*The following is based on Gann, G.D., K.A. Bradley & S.W. Woodmansee. 2002. Rare Plants of South Florida: Their History, Conservation, and Restoration. The Institute for Regional Conservation: Miami. For updated species accounts, see Citation below. For the original text, follow the link in the Update field. If no Update field is displayed, then cite as the original publication.


Tillandsia fasciculata Sw.
var. clavispica Mez
Clubspike cardinal airplant


South Florida Status: Historical. Last collected in 1958 on Long Pine Key in Everglades National Park.

Taxonomy: Monocotyledon; Bromeliaceae.

Habit: Perennial epiphytic herb.

Distribution: Native to peninsular Florida, Cuba, and Mexico. Wunderlin (1998) reports it as rare in Miami-Dade County. Wunderlin & Hansen (2001) also records it for Brevard County and the Monroe County Keys.

South Florida Distribution: Miami-Dade County and the Monroe County Keys.

South Florida Habitats: Hammocks.

Protection Status: Listed as endangered by FDACS (as T. fasciculata).

Aids to Identification: Smith & Downs (1977) and Wunderlin (1998) have keys to the varieties of T. fasciculata.

References: Smith, 1966; Smith & Downs, 1977; Wunderlin, 1998.

Synonyms: None.



Historical Context: Clubspike cardinal airplant was collected first on the island of Key West either by John Loomis Blodgett between 1838 and 1853 (s.n., NY) or by Ferdinand Rugel in 1846 (194, NY). Abram P. Garber collected it once in Miami in 1877 (1885, NY), presumably in Brickell Hammock south of the Miami River. Frank C. Craighead collected a specimen at Palma Vista Hammock #2 on Long Pine Key in Everglades National Park in 1956 (s.n., US), and another one there in 1958 (s.n., US).

Comments: All Tillandsia fasciculata taxa in South Florida are affected by the exotic weevil Metamasius callizona, the larvae of which burrows inside the plant and kills it. In Florida, clubspike cardinal airplant is only known from South Florida and the Indian River area, which is the basis for the Brevard County record in Wunderlin & Hansen (2001). The Indian River collection was made in 1877 by John Donnell Smith (s.n., US), and is apparently extirpated.


Recommendations: · Survey the Long Pine Key area of Everglades National Park. · If plants are found, map and monitor known populations. · If plants are found, consider establishing an ex situ collection of germplasm. · Consider reintroduction to Brickell Hammock at Alice Wainwright Park, Simpson Park, and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens. · Consider restoring rockland hammocks on the island of Key West and reintroducing clubspike cardinal airplant. · Review for listing by FNAI.