THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETINM. B. Foster, Editor, 718 Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Florida.
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EDITOR'S NOTES:We have recently received the following words from one of our members, M. Marcel Lecoufle, of Paris, France, concerning the loss of another honorary member, M. Jules Chantrier; "we have lost our master and friend on the 6th of January at the age of eighty." Since 1810 the name of Chantrier has been an important one in the horticulture of France. Mr. Jules Chantrier carried on the tradition established by his grandfather in the introduction and hybridization of decorative plants. He will be missed by many who knew and loved him in the horticultural world. Bromeliads were high on the list of his most favored plants. (See Brom. Bull. Vol IV. No. 3, p. 44 and Vol. I, No. 4, p. 31-34.)
Mr. A. B. Graf of the Julius Roehrs Company in Rutherford, N. J., veteran bromeliad grower, recently wrote us that LIFE magazine will feature some bromeliad pictures in color in the February 28th issue. The well-known photographer, Alfred Eisenstedt, (who also did the photos, including Guzmania lingulata in the LIFE'S recent edition (Sept. 20/54) of the tropical rain forest in Suriname), took the bromeliad photos at the Roehrs Nurseries. The LIFE editor called your editor, twice from New York, recently, for information concerning the bromeliads to be pictured.
As The Bromeliad Society, an international organization, enters its fifth year, it is with pride that we point to its three very active and husky offspring—The Southern California Bromeliad Society, The Louisiana Bromeliad Society, and The Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society.
The eldest group—that in Southern California—has approximately sixty active members residing in the Los Angeles area. Meetings are monthly—six being held at night in a public meeting place in Hollywood, and six—on alternate months—being in the form of Sunday afternoon visitations to private and public collections. A definite study program has been planned by President Wilbur Wood and Secretary Ben Rees for the evening meetings in 1955.
The first meeting of The Louisiana Bromeliad Society was held in New Orleans in February, 1954. Those elected to office were Morris Henry Hobbs, president; Eric Knobloch, vice president; Mrs. Oliver Laurent, secretary; and Col. Will Shaffer, treasurer. Meetings are bi-monthly in the beautiful southern homes of the members. No formal programs have as yet been scheduled—the meetings consisting of lively discussions on bromeliads, a plant forum and auction, and a refreshment hour. The group is planning a public exhibition of bromeliads—the time and place to he announced later. This group is a highly enthusiastic one, many members in a short space of time having accumulated very fine collections.
Our congratulations go to The Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society for the beautiful display of bromeliads they put on at the St. Petersburg Orchid Society Show on January 29, 30 and 31, 1955. Though still in its swaddling clothes, this group, with headquarters in St. Petersburg, is a fast-growing, energetic one, bursting with enthusiasm for bromeliads and for the Society. Miss Dorothy E. Evans acts as the president, Mrs. R. L. James as vice president, Miss Erma Dietrich as secretary, and Mrs. J. Appleton as treasurer. These ladies form an extremely active board, doing all in their power to make the meetings both educational and entertaining.
THE COVER: In the Bromeliad House of the Palmengarten, Frankfurt-am-Main. Germany. Photo by Elisabeth Hase.
Vernon I. Cheadle
The family Bromeliaceae is not a specialty of mine, but thanks particularly to Mr. Mulford B. Foster, I have had an opportunity to investigate the conducting elements in a number of the genera and species. These investigations were made in connection with a larger study of the monocotyledons as a whole, but perhaps a part of what I have learned to date about the Bromeliaceae may be of interest to bromeliad enthusiasts whose familiarity with the family is chiefly restricted to the external appearance of the entire plant.
As the foreword in the Cultural Handbook of the Bromeliad Society points out the family has been important horticulturally in Europe for many years. Interest in the family is reflected, too, in the technical literature arising from investigations in the structure of plants in the family. Much was written in the past, especially by the Germans and French, with regard to many details of structure, including epidermal appendages and the anatomy of leaves and stems. Very little reliable information has ever been published, however, concerning the true nature of the cellular components of the xylem (chief water conducting tissue) and the phloem (chief food conducting tissue).
As in most monocotyledons, the xylem and the phloem in shoots occur together in bundles (a single one is shown in fig. 1) ; the bundles appear scattered throughout the stem (as seen in cross sections) , but are arranged generally parallel to one another in the leaves. In the roots the strands of xylem and phloem alternate with one another (X and P, fig. 2). There seems to be an infinite variety in the details of exact bundle distribution, kind and number of cells associated with the bundles, make-up of the xylem and phloem themselves, and other features.
It is interesting to note, incidentally, that in the monocotyledons there actually have been many attempts in the past to use such details of internal structure for elucidating natural relationships among species and genera in various combinations in the same family, and even between families. As we learn more and more about these details, however, it becomes increasingly clear that members of the same species population vary among themselves, either inherently or because of environmental differences. There is so much tedious work involved, and so many technical difficulties, too, by the way, that it might take a lifetime to determine which of the detailed differences one finds are actually genetic expressions and which are related solely to environmental differences. One must humbly admit, consequently, that no professional plant anatomist will ever learn as much about internal plant differences in any fairly large group of plants as intelligent, industrious amateurs already know about the external differences.
To return to the subject of this report, I have been interested both in the true nature of the elements comprising the xylem and phloem and in their evolution. This paper briefly considers some information about the xylem alone. I have tried to study the xylem elements in relation to certain conclusions that have developed from my work in the monocotyledons as a whole. Briefly, the conducting elements of the xylem are either tracheids (figs. 3-5) or vessels (figs. 6-8). Tracheids are single cells with no actual opening anywhere throughout their lengths. Vessels are series of cells arranged end to end, with true openings in the end walls of each cell. The openings (black in the figures) may be single (fig. 8) or multiple (figs. 6B, 7B). Thickenings on the walls of tracheids or vessel members (the single cells which together form the vessel) may be identical, although they are not so illustrated in the figures. In other words, either tracheids or vessel members may have annular or spiral wall thickenings (figs. 3B, 4B) and similarly either may have pitted walls ( figs. 5B, 6B, 7B, 8) .
It is clear that tracheids are primitive and that vessels are more highly specialized (evolved). Among vessels, those which have vessel members with transversely placed end walls (fig. 8) in which a single opening (perforation) occurs are most highly evolved. As vessels arose from tracheids and progressively specialized phylogenetically (see figs. 5-8), the vessel members became shorter and their end walls less overlapping, the number of openings in their end walls became reduced, and the diameters of the vessels increased. Figures 3-8 show differences in length of vessel members together with associated differences in the character of their end walls.
In the monocotyledons as a whole, the evidence is also clear that vessels phylogenetically arose first in the roots and then successively in the stems and leaves. Specialization of vessels occurred in the same sequence. Furthermore, vessels arose first in the last-formed xylem both in the bundles of stems and leaves and in the xylem strands of roots.
The implications to be drawn from all these results can be simply put. With respect to the conducting elements of the xylem, monocotyledons having only tracheids throughout the plant would be the most primitive ones, while monocotyledons having highly specialized vessels throughout all the xylem in all the parts of the plant would be the most highly specialized ones. There are no typical monocotyledons known that have only tracheids throughout the plant, but there are many that have the most primitive types of vessels in the last-formed parts of the xylem in their roots and only tracheids elsewhere. Certain members of the grasses and a few species in other families, on the other hand, appear to have highly specialized vessels throughout the plant.
The foregoing is a background against which to make a comparable study of the Bromeliaceae. What are the facts concerning the occurrence of tracheids and of vessels of varying degrees of specialization in the family? Facts of this nature are extremely difficult to determine. The cells are generally small and primitive vessel members difficult to differentiate from tracheids. As a matter of fact, the Bromeliaceae turn out to be one of the most difficult families to deal with technically. I have material of one or more parts of the plant, from 18 genera, arranged in Table 1 according to Dr. Smith's key in the Handbook.
Table 1 (see page 6) gives the generalized data available at present. The differences are actually more marked than indicated, but the most striking feature is the relatively unspecialized nature of conducting elements throughout the genera. In only one genus (Pitcairnia) are highly specialized vessels present and these occur only in the roots—more species of this genus need to be studied. Vessels of a primitive nature occur in roots of all other species. Some species have at least primitive vessels throughout the plant, others only in the roots, still others in roots and stems but not in inflorescence axes or leaves.
Obviously many more genera and species must be examined before one has any real understanding of the family but it is immediately clear from material already examined that there is no close relationship between the level of specialization of the conducting elements of the xylem and the larger taxonomic groupings of the genera. As a matter of fact, the primitive genus Pitcairnia has vessels of the most highly specialized sort in its roots and primitive ones elsewhere, whereas Ananas has relatively primitive vessels in its roots and probably none at all throughout the rest of the plant.
Turning to the place of the Bromeliaceae among the monocotyledons as a whole, the family occupies perhaps an intermediate position as far as the conducting elements of the xylem are concerned. There are some families, insofar as they are known at present, whose species have vessels only in the roots, for example, and other families in which, for the most part, the species have highly specialized vessels throughout the plant. If the phylogeny of conducting elements in the xylem is actually as clear as it appears to be, when interpreted for the monocotyledons as a whole, then certain of the "natural" groupings of families in the monocotyledons may not be so natural. Taking just one example of such groupings—that of Hutchinson's—we find that the Bromeliaceae are shown derived from the Commelinales. If the rather restricted materials I have seen in this order are typical, then vessels in the Commelinales are generally much more highly specialized than those in the Bromeliaceae. It does not seem possible that any of the Bromeliaceae can be derived from any of the Commelinales that I have seen up to date.
The more one becomes enmeshed in the detailed work that involves the phylogeny of plants, the more aghast he becomes at his ignorance. But every detail adds to our understanding of specialization in plants and perhaps conducting elements may eventually aid in solving some of the problems of phylogeny. Working with these elements is at least a source of much pleasure for me.
Department of Botany, University of California, Davis, California
Figs. 1-8. Figs. 1 and 2 traced from photomicrographs; X is xylem, P is phloem. Where present, arrows show extent of typical tissues indicated. Figs. 3-8 drawn freehand from separated cells of various species, with magnifications given for detailed drawings only; most of side wall pits are omitted in 6B, 7B, and 8. Fig. 1. Vascular bundle and surrounding parenchyma (no nuclei shown), from the inflorescence axis of Tillandsia flexuosa.—X430. Fig. 2. Part of the central cylinder of root of Ananas bracteatus, showing two complete and one incomplete xylem strands, one complete and two incomplete phloem strands, endodermis (single layer at top of drawing), pericycle (composed of two-three layers of cells next to endodermis), and thick-walled parenchyma with nuclei (occurring between strands and at lower end of the drawing).—X370. Fig. 3. Outline of incomplete tracheids, showing long overlapping ends (dotted), in A; part of end of one tracheid with annular wall thickenings, in B.—X400. Fig. 4. Similar to Fig. 3, but tracheid with spiral thickening.—X395. Fig. 5. Similar to Figs. 3 and 4, but tracheids with pitted walls.—X525. Fig. 6. Outlines of one entire vessel member and parts of two others, in A; part of vessel member showing multiple perforations (in black) in end wall, in B.—X250. Fig. 7. As in Fig. 6, except two complete vessel members shown in outline. Note fewer perforations and shorter end walls.—X270. Fig. 8. Showing one vessel member and part of a second, with single large perforation in each end wall.—X190.
Table 1. Indicating levels of specialization of conducting elements of the xylem in various genera.1 (Prim—only tracheids; Int—at least some vessels, but of an unspecialized type; Sp—specialized vessels.)
1 Figures following genera refer to number of
2 Double entries indicate differences among species examined.
As a student here, at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt, I often have the opportunity to help in the beautiful Palmengarten, an old botanic garden of the Frankfurt citizens. Here I learn a lot about bromeliads for they have over 300 different ones in the various genera especially Tillandsia, Vriesia, Guzmania and Cryptanthus. Since we cannot go into the jungle, we try to build a small piece of nature here in the Palmengarten. This was always a bright spot during the war years when we had chaos as our home. Even now there is too little money and too much trouble in Germany but we try to find pleasure in our plants. Everyone who has a private collection jealously guards it.
The former head gardener at the Palmengarten, a Silesian refugee, had a very good sense for nature and always tried to set all plants so that they looked as natural as possible. The bromeliads look best on pieces of wood, branches or bark, especially specimens of the Tillandsia group belong to the branches, I think. These Tillandsias are fixed upon small trees, built from branches of Robinia pseudo-acacia, quite a natural state for them. They are a great joy to behold.
Vriesias and Guzmanias also lend themselves to being placed on the branches but they also do well in pots where they grow best in osmunda and polypodium fiber; I suppose other fern roots are good too. For other mixtures we have success here with three parts hearth earth (or half-rotten leaves of beech and pine); (certain oak leaves and eucalyptus are too strong) and one part of a mixture of turf and sand (or old osmunda or polypodium) with a PH of 4—4.5.
Nidularium innocenti, N. fulgens and Aechmea coerulea, besides the Guzmanias and Vriesias and others, all grow very well when fixed in polypodium and osmunda fiber with a tiny bit of sphagnum scattered in, knowing full well that the sphagnum holds too much water if allowed to be in any concentrated amounts; this is anchored on a piece of bark, (cork oak, or other slow rotting trees) and then is hung at the windows or on a wall with other plants which help give them shade.
This brings to mind the point that I believe bromeliads like to be in association with other bromeliads as well as with other plants. One specimen alone, often dies; they want to live within a society. This may be a factor of success when one has a large collection and the reverse when one has only a few.
Much, but diffused light is important for success. However, I must say that our hot house is very old and not so good for plants because of too little light.
As one enters the glass house there are plant tables on the right and left sides, each with heating tubes beneath, which make warm the earth in the pots. The bromeliads in pots or on slabs of wood on these tables become overflowing with water which when dripping down onto these heating tubes produces fog and steam; this wet warmth is favorable for all sorts of tropical plants. The temperature is kept at 25°-31° C. (77°-87°F.) in daytime and 18°-20° C. (63°-66° F.) at night.
In spite of recommendations by various growers in the U.S.A. we find it, here, very dangerous for bromeliads, especially those being grown in cold countries, to try to use dung or any compost with dung for food in the cups of bromeliads. Growing in "free nature" such plants may have what is considered a compost, but in "captivity" it is not so good. Therefore, we try to keep the leaf cups and the center well, free from everything such as leaves, wood, turf, stones, etc. We here, have observed that stones, wood and other more or less heavy and hard things have the same deadly effect in the center of the plants as the copper wire has which Mulford Foster wrote about in the May-June, 1952 Bulletin, Vol. 2, No. 3.
The gardeners in Palmengarten use "E605 forte" as an insecticide, in all houses except that of bromeliads. These plants are too sensitive and a weak solution which does not injure them is much too weak against Aspidistus and other parasites.
I believe that pieces of copper wire or other metals can injure the bromeliads only if they happen to be in the heart of plant. Everybody whom I asked about this, use copper wire when fixing bromeliads and other epiphytes on pieces of bark. But I found that zinc is no good for many plants. I often saw that roots of certain kinds, especially those of certain orchids, when touching zinc wire stopped growing and the young ends died.
All in all, much attention, love and interest, fine feelings and good luck are the best arms against injuries to bromeliads.
Postamt 1 Postlagernd, 16 Frankfurt/Main, Germany
|Photo by author|
|The Sprouted Seeds|
For the past several years Mr. Fritz Encke, director of the Palmengarten in Frankfurt-am-Main has used a simple method in raising bromeliads from seeds, with great success. Mr. Encke wrote about his method in the magazine "The Gartenwelt" as follows:
"Many times the raising of bromeliads from seed is found to be a rather hazardous and difficult undertaking and not always successful. The majority of failures are the result of "souring" of the soil used. The seed germination and seedlings develop satisfactorily for a while, but algae and mosses appear and overgrow and suffocate the little seedlings. Their failures or difficulties are easily overcome by sowing upon peat slabs."
"These slabs should be cooked or steamed before using as a sowing medium in order to destroy disease organisms. The peat may then be cut into rectangular blocks and placed into an earthen saucer." (These shallow clay pans are made from the same material as the clay pots under which they are placed.) "These pans are kept filled with water, so the peat stays evenly wet for the duration of the germination process and initial growth."
"It is probably well known that most bromeliad seeds lose their viability rather soon and they should therefore be sown soon after ripening. The seeds should be spread evenly over the surface of the block, but must not be covered, neither with soil nor peat moss. This is important as seeds germinate rather quickly, often within a few days. Let the seedlings grow until they gain strength. They withstand transplanting much better if they attain some size, but transplant before algae or moss threatens to overcome the little plants. At the Palmengarten they are transplanted into a light loose soil; only in exceptional cases are slow and weakly growing species again planted upon other peat slabs."
"The above described sowing method is so easy, simple and inexpensive and success so certain, that it can be universally recommended."
|Photo by author|
|Mass of seeds in first planting|
[Peat is a common fuel in many sections of Europe. Its composition ranges from pure sphagnum to various mixtures of sphagnum and ericaceous plants (Heath family) and is in poorer deposits mixed with sedges, alder and coniferous tree remains. It is generally fibrous and light in the upper strata, but is compact and structureless in lower layers, the denser strata often resembling lignite, brown coal.]
"If you have trouble bringing up seedlings, try adding a little vinegar to the water. Our water supply is too alkaline here in New Orleans, and I find all the bromeliads improve with the change.
"I am afraid I will have to build another glass house this year. My small one is positively loaded with an overflow here at my studio. We located a good, small fume-proof gas heater made in Oklahoma, which, with a regulating thermostat makes it possible to forget the heating problem in the greenhouse all winter. Guaranteed not to injure orchids, too, of which I have a few in with the bromeliads."
"Try foliar feeding on your bromeliads if you haven't already done so. We have been spraying the leaves with a dilute solution of liquid fertilizer every three weeks with astounding results. Several plants bloomed that have never shown a sign of an inflorescence in several years.
"I have also been having luck with my Vriesia seeds. It is a lot of patient work, but I have been cutting off the silk from each seed before planting. I suspect that lessened the danger of fungus. I did that with Guzmania monostachia, and the seeds germinated in seven days."
Morris Henry Hobbs, 638 Toulouse St., New Orleans 16, La.
Bessie N. Alcus
|Photo by author|
|Pineapple top Five years in water|
In 1948 I did not know the difference between Bromeliaceae and Brontosaurus; but I was quite a hand at trying to grow kitchen offal. Grapefruit seeds, sweet potatoes, carrot tops, they were all grist for my mill. Then one day I discovered pineapple tops. The little scraggly bunch of green leaves on top of a pineapple gave promise of some future. I cut the top off, (had to do that anyway to prepare the pineapple for eating), tore off the bottom small brown dead leaves, and stuck the top in an old jelly glass full of water. I put it out-side the kitchen door and promptly forgot it.
One day, some six months later, to my delight and amazement, I found a small plant in the jelly glass with a fine, healthy root system. I brought the nice accommodating thing inside and there it has stayed for over five years! Occasionally I do give it a vacation outside in the sunshine. Now every time we have a pineapple for dessert I acquire a new bromeliad.
Knowing relatively little about bromeliads and even less about the genus Ananas, I cannot accurately describe my little pets. Some of them are darker green than others. Some have a purplish cast towards the center and some are russet color centerwise. Others have a yellowish tinge towards the ends of the leaves and several have a reddish border. Some of the leaf edges are smooth and others have teeth. It must be that there are several different breeds of pineapples. None of them either flower or put out offshoots. The bottom leaves die and I pull them off but the plant just keeps on growing. It stays about the same size and, as is shown in the accompanying photograph, attains an overall height of about twelve inches and a spread of from twelve to eighteen inches.
It was only after I started collecting bromeliads in 1952 that I learned that my lowly pineapple tops were a proper part of my new obsession. Further, it was only after I had a talk with Mulford Foster, last fall, that I learned that my most casual method of growing bromeliads was in any way unusual.
I have, by this time, become a bromo-bore. I have stuffed my house with the darned things, become offensive to all my neighbors in my zeal to sell them on bromeliads as the ideal house plant. Despite the relatively simple chores attendant to growing bromeliads as house plants I have gotten myself involved in round the clock attentions to the pesky things, and now have even succeeded in intriguing my husband's interest in them. My pineapple tops, however, are still my pets. I grow them with no attention and no effort and you can do the same.
7035 Birch St., New Orleans, La.
Unorthodox methods of growing bromeliads always intrigue those who have not as yet experimented. That Mrs. Alcus of New Orleans has proven that a pineapple can adapt itself from its terrestrial native habitat to water culture is greatly to her credit. Now, we learn of an epiphytic bromeliad that adapts itself to water-culture. This, too, is a great surprise.
Sometime ago Mrs. Gladys B. Hull of Minneapolis acquired a "strange and enchanting" new plant. As it had been displayed in water, and as Mrs. Hull did not know the opinion of experts, that bromeliads do not want water around their feet (!), she went right ahead and raised it that way! She was successful for over twenty months. It was a Neoregelia spectabilis which survived the unorthodox culture.
Mrs. Hull, communicating with the editor says that she put it in a "rounded pottery container six inches high, a third filled with small stones and charcoal. The roots lived in the water, anchored down with some of the stones. When I would take the plant out to change the water the roots were not attached to the stones. The roots were black (from the charcoal?), very plentiful, tough, hard and springy."
"This plant was always in the darkest spot in the room until last summer when the last offshoot had started. I think the inner leaves grew an inch or two in the two years I had it; during that time I cut off two or possibly three lower leaves. The tips of the leaves were red for some time, then gradually faded. It didn't bloom but put out its first offshoot perhaps six months after I got it. The last offshoot from this plant is doing beautifully—in the soil you gave me!"
They grow tomatoes and orchids in water (hydroponics), maybe we can try out a few bromeliads that way. It would be interesting for others to experiment along this line, both in light and shade exposures. [Editor]
|Photo by M. B. Foster|
|Nidularium innocentii var. lineatum|
Reflecting back to my young days when the Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria held annual flower shows in the Melbourne Town Hall, I can see in my mind's eye the displays of tropical foliage plants exhibited by the head gardeners of the privately owned collections. (Today, alas, most of these large estates have gone out of existence.) At those shows, one would see here and there a plant or two of bromeliads, particularly Nidularium innocentii var. lineatum. This plant always presented a pleasing feature in conjunction with the other foliage plants.
The name is derived from Nidus, nest—the formation of the plant with its rosette of leaves forming a nest-like appearance. The leaves, numbering between eighteen or twenty, radiate upwards then outwards from the base, are about eighteen inches long, slightly undulated on the edges, and finely toothed, giving it a rasp-like feeling when the fingers are passed along their edges. The gutter-formed foliage conveys water falling on the leaves to their bases and the center cup or vase of the plant. The specific name lineatum refers to the striping of the leaves with their numerous cream colored stripes, which vary in width from one inch to mere pencil lines. The general color of the plant is a medium glossy green.
As the flowering period approaches, the center of the plant produces four or five short leaf-like bracts, which gradually develop a brownish red color, having the appearance of a flower. This colorful heart, added to the variegated foliage, gives the plant a very spectacular appearance. Later in the center of the bract numerous white wax-like flowers appear deep in the heart of the rosette. This characteristic is produced by other varieties of Nidulariums.
I have found that most variegated plants retain their color better when grown in poor soils or sand. Therefore, I recommend growing Nidularium var. lineatum in sand or pure fiber. The tendency with rich composts is to develop more green to the detriment of color.
In proportion to the size of the plant, Nidulariums do not produce a large root system. A good plan is to put three or four offsets into a large fern pan, placing them sufficiently far apart to allow for their development. The flat pan forms a good base to hold the weight of the plants, particularly when their "vases" are full of water. This plant produces offsets freely.
Charles Hodgson, 7 Dresden St., Heidelberg N. 2.3, Melbourne, Australia
IN THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY?
Memberships in the Society are renewable in January and July, depending on when membership started. If your membership expired December 1954, this will he your last issue of the Bulletin! As a bonus for the new year, we are including, possibly with the next Bulletin, an INDEX to cover Volumes I through IV. This helpful adjunct will make your Bulletins an even more valuable possession.
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