Leaves many, 35 cm long, 1-1.5 cm wide, linear-triangular, more or less red striate at base, finely scaled, green; sheaths distinct 6 cm long. Scape erect, very short with leaf-like bracts in the lower part. Inflorescence simple, elliptic, strongly flattened to 16 cm long, 7 cm wide, dense, to 20 flowered; floral bracts sharply ridged, exceeding the sepals, rose-pink or red, obscurely scaled; sepals free; petal blades spreading, broadly rhombic, deep violet, 20-25 mm long; stamens included.
This species has a short scape which distinguishes it from T. lindenii which has a long scape and comes from northern Peru. Many hybrids between the two occur in cultivation with scapes of various lengths.
T. mallemontii Mez from eastern Brazil has stems. Leaves distichous to 12 cm long, grey scaled; sheaths narrowly ovate to 2 cm long; blades mostly spreading, linear, 1-1.5 mm wide, long-attenuate. Scape to 13 cm long, scaled, 1 or 2 scape bracts. Inflorescence simple, distichous, flattened, 25 mm long, 4 mm wide, densely 1-4 flowered; floral bracts to 9 mm long, ridged, densely scaled; sepals 12.5 mm long, hairless; petals to 17 mm long, tubular, blade orbicular, spreading, 6.5 mm wide, blue.
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.