The BROMELIAD SOCIETY
|Vol. 3||July August, 1953||No. 4|
TILLANDSIA FASCICULATA var. DENSISPICA forma ALBA M. B. Foster
A new form of Tillandsia fasciculata recently
discovered in South Florida
(See description on page 29.)
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.
It is regrettable that notice from Germany came too late for inclusion in the Handbook's list of commercial growers. Please add the following to that list on the last page of your Handbook: Albert Schenkel, Strandweg 32. Hamburg-Blankenese, Brit. Zone, Germany.
Everybody is happy to hear the fine news from the March 1953 Annual Exhibition of the Chicago Society of Etchers, that an exquisite etching of Vriesia splendens, by Morris Henry Hobbs (of New Orleans), was awarded the First Prize with a cash honorarium. The bromeliads are going to the galleries!
SOME PUBLICATIONS –
The Bromeliad Society has been honored with a complimentary ad running in the August 1953 issue of TROPICAL HOMES and GARDENING (Box 804, Coral Gables, Fla.). The editor, Buth Stuart Allen, said that she "could not think of any horticultural group that she had rather promote free of charge than The Bromeliad Society." Was that not kindly and generous? The August issue is devoted to the fabulous story of Vizcaya, the Deering home, in Miami, which cost something like 20 million dollars; it is a museum house full of priceless art treasures now owned by Dade County, and is open to the public.
The September issue of this same magazine will have an article on "Bromeliads in Europe" by Hamilton Mason; for Bromeliad Society members who wish a copy of this, single copies can be ordered at 25c; annual subscription is $3.00.
A number of new species, in the genera Aechmea, Tillandsia, Guzmania, Pitcairnia, Puya, from Ecuador, Colombia and Peru, have been published by Lyman B. Smith in PHYTOLOGIA (June 1953, Vol. 4, No. 4; 15 Glenbrook Ave., Yonkers 5, N. Y.)
In commemoration of the 10th anniversary, 1942-52, of the founding of the Herbario "Barbosa Rodrigues," Itajai, Santa Catarina, Brazil, Director, Padre Raulino Reitz has recently published the "Anais Botanicos" containing much on bromeliads. This interesting issue, Vol. 4 No. 4, June 22, 1952, (written in Portuguese, Latin and German) contains many new species described by Director Reitz as well as other pertinent information about bromeliads in the State of Santa Catarina. One of his most important new species is named for Dr. Lyman B. Smith, Wittrockia Smithii, a well deserved honor. Included is a long paper by H. P. Veloso from the Instituto Oswaldo Cruz on malarial mosquitoes which inhabit bromeliads in the State of Santa Catarina.
Director Reitz is planning a very elaborate monograph on the bromeliads of the State of Santa Catarina; it will he a folio of over 80 species, and nearly all will be illustrated by colored plates. This is a work which will be eagerly anticipated.
"Your Indoor Plants from Aspidistra to Zalacca" by Juliana Crow is the title of a book recently published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, (10 s. 6 d.; $1.25). Mrs. Crow devotes nearly six pages to the bromeliads and writes quite favorably of them as house plants. She states that almost the only bromeliad with its original name is the pineapple, Ananas sativus. As in this instance (A. comosus is correct), she has erred in most of her descriptions and names of the bromeliads.
To begin a short account of this exhibit, it might be helpful to describe the Chelsea Flower Show itself. This show, housed in one marquee covering four acres, and possibly the largest marquee ever erected, is beyond question the finest in the world. Here are found the finest of all plants, tender and hardy, which are grown in the British Isles. One must apply for permission to exhibit, and applications vastly exceed the area available. There is no competition, but awards are made by the Council of the Royal Horticultural Society on the advice of judging committees.
This year, in May 1953, we exhibited 640 square feet of bromeliads, for which we were awarded a gold medal, the highest honour possible. To my recollection, this is the first time such an award has been made, and it was a source of great pride and satisfaction to us.
The group included possibly 350 species and hybrids of bromeliads varying in size from a baby Cryptanthus to a large Ananas. There were two 5-ton double-deck lorry loads, and I suppose 450 plants in all. At the Chelsea Flower Show, every plant must be clearly labeled, and it can well be imagined that this in itself was no mean task, and I fear that the accuracy of some of the names was a little dubious.
We endeavoured to contrast the colours and forms throughout the group as much as possible, but made one carpet of Cryptanthus in peat, which to my mind was the outstanding point of the group. Here were included many of Mulford Foster's forms and hybrids, which had certainly never been exhibited in this country before, and possibly not in America. Great interest was shown in them and we were inundated with requests for plants, both from nurserymen as well as amateur growers.
Another striking picture was a group of fourteen species and hybrids of Ananas, including eight variegated forms which had been given us from Bangkok. These had been grown in considerable heat and the vivid colours of the foliage stood out sharply against the background of peat. Vriesias, Tillandsias, and Catopsis mingled happily together and every leaf had been sponged, making the group glisten as though it had been polished.
The two rarest plants we possess, Ronnbergia morreniana and Neoglaziovia concolor, were shown. The latter had a good spike, and again we could easily have given away dozens of these plants had we possessed them. Four species of Puya were exhibited but unfortunately none were in flower at the time, although their foliage itself made them worthy of inclusion.
We felt that we needed a few tall plants to give height to our group, so used jacaranda, Sanchezia, Albizzia, and two or three Musas. One tent pole was in the middle of the group and this we mossed to a height of ten feet and then studded it solidly with all the spare Cryptanthus we had.
We grow quite a few Billbergias, and the outstanding plants in this group were some hybrids which came from a Belgian nurseryman a few years ago, and which in flower, with six or eight spikes on each plant, make a brave show with their brilliantly coloured bracts. They are all named, but I am so dubious of their accuracy that I prefer not to quote them.
Our group took three of us three days to arrange but we feel that the result was justified by the interest it aroused and by the number of novices to whom we were able to give small plants as a start.
It has come to our notice that Spanish Moss may be a new source of a hard natural wax. As published in SCIENCE, May 29, 1953, Vol. 117, Seldon D. Feurt and Lauretta E. Fox, of the College of Pharmacy, University of Florida, Gainesville, state that:
"In view of the recent endeavors to procure a suitable substitute for carnauba wax from natural plant sources or by synthesis of low molecular weight waxes, attention is called to the wax present in commercial quantities in Spanish moss . . . The freshly gathered moss contains approximately 5 percent wax . . .
"This wax is soluble in various organic solvents, easily purified, and imparts a hard glossy finish to woodwork and leather, comparable to commercial waxes.
"In view of the abundance of Spanish moss, the proximity of the supply and the economy of utilizing the waste material from the processing of upholstering fibers . . . it may prove profitable . . . to investigate this plant."
Mulford B. Foster
TILLANDSIA FASCICULATA var. DENSISPICA forma ALBA M. B. Foster forma nova. A forma fasciculata petalis albis bracteis florigeris albido-viridibus, differt. Florida, Collier County, in Big Cypress near Deep Lake, May 30, 1953. Epiphytic on cypress trees. M. B. Foster No. 2825 (Type in the U. S. National Herbarium).
This new form of Tillandsia fasciculata var. densispica is a very robust plant. Some of the specimens were thirty inches in height and generally larger than the familiar variety so common in cypress swamps of central and southern Florida. The whitish green flower bracts and the white petals make this new form a much less conspicuous plant than our common variety densispica with its brilliant flower spikes of red bracts and violet flowers which is the showiest of all the Tillandsias found in the United States. The writer has taken this new white flowered form in three different locations in South Florida in the past two years.
Also, the writer has collected different varieties of the
typical T. fasciculata in the United States, Mexico, Cuba, Trinidad,
Costa Rica, Colombia, and Venezuela. It has been most interesting to see the
variation in this Tillandsia which has more named varieties and forms than any
other species in the genus. Mez divided this polymorphic species into eight
different varieties. This new forma alba adds one more form to this
This striking three-colored variety of Neoregelia carolinae has been known for several years both in Europe and America but has invariably been listed by horticulturists and sold as Nidularium tricolor. The writer has collected two different phases of the typical Neoregelia carolinae both in their native habitat in Brazil, and examination of this new variety tricolor show it to be definitely a variegated form of the species carolinae.
The leaves of Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor are distinctly striped in white, rose and green, a striking contrast to the plain green leaves of the typical Neoregelia carolinae, while the center scape bracts surrounding the flower head are of the usual deep red, the same as in the typical Neoregelia carolinae.
This variegated form does not come true from seed,
therefore, must be propagated by offshoots to continue its variegated
coloration. Even then, one may occasionally find a perfectly green offshoot
just as seedlings would be.
This variegated leaf variety of the only species of Guzmania native to the United States is a distinctive addition to the native flora of Florida. It is always a pleasant surprise to find a variegated species of bromeliad growing in the wilds of any country but this is the first record of so unique a thing occurring in Florida. The inflorescence is the same in this variegated leaf form as in the typical green leaf form.
This variety is quite evidently coming true from seed, although possibly not 100 per cent. The plants were found on a number of different trees and could not have been vegetative growth from one sport.
Prof. Roy Woodbury of the University of Miami, Miami,
Florida, first brought this beautiful variety to my attention in 1952.
This new variety of Cryptanthus bromelioides is a dramatic departure in color variation from the many interesting species in this genus in that the three colors of white, rose and green are in longitudinal streaks in the leaf and shows a very marked contrast to the bronzy-green and red of the typical Cryptanthus bromelioides.
This new variety is delicately colored with purer, clearer colors than most of the other species in the genus and the colors range from pure white to cream from delicate to dark pink, and light to dark green, reminding one somewhat of a highly colored Dracaena.
While this new variety has been grown for the past ten years by the author, but very few plants have ever produced flowers. The vegetative habit of this variety has been to continue to grow year after year, without maturing a head and producing flowers. The caudex or stern may grow to be two to three feet in length unless the plant is cut in pieces and re-rooted. This habit of growth is quite rare in the Bromeliaceae, and particularly in Cryptanthus species, as most of them mature in one to two years, producing a flowering head and then sending out offshoots from the base of nearly every leaf.
The typical species Cryptanthus bromelioides has been sold commercially under the unlawful name of Cryptanthus terminalis both in Europe and the United States for a number of years.
L. Guy Wilky
Making pictures of your choice flowers can become a very enjoyable hobby. By taking photographs you and your friends can enjoy the beauty of the flowers long after they are withered and gone.
Many times I am asked what kind of camera to use to make pictures of flowers. There is no best camera. You can take good photos of flowers with any kind or make of camera provided it has a good lens equipment. Pick the camera that you like best and you can learn to be a successful photographer if you follow a few basic rules.
I myself prefer a camera that has a ground glass back or one of the reflecting type. With this kind I can focus the image on the ground glass and see just what I am getting in my picture. Seeing my picture on a focusing ground glass gives me the means of seeing whether all of my flowers are in proper focus and are set up just as I want them.
Should you prefer a camera without this focusing convenience or if you already have a camera that is not so equipped, you can purchase a frame to fit on to the front of the camera. This will tell you the exact field of your picture. Very excellent results may be obtained with such an arrangement. Cal-Cam-Depo, 1564 North Grand Oaks Avenue, Pasadena 7, California, makes such an attachment.
If you wish to take extreme closeups of your plants, you will need a portrait lens to put in front of your regular lens. Portrait lenses come in three different focal lengths. Any camera or photo dealer can advise you which one you need and how it works on your own camera.
I strongly recommend the use of a tripod in all of your flower photography. It is almost a necessity when taking extreme closeups. By using a tripod, you can stop your lens down as much as you desire and get a much greater depth of focus. You will also find that you will get much sharper pictures and a better definition when you stop your lens down considerably.
Very beautiful pictures may be made right in your own garden, but for the best closeups, you will get much better results by using a suitable background. Such a background can be made of any number of materials. Colored cardboard makes a very satisfactory one as will cloth of different shades and textures. Always use a background that is in contrast to your flowers. For light flowers use a dark background and for dark flowers a light one. This will bring out your plants, set them apart, and give them character. If you are making pictures in color try using a background that is of a complimentary color to your flowers, as the combination will be more pleasing. Never use a confused or mixed-up background, for it will spoil your flower composition. After all, a background should be a setting for a good composition.
There are several means you can use for lighting the subject which you desire to photograph. You can use daylight, flash bulbs, or artificial lamp lights. There is nothing that will equal good daylight, for it contains all the colors of the spectrum and give us just what we need for good color rendition. Daylight can be used straight or it can be used diffused. If properly used, excellent results can be obtained either way. Thin Chinese silk or plain cheesecloth makes a good diffuser if you find your daylight too strong for real closeups.
While I prefer daylight when I can use it, very fine results may be obtained with flash bulbs or artificial lights. When using color film, be sure to use the light that matches your film. Any photo dealer can put you straight as to which is the correct film to use.
How do you light up your subject? A flat light that comes directly from
behind the camera will give you an evenly lighted picture, but it will look very flat. Try, instead, cross lighting your flower composition. Have the light come from the side direction of from 45° to 90° to the camera angle. Used with even back lighting, it sometimes gives very interesting results. When using cross lighting or back lighting, be sure that your shadows are luminous. You may need to reflect some light into the shadows with a reflector to balance your lighting. Any light material will serve the purpose. A light piece of cardboard, a piece of sheeting, or even a piece of newspaper may do the trick.
In judging ,our light and determining the correct exposure I highly recommend the use of a photo light meter. Learn to use a meter, and you can depend on your exposures being correct. This is very important, especially when taking colored photos.
Also I recommend keeping a set of notes, for by so doing, you can check your mistakes and thereby learn by experience from your own mistakes.
Whether you take your pictures in color or in black and white, I know you will enjoy the record they will give you of your plants. If you are not making your photos in color, you are missing a lot of fun–for in color the plants become alive again and will live for you for years to come.
449 N. Detroit St., Los Angeles 36, Calif.
Those of you who enjoyed Dr. Hertrick's article in the Handbook on growing bromeliads in the sun will have an opportunity to try out these beautiful plants for yourself. Mr. Ronald Townsend, director of the Huntington Botanical Gardens, has promised us all the seed that we might want as soon as the seed is ripe. These hardy bromeliads are about the easiest to grow from seed and are fun to watch develop. Send a stamped addressed envelope to your secretary with the names of the seeds you desire, and the seed will be sent to you as soon as it is received from the Gardens.
Speaking of the Handbook–there was one bad omission, and that was the name of the person without whose help the book could hardly have been published–Racine Foster. For your generous help in getting the book lined up, for the hours you devoted to the thankless job of proofreading, and for all you have done for the Society, we thank you, Racine.
Members who live "down under" need no longer complain that they are unable to procure bromeliads. Mrs. Muriel Waterman, our energetic trustee in Auckland, New Zealand, has printed a list of her surplus stock of bromeliads which she is offering for sale.
Marz Simpson tells us that the most thrilling moment of his recent trip to Mexico occurred when he saw bromeliads growing in among the ruins of Chichen Itza in Yucatan.
Just received is a recent botanical work, "Las Bromeliaceas de Chiapas" by Prof. Eizi Matuda, Vol. 23, Nos. 1 & 2, May 1953 from the Anales del Instituto de Biologia of Mexico City. Dr. Matuda gives a complete coverage of the bromeliads in the state of Chiapas, Mexico, in sixty-eight pages with eighteen drawings and photographs. Dr. Matuda has spent quite some time in botanical work in that state and the bromeliad family is one of his specialities.
Although nothing new is offered in this list, it is interesting to note a number of bromeliads are now listed in "Grow Better House Plants" by Howard Crane, a little pamphlet published by Plant Specialties Co., Box 352, Dept. C, Asbury Park, N.J. (35c).
|Photo by L. Guy Wilky|
|The Southern California Branch of The Bromeliad Society tour of The Huntington Gardens at San Marino. From left to right: Roger McLeod and friend, behind whom is Jules Padilla and Mrs. Ben Rees; Mrs. Susan Hutchinson stands in front of Mrs. Frank Overton; Victoria Padilla, Ben Rees, Mr. and Mrs. Wood, Mrs. Edmund Cooke, Joseph Schneider, Edmund Cooke, Frank Overton and Ronald Townsend, Director of the Gardens.|
Mr. Joseph Schneider, who has charge of and works with the bromeliads, gave everyone a wonderful treat that Sunday afternoon, July 5, taking the group into parts of the garden where the general public is not admitted. Many plants were outstanding, but vividly remembered were the groups of Puya chilensis with its distinctive green flowers, and the orange flowers of Dyckia species which gave the bromeliaceous background to the photo above.
The Southern California Branch also had a gathering at Miss Victoria Padilla's charming hone on July 19 in order to meet and hear a lecture with colored slides by Ladislaus Cutak, one of our Directors, from St. Louis. A delicious buffet dinner was served on the terrace and lawn of a delightful sub-tropical garden which surrounds Miss Padilla's contemporary home.
One member is missing from the photo, our Vice President, David Barry, Jr., who with his wife, Emil, is now touring Europe. The Barrys left California the latter part of June, flying to New York via Orlando, Florida, where they spent four days visiting the Foster's BROMELARIO. One of the highlights of the visit was a dinner given in their honor by the Florida Directors and their wives.
From New York the Barrys sailed for England where they spent some time visiting gardens including those of Maurice Mason of Norfolk, and David Sander of St. Albans (both members) before going on to the continent where they will visit many famous gardens and bromeliad collections of Europe. We hope he will share this pleasure with the readers of our Bromeliad Bulletin.
L. G. W.
Charles R. Price
Although, in my experience, bromeliads have been happily exempt from troubles besetting most other forms of plant life, they do occasionally suffer from an ailment that breaks a splendid disease-free record. I refer to a blight or leaf rot that in its early stages mars the beauty of the plant which, if left undisturbed, may destroy the plant entirely.
This unwanted condition appears in two distinct forms. The first which is "indigestion," blackens or otherwise discolors the leaves where they joint the base of the plant. The second form is a soft pulpy rot that spreads out over the entire plant unless proper precautions are taken.
As the guide at McKee Jungle Gardens, Vero Beach, Florida, so aptly demonstrates by nonchalantly picking them up from their nesting places, bromeliads are air plants. They depend on their leaves and leaf bases to absorb and digest their food. Since the natural food of tank type bromeliads is organic material such as decayed leaves, bird deposits and insects, they suffer indigestion when chemicals, especially metallics, rather than organics enter their digestive systems.
As our distinguished president, Mulford B. Foster, points out in issue number five, volume one, of the Bromeliad Society Bulletin, these harmful chemicals can come from such unsuspected sources as a drip from galvanized pipes, copper fixtures, or spray chemicals.
At the time of the above mentioned article some of my own bromeliads were showing signs of indigestion. In light of this new information I reasoned that my galvanized sprinkling can with its brass nozzle might be a culprit, so I replaced it with a plastic watering utensil. Next I carefully rinsed all the affected bromeliads with tepid water in which a tiny pinch of boracic acid had been added. This procedure was aimed at ridding my plants of any harmful metallic residues.
Here in San Diego, California, we have a minimum of rainfall. This makes it necessary for us to rely on piped water. Such a water lacks the tidbits bromeliads get in their natural habitats. To overcome this deficiency I give a slightly organic diet to my bromeliads by the addition of a drop of weak tea or a couple of specks of dehydrated steer manure to the watering medium.
I found that another source of indigestion was a commercial slug bait that I had been using. I did not suspect this culprit at first because it had never had direct contact with the plants, at least so I thought. After reading Mulford Foster's article, I looked around for possible arsenical poisoning. A critical examination of my plants disclosed particles of the slug bait–probably carried there by wind–lodged in leaf axils as well as in the tanks themselves.
The discontinuance of the metal watering-can and slug bait plus the weak organic feeding seems to have completely eradicated this type of indigestion from my stock.
The second form of indigestion, that which causes a soft pulpy rot, I have found to be caused by garden slugs nesting in the plants. These unwanted intruders in their early small-sized stage are apt to be overlooked until their damage has made itself apparent. It is now my practice to examine my plants at least twice a month for these pests.
Here is my modus operandi: For the tank types such as Billbergia leptopoda, B. vittata, B. pyramidalis, Aechmea hybrids, etc., I fish out the slugs with an exploring finger of my hand. For the narrow type tanks, of which Billbergia nutans is an excellent example, I use an old-fashioned hairpin or a bent piece of ordinary rubber-coated electrical wire.
I prefer these manual methods for slug removal because slug bait, as previously pointed out, can be just as injurious as the slugs themselves. Secondly these commercial baits attract snails and slugs–the idea being to get them to feed on the deadly potion–but the pests, sensing the damp luxury that the nearby bromeliad clones afford, pass up the bait lure and set up–if you will pardon the pun–home in the clone.
After indigestion has attacked your plants, regardless of how badly damaged they appear to be, do not be in haste to throw them away. First treat them as suggested herein. Then wait at least six months. Your invalids may convalesce enough to reward your faith with some nice healthy offsets.
4110 45th St., San Diego 5, Calif.
Almost a century ago Emily Dickinson, the American poet, wrote:
Between my country
And the Others
There is a Sea . . .
Negotiate between us
This bit of verse is indeed applicable to our Society, for never a day goes by that letters are not received, coming from the four corners of the earth. From Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico, England, Belgium, France, Germany, Nairobi, Ceylon, Indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Canada, they come–all full of enthusiasm for the plants which caused this Society to come into existence. Space, language, and background present few barriers where people have the same interests.
The Bromeliad Society, though still in swaddling clothes, has a membership extending to eighteen countries–a good record, we feel, considering we are only three years old. We wish that more of our members, especially those in fields afar, would write, telling us of themselves and their plants. From time to time we shall quote from a letter or two. From down-under comes the following:
"Recently I visited a very fine garden at Eastbourne, Wellington, where the center of attraction was a large Puya alpestris. It had a large head of bloom and was the top piece in a heart-shaped bed of smaller bromeliads, cacti, and succulents. Many of the succulents were in flower, and their bright colors accentuated the weird blue-green (petals) and orange (stamens) of the Puya. Then, nearer home, right in Wanganui, I saw yesterday another which had almost finished flowering.
"My own plant is too small yet to flower, but I have had several blooms on the Dyckias and Hechtias; also the Billbergias are looking promising, they will flower about July or August.
"Our collection of these interesting plants was started two or three years ago with several gifts from our mutual friend, Muriel Waterman of Milford. Now we find our interest keen–keen to the point of setting seed. It is too early yet to say anything about these but we have hope! With best wishes for the continued success of The Bromeliad Society, Yours truly, P. Clapham, Box 73, Wanganui, New Zealand.
From Korea, so often in our minds these days, comes a note from Pfc. James Padgett: "I have enjoyed reading the Bromeliad Bulletin very much and can hardly wait till I'm back in Waco, Texas, and start a collection of bromeliads. Being in the Artillery Fire Direction Center, and on duty every other night, the Bulletin helps the time to fly by.
"I have seen many flowers here before the winter and since it has been spring. I noticed that many of the flowers on the Korean hills are also grown in the States. I do believe the same "Day Lily" (Hemerocallis) which is so common in the southern states is a native of Korea. It looks the same anyway."
Dr. F. Piers in Nairobi, Africa, writes: "I recently met Col. Boscawen (one of our charter members)–which amounted to a meeting of the East African Branch of the Bromeliad Society! I hope to spend a few days on his sisal estate in Tanganyika in September." Furthermore he adds, "I am now on my way of becoming a bromeliaddict."
From Southern Rhodesia Mr. Edmund Bertram, who although not yet a member, will be a bromel fan as soon as money restrictions there are lifted, writes: "one sees very few bromeliads here, but Billbergia nutans, a small and large type are very common in gardens. A small plant called "the air plant" which I think must he a Tillandsia is fairly common and is grown hanging on walls or in trees fairly successfully by some people. We have five to six months warm, summer rainfall from October to April, with cool dry weather in the winter." [Like Florida.] "I should think that the bromeliads would take quite kindly to the lath house."