Leaves numerous in a dense fasciculate rosette, densely scaled; sheaths triangularovate, brownish; blades linear-subulate, thin, attenuate. Scape erect with inrolled, overlapping, lanceolate-elliptic, scaled, bracts. Inflorescence densely digitate with a few spikes or a single dense many-ranked spike, ovoid, rarely more than 7 cm long; spikes to 4 cm long, stout, slightly flattened; floral bracts densely overlapping, exceeding the sepals, densely scaled, often red; sepals 15-20 mm long, hairless or sparsely scaled; petals violet, to 4 cm long; stamens protruding.
Mexico, Greater Antilles, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia.
T. bartramii Elliott from south-eastern USA, Guatemala and Mexico is stemless, 20-40 cm high. Leaves many in dense rosette; sheaths triangular, 15-20 mm wide, conspicuous, pale brown; blades erect to spreading, linear-triangular, thin, attenuate. Scape erect with thin red bracts, densely scaled. Inflorescence digitate; spikes few, 3-9 cm long, 1 cm wide, flattened; floral bracts erect to 16 mm long, equalling the sepals; sepals scaly, ridged, the posterior pair shortly united; petals tubular, erect, 30-45 mm long, violet; stamens protruding.
T. brachycaulos Schltr. from Mexico and Central America has about 30 leaves in a dense rosette, lanceolate-acuminate, 12-26 cm long, 8-20 mm wide, more or less tinged with red brown. Flowers 10-12 in a capitulum in the centre of the leaf rosette; sepals 12-17 mm long; petals 5-7 cm long, violet, forming a tube; stamens protruding.
T. capitata Griseb. from Mexico, West Indies and Central America grows 20-50 cm high. Leaves in a rosette, scaled; sheaths broadly ovate to 9 cm long, brownish; blades narrow-triangular, 1-3 cm wide, involute-subulate toward tip. Scape erect with leaf-like bracts, usually tinged red towards the top. Inflorescence densely capitate, 4-7 cm long; primary bracts like upper scape bracts but with very short blades much exceeding the spikes; spikes stalkless, 1-5 flowered, flattened; floral bracts to 35 mm long, equalling the sepals, scaled at least toward the tip; sepals short united at the base; petals 35-50 mm long, blue, forming a tube; stamens protruding.There are many forms of this species in cultivation.
T. flabellata Baker from southern Mexico, Guatemala and El Salvador has many leaves in a rosette, densely scaled beneath; sheaths 4-6 cm long, distinct; blades narrowly triangular, 17 mm wide. Scape erect, very short. Inflorescence digitate; spikes 3-8, spreading, very narrowly clasped, strongly flattened, 15-22 cm long, the fertile part 4-9 cm long, 10-15 mm wide; floral bracts overlapping, 25-35 mm long, 9 mm wide, sparsely scaled, exceeding the sepals; sepals free; petals 4 cm long, violet, forming a tube; stamens protruding.
T. karwinskyana see T. utriculata.
T. lindenii Regel see comments under T. cyanea.
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.