 14 Nov 1971, Hatschbach & Pelanda 27943 (MBM, US). Goias: Serra Geral, eastern Goias, Luetzelburg s n (! Mez). Rio de Janeiro: Ariro, 19 Jun 1868, Glaziou 2733 (P); Itatiaia, Luetzelburg s n (! Mez); Serra dos Orgaos, Luetzelburg s n (! Mez); Niteroi, 17 Apr 1929, L. E. Smith & Brade 2349 (B, F, GH, S); Teresopolis, 4 Oct 1929, Brade 9581 (R); 21 Aug 1940, Foster 975 (GH, US); Petropolis, 7 Aug 1939, Foster 332 (GH, US); Barra de Sao Joao to Campos Novos, 25 May 1946, E. Pereira & Araujo 508 (RB); Praia do Pontal, Cabo Frio, 17 Apr 1952, L. B. Smith & Mus R 6596 (R, US); Barra de Sao Joao to Tamoios, 29 Sep 1964, E. Santos 2067, B. Plaster 1104 & Pereira (R, US). (Guanabara): Rio de Janeiro, Gaudichaud 364J (P); 3644 (P); 16 May 1951, Reitz 4027 in part (HBR); Quinta da Boa Vista, 24 May 1882, Glaziou 14335 (P, US); Tijuca, 3 Jun 1895, Ule 4177(R); Recreio dos Bandeirantes, 11 Ju11931, Lutz 617(R, US); Jun 1935, 902 in part R); 11 Jun 1946, Mello Filho 496 R); 4 Apr 1952, L. B. Smith & Mus R 6822 (R, US); 16 Jun 1963, N. Santos 501-503 (R); 5 Oct 1963, 515 (R); 8 May 1965, 5850 (R); 22 Jul1965, 5968-5969 (R); 23 May 1967, E. Pereira 10587(HB, US); Campo Grande, Rio da Prata do Cabucu, 3 Jun 1949, Lutz s n (R). Sao Paulo: Sao Luiz do Paraitinga, 14 Sep 1892, Lofgren & Edwall in Cam. G. & G. de S. Paulo 1852 (C); Santos, Everett s n (GH); Iguape, Santos, 30 Apr 1918, Hoehne s n (SP); Alto da Serra, 6 May 1921, A Gehrt s n (SP); 18 Jul 1923, Hoehne s n (SP); 18 Aug 1939, Foster 361 (GH); Jaragua, 29 Apr 1921, A. Gehrt s n (SP); Bertioga, 11 Jun 1940, Hoehne & Gehrt s n (GH); Boracea, 26 Apr 1940, Blanco s n (GH); Patri­monio, 24 Jun 1941, Kuhlmann & Kuhn s n (SP); Tremembe, 9 May 1938, Doering s n (SP); Una, 1939, Foster 386 (GH, R); Rio Tijuco, 3 Sep 1939, Foster 463 (GH); Pindamonhangaba, 10 Jun 1951, Aragao in Reitz 4045 (HBR). Parana: Desvio Ipiranga, Serra do Mar, 2 Jun 1909, Dusen 8224 (S, US); Serra da Prata, 20 Ju11914, Dusen 15305 (GH, S); 4 Jun 1915, 17053 (S); Caioba, Stellfeld & Freitas 539 (Mus. Parana); 31 Aug 1939, Foster 442 (GH); Paranagua, 1 Sep 1939, M. Kuhlmann s n (SP); 3 Jul 1953, Hatschbach 3383 (MBM, US); Morretes, 25 May 1966, Hatschbach 14467 (MBM, US). Santa Catarina: Blumenau, 1884, Schwacke 56 (R); 5 Jul 1951, Reitz 4064 (HBR); Sao Francisco do Sul, May 1885, Ule s n (HBR); 27 Apr 1952, Hatschbach 2771 (MBM, US); Brusque, 17 Jun 1947, Reitz 1803 (HBR, US); May 1951, 4022 (HBR); 4032 (HBR); Ribeirao do Ouro, 29 May 1950, Reitz 3558 (HBR); 25 May 1951,4033 (HBR); Corupa, 10 Jun 1951, Reitz 4036(HBR); Rio do Sul, 16Apr 1959, Reitz & Klein 8745 (HBR, US).
Billbergia amoena var. carnea E Pereira, Bradea 2: 32. 1975
Differs from Type by

Scape bract, scape, rhachis and bottom part of sepals carnea (rosy-red)

Habitat; Brazil, Minas Gerais, Botumirim, Leg. A Seidel Nr. 707, 11Jan 1975. Holotype HB Nr. 61444
Billbergia amoena var. flavescens Reitz, Bromeliaceas e a malaria 495. 1983
Leaves green

Inflorescence erect

Sepals green except for dark blue tip

Petals blade green tipped yellow

Distribution: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Petropolis, R reitz 7994, June 1974, Holotype HBR
Billbergia amoena var minor (Antoine & Beer ex Beer) L. B. Smith, Arq. Bot. S. Paulo II. 1: 104. 1943.

Billbergia speciosa Thunberg, Dec. Pl. Brasil. 3: 30, pI. 1821. Type. ? Freyreis s n (S), Brazil.

Billbergia pyramidalis var minor Antoine & Beer ex Beer, Bromel. 108. 1856.

Pitcairnia decora Linden ex Beer, Bromel. 108. 1856; nomen.

Billbergia decora hortus ex Beer, Bromel. 108. 1856; nomen.

Billbergia variegata sensu E. Morren, Belg. Hortic. 31: 73. 1881; non Schultes filius, 1830.

Billbergia thunbergiana hortus ex Baker, Handb. Bromel. 73. 1889; nomen.

Billbergia binotii Gerard, Jour. Soc. Hort. Rhone for 1896: I. 1896; Mez, Repert. Sp. Nov. 14: 242. 1916. Type. Paris Hortus s n (P ? n v, ! Mez).
Leaves green.

Inflorescence erect.

Sepals red toward apex;

Petals dark blue at apex.

Type. Berlin Hortus s n (B ? n v), typified by description in the absence of specimen. Distribution. At 1300 m alt, Minas Gerais, Brazil.
BRAZIL. Minas Gerais: Serra da Piedade, near Belo Horizonte, 10 Jul 1940, Foster 575 (GH); Merces, Aug 1949, M. Magalhaes 5296 (BHMG).
Billbergia amoena var. robertiana Pereira & Leme, Brasil Florestal 59: 41. 1984
Differs from Type by

Leaves a beautiful purple (dull red) with white blotches

Ovary smooth not sulcate

Type: Brazil, Espirito Santo, Domingos Martins, Leg. Roberto Kautsky No. 825, Flowered in cultivation 14 Oct. 1983. Holotype HB


Billbergia amoena var rubra M. B. Foster, Bromel. Soc. Bull. 6: 76, fig. 1956.

NOW TREATED AS A SYNONYM OF amoena var. amoena see T Fontoura Selbyana 15(2): 79-81. 1994

Leaves red.

Type. Foster 2903 (holotype, US), among rocks near sea on the mainland, near Vitoria, Espirito Santo, Brazil, 13 Jul 1939.

Distribution. Known from the type collection only.
BILLBERGIA AMOENA (Lodd.) Lindl. var. rubra M. B. Foster, var. nov. Bull. Bro­meliad Soc. 6:76.1956.
A var. amoena foliis rubris differt.
Col­lected in Brazil, growing among rocks near the sea on.the mainland near Victoria in the state of Espirito Santo, July 13, 1939 by M. B. and R. Foster No. 2903; Type U.S. Nat'1. Herbarium.
This plant did not flower until after it reached our garden in Florida.

This new variety is a very large plant and grows to be from two to three times as large as any of the several varieties of B. amoena. The leaves are of a rich red color and contain many white and yellow spots on them; they may attain a length of from twenty-four to thirty-six inches, with wider leaves than other varieties of this species.



Billbergia amoena is possibly the most variable species in the genus. Each locality in Brazil where this species is native, and it has quite an extensive range, seems to produce a different variety, although but few of them have been named. The writer has collected at least six different varieties and it would be quite easy to believe them to be different species until the flowers have appeared.

In sizes they range from eight inches to thirty-six inches in height and in leaf colors of plain, light or dark green, red-bronze, or maroon, to vividly spotted or blotched. But always the same flower with green ridged ovary and blue-green sepals and petals with blue tips. One exception, however, is B. amoena var. viridis which has the plain green petals and sepals minus the blue tips. This last variety has, possibly, the most colorful leaves of them all.



B. amoena with all of its varieties makes very interesting material for hybrids and, invariably, show its many definite varietal characters in any cross in which it is used.
From Talita Fontoura in Selbyana 15(2); 79-81. 1994

l. Billbergia amoena (Loddiges) Lindley var. ­amoena. Bot. Reg. 13 sub.pl. 1068. 1827.



TYPE. Loddiges Hortus in Lindley s/n (Holo­type, CGE; Photo, GH).

-­Syn.: B. amoena var. rubra Foster, Bull. Bro­meliad Soc. 6:76.1956. TYPE. Brazil: Espirito -­Santo, Vitoria, 13 Jul. 1939, Foster 2903 (Ho­lotype, US).


In the original description the variety was dis­tinguished as having red leaves, but field surveys have shown this color to be a result of different patterns of light intensity.

Plant very variable with 8-20 leaves, 19.0­ - 90.0 cm long, 2.5-5.5 cm wide, ligulate, green, reddish or white-spotted;

sheaths large, elliptic; apex rounded or acute, apiculate or not; margins serrate or serrulate. Scape 0.3-0.5 cm in diam­eter, erect or ascending, slender or stout, com­pletely glabrous or with some evanescent scales, green or reddish.

Scape bracts suberect, elliptic; apex apiculate or acuminate, reddish to pink ex­posing the scape. Inflorescence 2.0-14.0 cm long, usually compound but sometimes simple, lax, nearly glabrous; primary bracts like scape bracts.

Floral bracts 0.1 cm long, the upper ones reni­form, apiculate.

Flowers 3.5-7.5 cm long, sessile.

Sepals 1.7-3.0 cm long, narrowly elliptic to ob­long; apex blue, acute or minutely acuminate with white evanescent scales; lower part greenish.

Pet­als 3.0-5.5 cm long, obtuse with blue apex, adax­ially with two fimbriate scales at base and two long, narrow calli placed laterally to stamens.

Ovary 0.6-1.8 cm long, cylindric, green, sharply sulcate.

Flowering from March to October.

Habit: epi­phytic, saxicolous and terrestrial; habitat: Atlan­tic rain forest and sand dune coastal plains. Very frequent in the Rio de Janeiro coastal plains.
Billbergia amoena var. stolonifera Pereira & Moutinho, Bradea 3: 214, 219. 1981 and J. Brom. Soc. 34(5): 218. 1984

Differt a forma typica et a varietatibus adhunc cognitis, planta longe stolonifera.


Differs from Type and other varieties known to date, by the plant having long stolons.

Type Rio de Janeiro, Cabo Frio, Buzius, Leg. Luiz K Correia Araujo, No. 39, June 1981. Holotype HB 71.215


Billbergia amoena var. stolonifera by Elton M. C. Leme in J. Brom. Soc. 34(5): 218. 1984
In June of 1981 an interesting new variety of Billbergia amoena was found in the State of Rio de Janeiro. This plant was described by the eminent Brazilian botanist Edmundo Pereira and Jose Luiz Moutinho. Their Latin diagnosis, origi­nally publisbed in the Boletim de Herbario Bradeanum 3 (27); 1981 follows:
Billbergia amoena (Lodd. ) Lindl. var. stolonifera Pereira & Moutinho n. var.

Differt a forma typica et a varietatibus adhunc cognitis, planta longe stolonifera.



Typus state of Rio de Janeiro, County of Cabo Frio, Buzius,collected by Luiz K. Correia Araujo, no. 39, June of 1981. The holotypus is in Herbario Bradeanum under the number HB 71.215.
This new variety is unusual mainly because its small size contrasts so mar­kedly with the variable but usually very long stolon that can reach to almost one meter in length. For this reason, the plant would be an interesting garden specimen.

In nature, it thrives in the coastal regions, at sea level, growing as a terres­trial and sometimes forming huge mas­ses under the bushy restinga vegetation, and also in sunny places. The plant in the photograph was found in the place known as Costa Azul, County of Rio das Ostras, RJ. Its geographical distribution is not precisely established yet, but we can be certain that this new variety grows at least from the coastal region of Sao Pedro da Aldeia up the County of Macae, State of Rio de Janeiro.
Billbergia amoena var. stolonifera forma viridiflora Pereira & Moutinho, Bradea 3: 214, 220. 1981

Differt a varietate typica floribus omni ex parte virescentibus et foliis purpureis.


Differs from typical variety by flowers being green in all parts and purple leaves

TYPE: Estado do Rio de Janeiro, Municipio de Cabo Frio, Busius.Leg. Luiz Knud Correia de Araujo no 42, June 1981.

HOLOTYPE -HB No 71.216.
Billbergia amoena var viridis L. B. Smith, Smithson. Misc. Collect. 126: 20, 239. 1955.

Differt petalis omnino viridibus

Desc from S&D

Leaves green.

Inflorescence erect.

Sepals green except for the dark blue apex;

Petals wholly green.

Type. Foster 246 (holotype, GH; isotype, US), Santa Teresa, Espirito Santo, Bra­zil, 27 Jul1939, bloomed in cultivation, Jun 1940.

Distribution. To 1400 m alt, Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
BRAZIL. Rio de Janeiro: Retiro, Serra dos Orgaos, Nov 1916, Luetzelburg 7259 (M); Casimiro de Abreu, Barra de Sao Joao, 3 Sep 1953, Vianna et al no. Restinga-I-914 (R, US); Serra da Estrela, 12 Sep 1967, E. Pereira 10624 (HB).

Bromelia pallida Ker-Gawler, Bot. Reg. 4: pI. 344. Dec 1818. Type. Description and plate.

Pale Flowered Bromelia

Hexandria Monogynia

Nat. Ord. Bromeliae, Jussieugen. 49. DivII. Germen inferum

BROMELIA Supra vol. 3. fol. 203

B. pallida,panicula laxissima, patentissima, pauciflora, pedunculis 2 (in nostra planta aborta 1) floris; spathis supremis fertilibus, florem aequantibus, divaricatis.

Fol. multifariam ambientia, erecto-divergentia coriaceo-firma, lanceolato-lorata acumine brevi, remotius spinuloso-ciliata, convoluto-concava, longioraspithamaea v. ultra. Caulis erectus, dodrantilis v. ultra, teres simplex, spathaceo-vaginatus; spathae singulares, sparsae, sphacelato-membranosae, involuto-lanceolatae, acuminatae, inferiores fuscescentes, imbricato-erectae, superiores longiores, divaricatae, viride punicantes. Ramuli v. pedunculi subangulosi, distantes, sparsi, crassi, patentes, margine anteriori in bracteas 2 obsolete producti, inferiores in spathis axillares, superiores dudi, 3-plo breviores flore v. ultra. Flores tubulosi subbiunciales, diametro circiter pennae scriptoriae vulgaris, chloroleuci apicibus livido-caerulescentibus, summitate ramulorum geminis collateralibus, supremo v. exteriore in nostro exemplari constanter abortiente. Cal. duplo brevior corolla, firmior, nervosa, segmentis lanceolato-acuminatis corollae arcte applicitis. Cor. subsesquiuncialis, ore brevi subbilabiato-patens, laciniis ligulatis convoluto-imbricatis, acumine obtusiusculo brevi. Anth, luteae. lineares, versatiles. Germ. cylindraceum, oblongum, viride, sulco-striatum, triplo brevius corollo. Stylus subexsertus, viridus; stigmata saturatius viridia, dimiato-lanceolata, linearis, in unum contorta, vel tandem soluta. Sertum squamosum ad basin interiorem floris omnino ut in BROMELIA nudicauli, cujus descriptio vivenda in vol. 3. fol. 203


As far as we have been enabled to ascertain, our plant is of an unpublished species. It differs widely from any we are acquainted with in the disposition of the inflorescence and colur of the corolla, the dulness of which forms a singular contrast with the brilliancy of the upper spathes of the stem. We have not learned its native country.

The drawing was taken at Mr. Malcolm’s nursery at Kensington; where it was cultivated in the tan-pit of the hothouse, and flowered about the latter end of November. It had been obtained from a garden at Liverpool. We suspect it to be a South American plant.



Leaves multifariously ambient, from upright divergent, of a leathery firmness, lanceolately lorate shortly tapered at the point, prickly ciliate, prickles very small, rather wide-set, longer ones 7 or 8 inches long or more. Stem upright, 9 or 10 inches high or more, round, simple, spathaceouly sheathed; sheaths single, scattered, sphacelately membranous, involutely lanceolate, acuminate or long pointed, lower ones brownish, imbricately upright; upper ones the longest, divaricate, brightly crimsoned. Branchlets or peduncles slightly angular, wideset, scattered, thick, spreading, with the front edge slightly elongated into two shallow bractes scarcely observable but when carefully looked for, lower ones in the axils of the upper spathes, upper ones naked, all three times shorter than the flower or more. Flowers tubular, about two inches long, of the diameter nearly of a common pen, very pale pea-green, blueish at the tips, placed in pairs side by side at the ends of the branchlets, the uppermost or outer one in our sample always proving abortive, as shown in the present figure. Calyx twice shorter than the corolla, more substantial, nerved; segments lanceolately long-pointed sitting close about the corolla. Corolla nearly an inch and a half long, the orifice shortly abd subbilabiately spreading; segments ligulate, convolute, overlapping each other at the sides, shortly pointed. Anthers yellow, linear, vibrating. Germen cylindrical, oblong, green, furrowed, 3 times shorter than the corolla. Style slightly protruded, green; stigmas dark green, halved lanceolate, linear, twisted into one or else loose. The small scaly crown at the bottom of the interior of the flower resembles exactly that of Bromelia nudocaulis, the description of which may be seen in vol. 3, fol. 203, of the present publication



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