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Herbs, largely epiphytic, caulescent or acaulescent. Roots often functioning only as hold-fasts and sometimes completely lacking. Leaves rosulate, fasciculate or distributed along a stem (distichous in only one Guiana species), entire; indument of radially symmetric or at one side produced scales. The flowers are almost always trimerous (all Guiana species), and the perianth is clearly differentiated into sepals and petals. The petals are nearly always similar, and vary in form from linear to ovate. Stamens are in two whorls of 3 each. In gamopetalous corollas the filaments are more or less fused with the petals. The ovary consists of 3 carpels, fused at the edges, superior or nearly so (except in Glomeropitcairnia, not recorded for the Guianas). Fruits capsular, septicidal; seeds with a plumose appendage forming a coma at the base or apex or both.


Argentina present, Guianas present, S. Florida present
Nearly 1000 species in 6 (7) genera, from S. Florida to Argentina; in the Guianas ca. 51 species in 4 genera.

The following taxa are newly placed in synonymy:

  • Guzmania venamensis L.B. Smith to G. sphaeroidea (Andre) Andre ex Mez
  • Tillandsia archeri L.B. Smith to T. turneri Baker
  • Vriesea pachychlamys Mez to V. gladioliflora (Wendland) Antoine
  • Guzmania lingulata (L.) Mez var. minor (Mez) L.B. Smith& Pitt. to G. lingulata (L.) Mez
  • Guzmania lingulata (L.) Mez var. splendens (Planchon) Mez to G. lingulata (L.) Mez
  • Tillandsia tenuifolia L. var. surinamensis (Mez) L.B. Smith to T. tenuifolia L.
  • Guzmania altsonii L.B. Smith is resurrected.

The following new combinations (p.p. change of rank) are made:

  • Tillandsia spiculosa Grisebach var. stenoglossa (L.B. Smith) Gouda
  • Tillandsia tetrantha Ruiz & Pavon var. caribaea (L.B. Smith) Gouda
  • Vriesa duidae (L.B. Smith) Gouda
  • Vriesa pleiosticha (Grisebach) Gouda

A lectotype is selected for

  • Tillandsia usneoides (L.) L.