Rediscovering Vriesea sincorana… after a century!

Dear reader,

Do you believe in beginners luck? Well, I do. Better, I definitely do!

I explain: until very recently Vriesea sincorana (Mez. Repert. Sp. Nov. 12: 418. 1913) was “only Known from the type collection only.” (Type. Ule 7131 (holotype B, F photo 11470), Serra do Sincorá, Bahia, Brazil, Nov 1906.) In layman´s language, means the only recognized species is the one collected in 1906!

In my initial visit to the Chapada Diamantina, Bahia – don´t miss it! – I found a young bromeliad encrusted in the dry soil of the savannah. Unware of the genus and species – my taxonomic knowledge hasn´t improved much since then -, I brought it to Rio and awaited mother nature to operate the miracle of life. After years, it flowered and was later confirmed to be the elusive Vriesea sincorana. Isn´t this beginners luck? The episode proves that laymen and experienced botanists are all alike when it comes to being chosen by fortune.

Enjoy the photos of this little beauty which is now at the good hands of the Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro.

Obrigado, Oscar

  Vriesea sincorana Mez. Repert. Sp. Nov. 12: 418. 1913. Desc from S&D Plant flowering over 1.5 m high. Leaves many (?), to 34 cm long; Sheaths very large, broadly elliptic, castaneous toward base; Blades ligulate, broadly acute and apiculate, 25-40 mm wide, subrigid, wholly green, glabrous above, covered beneath with minute appressed scales. Scape erect, stout, glabrous; Scape-bracts erect and clasping the scape, the upper elliptic, acute, equaling the internodes. Inflorescence typically of two racemes; Primary bract equaling the sterile base of the raceme; Terminal raceme 25 cm long with 2 sterile bracts at base, Lateral raceme 16 cm long with a naked sterile base, densely 6-fiowered; Rhachis slightly flexuous, stout, angled, glabrous. Floral bracts distichous, broadly ovate, broadly acute, not equaling the centers of the sepals, inflated, twice as long as the internodes or less, slightly nerved, neither carinate nor incurved, lepidote toward apex; Flowers erect, not secund; pedicels about 1cm long. Sepals elliptic, obtuse, 40 mm long, 18 mm wide; Petals ligulate, 55 mm long; Stamens and pistil exserted. Type. Ule 7131 (holotype B, F photo 11470), Serra do Sincora, Bahia, Brazil, Nov 1906. DISTRIBUTION. Known from the type collection only.