BSI Journal - Online Archive


THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETIN

Frank H. Overton, Editor,
1348 Winchester Ave.,
Glendale, California
Morris Henry Hobbs, Art Editor
628 Toulouse St.,
New Orleans 16, Louisiana
Annual Dues: $3.50 a year (foreign $4.00) which includes subscription to the Bulletin. Write for details to Miss Victoria Padilla, Secretary,
647 South Saltair Ave., Los Angeles 49, California.

OUR COVER

This handsome and showy bromeliad is a specimen of Vriesia petropolitana. Wide, green leaves, becoming lavender at the base. Imbricated red and green bracts. Yellow flowers. Discovered by Mulford B. Foster in Petropolis, Brazil.

MISCELLANY

Our list of members in Australia is growing steadily, and to them all we extend a hearty welcome and congratulations for their boundless enthusiasm and interest in bromeliads.

Distances in Australia are vast, so we hope to publish in our next issue a list of all the members there so that they may get acquainted with one another, by mail, if in no other way.

Among our newest members, we welcome the New South Wales Cactus and Succulent Society, a copy of whose excellent Journal we have just received. It is our hope that they may learn through our Society of many terrestrial and xerophytic bromels that will make excellent additions to their gardens. This compatibility of bromels with cacti and succulents was noted on a recent visit, in May, to the Huntington Gardens in San Marino, California, where, among the acres of enormous cacti, agaves, aloes, and other succulents of a most bewildering variety of shapes and sizes, there were spotted the flaming crimson centers of Bromelias, the fascinating, metallic blue-green inflorescences of Puya alpestris, and the brilliant yellows and oranges of Dyckias, all dwelling together in complete harmony.

Growing bromeliads from seed is the only way many of our Australian friends have of adding new varieties to their collections so here is a good opportunity to be friendly and neighborly by sharing your seed with them. A 25c air-mail stamp will carry an envelope with several packets of seed (total weight ½ oz.) 7500 miles over the Pacific Ocean to gladden the heart of some gardener in the faraway land of the kangaroo, kookaburra and koala bear. Send seed of the terrestrial and xerophytic varieties to Mrs. C. O. Griffin, Secretary, Cactus and Succulent Society of N.S.W., 1 Robinson Lane, Woollahra, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia, and those of other varieties to Mr. Charles Webb, 13 Elizabeth Ave., Dulwich Hill, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia, who will distribute them.

A MESSAGE FROM THE SECRETARY

This is the fourth issue of the Bulletin to be published on the Pacific Coast. The editor and I believe that you like the new issues, although very few of you have expressed any opinions. We are working hard to give you the kind of publication that you like – one that has something for every type of reader.

If you have been pleased, we, on the other hand, have been disappointed, disappointed that so few of you have sent in any contribution to the Bulletin. Each and every one of you has something to give to this Bulletin, – a description of your favorite plant, a discussion of potting mediums, an article about a gadget that you have found helpful, an account of your plant collecting trip (many of you have gone into the jungles of Mexico this year), helpful hints about maintaining your greenhouse or lathhouse, a paragraph on your experiences with artificial light, and so the list could go on and on. Don't be timid about sending in your notes and suggestions. Believe me, we need them badly.


Mr. Van Hyning with Greigia Van Hyningii in its native habitat

THREE NEW GREIGIAS FROM MEXICO

Lyman B. Smith

Not so many years ago the northern limit of the Andean genus Greigia was in Costa Rica, then in 1942, Julian Steyermark collected it in Guatemala, and then Mulford Foster and Oather Van Hyning found two species of it in southern Mexico. Before I could publish these last, Van Hyning went back and collected them again, this time in flower, and also another species for good measure.

The species of this curious genus of bromeliads carry their flowers in flattened heads deep in the axils of the leaves, so that only the sharpest and most inquisitive collectors ever realize that they are there. As most of the species are very local, we may expect the discovery of many more as our Bromeliad Society members continue to explore. The three new Mexican species are as follows:

GREIGIA JUAREZIANA L. B. Smith, sp. nov.

G. steyermarkii L. B. Smith in systema mea (Contrib. U. S. Nat. Herb. 29:290. 1949) proxima, sed laminis foliorum basi apiceque exceptis inermibus bracteis exterioribus basi margineque pallidis, sepalis minoribus omnino brunneis differt.

Leaves stiffly erect, 45-60 cm. long, lepidote beneath with coarse pale appressed scales, soon glabrous above; sheaths elliptic, 8 cm. long, castaneous beneath toward base, entire or with a few small teeth at apex; blades linear acuminate, not narrowed toward base, 19 mm. wide, serrulate toward apex and sometimes with a few small teeth at base, green; inflorescences lateral, short-scapose, few-flowered, depauperately compound; outer (scape- and primary) bracts ovate with a short but distinct triangular involute-subulate apex. to 35 mm. long, strongly nerved, sparsely pale lepidote, the lower ones mostly castaneous with broad pale entire margins, the upper ones pale except near apex, laxly serrate along the upper half; floral bracts linear, mucronate, 22 mm. long, centrally castaneous with broad thin pale margins, lepidote; ovary evidently much enlarged in fruit, dark castaneous, lepidote.

Type in the U. S. National Museum, collected on wet cliffs, 35 miles northeast of Ixtlan de Juarez, Sierra de Juarez, State of Oaxaca, Mexico, altitude 2700 meters, April 18, 1959, by O. C. Van Hyning (No. 5962).

GREIGIA OAXACANA L. B. Smith, sp. nov.

G. sodiroana Mez in systema mea proxima, sed foliis omnino subaequaliter serrulatis, bracteis extimis angustis apice valde lepidotis, sepalis petalisque lepidotis differt.

Distinctly caulescent, to 9 dm. high; leaves drooping, 9 dm. long, covered with coarse appressed whitish scales beneath, soon glabrous above; sheaths ovate, 5-6 cm. long, dark castaneous, serrulate toward apex; blades linear, long-acuminate, narrowed toward base, 22 mm. wide, green, laxly and regularly serrate with upwardly curved teeth 1 mm. long; inflorescences lateral, short-scapose, few-flowered, depauperately compound; outer bracts narrowly ovate, acuminate, to 4 cm. long, about equaling the petals, dark castaneous, nerved on margins and apex, the lower ones pale-margined, the upper ones with serrate green densely lepidote apices; floral bracts linear-lanceolate with a spreading mucro, 21 mm. long, castaneous toward apex, sparsely pale-lepidote, obscurely serrulate; sepals lanceolate, mucronate, 17 mm. long, pale-lepidote, castaneous toward apex; petals 25 mm. long, tubular-connate below, white with pale lavender tips.

Type in the U. S. National Herbarium, collected on wet cliffs, 57 miles southwest of Tuxtepec, Chinantecas Mountains, State of Oaxaca, Mexico, altitude 2300 meters, April 18, 1959, by O. C. Van Hyning (No. 5958). Fruiting material collected from the same region by Foster and Van Hyning (No. 3031) on April 15, 1958.

Photo by O. C. Van Hyning   Drawing Courtesy Smithsonian Institution
Greigia Van Hyningii

GREIGIA VAN-HYNINGII L. B. Smith, sp. nov.

G. mulfordii L. B. Smith et G. steyermarkii L. B. Smith in systema mea proxima, sed bracteis exterioribus longe laminatis differt.

Caulescent, 1-1.2 meters high; leaves many, arching-recurved, over 1 meter long, covered beneath with coarse pale appressed scales, soon glabrous above; sheaths elliptic, 15 cm. long, very dark castaneous; blades linear, acuminate, somewhat narrowed toward base, 3-4 cm. wide, green, laxly and subregularly serrate with dark teeth 1-2 mm. long; inflorescences lateral with scapes up to 6 cm. long, about 10-flowered, depauperately compound; outer bracts ovate with long stiff involute-subulate blades, 6-8 cm. long, nerved along the margins, sparsely pale-lepidote, entire or sparsely serrate; floral bracts lanceolate, mucronate, 35 mm. long, centrally castaneous becoming gradually paler toward margins, pale-lepidote; sepals like the floral bracts but broader, 18-20 mm. long; petals 20 mm. long, dark magenta to mauve, forming a slender funnel-shaped tube below.

Type in the U. S. National Herbarium, collected at base of wet cliffs at "Las Minas" near Perote, State of Vera Cruz, Mexico, altitude 2100 meters, March 31, 1959, by O. A. Van Hyning (No. 5910). Fruiting material collected from the same region by Foster and Van Hyning (No. 3013) on April 16, 1957.

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.


A NOVEL USE OF BROMELIADS

Many of the choicest homesites in and around Los Angeles are those which are on ledges that have been formed by cutting into the hillsides. These lots with their beautiful view of the valley and the ocean are highly prized, but they all have one drawback – the perpendicular, raw mountainside to the rear, and the threat of a landslide in rainy weather. Mr. Kurt Greer, one of our members who has such a location, solved both problems by planting climbing ficus up this steep wall, which, in his case, was about thirty feet high. After the ficus had covered the entire bank – which took approximately two to three years, he planted bromeliads of all sorts by wrapping a ball of moss around the base of each plant and forcing it into the little crannies formed by the inter-twining of the tough, wiry roots and stems of the fig.

Surprisingly, the intricate network of the ficus shows no tendency to climb up and over the bromels but does hold them firmly against the decomposed granite surface as though held in a vise.

Now, Mr. Greer has a living wall of bromeliads, a beautiful sight, indeed. As the location, (the hills overlooking the famed Sunset Strip) is entirely frost-free, Mr. Greer is raising the tenderest bromeliads on his mountain wall with success.

V. P.


AN ADDITIONAL NOTE ON TILLANDSIA PANICULATA

Richard A. Howard

  
Figure 1.

A fruiting specimen of Tillandsia paniculata collected in the Dominican Republic along the International Highway between Restauracion and
Banica in August, 1950.

In the January-February 1959 number of the Bromeliad Bulletin (9:3-5. 1959) Mr. Luis Ariza-Julia discussed briefly the rediscovery of Tillandsia paniculata in the Dominican Republic. These notes and illustrations may add a few points of interest regarding this plant. As Mr. Ariza-Julia indicates, Tillandsia paniculata is a plant lost to science for nearly 200 years. The loss is even more remarkable when one considers the size of Tillandsia paniculata. It is an epiphyte with a basal rosette seven feet in diameter and with an inflorescence reaching eleven feet in height and ten feet in diameter (fig. 1.).

The plant now known as Tillandsia paniculata was first seen by the French priest and botanist, Charles Plumier, on his visit to Hispaniola in 1689. Plumier, a student of Tournefort, made his first visit to the West Indies with J. D. Surian and later a second visit alone as "Botanist to the King". An avid scholar and artist, Plumier sketched the plants he saw. In addition, he compiled descriptions and was one of the first botanists to use, on occasion, binomial names in Latin for the plants. It is not clear whether Plumier did not collect specimens or whether they were lost at sea in being returned to Europe. In any case, Plumier specimens cannot be distinguished in the existing collections of his companion, Surian. A number of Plumier's illustrations have been crudely redrawn and were published after his death, but many of the attractive original sketches remain unpublished in the archives of the Museum of National History in Paris.

In Hispaniola Plumier traveled widely in the drier areas. He visited the islands of Vache and Tortue and such places as Petit Goave, Léogane, Fondo de los Negros, Laguna de Miragoâne and the desert-like Cul de Sac. Lamarck reports that the original plant of Tillandsia paniculata was found in various parts of the island and particularly on the dry mountains of Fond de Baudin near Léogane, and attributes this information to a Plumier manuscript. Plumier's first description of the bromeliad is brief, "Renalmia ramosissima, floribus variegatis & circinnatis", and was published in his Nova Plantarum Americanarum Genera, page 37 in 1703. Linnaeus accepted this description in his Species Plantarum (1:286. 1753), coining the name Renealmia paniculata and citing the location as "america meridionali". In the second edition of Species Plantarum the description is amplified (410. 1755) and the name Tillandsia paniculata used for the first time. The first habit illustration of the plant was published in the Burmann edition o f Plumier's Plantarum Americanarum, page 233 and plate 237 in 1760, fifty years after Plumier's death (fig. 2).

  
Figure 2.

The illustration of Tillandsia paniculata published in the Burmann edition of Plumier's Plantarum Americanarum as plate 237 in 1760.

Plumier's plant remained unknown for the next 200 years, but botanists tried vainly to place the description and the illustration. Grisebach (Flora Brit. West Indies 593. 1864) referred it to the synonymy of Brocchinia plumierii with the comment, "too badly figured to be quoted with certainty". In 1896 Mez transferred the species to Vriesia and in 1929 Harms placed it in Alcantarea.

In 1924 Ekman collected a large bromeliad in the Montagnes Trou d'Eau of Haiti which was selected as the type of a new species mentioned first as Tillandsia magna Ekman & Harms and, since that name was preoccupied. Harms renamed the species Tillandsia Ekmanii in 1930.

I found this huge epiphyte in 1946 in the dryland of the Enriquillo valley north of Las Salinas. However, all of the plants I saw were sterile. A few weeks later a fruiting specimen (R. A. & E. S. Howard 9180 (GH), collected Sept. 21, 1946) was found growing in an old mahogany tree on the road from Azua to Peralta in the Dominican Republic. On the basis of this collection Dr. Lyman B. Smith was able to determine that Tillandsia Ekmanii was the same as Vriesia paniculata, the name accepted by Urban and Moscoso, but that the correct position of the species was in the genus Tillandsia as Tillandsia paniculata (L ) L. On a subsequent trip to the Dominican Republic the large fruiting specimen illustrated (fig. 1) was collected from its position on a pine tree along the International Highway between Restauracion and Banica (R. A. Howard 12570, August 20, 1950). Another Ekman collection to be referred to this species was made near Moncion where Ariza-Julia and Jimenez found the plant. Ariza-Julia has also reported its occurrence along the car road from Puerto Plata to Santiago de los Caballeros. The Leogane location suggested by Lamarck and repeated by Moscoso has not yielded the species to recent collectors.

Tillandsia paniculata has only one rival for size among West Indian bromeliads in Glomeropitcairnia penduliflora (Griseb.) Mez of the Lesser Antilles. The infrequency of flowering of Tillandsia paniculata and its presence in the lesser known dry land areas appear to account for its absence from the botanical records for such a long period of time. Urban reviewed Plumier's life and work (Report. Sp. Nov. Beih. 5:1-196. 1920) and attempted to associate more modern collections and terminology with the 17th century observations of Plumier. To the present there remain nearly a dozen of Plumier's plants, mostly ferns, which cannot be accurately identified. Future collectors of the drier areas of Hispaniola may yet encounter these. Fortunately, all of the bromeliads are now properly placed.

Jamaica Plain, Mass.



PITCAIRNIA HETEROPHYLLA AT HOME

Alex D. Hawkes

During the years since, as a teen-ager, I first became introduced to the fabulous bromeliads while working for the Fosters at their Bromelario in Orlando, Florida, I have been privileged to make a rather large number of collecting trips to various parts of this hemisphere. Although my interest has long been primarily in orchids, during my expeditions to Mexico, British Honduras, Panama, Brazil, Cuba, and, just recently, Nicaragua, I have gradually come to pay far more attention to the bromels than I used to.

In January 1959 I spent some time in the Republic of Nicaragua, which although the largest of the Central American countries, is the least-known botanically! Bromeliads were legion in most parts of the Republic, and I plan to write some more extensive notes concerning them at a later time, for publication in this Bulletin.

Although I found many very handsome species in Nicaragua, I believe that one of the most striking things I saw was a bromeliad which I had previously encountered both in Chiapas, Mexico, and in Chiriqui, in northern Panama. This was the extraordinary epiphytic Pitcairnia heterophylla (Ldl.) Beer, which must certainly be classed among the most unusual members of its large genus.

With my colleague, A. H. Heller, of Monte Fresco, near Managua, we were collecting in a coffee finca at an elevation of about 4300 feet above sea-level, near the fine resort hotel of Santa Maria de Ostuma, not far from the city of Matagalpa. As in all such coffee plantations, many of the original large forest trees had been left untouched when the land was cleared, to afford the necessary shade for the coffee bushes. On these trees (and, indeed, on the coffee bushes themselves!) we found an incredible variety of orchids, mosses, ferns, aroids, and of course bromeliads – these in such genera as Vriesia, Tillandsia, Guzmania, and Catopsis. We had not seen any Pitcairnias growing on their customary rocky hillsides – although some grand rock-outcroppings on the El Tumo road were a solid sheet of a large Hechtia! – hence when I first saw the vivid orange-scarlet flower-clusters high up in the crotch of a large tree, it did not occur to me what it might be.

Drawing by R. J. Downs Courtesy Smithsonian Institution
Pitcairnia heterophylla

We had previously encountered several handsome specimens of the orchid Spiranthes speciosa (J. F. Gmel.) A. Rich., growing in similar habitats, but the color of their breath-taking candles was a fire-engine red, not this strange and oddly delightful almost vermilion shade.

Without felling the tree, it would have been impossible to secure the plant, so we sent our climber, Fernando, back to the car for our binoculars, since we still could not make out what our precious specimen was. It was, of course, a fine clump of Pitcairnia heterophylla – with seven large clusters of its incredible blossoms! Apparently completely leafless at this time (as is rather characteristic of the species when it blooms), we could, through the glasses, make out the viciously barbed dark-brown spines which margin the basal bract-like leaves. These are inflated basally, and form a sort of pseudobulb, much in the manner of certain Tillandsias. The petals of this species – which naturally make up the most showy part of the blossom – sometimes reach lengths in excess of two inches, and according to Lyman Smith vary in hue from red to white.

In Nicaragua, we saw only this single clump of our Pitcairnia, but previously, both in Mexico and in Panama, we had found it to be relatively common in certain moderately high-elevation forests. Invariably, it was noticed in crotches of large trees, where a certain amount of detritus had lodged, and usually where some mosses, ferns, peperomias, and occasionally orchids also made their home. It is not a sun-lover, to my knowledge always being found in shaded situations, under conditions of almost constant dampness and rather low average temperatures. Our coffee finca locality in Nicaragua was a relatively characteristic locality, with almost constant chill fogs swirling through the epiphyte- shrouded trees, and a cold drizzle falling intermittently day and night.

In 1953, we brought back a rather large number of these Pitcairnias from Chiriqui for trial in the Heller collection, then located in California. After we had finished picking the brittle spines out of our lacerated fingers, we planted them in a variety of containers and in several different kinds of compost. Those put in well-drained pots, in a very tightly-packed medium of osmunda fiber, grew and flourished, while all of the others – including some which we were certain would thrive on tree-fern slabs with mats of sphagnum moss tucked around their roots – promptly perished! We grew them in an intermediate-temperature greenhouse, in an almost saturated atmosphere in dark shade, and when they flowered (typically during the winter months), they were among the most handsome plants in the entire collection.

P. O. Box 435, Coconut Grove 33, Florida


BROMELIADS HERE AND THERE

Several years ago I was given a tiny bromeliad and was told that it was a Hechtia – so I planted it in the ground. Later, a friend saw this little plant and asked what I was doing with a Tillandsia planted among my succulents. So I took the little plant, (about four inches across), potted it, hung it high in a tree, and promptly forgot it. The other day, (about two years later) I was amazed to see a beautiful, delicate spray of lavender flowers, about a foot and a half in length, emerging from this pot. For a minute I thought that someone had tucked in a spray of Thalictrum dipterocarpum into the pot, for the dainty little flowers were very similar. However, identification of the plant revealed that it was Hechtia tillandsioides, one of the most beautiful members of this genus. I know of no one else who has bloomed it – evidently it requires just to be forgotten.

Mr. R. K. Brewer, who is connected with the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission in Hiroshima, Japan, recently sent to the secretary two very interesting kodachrome slides of the bromeliads that he grows in his garden in Hiroshima. Through many hours of labor with an electric drill, hammer and chisel, he converted an old tree stump in his garden into a summer haven for his bromeliads by hollowing out space for sufficient soil to hold them. Others were simply placed on or around the stump in pots. He summers his bromeliads there, where they seem to thrive, and moves them indoors, or to a small unheated greenhouse, for the winter. Among the varieties appearing on the stump are Tillandsia lindenii, Neoregelia marmorata, Acanthostachys strobilacea, and Billbergia Mead X.

Bromeliads are now appearing in the movies. A fashionable and increasingly popular Bromeliad Driftwood Tree had a prominent showing in one of the fine interior scenes of the movie "Auntie Mame". and in the more recent "Green Mansions", said to have been filmed in the area bordered by Venezuela, Brazil and British Guiana, sharp eyes will discover more than one bromeliad perched amongst the luxuriant, tropical vegetation.


Photo by author
Cryptanthus fosterianus

THE BEGINNER'S ABC

Victoria Padilla

C Stands for Cryptanthus

Probably many members of the Society were familiar with this charming little genus long before they were aware of the existence of other bromeliads, for Cryptanthi have long been a favorite subject for dish gardens. These delightful little plants, so unlike other bromeliads because of their distinctive foliage and flattish form, are to be found growing natively only in Eastern Brazil, Dr. Lyman B. Smith listing 48 species and varieties endemic to that area. Here they are to be found flourishing under all sorts of conditions – in sun and in shade, in moist and in dry areas, in coastal regions and in the forests – but always they are to be found growing on the ground, forming a star-patterned carpet of intriguing hues. Mulford Foster calls these plants earth stars, a name eminently suited to them, for star-like most of them are in form.

Nearly all species grow as low-spreading, stemless rosettes, although there are several that tend to deviate from this habit of growth. Cryptanthi are small, averaging about a dozen leaves to a plant, the leaves varying in length from 2 to 12 inches. The leaves, usually crinkled, are often weirdly mottled and striped and come in fascinating assortments of colors – brown, rose, silver, chartreuse, grey, copper, pink and white, red, greenish white, and a combination of these tones. All the species have white flowers, which barely emerge from the center of the plants – but it is for the form and the interesting leaf colorations that a person grows Cryptanthi.

Cryptanthi are excellent for planters where one desires a low sprawling type of plant and are also fine for coffee tables where one can look down upon them and fully appreciate their unique form and often bizarre markings. The writer has found that her Cryptanthi reach perfection in the darkened corners of her greenhouse rockery, where the plants get plenty of warmth, humidity, shade, and good drainage. But the Cryptanthus is an extremely robust little fellow and will flourish despite the most adverse conditions – thus making an excellent plant for the house. As it is a terrestrial plant, it thrives best in a rich, loose soil and doesn't mind an occasional feeding.

If a person could have only one Cryptanthus (but every self-respecting bromeliad fancier should have at least half a dozen), it should be C. fosterianus, which for all the world resembles a snake that decided to change itself into a plant. Its stiff thick leaves of a deep copperish magenta barred with waves of brownish grey are definitely intriguing. Similar to C. fosterianus is C. zonatus. Almost as bizarre looking, it is, however, stubbier and lacks the sophistication of the latter plant. C. zonatus is one of the easiest bromeliads to establish on trees in shady gardens.

The second Cryptanthus which should be in everyone's collection is C. bromelioides var. tricolor. Departing from the usual star form, this Cryptanthus when well grown resembles a beautiful miniature Dracaena, if the leaves of such a Dracaena came with longitudinal stripes of white, pink, and green. Instead of the muted shades that characterize C. bromelioides and most of the other Cryptanthi, this variety is outstanding for the sparkling brilliance of its colors. In time if left undisturbed, its stem may attain a height of two to three feet.

C. bivittatus is a little gem, with its rosettes only a few inches high. Its curving leaves, only two or three inches long, are wavy, green above, with two narrow pink or creamy red stripes extending the whole length of the leaf. The underside is a dull reddish brown.

C. beuckerii is another dwarf with petiolate leaves which are of a greenish red color and transversely marbled with blotches of green. It is a distinctive little plant and easy to grow.

Mulford Foster became so enamoured of his earth stars that he set to work crossing them with the result that he has produced some outstandingly beautiful hybrids. They come in an amazing assortment of soft pastel hues, each one being lovelier than the last.

D Stands for Dyckia

For the person who has a limited space for the growing of his bromeliads, most of the terrestrials, such as Puyas, Bromelias, and Hechtias, are not for him, as these plants all need plenty of room and sunshine in order to do their best. For the collector who must have one of these cactus-type bromeliads, however, some of the Dyckias would prove to be highly satisfactory. Although these plants do best in a sunny rock garden in a subtropical climate, some of them will succeed as potted specimens if given the same attention as one would to a succulent.

All of the Dyckias have many stiff spiny leaves which form a rosette and all bloom laterally on rather tall spikes with yellow or orange flowers. There are more than 75 species in this genus, most of which are to be found in the drier sections of Brazil.

Photo by Lad Cutak
Dyckia Lad Cutak

One of the handsomest of the genus is Dyckia altissima – which is, unfortunately, too robust a grower for a container. But where one can plant it outdoors, this Dyckia is well worth having, with its gaily branched inflorescence that often attains a height of four to five feet. D. rariflora, D. remotiflora and D. brevifolia are all smaller growing types with inflorescences to 14 or 15 inches tall. They are attractive little plants and easy to grow.

Among the gems to be found in these smaller Dyckias are D. "Lad Cutak", D. fosteriana and D. leptostachya. D. "Lad Cutak", which is a cross made by Mr. Foster (D. sulphurea x D. leptostachya), is a vigorous grower with spiny, bronze-red leaves and attractive flowering stalks of orange flowers. This Dyckia soon develops into a compact group of plants. D. leptostachya is a persistent bloomer and can be used as a house plant. It is not bothered by frost and when happy will send forth two or three tall spikes of rich orange flowers every spring. It has a ten-inch spread.

The most beautiful of all the Dyckias is D. fosteriana, the lovely silvery arched leaves of which form a dense whorl. Its flowers are of a rich orange, but the plant is spectacular whether in bloom or not. Each plant develops a double head and subdivides, forming a compact multiple mound.

647 South Saltair Ave., Los Angeles, California.


THIS QUESTION OF HUMIDITY

Walter Richter

(From Anzucht und Kultur des Bromeliaceen published in Germany, 1950)

Keep the pots evenly moist during periods of active growth; frequent spraying can easily lead to a soggy condition which is unfavorable for good growing. The other extreme – dry soil conditions – does not seriously jeopardize the health of the plants if they have some water in their leaf cups.

With plants set out in benched beds, an even soil moisture is more easily maintained, but the beds should be checked for dry spots, especially around the edges. To work up the necessary humidity and to keep it constant, plants should be sprayed one to three times daily; the last spraying should be done in time to let the leaves dry off somewhat before nightfall. On cloudy, cool days it is best not to spray.

During transition periods from and to the rest period careful attention must be given and some judgment exercised. High humidity will mean a more rapid heat loss. If the temperature cannot be sufficient, water-filled funnels rot off very easily, giving off a bad odor; the same may happen if debris falls into the funnel and contaminates the water. A plant damaged in this way can only be used to get some offshoots – if it is not altogether lost. Rotting of the center is typical of too cool conditions or exposure to cold. If, for some reason, a drop to 45 degrees is unavoidable, the cups should be emptied and the pots kept dry. Leaving the rosette funnel drying for too long a time, however, may cause harm. The leaves roll up and such plants recover very slowly, or not at all.

As the winter season advances with a lowering of the light intensity, the plant gradually becomes dormant. Less water should be given and spraying should be less frequent if not discontinued. However, the different requirements of the various species should be kept in mind, a consideration of their native conditions helping to guide the grower. The warmth-loving representatives of the group or family need a minimum of about 65 degrees even in winter and a moderate, steady humidity.

If at all feasible and practicable, use only rain water. Collect the drip from the roof, using big enough containers to catch all the water, so that you will have enough to carry you through a dry spell. Rainwater contains many nutrients washed out of the atmosphere, and the plants make good use of these. If necessary, use water from ponds, brooks, etc. Hard water, which contains lime, is not good, and in time will disfigure the leaves. Water must be of room temperature; heatable containers are, therefore, important. This should make it sufficiently clear that watering or spraying with a hose connected to the household water supply is an impossibility.

High humidity is a fundamental necessity with favorable temperature, but, in winter, there should be no spraying if the temperature is below 60°F. Dampen the aisles only.

It should be remembered that the humidity requirements correspond with the general horticultural practice – high summer temperatures require high humidity; during the cool winter rest period lower the humidity. Similarly, during the growing period, more humidity must be given on hot sunny days than on overcast, cool days.

Crimmitschau-Sachsen, D.D.R.


BRAZILIAN BROMELIADS

Alvim Seidel

Translated by Lidia Perez Castro

The Brazilian flora, one of the world's richest, contributes to today's modern and much-admired horticultural displays its own bromeliads, now found in markets all over the world. There are in Brazil dozens of known members of this fascinating family, and many more are believed to exist in the innumerable unexplored regions.

In the central part of the city of Corupà, in the state of Santa Caterina, favored by the sub-tropical climate of southern Brazil, there is located the famed Orquideario Catarinense where can be found a large collection of bromeliads native to Brazil. Space permits only a brief description of a few of these:

Aechmea calyculata Epiphytic. Long, green leaves having a blue spot at the tip. Compact, yellow inflorescence.
Aechmea Benrathii Epiphytic. Narrow leaves edged with thorns. Short pink inflorescence.
Aechmea nudicaulis Epiphytic. Green leaves with dark-red spots, edged by light-brown thorns. Bright-red inflorescence.
Ananas bracteatus Terrestrial. Much used as a hedge. Long, pinkish leaves, edged by thorns. Edible, tasty fruit.
Billbergia nutans Epiphytic. Long, narrow leaves without thorns. Blue inflorescence with deep-pink bracts.
Billbergia zebrina Epiphytic. Erect, strong leaves, ivory-striped. Yellowish-white inflorescence with pink bracts.
Canistrum lindenii Terrestrial. Long, yellow leaves with green spots. Greenish-white inflorescence enclosed by curious white bracts.
Nidularium innocentii Terrestrial. Rosettes of long, attractive, pinkish-green leaves. Bright-red inflorescence.
Nidularium procerum Terrestrial. Long, dark-green leaves, edged with thorns. Handsome, reddish inflorescence.
Pitcairnia flammea Terrestrial. Long, narrow leaves. Inflorescence vivid-red.
Tillandsia Gardneri Epiphytic. Leaves fuzzy, silvery-white. Inflorescence bright-red.
Tillandsia geminiflora Epiphytic. One of the most common varieties found on almost all of the old trees of the region, especially on the old orange trees. Rosettes of green leaves, of slow growth, pendent reddish inflorescence.
Tillandsia Mallemontii Epiphytic. Very attractive and graceful, producing individual pure-blue flowers.
Tillandsia stricta Epiphytic. Forms little pinkish-green rosettes and produces curious red flowers with white centers.
Tillandsia triticea Epiphytic. Leaves green with pink spots at the base. Tall, pinkish inflorescence. Found only at high elevations in full sun.
Vriesia carinate Epiphytic. Very attractive. Light-green leaves. Inflorescence, yellow and bright-red.
Vriesia drepanocarpa Epiphytic. Leaves dense and compact. Of slow growth. Tall, slender inflorescence.
Vriesia ensiformis Both epiphytic and terrestrial. Light-green leaves. Inflorescence dark-red, sword-shaped.
Vriesia erythrodactylon Terrestrial. Leaves yellowish-green. Inflorescence large, green, outlined with pink. Very beautiful.
Vriesia flammea Epiphytic. Leaves, thin, green and wrinkled. Red inflorescence.
Vriesia gigantean Epiphytic. Of strong growth. Leaves dark-striped, green or pink.
Vriesia Rodigasiana Epiphytic. Compact rosettes of pinkish-green leaves. Attractive yellow, branched inflorescence.
Vriesia scalaris Epiphytic. Dark leaves with green tips. Red pendent inflorescence.

I have used the words epiphytic or terrestrial after the names of each specimen because it is in that condition that they grow here, but I should mention that all of them grow very well in a mixture of leaf mold and compost, changing with slight variations from one region to another.

P. O. Box 1, Corupa, Santa Catarina, Brazil.


Send comments, corrections and suggestions to: webmaster@bsi.org
© 1951-2012 Bromeliad Society International, All Rights Reserved.
All images copyrighted BSI.