Tillandsia ionantha comes from Central America, Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. It grows as an epiphyte up in the tree canopies and on scrub bushes. It grows in hot and dry environments and so is well adapted to drought and full sun.
Ionantha is from the Greek 'Ion' meaning purple, and 'Anthos' which means flower. When the ionantha's come into their flowering process they color up really well turning fiery red, and then will produce the lovely purple, tubular flowers, then they will produce pups or offsets around the base which will grow and flower again when they reach maturity which is generally one year.
There are many many sub-species and varieties of ionantha, which makes them very collectible. They are very popular due to their ease of growing, vibrant display and the fact that they are so versatile.
I have some lovely plants of Tillandsia ionantha v. stricta. This variety keeps its red color for a long time and the plants have a nice shape. At anthesis (flowering stage) the plant becomes more intense red, this with the lower silver green leaves and purple flowers creates great contrast of color. A very nice ionantha variety.
The image for this product is not ionantha v. stricta. Will update the picture later.