Plants in dense spheric clusters, flowering to 15 cm diam. Stems short. Leaves 4--10, 2-ranked, recurving, gray, 6--12 ´ 0.2--0.3 cm, densely pruinose-scaly; sheath pale, elliptic, not inflated, not forming pseudobulb, 4--8 mm wide; blade subulate, terete distally, succulent, margins involute to nearly tubular, apex acute to attenuate. Inflorescences: scape conspicuous, erect, 2--5 cm, ± 1 mm diam.; bracts 1--2, widely spaced, erect, inconspicuous, nearly foliaceous; sheath of bracts narrowing gradually into blade; spikes ascending, subpalmate, elliptic, compressed, 8--15 ´ 4--6 mm, apex acute; lateral branches absent. Floral bracts laxly imbricate, erect, green, tinged purple, broad (covering all or most of rachis, rachis not visible at anthesis), narrowly elliptic, not keeled, 0.8--1 cm, thin-leathery, apex acute, surfaces densely grayish-scaly, venation even to slight. Flowers usually 2, conspicuous; sepals free, lanceolate, not keeled, 6--8 mm, thin, veined, apex acute, surfaces glabrous; corolla tubular; petals spreading toward apex, violet, elliptic, 0.7--1 cm; stamens included; stigma included, simple-erect. Fruits to 3 cm.
Flowering summer. Epiphytic to occasionally among or on rocks (Arizona, Texas), usually in bright exposed habitats; 0--1500 m; Ariz., Fla., Ga., La., Tex.; Mexico; West Indies; Central America; South America.
PLANT: typically in dense ball-like clumps to 15 cm diameter. STEMS: compressed. LEAVES: grayish-green, in 2 ranks, recurved, densely covered with peltate trichomes; leaf bases sheath-like, not inflated or forming pseudobulbs; blades subulate medially to terete distally; apex acute to attenuate. INFLORESCENCE: INFLORESCENCES scapose, erect and conspicuously held above the leaves; floral bracts imbricate and covering the rachis at anthesis. FLOWERS: 1 or 2; sepals free and glabrous, lanceolate with an acute apex; petals united, violet; stamens included; stigma 1, included and erect. FRUITS: to 2 cm long. SEEDS: many, to 1 mm long, with numerous thread-like hairs to 2 cm long. NOTES: Growing on trees and shrubs: Cochise, Graham, Pima, Santa C REFERENCES: Raul Gutierrez Jr., 2007, Vascular Plants of Arizona: Bromeliaceae. CANOTIA 3 (2): 23-25.