The BROMELIAD SOCIETY
|Vol. 2||November December, 1952||No. 6|
THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETINEditorial Office: 718 Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Florida.
Annual Dues: $3.50 a year (foreign $4.00) which includes subscription to the Bulletin.
Write to Miss Victoria Padilla, 647 South Saltair Ave., Los Angeles 49, Calif.
|Happy New Year||Feliz Anno Novo||Une Bonne Annee|
|Buon Capo D'Anno||Gluckiges Neujahr||Feliz Ano Nuevo|
Our greeting goes out to every land where there are bromeliad enthusiasts.
Thus comes to an end the second year of the life of our Bulletin; we look forward to a larger and stronger Society as we send you these good wishes.
Our membership has continued to grow in the countries abroad; the cooperation and appreciation from those other lands has been most gratifying. We certainly need their support and assistance.
Each month has brought us additional information concerning locations of bromeliad collections which have survived two world wars in Europe, and, concerning the good work that is going on to place those collections into recognizable position again.
The Bromeliad Society Bulletin was not founded to be just another plant fadists' publication; and with the help of all you members we have, I feel quite certain, proven that it is to be a definite contribution both horticulturally and botanically to the study and appreciation of this great family.
In this issue you will find the Bromeliad Bulletin's first botanical description of a new species that we have been privileged to publish, a new cryptanthus, as described by Dr. Lyman B. Smith of the Smithsonian Institution. This definitely launches our Bulletin on a basis similar to that of a number of other publications throughout the world where authentic botanical findings are recorded.
FROM THE SECRETARY'S DESK
That time has come again when the renewal of the subscription to the Bulletin is due. It will be of much assistance if we could have these renewals as early as possible. There are no paid officers or staff in your Society. The duties fall upon just a few shoulders. Please do your bit.
The Bromeliad Cultural Handbook is in the process of completion, but there is much work, research and photography still to be done. It is not too late for suggestions and contributions.
Remember, a copy of this Cultural Handbook is to be given to every member of the Bromeliad Society without charge. The regular price will be $1.50 per copy and we are sincerely hoping that every member will purchase at least one additional copy at the above price. There will be a special clothbound issue made up; the price will be $3.00 per copy. It will contain the latest data on the care of bromeliads on the subjects of pests and diseases, water and soil, and numerous chapters of simple general instructions and information. Dr. Lyman B. Smith's latest "Key To The Species" will be given for the first time. This is the first book of its kind on bromeliads ever written in the English language; it is an informative brochure which will do much to not only assist the novice, but the experienced grower of bromeliads as well.
Renew your subscription now; it will help to assure the Handbook.
The cover page drawing and engraving of "Earth Stars" is a contribution from your Editor and his assistant, Racine.
From the letters that the secretary has received regarding the puya and dyckia seed which she has sent, it would seem that there will be no shortage of these plants in the near future, practically all the seeds having germinated almost 100%. As puyas, particularly chiliensis, are rather "largish" the secretary hopes that members who are raising them have ample room.
Mr. Reg. L. Homer of New South Wales writes that there is a species of wild edible pineapple to be found on the banks of tropical rivers in Australia. These plants must have been brought from nearby islands by natives for food many years ago–probably from plantations started by the Spaniards.
|Cryptanthus fosterianus L. B. Smith, sp. nov.|
Lyman B. Smith
Until now the Bulletin of the Bromeliad Society has dealt in species at second hand, leaving their original publication to others. However, I feel that the species described below presents a particularly happy and appropriate beginning. It is the discovery of our editor on the most recent of his Brazilian expeditions and it is so highly ornamental that it can not fail to interest many previously unaware of bromeliads.
A C. zonato Beer, cui affinis, foliis magnis valde incrassatis, sepalorum partibus liberis parvis late ovatis apiculatisque serrulatis differs.
Acaulescent, propagating by short erect axillary shoots; leaves about 12 in a flat rosette, sheaths orbicular, inflated, blades linear-lanceolate, acuminate, distinctly narrowed at base but not petiolate, 3 dm. long, 4 cm. wide, thick and fleshy, strongly undulate along the margin, subdensely serrulate. maroon above with wavy crossbars formed by coarse gray appressed scales, completely covered with such scales beneath; primary bracts of the inflorescence like reduced leaves but with longer apices and cordate bases; the central fascicles mostly 2-flowered, staminate, the outer fascicles of 3-4 perfect flowers; floral bracts broadly ovate, about equaling the sepals, membranaceous; sepals connate into a narrow tube 5 mm. long, the free lobes 3 mm. long; broadly ovate, apiculate. serrulate; petals white (Foster).
Brazil: Pernambuco: Terrestrial, Serra Negra, near the border of Paraiba, altitude 350 meters, October 13, 1948, M. B. Foster no. 2431 (Type in the U. S. National Herbarium).
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.
Soon after Dr. Lyman B. Smith returned from his Brazilian trip this past spring, he broke into the news with the bromeliads. Both Newsweek (Aug. 4/52) and The Washington Post (July 22/52) featured articles about him. He had been studying the mosquito problems in Southern Brazil with the Brazilian National Malaria Service, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Smithsonian Institution as co-sponsors.
In the extreme southern Brazilian states, Parana, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul, the bromeliads or "tank plants" as they are sometimes called, harbor certain anopheline mosquito larvae which are carriers of malaria. Dr. Smith catalogued and identified these host plants as well as the trees on which they grew.
In company with Padre Raulino Reitz, Director of the "Herbario Barbosa Rodrigues" of Itajai, Santa Catarina (in Southern Brasil), Dr. Smith made numerous trips into the jungles for observations on where and how the bromeliads grew in those areas.
In other parts of the country in a number of states he searched for bromeliads and more information about them. He visited the Herbarium in Sao Paulo which Dr. F. C. Hoehne has built to become one of the great Herbaria of South America. Also, he visited the outstanding Herbaria at the National Museum and the Botanical Gardens in Rio de Janeiro where many important botanical records are kept.
Because more species of bromeliads have been discovered in Brazil than in any other country in the world, that country, quite naturally, stands first in interest to both botanist and enthusiast who has taken up the study and interest of this great family, Bromeliaceae.
The transition required in the renaming of certain species of plants or the creating of new genera is bound to cause considerable confusion, especially among the nurserymen and collectors. This confusion, of course, principally concerns us when a well known plant is under consideration.
Many generic names have been given to plants by taxonomic botanists in years past and later another botanist or the same one has made additional studies with possibly more complete material and found that for reasons noted that the generic name should he changed or done away with and thrown into synonymy.
In 1891 O. Kuntze in Rev. Gen. 11 proposed Aregelia as a new name for Nidularium. Mez then separated many of the species of Nidularium and placed them under Aregelia. In 1934 Lyman B. Smith found that this was not allowable according to the rules of Botanical Nomenclature, so he created the new generic name Neoregelia (new regelia) (named for Regel who was superintendent of the Botanic Garden in St. Petersburg, Russia) and then proceeded to place the species that had been named Aregelia by Mez in this new genus. The species now known as Neoregelia have, for the most part, formerly been known as Aregelia, Nidularium, and Karatas, but some of them have been listed under such generic names as Regelia, Bromelia, Holophytum, Billbergia and Tillandsia. Of all the above genera the names of Karatas, Aregelia, Regelia and Holophytum have been entirely discarded and placed in synonymy.
Now we have the following which are some of the better known species bearing the name Neoregelia instead of Aregelia, Nidularium or Karatas; Neo. spectablis, Neo. pineliana, Neo. Carolinae, Neo. marechali, Neo. ampullacea, Neo. sarmentosa var. chloristicta, Neo. tristis, Neo. marmorata, Neo. farinosa, etc. Neoregelia princeps is the new name for Karatas meyendorfii or Nidularium Meyendorfii.
Other well known species, such as, Nidularium innocentii, N. purpureum, N. rutilans, N. regelioides, N. fulgens, N. procerum, N. billbergioides and many others continue to be included in the genus Nidularium.
As there were very few of the species called Aregelia such as spectablis, marmorata, pineliana, etc., in America there is not so much confusion in renaming them Neoregelia but in practically all of the European collections the name Aregelia and Karatas is still used today.
We hope that all Bromeliad Society members will make every effort possible to place the proper names on their plants and suggest this change whenever the synonymous names are seen in other collections.
Mulford B. Foster
Possibly because there is something very romantic about stars, whether they be in the heavens in their own galaxy, or whether they are commemorating some great event; whether they may be on the floor of the sea, or perhaps stars on the face of the earth such as our lovely star-like rosettes of the genus Cryptanthus, they are all romantic and should be universally acclaimed.
To suddenly come upon a carpet of leaf mulch studded with quaint star-like plants, i.e., a colony of cryptanthus species, is to feel the thrill of viewing a galaxy of stars, earth stars this time instead of celestial ones.
This could be your experience when searching through a semi-dry dwarf forest in the eastern part of Central Brazil. In our explorations there we found them in a range of localities, in shade and sun, in moist and dry areas, coastal and hinterland, principally in the states of Espirito Santo, Baia, Minas Gerais and Pernambuco in all shapes and sizes, banded and striped, variegated and solid colors . . . all intriguing and with an equal range of variety in color and form.
One has gaily colored leaves with stripes of pink, green and brown and crinkled edges as in C. bivittatus. Or we may chance upon C. lacerdae, very precise and symmetrical, its lovely green pointed leaves with a bright silver band running down the center. So well designed in formal lines that they look "custom made."
Cryptanthus zonatus, however, with its asymmetrical shape and "permanent wave" leaf, carries the informal cross bands zoned in gray over brown and green. The leaves as well as the bands undulate with all the dazzle of a zebra racing across the veldt. Some will say that it is as beautiful as a snake, others are reminded of the pheasant's feathers, but almost universal is the feeling that this weirdly beautiful plant in your living room would start a conversation on any occasion.
The new species C. fosterianus, first described in this issue, is a sophisticated cousin of C. zonatus. Stiff, thick, formal leaves of deep magenta that are barred with precise though informal waves of contrasting gray bands, this new addition to the Earth Stars' galaxy stands out as one of the first magnitude.
As a stud plant this new species has been proven to have introduced the finest blood for hybrids yet found. In combination with some of the older species and in some of the unpublished ones as well, has been produced the most unusual set of unnamed hybrids that is to be seen in the entire family of bromeliads, for the leaf color range is not to be found in any other genus. In hybridizing we can make predictions by the stars!
And, these earth stars can shine right in your own home as they make ideal house plants, taking neglect and the shade or sun of a room, remarkably well. Their low stature very much finds an appropriate niche on a low table in the living quarters. Their long endurance under adverse conditions of neglect makes them truly an amazing plant. Although they lose some of their best coloration when they are asked to come inside and sit on a table for a few months, they never lose the design or pattern of their markings.
The lowly Cryptanthus earth stars have never reached the branches of the trees like their cousins the Tillandsias. They do not have the brilliant flower spikes of the Vriesias nor the giant stature of the Puya Raimondii but they deserve acclaim and certainly receive it as the lover of beauty in plants bows down his head to look upon their decorative beauty.
Botanically, the genus Cryptanthus was named by Klotzch, and was first published in the famous German Gartenzeitung in 1836. Analyzing the meaning of the parts of the word we find that Crypt means "hidden" and anthus means "flower" which indicates that the genus characteristic is that the flowers are inconspicuous.
Horticulturally, the earliest record of a Cryptanthus having been introduced into horticulture apparently was when Mrs. Arnold Harrison of Liverpool introduced Cryptanthus undulatus in 1827. Later in 1831 Mr. Sello introduced into cultivation Cryptanthus bromelioides. In 1859 C. bivittatus (the most popular today) was introduced at Kew Gardens and it first flowered there in 1861. This species has been sold commercially for many years as C. rosea-picta and to this day is known under that synonym. Then from 1855 until 1891 the most of the balance of the known species were found and introduced into horticulture. One of the most striking of all the species is C. zonatus; this has been commonly called C. zebrina in horticulture. It was first introduced by Mr. Quesnel from Pernambuco, Brasil, to the Paris Garden about 1842; it created quite a sensation when it was first exhibited and it has not lost any of its glamour to this date, one hundred and ten years later.
Mez, in his last monograph of the bromeliads (Das Pflanzenreich, 1935), recognized twelve species. At least eight of these species with four varieties are represented in the writer's collection.
In 1939 I found a new species called Cryptanthus bahianus in the state of Bahia, Brazil in the highlands, an area called caatinga which is similar to a mesquite. This was quite a surprise because practically all of the known cryptanthus species had been found in shaded, semi-dry locations. My next new species was Cryptanthus maritimus. This was quite different from the other known species as it has long grass-like leaves and was growing in wooded areas. My third new species was C. pseudoscaposus. This was growing on rocky ledges in moist, shaded conditions and has a character quite unlike any of the members of the genus for its flower head rises up from the leaf rosette on a thick scape-like member. My fourth new species was C. incrassatus and my fifth, discovered that same year, will be published in the near future.
In 1948 I discovered a few more members of this interesting genus, one of which is described, for the first time, in this issue, C. fosterianus. While this new species resembles, in its markings, the well-known C. zonatus, it is very easily distinguished, not only from its floral parts but by the deep magenta coloring and exceptionally long, thick succulent leaves. One of the first plants I brought back measured thirty-two inches from tip to tip of the leaves when it was fully matured. This species is distinguished by having the greatest number of seeds in each fruit; also the seeds are smaller than any of the other species I have examined with the exception of C. schwackeanus. The other extreme in seed size is in C. beuckerii the fruits of which contain but three or four seeds in each fruit. They are not only the largest seeds of any Cryptanthus but they are as large if not larger than any seeds in the entire family of Bromeliaceae.
In 1949 I first found that the flowers of a Cryptanthus are not all perfect flowers. The past descriptions of the genus have been "flores, hermaphroditi," in fact, all of the flowers in the bromeliad family are supposed to be such; perfect flowers with both male and female parts. When I first started hybridizing these interesting species I found that the little cluster of flowers in the center of the rosettes were practically always imperfect or male flowers and the flowers that appeared among the leaf bracts below the center cluster were perfect flowers; these generally appeared after all of the male flowers above had finished blooming. This meant that daily observations must be made both as to when the perfect flowers were in bloom and also the hour when the pistil was receptive to pollination. To date I have more than twenty successful hybrids in this genus; they make a most unusual array both in form and exquisite leaf coloring.
From the general appearance, a Cryptanthus plant seems to be rather distant in its family relationship from a Billbergia, yet, several bi-generic hybrids have been made by crossing those two genera. It is believed that the first bi-generic cross was made by Theodore L. Mead when he succeeded in hybridizing C. beuckerii with Billbergia nutans. Since that time the writer has crossed C. bahianus with B. nutans, also C. maritimus with B. amoena. Other attempts at crossing these two genera have not been very successful; this remains an open field for experimentation and it is hoped that we will find additional species which will cross successfully. Whether placed in first rank among groups of other plants in planter arrangements or as individual plant specimens, there is a great future for many of these new species and hybrids.
|Photo by M. B. Foster|
|Aechmea bracteata (Swartz) Mez) growing at base of date palm. Tillandsia fasciculata Swartz on trunk above.|
Tillandsia hospitalis, a new species we discovered in Colombia, on the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, is a giant bromel growing on the ground near the top of a mountain ridge 8,000 feet up. Its great basins of water between the large leaves serve as the only source of water in this high area for the grazing cattle in the dry season, and our hosts assured us that on many an occasion it has literally saved the lives of the cattle. For that reason it was considered hospitable to cattle, hence its name "hospitalis."
Long will it be remembered when Mulford Foster was ably assisted by the bromeliads' beneficent water reservoir. During a very dry season while crossing the Florida Everglades (in a 1920 Chevrolet) he found his radiator very dry and very hot. It was impossible to travel further until the bromeliads accommodated. Some native Tillandsia fasciculata plants from nearby cypress trees yielded a good gallon of water for the stricken radiator and he was then able to proceed on the journey.
Mr. Thomas MacDougall, in his article "Afoot in Mexico" in The Journal of the New York Botanical Garden, July 1948, found the water from bromeliads most welcome. He says in part: "Celso climbed a nearby oak and carefully bent some rosettes of Tillandsia imperialis over his can. In a short time he returned with a gallon of water. The successful outcome assured us a leisurely stay. Except for floating debris, water like this is quite clear; small frogs, salamanders and other minute animals that find refuge in bromeliads are mostly forced out when rosettes become water-filled."
"The availability of palatable water is a subject of acute interest to the tropical traveler. Few, if any, of the substitutes are considered the equal of pure water." . . . "That the natives do not make [extensive] use of this water from bromeliads is partly to be explained by their dislike for "dead water" . . . they prefer to dip from a stream or a spring; but I have always found it satisfactory."
On the other hand natives of Yucatan consider such water exceptionally pure as we learn from a quotation copied by Alex Hawkes out of Gardener's Chronicle (1871) p. 1386. "One of the most conspicuous plants of Yucatan is a showy species of Bromelia allied to B. bracteata,* if not actually that species. It grows parasitically** in the forks of large trees, where it embellishes the scenery with its long, bright scarlet bracts. The Indians, even now, have great admiration for this plant and its cogeners, which played an important part in the sacred rites of their ancestors. It was from the axils of the leaves that the pure water of heaven was collected to be used for the baptism of children. On such and other equally solemn occasions it was essential that water should be used which had come from heaven, and never touched ground; hence the value of this and similar plants which collected the rain in a manner akin to that of our common Teasel."
|Tillandsia imperialis Morr.|
At Christmas time in Mexico great bundles of Tillandsia imperialis are brought to the mercados (markets) by the Indians. Everybody craves to display the decorative, festive spirit that their flaming central cone-like inflorescences radiate. These Tillandsias, called tenchos there, have become traditional and as synonymous to a Mexican "Natividad" as the poinsettia (native of Mexico) is to an American Christmas in the United States.
In Costa Rica too, just prior to Christmas, the markets are laden with bundles of flaming flower spikes of lovely Guzmanias and Thecophyllums proclaiming in their bromeliaceous way that it is Christmas again!
* B. bracteata is a synonym for Aechmea bracteata and
this is undoubtedly the species referred to as it is certainly one of the
showiest species found in the Yucatan, Mexican jungles. M. B. F.
** now known to grow epiphytically.
*** See National Geographic Magazine, October, 1950, p. 473.
Mulford B. Foster
Recently we received a letter from Mr. Hugh Evans of Evans & Reeves Nursery, Los Angeles, California. He is a member of our Bromeliad Society and is one of the best known horticulturists in California. He has been a very close student of plant life and his work has been known in both England and America.
We quote, in part, from his letter: "We recently purchased Dictionary of Gardening by Chittenden who, I am sorry to say, died a year or two ago. Lord Aberconway, whom I used to know and who is the president of The Royal Horticultural Society, said in the forward to the book that Mr. Chittendon was probably the best informed plant man alive. No doubt this is true, but I happened to notice that in his chapter on Aechmeas he particularly cautions against leaving any water in the center of the plant. In fact, I have always understood that if a bromeliad fell from a tree or precipice with its funnel pointing down, its death was only a matter of time."
Turning to the description on the genus Aechmea in The Dictionary of Gardening to which Mr. Evans refers, we quote in part from that description which was written by Mr. Chittendon personally; "Propagation: when the flower spikes which arise from the crown of the plant, die away, suckers or offsets are produced near the base, and from these other flowers appear the year after. If large plants are desired, these suckers should be left to grow and spread around; but to produce single plants, the suckers must be taken off and potted singly, in sandy soil, and then stood where they have moist heat till rooted. To root them it is necessary to strip off a few of the lower leaves and trim the bottom with a sharp knife, so as to assist callusing. . . . In winter they should be kept rather on the dry side, to induce partial rest. Water must not be allowed to lie in the crown of the plant."
There is no doubt but that different conditions under which plants are grown may have something to do with their treatment. But when statements are made such as "water must not be allowed to lie in the crown of the plant" and it refers to a bromeliad or a tank epiphyte this certainly seems very inconsistent to us, at least those of us bromeliad growers here in Florida.
The writer has been collecting bromeliads throughout the Americas and in all seasons of the year, but the only time that he has found bromeliads without water in their crowns was when the countryside was going through a long severe drought. The epiphytic bromeliad which does not have water in its crown certainly suffers a set back. The exceptions to this, of course, are xerophytic types such as many of the Tillandsias which by their very nature can go for long periods without rain. However, these plants are completely covered with peltate scales which are able to absorb dew or the slightest moisture from the air at least every night and they do not have open leaf rosettes. Certainly we have never known an Aechmea, for example, that would be very happy without water in its leaf cups. Different species of Aechmea may have their blooming season at different times of the year, many of them are in the winter, and they certainly want water in their cups at that particular time.
If a bromel is blown from a tree or a rock and is caught on a limb or the ground in an upside-down position it does not necessarily mean that it will die, unless it falls in an arid, full sun position. The main plant itself will start on its apparent decline but that eternal determination to survive is shown by a new side shoot or stolon which emerges and turns straight up to the sun with a new plantlet, which soon develops leaves with which to catch the life giving rain to carry on its growth. The recuperative powers of the bromeliads is phenomenal and even though they may be "down, they are not out."
The very formation of these epiphytic bromeliads with their interlocking leaf sheaths at the base of the plant create cups sealed so as to hold water and food for their very existence; thus the water held is a natural condition.
If temperatures are cool in or outside of a greenhouse and the plants are in a dormant stage, then one may not use as much water as they would if it were warm and evaporation was rapid. Why such statements are made I hardly know, unless, because of the lack of evaporation in the winter the plants have rotted off because of excessive water around the roots ... not because of water in their leaf cups. These plants want water in them but not on them, in excess, when evaporation is slow.
Of course there are some bromeliads that can withstand a much greater amount of moisture in winter around their roots such as high altitude Puyas and Greigias which are often found growing in great masses of wet sphagnum moss. In these plants there are practically no leaf cups above the roots to hold water in the crown.
One more item in the above description from Chittendon is very misleading: "to root them it is necessary to strip off a few of the lower leaves and trim the bottom with a sharp knife so as to assist callousing." We have rooted many thousands of bromeliads but have yet to find a bromel that would form any callus. The new off shoots invariably develop from buds at the base of the leaves or on the tips of stolons. I fear that so often instructions are given and while they may apply to certain kinds of plants the instructor has used general terms of which he has had no experience in propagation.
We are indebted to Mr. Evans for calling attention to this recently published bromeliad fallacy.
Dr. Richard A. Howard, Professor of Botany. Harvard University, and veteran collector in the Caribbean, called to our attention a bromeliad faux pas that is the most incredible yet. In "The Travellers Tree" by P. L. Fermor on page 253 is a description of Port au Prince, capital of Haiti, which concludes with this statement: "The telephone wires running beside the road to the capitol were bearded, every few inches with the wispy little hanging nests of hummingbirds." What do you think of that for Tillandsia recurvata!
Behold! I bring you glad tidings of great joy! I went 'round my bromeliads with my reading glasses on and this is what I found:
Neoregelia farinosa has a vivid center, so presumably it is going to flower. Dyckia leptostachya has buds of a red-gold color.
D. altissima has larger and more buds, also red-gold. D. sulphurea has three or four flowers.
Nidularium amazonicum has a vivid center so presume it will shortly flower. An unnamed Nidularium is showing ten or twelve buds.
The thrill of all, Quesnelia testudo, has very mealy stem-bracts and a huge red "nose" about one inch beyond them.
Plant Life 1945 on page 5 has a drawing of Q. quesneliana. Will this flower head be of a similar "corn-cob" shape?
All the above are and have been since I had them, in the garden, even through our last severe winter frosts.
The following are in the glass house, heat never above 70 degrees F.–moving air therein always.
Two Tillandsia bulbosa have flower stems, one showing a little white. Tillandsia pulchella showing white scalloped petticoats with three scallops below a red dress . . . the most effective combination and arrangement I have ever seen.
Cryptbergia Meadii is pushing a flower head up about an inch long. My curiosity can hardly wait to see how this bi-generic hybrid turns out!
Aechmea fulgens discolor is gorgeous . . . the buds rather far apart, very colorful with its vivid red stem and the upper part of each bud the same vivid red.
Also flowering is Cryptanthus acaulis var. rubra with one white bud. C. bahianus X Bill. nutans has an inch high bud.
There what do you think of that????? Talk about Father Christmas giving one presents!!!!!
–Muriel Waterman. (December 25, 1951)