Leaves 8-10 in an upright tubular rosette, to 90 cm long, 6-7 cm wide, greygreen, often purplish, underside grey cross-banded; margins with prominent brown spines. Scape erect but becoming pendent; bracts thin, bright red, becoming rolled up. Inflorescence pendent, many-flowered; sepals red with a blue tip, bristly; petals greenish-white at the base and violet-blue in the upper third; stamens prominent, orange-yellow
.There are very few of the true species in cultivation, but many hybrids and cultivars have been derived from this species.
Related cultivar: 'Chas Webb' Tall tight tube, grey-green leaves with silver bandings, flush purple in good light. Inflorescence semi-pendent, bracts bright pink-red, petals purple. A very common cultivar in older gardens and collections. ['Breauteana']
Source: (2005). Bromeliaceae. In: . Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 5. Flowering plants. Monocotyledons. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.