THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETINM. B. Foster, Editor, 718 Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Florida.
Annual Dues: $3.50 a year (foreign $4.00) which includes subscription to the Bulletin.
Write for details to Miss Victoria Padilla, Secretary, 647 Saltair Ave., Los Angeles 49, California.
EDITOR'S NOTESWe know the Bulletin is late – again (1) – this time not so much unfortunate circumstances of production (which has often happened) but our own need for a rest and release from the pressure of putting the Bulletin together.
That bromeliads continue to have attention in other publications is a great satisfaction.
Secretary, Victoria Padilla, our faithful bromel-booster, ever-productive of articles, has written a neat reminder to those not in "the know" about bromeliads "For The California Home Decor" in the all California Garden Magazine, "Golden Gardens" for May 1955. Included in this issue is, also, an ad concerning the Bromeliad Society and a notice concerning the new kodachrome library which can be loaned to Garden Clubs needing an illustrated program of refreshing and absorbing interest about bromeliads.
In "Lasca Leaves", Spring 1955, another California publication, sponsored by the Southern California Horticultural Institute, our member, Joseph Schneider, has a most comprehensive article concerning Bromelia balansae; it neglects nothing in the horticultural history or taxonomic description of this stunning plant – and is illustrated by three excellent photos showing inflorescence and fruiting spike.
The Fairchild Tropical Garden Bulletin (Coconut Grove, Fla.) for April 1955, has an excellent cover shot of Ananas bracteatus, one of the most colorful of our ornamental pineapples.
Miss Brita L. Horner, one of Florida's most active Bromeliad Society members, was honored as the Woman of the Week in the "Daytona Beach Evening News" for March 10, 1955.
In Daytona Beach she is known as the "Bromeliad Lady", and as was quoted, the "phrase fits her because she's kind of similar to the plants she likes – unusual, woodsy, and really somewhat shy." As eager as she is to talk about bromeliads she's extremely reticent about herself. But her work has not been reticent and far and wide in the state of Florida she has not only distributed plants to friends and clubs but has lectured about bromeliads and put on exhibits with unabated enthusiasm.
To quote the newspaper, again, "In 1951 an exhibition of her plants was staged at the entrance to Everybody's Flower Show; in 1952 the Metropolitan Miami Flower Show displayed them with huge pieces of driftwood." Each year since then she has zealously exhibited in the Daytona and Miami shows. This year she was horticulture chairman of Everybody's Flower Show, which was an outstanding success.
In trying to take a picture of her garden she insisted that only the plants be shown, but the newspaper wanted one of herself included. The only compromise was by an insert, as she maintained that the beauty of the bromeliads would be spoiled if she were standing alongside of them!
We are pleased to announce that our distinguished taxonomist, Dr. Lyman B. Smith, curator of Phanerogams, of the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C. has been made an Honorary Trustee of the Society.
COVER: Ready for their aerial release, seeds of Vriesia bituminosa well equipped with their feathery parachutes, await the slightest breeze for dispersal.
There is true creative magic in a seed. The possibilities wrapped up in a little seed is, by comparison, far greater magic than taking a rabbit out of a hat.
Plant seeds and seeds – and especially seeds of bromeliads. You will be well repaid. The little seedlings will become your own adopted children. You will feel the greatness of being a part of the Creator.
While only a novice, whose experience has been limited to a relatively few experimental plantings with a very limited genera, the writer thought a report of the results he obtained might be of interest to others who would like to do a little experimenting in this extremely interesting field. And, it is mostly in a sense of caution that I write of my failures as well as of successes.
My first planting was made about four years ago with seeds of Pitcairnia decidua. They were planted in a damp, unsterilized mixture of begonia potting soil and leaf mold in a closed glass jar with the cap screwed down tight. Imagine my amazement when I had almost 100 percent germination, yielding several dozen seedlings, one of which outstripped the others to the extent of having bloomed twice in the past two years!
Encouraged by this astonishing success, I tried the same closed jar method the following year with seeds of Dyckia macrocalyx, D. leptostchya, D. X Lad Cutak, Pitcairnia xanthocalyx, and Puya venusta. As containers I used one gallon rectangular glass jars with five inch covers which, after planting, were screwed tight. They were laid on their sides and filled with a layer about one and a half inches deep of a damp mixture of equal parts of CAL-GRO* and SPONG-ROK** covered with an eighth inch of finely sifted sphagnum moss on the surface of which the seeds were sprinkled. After spraying with a fine mist of water, the caps were replaced and the jars put in the glass house, where the temperature averaged 60-75° F. Unfortunately, this planting was completely unproductive of sprouts, and, having gambled all my seeds on this one try, I couldn't repeat it.
But, undaunted by disappointment, in October, I planted more seeds; with a try in the following species: Puya alpestris, P. chilensis, P. coerulea, P. venusta, P. Roezlii, P. spathacea, Dyckia remotiflora, D. altissima, D. sulphurea, and Deuterocohnia Schreiteri.
Suspecting that my failure with the previous planting might have been due to the close, stagnant air in the closed jars, I decided to try the open flat method. As containers I used small redwood flats 8" x 12" x 2" and 10" x 14" x 2", divided into compartments by narrow strips of enameled steel cut from Venetian blinds, one kind of seed to each compartment. The planting medium was the same as used before. After sowing the seed, the surface was sprayed with a fine mist of water and the flats were then covered by sheets of glass, a thin strip of wood being placed under each one to provide air circulation. These flats were kept in the glass house at a temperature of 60-75° F. The results from this planting were spotty, but enough seeds germinated to be satisfactory. Only two of the Puyas, P. Roezlii and P. spathacea; and two of the Dyckias, D. altissima and D. sulphurea produced an abundance of seedlings. The four Puyas and the rare Deuterocohnia, unfortunately, did not germinate, and the question always arises, were the seeds viable?
Therefore, my next experiment was a compromise between the closed jar method and the open flats. As containers, common, four-inch pots were filled about three-fourths full with damp Spong-Rok, then covered with a half inch of the planting medium covered with a thin layer of sphagnum moss. After sowing the seed and spraying well, the pots were covered with loosely fitting glass covers and placed under a bench in the glass house. This planting produced the best results thus far, the germination of P. alpestris, P. chilensis and P. spathacea being particularly good.
I next decided to experiment with the method described by Walter Richer in the January-February, 1952, issue of the Bulletin. I used as a substitute for the Petri dishes one-quart cylindrical glass jars with flat, loosely fitting glass covers, called apothecary's jars. They were half filled with Spong-Rok saturated with distilled water upon which was placed a disc of heavy filter paper of tbe same diameter as the inside of the jar. Sets of three were used. No. 1 had its disc moistened with plain distilled water, No. 2 with Knudsen's nutrient medium for orchid seeds minus the agar and sucrose, and No. 3 with the nutrient solution containing 0.10% Chinosol. The discs were then sprinkled with P. coerulea seed, the glass covers put back and the jars placed in an unheated orchid seed incubator. The results were as follows:
Jar No. 1 – Excellent germination with growth up to one-half inch after five weeks. About the third week spots of black mold began to appear on the surface of the paper.
Jar No. 2 – Good germination, but mold appeared the third week and destroyed the seedlings. These seedlings seemed to lack chlorophyll.
Jar No. 3 – Good germination. No mold, but no growth. Seedlings seemed to lack chlorophyll, being almost colorless. Appeared lifeless at the end of the fifth week.
It is difficult to draw conclusions from these experiments since there were so many factors that could have been responsible for the erratic results. I think the poor germination in the flats was due to insufficient moisture. Although I tried to spray them frequently, it is quite likely that they dried out between sprayings. I had hoped for better results with the closed jar method since it is widely used and recommended for other kinds of seeds and I have had excellent results with it in germinating begonia seeds. It may be that the close stagnant air, saturated with moisture, with no air currents is too unlike the natural conditions which bring about the germination of Puya seed. I hope to repeat this method, modifying it, however, by drawing a slow current of moist air through the jar during the entire germination period.
The excellent results, obtained with the recalcitrant seeds of Puya coerulea sowed on cellulose discs, were indeed surprising. They cannot be attributed to the use of Chinosol solution since they germinated even better with plain distilled water. It would seem that the humidity and other conditions could not have differed greatly from those in the clay pots which were covered by the same glass covers which made about the same kind of loose fit as on the glass jars.
It is to be regretted that the experiment using Knudsen's solution was made instead of using distilled water with 0.10% Chinosol. Apparently, the latter inhibited the mold growth, but the Puya seed, unlike orchid seed, were killed rather than aided by the Knudsen's solution. This effect was not noted with Tillandsia seed, however, as a triple planting identical to the above, using Tillandsia seed of an unknown variety, gave excellent germination in all three jars, black mold appearing however, in Nos. 1 and 2.
With all this experimentation, it cannot be conclusively stated exactly what factors contributed most to success or failure, but such factors as under or over watering, too much or too little light, varying temperatures, etc., may have made the difference in the plantings.
After reading a translation of the article by Herman Schwieger in the August 5th, 1952 issue of Blumen and Pflanzen in which he recommends the use of green sphagnum as a planting medium and Chinosol and covered glass jars, I made the following experiments:
Four one-gallon rectangular glass jars with five-inch screw caps were thoroughly washed, dried, and filled after placing them on their sides with one inch of well moistened river sand.
In Jar No. 1 a mat of damp sphagnum was placed in the rear half and ten Aechmea fasciata seeds, which had been soaked for five minutes in a Chinosol solution was placed upon it. In the front half a similar mat of damp sphagnum was placed and ten seeds of Aechmea fasciata, which had received no Chinosol treatment were placed upon it.
In Jar No. 2 a slice of 3" x 3" x 1" Hawaiian fernwood, which had been boiled for a half hour, then drained and cooled, was placed in the rear half, and ten of the Aechmea fasciata seeds which had been soaked for five minutes in the Chinosol solution were placed upon it. In the front half was placed a similar slice of fernwood which had not been boiled on which were placed ten of the Aechmea fasciata seeds not soaked in Chinosol.
Jar No. 3 was prepared as No. 1, using ten Vriesia splendens seeds which had been soaked for five minutes in the Chinosol on the rear mat of sphagnum, and ten untreated V. splendens seeds on the front mat.
Jar No. 4 was prepared as jar No. 2, using ten of the V. splendens seeds which had been treated with Chinosol on the rear slice, and ten untreated V. splendens seeds on the front slice.
After screwing the caps on tight, the jars were placed in an orchid seed incubator having five glass slices, placed between two east windows. The thermometer reading varied from 70 to 80° F.
The seeds were planted March 21, 1953, and left undisturbed until May 2. At that time, six weeks after planting, results were noted as follows:
In Jar No. 1, a green sprout was showing on the rear mat, none on the front mat.
In Jar No. 2, none of the seeds had germinated on the rear slice. All were moldy. On the front slice one seed had developed a sprout half inch high. The rest of the seeds were moldy.
In Jar No. 3, two green sprouts were visible on the rear mat, none at all on the front mat.
In Jar No. 4, seven green sprouts were noted on the rear slice and four on the front slice.
I find it very difficult to draw any conclusions from these experiments. They should be repeated on a larger scale.
I was surprised to find mold developing on so many of the Chinosol-treated seeds. Was it because Chinosol has been overrated as an inhibitor of mold growth or because five minutes of soaking in it was insufficient? Does the better germination on fernwood indicated that it is a better medium than sphagnum moss? It must be pointed out that the sphagnum I used was not the fresh green material recommended by Mr. Schweiger. The growth of mold encountered in these experiments brings up an interesting question: Why is it that mold grew so luxuriantly on the cellulose discs yet did not appear in any of the glass jars or clay polls containing the planting medium of Spong-Rok and Cal-Grow which was probably teeming with untold millions of mold spores?
I have noted this phenomenon many times during experiments in germinating many kinds of seeds and have wondered if there is some factor in soil which has an inhibiting action upon mold analogous to the action of penicillin and other anti-biotics upon bacteria. If there is such a factor it is evidently destroyed by heat sterilization as was strikingly demonstrated in a planting I once made in which I. sterilized the soil mixture in a pressure cooker for 15 minutes at 15 lbs., embedding a self-registering thermometer in the interior of the vessel of soil to make sure the temperature reached 220° F. After cooling, I transferred some of the soil to a glass jar, planted the seed, and then planted a similar jar containing an identical soil mixture which had not been sterilized. The sterilized soil developed a luxuriant growth of mold within a day or two, as did also the unused soil remaining in the pressure cooker, while the unsterilized soil developed none at all, even after several weeks.
1348 Winchester, Glendale, Calif.__________
* A proprietary brand of redwood leaf mold.
** A proprietary granular mineral used as a planting medium.
** A proprietary granular mineral used as a planting medium.
You may think that it is easy to get seeds from the many bromeliads that grow around Sao Paulo, but it certainly is not. I have often seen a plant flowering and decided to wait a certain time, hoping to come back when the seed was just ripening. But when I returned the seed was either still green or had already been blown away by the wind. Vriesia, Tillandsia, and Catopsis open only on dry, windy days, and it is difficult to be there at the right time. There are also birds and insects which damage the seed pods. The best thing to do is to bring the plants home, wait until they flower again, and then watch them carefully.
|Photo Richard Doering|
|Vriesia ensiformis: flower spike on left has finished blooming. Center spike, ready to flower. Right: spikes of Vriesia, probably a hybrid, reaches four feet at maturity.|
More inland, nearer to the first slopes of the mountain range, always in the shade, very humid and never higher than 18 feet, grows Vriesia hieroglyphica. This most beautiful of all Vriesias will attain 5 feet in diameter–a really breath-taking sight. Unfortunately, bromeliad-pickers have almost depleted most of these areas so that it is difficult to find a large plant, if any. On larger trees, well exposed to the sun, grow many other Vriesias with long, multi-branched inflorescences and red bracts, Billbergias, Aechmeas, Catopsis, and others.
The most interesting region, however, is that of the crest of the mountain range and behind it, that is, inland. Here the air is rather cool and very moist because of the humid clouds that, in coming from the sea, break against the wall. The forest there is a typical rain forest, the vegetation, wet, almost always. Here are found many species of bromeliads; up to fifty have been registered, and among them, many of those growing down in the warm coastal zone. This proves there are many bromeliads that can be grown out doors even in a temperate climate. Here, big old trees are overloaded with Tillandsias growing in the full sun, with clouds of Quesnelia humilis, along with various Aechmeas and Neoregelias, clinging to the trunks and large branches. Also, some Billbergias, among them Billbergia nutans, are to be found on these trees, but not in the large quantities as previously.
From 6 to 8 miles inland from the crest the forest gives way to a zone of flat country where the rain water collects, often forming swamps. In the middle of those swamps, on small places generally no more than 100 feet across, remain woods that were formerly a part of the forest. Here are found many Vriesias, growing on small stems of trees or palms. Here may be seen Vriesia ensiformis, with its very long spikes, and Vriesia rostrum aguilae, with its brilliant feather one to two feet in length. Also seen are the black bases and tips of the leaves of the rare Vriesia erythrodactylon. The plant, already attractive, gets even more interesting when it carries the curious finger-shaped inflorescence with rose-red bracts, which are inflated. Noteworthy is the fact that only the "nails" of the "fingers" are colored, the rest being light green. The whole spike attains one foot in length. Another very beautiful bromeliad is Vriesia recurvata; the inflorescence is only one foot long, inflated and golden-yellow. When seen against the lush green foliage, the inflorescence resembles a gold fish swimming around. All the Vriesias grow here in a diffused light and not higher than 15 feet. On the ground, the only Vriesia found is Vriesia bituminosa.
Also found on the ground are a large number of Nidulariums, with purplish colored leaves and with different colored inflorescences. Some have bracts of vivid rose or crimson, others with yellow or green tips. Also, the color of the flowers range from white to orange and violet. Some are dwarfs, whereas others attain up to four feet in diameter. Those giant Nidulariums bear rose colored "flower-heads" on two-feet high stems, which are often seen in flower shops. It should not be understood, however, that all these species are found everywhere in large numbers. Some are restricted to a very small area and are not found elsewhere, although the conditions appear to be exactly the same.
On trees, along small rivers and creeks, grows Vriesia simplex, with its hanging inflorescence, and Vriesia psittacina. On drier areas, in the vicinity of Sao Paulo, are found Catopsis maculata and the somewhat similar Vriesia guttata, with hanging inflorescence, rose colored, powdered bracts and lemon colored flowers. These are, in short, the most interesting bromeliads around Sao Paulo. There must be still countless treasures hidden in Brazil's forests, as it is the richest bromeliad country in the world.
Sao Paulo, Brasil
I bought some Vriesia seed on your recommendation but I am afraid someone will have to wheel me down in a wheel chair to see the blooms. They are four months old and about 1/8 inch high. How many years do they take to bloom? Are they all like this or is my culture incorrect? A little warning to those with a life expectancy of 20 years on what seed to grow and expect to see in flower before passing on to the land where Broms grow on your halo would not go amiss. (From Australia)
Dear Down-hearted from Down-under:
If your four-months old Vriesia seedlings are 1/8 inch high-all I can say is that you are doing well by them and that you have no need to despair. Also, if you keep out of the way of fast-moving locomotives, man-eating sharks, and avoid eating pickles with your ice cream, there is no reason in the world why you will not see your Vriesias in flower.
Seriously speaking, though, bromeliads are no more difficult to raise from seed than many other plants. Bromeliads vary greatly among themselves as to period of germination and rapidity of growth. At one end, there are the Aechmeas, Billbergias, Neoregelias, and all those with berry-like seed, and at the other end (the slow one) are the Vriesias, Guzmanias, and Tillandsias. Unless one is experienced with seed and has a greenhouse with adequate controls, he should not attempt trying these last-named species unless he has much patience and fortitude.
Given sufficient warmth and humidity, many bromeliad seeds if they are viable will show their willingness to germinate by showing a slight swelling in about two week's time. The hardier species will show a bit of green from ten days to two weeks-while those seeds which have the feather-like appendages may take any time up to six weeks.
The following taken from the writer's own records may give some idea as to what the novice might expect.
|First leaf appeared||Transplanted into community pots|
|Aechmea bracteata||15 days after sowing||one month later|
|Aechmea orlandiana||12 days||six weeks later|
|Billbergia rosea||10 days||one month later|
|Dyckia Lad Cutak||10 days||one month later|
|Hohenbergia stellata||15 days||six weeks later|
|Neoregelia hybrid||12 days||six weeks later|
|Vriesia Poelmanni||42 days||five months later|
|Vriesia splendens||21 days||three months later|
|Vriesia vigeri||52 days||eaten by birds|
The seeds of these plants, with the exception of the Dyckia, were all sown in April, 1953. The Neoregelia bloomed in twenty months and now has some husky offshoots. Billbergia rosea is 2½ feet high and should bloom. Both Aechmea bracteata and Hohenbergia stellata have spreads of over two feet. Aechmea orlandiana varies from 5 to 8 inches in height. Vriesia splendens ranges from 2 to 3 inches and Vriesia Poelmanni is 2 inches. These plants were all grown by an amateur under almost primitive conditions, and their rate of growth should be surpassed by any careful grower.
Most bromeliad growers find that their problem is not in germinating the seed, but in keeping the tiny seedlings alive after they are once up. Constant vigil must be kept the first year to see that the seedlings are at all times moist, that they have plenty of warm air, that they are shaded, and that they are kept away from slugs and other pests. If possible, only rain or distilled water should be used. For the prevention of fungus growth and damping off, the writer has found that Vita-Gro applied to the water in a weak dosage to be highly satisfactory. Her casualties have been due largely to snails and birds (while she was on her vacation) and burning (the plants got too warm in a closed container.)
Because she resides in a dry climate, the writer has found it best to plant the seedlings in seed pans which can be kept in a dish of water. When they start crowding the community pots, the young bromeliads are transplanted to flats rather than small pots, which tend to dry out too easily.
Victoria Padilla, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles 49, California
More and more bromeliads are being exhibited in Flower Shows throughout the country and on a number of occasions inquiries have arisen as to a suitable system of Point Scoring to assist the Flower Show Judges. With suggestions and considerations from members of the Bromeliad Society from Florida to California the following Point Scoring System has been suggested and approved by the Board.
A. Judging two or more plants of the same species:
|Objective: to encourage growth of better specimens.|
(must be in flower)
(may be in flower)
|20||points||Absence of cultural defects||20||points|
|10||Conformation - plant and leaves||30|
|10||Color and/or marking||30|
|15||Color, including plant, bracts, and flowers|
|10||Conformation of entire inflorescence|
B. Judging between two or more plants of different species:
|Objective: To find the "best of show" and to recognize superior plants and better culture.|
|Conformation, plant and/or inflorescence||15|
|Color and marking, exclusive of inflorescence||15|
|Inflorescence; quantity, quality, color, effectiveness||15|
|Difficulty of cultivation or presentation||5|
C. Judging between two or more exhibits of bromeliads:
|Objective: To encourage effective display and imaginative use of bromeliads for decorative purposes.|
|Effective presentation of Bromeliad family||30||points|
|Over-all staging and setting||30|
|Superiority of specimens used (see above)||15|
|Number of different species||10|
|Quantity and quality of flowers||10|
2. South Africa
Mr. E. C. Bertram of Causeway, Southern Rhodesia in South Africa writes how pleased he is to have received a copy of the Handbook, and says further, "I am beginning to find out a lot of things about bromeliads which I had never dreamed of before. For instance, I did not know that my friends, the Dyckias, belonged to this same family. D. sulphurea does very well here out in the open rockery where it is seldom, if ever, watered in winter. (We have a summer rainfall of about 40 inches, spread over five to six months.) D. rariflora, which I have grown from seed, has flowered recently for the first time. (A great thrill.) It seems to prefer pots and is not so hardy in the open. It suckers furiously so I will never have to grow it from seed again! I have one Hechtia.
"When in Cape Town we saw some fine specimens of Vriesia carinata var. Wawra. They were all in bloom and most attractive in the glass house of the Cape Town Gardens. Even my wife who had not as yet shared my infatuation for bromeliads was quite struck.
"My first introduction to bromeliads was to a plant of Billbergia nutans as long ago as about 1921 when I was about fifteen years old. My father took me to visit a German nurseryman in Gwelo where we were then living. He had a very fine specimen in flower in a pot on his verandah. The leaves, as well as the inflorescence must have been three feet long. I admired it so much I asked my father to buy it for me which he did, and now, thirty-two years afterwards, though I have moved about a great deal, I still have descendants of that original plant! I have always had a great affection for it."
P. O. Box 63, Causeway, Southern Rhodesia
"At the last R. H. S. show of 1954, on November 30 and December 1, chrysanthemums and orchids were the main plants put up for award. . . .
"The most striking plant on this occasion was undoubtedly Guzmania Memoria Louise Dutrie from Messrs. Sander and Son. This bromeliad forms a widespread rosette of 20 inch arching leaves, reddish on the undersides. In the centre of this rosette sprouts a strong flower-stem clothed in overlapping carmine-pink leaves which become brighter towards the top, where it sprouts a conical mass of small close-packed canary-yellow flowers among the brilliant bracts. I heard a remark that it looked like something one might order at a soda fountain, and the colouring might certainly be thought a little vulgar. However, it was an unusually spectacular plant, and I felt the committee had been a little cautious only to award it a Preliminary Commendation. "–Amoenus.
From Gardening, Illustrated, February, 1955
|Photo M. B. Foster|
Mr. George Morrison holding new Neoregelia hybrid,
"Neoregelia × Morrisoniana" named in his honor.|
Mulford B. Foster
In 1918 at Baltimore, Maryland I received my first introduction to the culture of tropical plants. Mr. George Morrison was my first instructor. He was Superintendent on the 250 acre estate, "Uplands", which was owned by Mrs. Dr. Henry Barton Jacobs.
For five years much of my spare time was spent with Mr. Morrison, on the grounds and in the twelve greenhouses at "Uplands". His knowledge and appreciation of plants was an inspiration that meant much to me . . . more I am certain than from any other person I have ever known. His interest started in the seed bed and continued until the final mature flowering plant was a reality and it must be the best, whether it was destined for a corsage, a table decoration or a part of the landscape setting for a magnificent estate. Even today as an octogenarian, that great love and ability has not ceased for a moment and his own picturesque estate "Brae-Mor" in Maryland, now is a living example of his love for the beautiful in Nature.
In naming this hybrid for Mr. Morrison I am including the two hybrid variants (hv.) for George, his son, and for Margaret, his daughter, (now deceased). It was during their childhood days that I, too, was practically a member of the family–all lovers of beauty in the plant world.
[Neoregelia carolinae × N. farinosa] Type hv. "George," No. 2890 and hv. "Margaret" No. 2891 grown at Orlando, Florida by M. B. F. (Specimens deposited in U. S. National Herbarium)
hv. "George," leaves glabrous, rose-maroon, margins lined with small dark maroon
spines on a narrow semi-transparent yellow-green stripe. Lower leaves turning to rose-cream with rose tips as they mature.
hv. "Margaret," leaves semi-glabrous, maroon with dark maroon spines and deep rose leaf tips.
Mulford B. Foster
NEOREGELIAS (for many years listed as Aregelias, (a name now obsolete) have been among the hardiest and most adaptable kinds of bromeliads. The species, best known in this country, is N. spectabilis, first, because it was, possibly, the first species in the genus (then known as Aregelia spectabilis) to be introduced into horticulture here. In recent years when it was nicknamed "Fingernail Plant" its popularity was assured. Give a plant a name of something close at hand and you are assured that everyone will remember its popular "handle."
These painted fingernail leaf tips are found on a number of the different species and it is certainly an added attraction to their mature beauty. However, the crimson cup–formed in the center of some of the species, which is composed of three or more brilliant red bracts surrounding the compact head of white or blue flowers which snuggle down into the leaf rosette of many species of this most interesting genus of bromeliads–is even more eye-filling than the red tips. Some species have both the red tips and the crimson cup but, generally, with only one of these decorations.
N. farinosa, N. carolinae and its variants and varieties N. pineliana, N. macrosepala and N. melanodonta, are especially showy with their brilliant cups at maturity.
The principal species with the painted leaf tips are N. spectabilis, N. concentrica, N. carcharodon, N. sarmentosa, N. melanodonta and N. zonata.
|Photos M. B. Foster|
|Neoregelia pauciflora L. B. Smith||Neoregelia melanodonta L. B. Smith|
LEFT: Another new species of Neoregelia; quite a departure
in form from most members of this genus. The plant is but five to seven inches
high and like its close relatives, N. ampullacea and N. albiflora, it
climbs or trails around on long, thin stolons and is a very decorative addition
to the tribe. This diminutive Neoregelia has a very few white flowers; the
leaves of olive-green are sprinkled with black-purple spots having gray bands
on the underside of the leaf.
RIGHT: An unusually compact wide-leaf Neoregelia discovered by M. B. Foster in Brasil, in 1940. The black leaf spines give it the name melanodonta. Blue flowers, yellow-green leaves with purple leaf bases, blotches of magenta splashed over the leaves, and a very decided upturned leaf tip spine surrounded with a dark painted magenta area, make this plant a very outstanding addition to the Neoregelia tribe.
Another characteristic marking, is spots, or marbled areas such as predominate on some species like N. tristis, N. marmorata, N. ampullacea, N. carcharodon, N. paucilflora and N. Fosteriana, while the plain green species, without any additional decoration are N. bahiana var. viridis, N. albiflora, N. Oligantha, N. laevis, and a few others which have not yet entered the horticultural group.
Most of the species of this remarkable genus are light-lovers and some even sun-worshippers, while only a few prefer the secluded shade areas, such as N. albiflora, a new species I discovered in Brazil in 1939. It grows like a climbing vine, on long stolons in shady areas. A delicate little plant which needs more pampering than any other species in the genus.
The leaves of the Neoregelias are generally rather stiff and their compact rosette form makes a decoration quite worth while. Most of the species are growing in soil, or on rocks and a few generally low in trees. They are colorful, easy of culture, quite adaptable to the low table or window garden, patio or tropical garden. Most of the species have taken all temperatures from the highest to near or slightly below freezing. As a ground cover under trees they are unsurpassed and a source of continuous beauty. A walk through a shaded garden lined with Neoregelias will never be a lonely walk.
The Neoregelias, species and hybrids, which are not yet well known, will give plant thrills to many persons who, not only love plants, but to those who appreciate restricted form and tropical beauty.
718 Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Florida
International Prize Winner
We have recently received word from Mr. Ernest De Coster of Ghent, Belgium that a specimen of Aechmea Orlandiana has received the highest award for the "nicest new plant not in bloom," which he exhibited in "Floralies Gantoises." This was the International Flower Show of April, 1955, said to be the largest ever held, that was housed in the Palace of Flowers in Ghent. With a catalogue of nearly 500 pages, this was an event that drew fanciers from all over the world.
Mr. De Coster writes as follows: "I am pleased to announce that I have received the first prize with an Aechmea Orlandiana in Group No. 1, Concourse No. 2, for the most beautiful new plant, not in bloom. The seeds of this plant being furnished by you, you may wish to mention this success in your Bromeliad Bulletin."
"The Aechmea Orlandiana is especially appreciated by the connoisseurs as a green plant, because the leaves are so beautiful when we look from below. A group of 25 of these Aechmeas have also obtained the first prize."
"The jury was international and was composed for this section (new plants) by: Mr. Stofregen (Germany), Mr. Lorder (Netherlands), Mr. Erikson (Sweden), Mr. Campbell (Great Britain), Mr. Schwartzrock (Austria)."
"Your friend Mr. Mason of England also had a stand in the Floralies and we all felt great wonder at the variety of his bromeliads."
"The view in the great hall was magnificent. It was a triumph of color, thanks to azaleas, which are really the crown of horticulture of our country. The hot house is like a virgin forest with the different kinds of bromeliads, ananas, orchids, anthuriums, sanseverias, etc."
In looking through the inch thick catalogue we find a great variety of entries and we were pleased to find five pages devoted to bromeliads alone. Prizes were awarded for exhibits of groups as well as individual plants of a number of different species in the genera Aechmea, Neoregelia, Cryptanthus, Vriesia, Tillandsia, Ananas and others.
Bromeliads have had a much better recognition in Europe than in the U. S. A. We are a bit backward but we will catch up for we now have many more species and hybrids in this country than are in any other country.
Erma E. Dietrich
|Photo from a Kodachrome by E. H. Palmer|
Miss Dorothy Evans (our branch society president) and I went to the Foster Bromelario in Orlando for the specimen plants to be loaned us. We returned with seventy-one of the most beautiful bromels we had ever seen–they were really out of this world. Mr. Foster gave us several excellent suggestions which we incorporated into the arrangement of the exhibit.
The focus of the exhibit was a poster made by Mrs. Mildred Palmer, portrait artist, who gave us an exquisite painting of a large pineapple, mounted on masonite, with the following words printed above it in bold letters: "Bromeliads Belong to the Pineapple Family."
The space allotted our display measured thirty feet by ten feet in depth. There was a wall of Spanish Moss in front of which we placed this feature poster elevated approximately two feet from the floor which was covered with moss. The background was banked with palms and several tall tropical plants; this same idea was carried out along both sides. Native bromels were exhibited on a Live Oak tree, placed to the extreme left of the poster, and also on a few pieces of driftwood. Ribbons of pastel shades were nailed to the pineapple painting, twirled and drawn gracefully to the various specimen plants of Vriesea, Neoregelia, Nidularium, Aechmea, Guzmania, Cryptanthus and Tillandsia. Other bromeliads were grouped together on both sides of these specimen plants. All pots were covered with Spanish Moss which gave the appearance of a truly natural setting. The color effect was magnificent and we received numerous compliments.
The Exhibit was given both a Blue Ribbon and a Special Award by the Judges.