6. Tillandsia balbisiana Schultes f. in J. J. Roemer and J. A. Schultes, Syst. Veg. 7(2):1212. 1830.
Plants single or clustering, flowering to 75 cm. Stems short. Leaves 15--30, many-ranked, reflexed, twisted or contorted, gray, often flushed red, to 65 ´ 0.6--1.4 cm, appressed-grayish-scaly; sheath conspicuously rust-colored toward base, ovate to elliptic, conspicuously inflated, forming small pseudobulb, 2--4 cm wide; blade linear-triangular, leathery, channeled to involute, apex attenuate. Inflorescences: scape conspicuous, erect, 8--30 cm, 2--4 mm diam.; bracts densely imbricate, spreading, recurved and twisted like leaves; sheath of bracts narrowing gradually into blade; spikes erect, 2-pinnate, linear, compressed, 2--10 ´ 1 cm, apex acute; lateral branches 2--10 (rarely simple). Floral bracts imbricate, erect, green to red, broad (covering all or most of rachis, rachis not visible at anthesis), elliptic, keeled, 1.5--2 cm, leathery, base not visible at anthesis, apex acute, surfaces glabrous to inconspicuously scaly near apex only, venation even to slight. Flowers 5--30, conspicuous; sepals with adaxial pair connate, lanceolate, keeled, 1.5--2 cm, leathery, apex acute, surfaces glabrous; corolla tubular; petals erect, violet, ligulate, to 3.5 cm; stamens exserted; stigma exserted, conduplicate-spiral. Fruits to 4 cm.
Flowering spring--summer. Epiphytic on a variety of hosts in open woods, cypress swamps, coastal forest; 0--30 m; Fla.; Mexico; West Indies; Central America; South America.