THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETIN
|President||David Barry, Jr.||Secretary||Victoria Padilla|
|Vice President||Frank Overton||Editor||Maria Wilkes|
|Treasurer||Benjamin O. Rees||Art Editor||Morris Henry Hobbs|
Mrs. Sydney Lawrence, President, Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society|
David Goebel, President, Louisiana Bromeliad Society
Fritz Kubisch, President, Southern California Bromeliad Society
|Board of Directors|
David Barry, Jr.
Dr. Russell Seibert
Mulford B. Foster
Wilbur G. Wood
James N. Giridlian
E. W. Ensign
O. E. Van Hyning
Henry M. Hobbs
Benjamin O. Rees
Dr. Alberto Castellanos
Fundacion Miguel Lillo
Buenos Aires, Argentina
Monsieur Charles Chevalier
Mr. Charles Hodgson
Mr. C. H. Lankester
P. Raulino Reitz, Dir.
Mr. Walter Richter
Dr. Lyman B. Smith
Mr. Henry Teuscher, Dir.
Mrs. Muriel Waterman
The Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Mrs. Maria Wilkes, of Santa Monica, California, will be the new editor of the Bulletin. Mrs. Wilkes, a native of Italy who spent her girlhood in South Africa, is especially well qualified for this position. For many years she has been very active in the horticultural scene of Southern California and is a lecturer of note. For a number of years she was the editor of The Begonian. It is sincerely hoped that the members will aid Mrs. Wilkes to the best of their ability by sending her articles. notes, pictures, and any information that might be of interest to the readers of the Bulletin.
THE PLANT ON THE COVER – Tillandsia lindenii has long been a favorite of bromeliad growers, its blue flowers and vivid watermelon colored bract making it a plant of outstanding beauty. The plate shows this plant about one-half full size. The color of the blooms is quite variable, one year the flowers being a light blue, the next year a vivid violet.
1. David Barry, Jr.
This is a picture of a happy man, doing what affords him the greatest of all pleasures – collecting bromeliads in their native habitat. The photograph shows Mr. David Barry, Jr., the president of The Bromeliad Society, gathering bromeliads in Panama, one of the countries visited by him on his recent plant-collecting trip around the world.
David Barry has since the thirties been a prominent figure in Southern California horticulture. Although born in Texas, he came west at a very early age and so claims California as his home state. Upon graduation from Stanford University, Mr. Barry entered the real estate business. To seek relief from the pressure of his vocation, he became interested in rare and unusual plants, and for the past twenty-five years has been actively engaged in the introduction and collection of tropical plants, especially palms, cycads, aroids, and bromeliads. He first won renown among plantsmen for his collecting of palms, and it was he who inaugurated the "international palm seed exchange service," which sent, received, and redistributed palm seeds among the botanic gardens and governmental agencies of the world.
Fortune smiled kindly on David Barry, for he was able while still young to retire from the real estate business and to spend his entire time among his plants. What was once a hobby for him became a profitable undertaking, his horticultural establishment, California Jungle Gardens, being one of the few remaining nurseries in California devoted exclusively to little known tropicals. In recent years he has introduced many lovely and unusual plants into the trade. Outstanding have been a number of fine arborescent philodendrons and some little known bananas (including Musa maurellii, the beautiful red Ethiopian species). Notable, too, has been his work with bromeliads, for he has brought a number of choice European hybrids into the United States. Lately he has turned his hand towards crossing bromeliads, particularly Vriesias and Tillandsias. His Tillandsia "Emilie," named for his wife, shows the best characteristics of T. cyanea and T. lindenii.
From a lecture given by Mrs. Sydney W. Lawrence at a
recent meeting of the
Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society.
The Bromeliaceae is a great family of plants said to be native only to the tropical and sub-tropical Americas. They were discovered and introduced into Europe by the early plant collectors where for at least a century they have been and still are classed among the finest and most desirable decorative plants. The first two species arrived in Europe in 1690. These were what are now known as Ananas comosus, our edible pineapple, and Bromelia pinguin.
When the first pineapple grown in England was presented to Charles II by his gardener, the event was of such importance that a painting was made of it, and that painting now hangs in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
The introduction of Guzmania lingulata occurred in 1776. In 1811 Kew Gardens had 16 species; in 1864 that number had mounted to 100, and by 1887 the total rose to 252 species. By 1894 the Botanical Garden of the Dutch University at Leyden had 334 species.
Many famous Belgian plantsmen played an important role in the introduction of bromeliads and the Botanical Garden at Liege had the largest collection in the 1880's while that Garden was under the directorship of Prof. Charles Morren. Later, the Morren collection was acquired by Kew Gardens.
Vriesia splendens was introduced from the Guianas in the 1840's and about that same time Aechmea fulgens came from Brazil. Aechmea fasciata, which our Miss Victoria Padilla calls "The Beauty Queen of the Bromeliad Family," was introduced into Europe in 1828 and flowered for the first time in 1846 at the establishment of Van Houtte in Ghent. This one species is now grown commercially by the thousands in many European countries. Vast greenhouses filled with this one species are not uncommon, and Vriesia splendens and Cryptanthus are grown in almost as great quantities.
The great Swedish botanist, Linnaeus, established the genus Bromelia which he named for another Swedish botanist, Olaf Bromel. Many genera of Bromeliads bear the names of other famous plantsmen of early times:
- Billbergia was named for Gustave Johannes Billberg, Swedish
- Guzmania for A. Guzman, a Spanish naturalist;
- Hechtia for Julius Hecht of Potsdam;
- Ochagavia for Sylvestris Ochagavia, a Chilean;
- Portea for Dr. Marius Porte, a French naturalist who lived many years in Brazil;
- Pitcairnia for Dr. Wm. Pitcairn, a London physician;
- Tillandsia for Elias Tillands of Finland;
- Vriesia for DeVriese, a Dutch botanist of Amsterdam, and
- Quesnelia probably for E. Quesnel, a French horticulturist.
- Guzmania for A. Guzman, a Spanish naturalist;
Other VIPs – Very Important Plantsmen – have been honored by having their names given to various species of Bromeliads. To name a few; Jean Linden (Tillandsia lindenii); Charles Pinel (Aechmea pineliana); Dr. Richard E. Schultes (Ae. schultesiana); Ladislaus Cutak (Dyckia cutak); Aechmea weilbachii, Ochagavia lindleyana, Nidularium chantrieri and many others.
Among these "many others" is the name of one who perhaps has done more than any other one person in the United States to promote the knowledge, appreciation and use of Bromeliads. I refer, of course, to Mr. Mulford B. Foster, collector and hybridizer of these beautiful plants, several of which bear his name, and one the name of his wife, Racine.
One of his hybrids, Aechmea "Foster's Favorite", on November 15, 1949, under Plant Patent No. 898, became the first bromeliad ever to be patented.
It was through the efforts of Mr. Foster that the Bromeliad Society was organized on September 17, 1950. This is an international society, with officers and/or members who are prominent bromeliad growers and enthusiasts in many foreign countries as well as in America. In the United States the Bromeliad Society has very active affiliates – The Southern California Bromeliad Society, The Louisiana Bromeliad Society, and The Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society.
Through the years 1950-1958 Mr. Foster and his wife have very ably handled the editing and publishing of the Society's Bulletin – storehouse of valuable information – and have contributed countless articles and much art work thereto.
Our own Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society was born in April of 1954 with eight Charter Members. Our present membership is 34 and new members are being added constantly. Among our accomplishments have been five outstanding exhibits in the annual shows of The Florida West Coast Orchid Society, two exhibits, also prize winners, at Largo, Florida. One of these was at the Flower Show of District VIII, Florida Federation of Garden Clubs, the second at the Horticulture Show of The Pinellas County Horticulture Society.
A feature of these exhibits is usually a Bromeliad Tree and plantings on dark rocks or simulated rocks. Also small arrangements on driftwood for suggested home decoration. In this connection, if you have been thinking that the practice of planting bromeliads on driftwood originated with us in the U. S. in recent years, it just isn't so. The current fad of planting bromeliads on driftwood had its inception some 30 years ago when the establishment of Jules Chantrier in France was creating prize-winning examples of this.
Of special interest to Florida members is the fact that of the 19 species of bromeliads native to the U. S. 15 are growing in Florida – 12 Tillandsias, 1 Guzmania and 2 Catopsis.
Fern W. Lawrence
NOTE FROM THE SECRETARY –
The Bromeliad Round Robin is flying high these days! There is still room for several more members. Any bromeliad enthusiast who wishes to exchange information about plants is urged to join this pen club–it is great fun. For information write to Mrs. Beryl Allen, 7006 Nebraska Avenue, Tampa 4, Florida.
All inquiries addressed to the secretary should include a stamped self-addressed envelope. This will greatly facilitate her handling the great volume of mail which she receives.
NOTE FROM THE EDITOR –
The Editor will greatly appreciate current pertinent Society news. She also urgently needs articles–if possible, with pictures. Now is the time–all the time.
Lyman B. Smith
Last October, I completed the first draft of the descriptions of all known species of Bromeliaceae and paused a while to take stock. To my surprise the total of good species was 1802 or a full hundred more than I had estimated that I would have, judging from my previous census in 1956 in Dr. Angely's "Catalogo e Estatistica dos Generos Botanicos Fanerogamicos" number 2.
These figures have prompted me to make a brief survey of how our knowledge of bromeliads has grown over the years. How soon the pineapple and Spanish moss were noted is not exactly certain, but it must have been only a few years after the discovery of America. So we begin with two species and jump some two hundred and fifty years to the beginning of our system of scientific names in the "Species Plantarum" of Linnaeus in 1753. Here were 14 species in 3 genera, although the family was not yet defined. The genera were Bromelia, Tillandsia, and Renealmia. Renealmia is now considered the same as Tillandsia, while several species in Bromelia and Tillandsia have been transferred to the later Ananas, Aechmea, and Guzmania, the 14 species are all native to the West Indies and are mostly very common and well known. However, they do include the rare Aechmea serrata as a tillandsia and Tillandsia paniculata as a Renealmia. This last has had a very mysterious and confusing history as related in our Bulletin, volume 9, pages 3 and 54. Because they appeared in the beginning of our modern system of binomial (two name) species, these species were all automatically new, but curiously enough, Linnaeus did not make a single original description from specimens. All of his names were substitutions of binomials for the polynomials of older botanists, especially the French explorer, Plumier.
In the next hundred years, the family was defined by Jaume Saint-Hilaire in 1805 and quite a number of new species were discovered and described in general reports and floras, but no really comprehensive work appeared until "Die Familie der Bromeliaceen" by J. G. Beer in 1857. His book collected the miscellaneous records that had gone before and added numerous new species described from living material that he had at Berlin. He recognized 31 genera and 237 species, most of which are understood and used today.
Thirty-five years later in 1888, L. Wittmack wrote a treatment of the family for the "Pflanzenfamilien", an encyclopedic work on all the genera of plants. Species were not described but an estimate of their number was given for each genus, and this now reached a total of 469.
Only a year later, J. G. Baker published his monographic work, "Handbook of the Bromeliaceae." In his preface he noted that much of his information was derived from the living collections at Kew, the studies of Edouard Morren, the great Belgian horticulturist, and the collections of A. Glaziou from the vicinity of Rio de Janeiro. By Baker's own count there were over 800 species, but grouped under 31 genera instead of the 40 of Wittmack. It is interesting to note that over the years, the number of genera has risen and fallen between 30 and 50, while the number of species has climbed steadily and often sharply upward.
Carl Mez was the only botanist to write two complete monographs of the Bromeliaceae. His first was in 1896 in the "Monographiae Phanerogamarum" of DeCandolle, and marked a great advance not so much in the number of species which totaled 997, but in the clarity and thoroughness of its organization. It is the first treatment of the family that is still useful today in making identifications.
Before Mez's second monograph appeared, H. Harms wrote on the Bromeliaceae for the second edition of the "Pflanzenfamilien," raising the count to over 1400 species. The additional species, however, were largely of Mez's production based on large local collections like Hassler in Paraguay, Sodiro in Ecuador, and Weberbauer in Peru.
In 1935 Mez produced his second monograph, this time in the "Pflanzenreich." Since Harms' publication Mez has been almost wholly inactive in making new species so that the second monograph raised the species count only to 1516. In both monographs it appears strange that Mez did not raise the count of species farther, but it should be borne in mind that he reduced scores of carelessly made duplicating species of earlier botanists that had inflated their totals.
My own monograph is several years from completion at the most optimistic estimate, but already I can see where I will have some 400 species above Mez's last total. These additional species have come from many different sources, but the two largest blocks are Mulford and Racine Foster's collections especially from Brazil, and the collections of Bassett Maguire from the "Lost World" area of southern Venezuela. The Fosters' Brazilian collections have been particularly rich in ornamentals as the pages of the Bulletin attest, while those of Dr. Maguire have defied cultivation but made a record increase in Navia from 3 to 58. The only certainty about my figures is that they will change, for the totals that I counted last October did not last a week without loss from reductions and gain from new species.
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.
THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY is happy to welcome the following members who recently joined:
Count Alexej Orloff Davidoff, of Aalsmeer, Holland
Georges De Meyer, of Heusden-lez-Gand, Belgium
J. Himmerman, of North Essendon, Victoria, Australia
Mrs. S. McCormick, of South Rhodesia, South Africa
Reginald F. Swan, of Durban, South Africa
Dr. Graham B. Fairchild, of Panama
J. Atwell, of Ontario, Canada
Mrs. Marie McGee, of Star City, West Virginia
Mrs. Lucita H. Wait, of Miami, Florida
Mrs. Leon J. Hebert, of New Orleans, Louisiana
Mr. and Mrs. J. P. McLaughlin, of Pasadena, California
Harold F. Daum, of Sedalia, Missouri
Mrs. Robert M. Gibb, of Miami, Florida
Charles V. Grigsby, of New Orleans, Louisiana
Mrs. Leon J. Herbert of New Orleans, Louisiana
George Hare, of Altadena, California
Urice E. Hile, of Upland, California
Mrs. H. W. Dreyer, of Key West, Florida
Mrs. Jessie L. Wendland, of Palmetto, Florida
N Stands for Neoregelia, and for Nidularium, too
(In the September-October 1958 issue of the Bulletin these genera were discussed at great length, and the reader is referred to this number for a complete discussion of these plants.)
The beginner who is starting his collection of bromeliads would be wise to select a goodly number of Neoregelias and Nidulariums, for they have much to offer the novice. They are among the easiest of all bromeliads to grow, are highly decorative whether in flower or not, and some are surprisingly hardy. These bromeliads are often overlooked at first by the plant collector because they do not send out a tall, glamorous flower spike, the flower, instead, snuggling close to the cup. However, the beauty of the "blushing heart" which accompanies the blooming of many of the species is both dazzling and unique.
|PHOTO – M.B. FOSTER|
|Nidularium innocentii var. lineatum|
Growing naturally on lower limbs of trees, on old treetrunks, or on stumps close to the ground, Neoregelias and Nidulariums were easily found by the early plant collectors, who often times stumbled upon them accidentally; hence these plants have been in cultivation on the Continent for a relatively long time. They are seen today in flower shops all over Europe, most of the plants being superb hybrids which are truly breathtaking.
These plants will do best in a damp, darkish location. They will thrive under the bench of the greenhouse, as in their native habitat they are used to having other plants growing about them. The stiffer-leaved Neoregelias will do well outdoors under trees in situations which are frost free, although these hardy individuals have been known to survive winters when the water in their cups was frozen solid.
In the American trade there are approximately seventeen species and varieties of Neoregelias offered for sale and fifteen Nidulariums. The beginner should have no less than a dozen of these plants in his collection if only to act as a foil for those plants the foliage of which tends to be less colorful. The following are those which the writer recommends as being a never-ending source of delight. They are all easy to grow and to obtain.
Neoregelia marmorata – This is one of the most popular of the species, for its green leaves, marbled very conspicuously with deep chocolate brown, make it a highly attractive plant. The flowers are pale violet. What is usually sold under this name, however, is probably a hybrid crossed with Neoregelia spectabilis. In Southern California this plant will tolerate considerable light and will thrive in the outdoor rockery. where it often assumes very brilliant coloring. It is fine as a house plant, too, as it doesn't seem to mind a dry atmosphere, a characteristic shared by other members of the family that have stiff leaves.
Neoregelia spectabilis – Wherever bromeliads are grown this species is seldom missing. It is a strong, vigorous grower and soon forms large clumps if the young plants that form near the mother plant are not removed. This is probably the oldest known member of the genus, until recently having been known as Aregelia spectabilis. It is popularly known as the "painted fingernail plant," for its stiff leaves, grayishly banded on the under side and a pleasingly green on the upper, are tipped with a bright cerise. The leaves are stiff and sturdy, indicating that this plant is reasonably hardy and can withstand neglect.
Neoregelia farinosa – is a plant of such striking beauty that it is a wonder that it is not better known. A medium-sized bromeliad with shiny green, copper, and maroon leaves, it becomes a spectacle of blazing beauty when it nears its flowering season. The beautiful crimson heart remains in color for many months.
Two interesting little specimens are Neoregelia tristis, with its semi-stiff leaves peppered with red spots and Neoregelia zonata, with its stiffish green leaves vividly marbled and banded wine-red on both sides. A radical departure from the typical members of the genus is Neoregelia ampullacea. This tiny plant likes to climb, its colorful dainty rosettes extending out on numerous wire-like stolons. Planted in a wire hanging basket, this bromeliad will in a short time cover almost the entire container.
Neoregelia carolinae is one of the most popular of the genus. The original Caroline after whom this intriguing plant was named was the wife of Morren, the editor of "La Belgique Horticole" and a great bromeliad enthusiast. This plant is sometimes mistaken for Neoregelia farinosa, but its leaves, which are a bright shiny green, are longer and narrower. It makes a particularly fine house plant.
Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor is one of the handsomest and most satisfactory of all bromeliads. It is a striking plant with its long leaves striped cream and green which become suffused with pink at a very early age. Its blushing heart lasts in color for the better part of a year. One of the favorite house plants of the Continent, it is definitely a "must" for every bromeliad collector.
|A Nidularium, such as this, thrives in a dark corner. Its pale chartreuse leaves mottled with purple, make it a stunning plant.|
There are several varieties of Nidularium innocentii. There is a plain green form with wide green leaves. Around the heart is a secondary rosette, the leaves of which turn red at the tip and make a pleasing contrast with the white flowers. There are two variegated forms of this bromeliad: Nidularium innocentii var. lineatum and Nidularium innocentii var. striatum. The leaves of the first are richly penciled with longitudinal striping of clear white. It is a stunning plant whether in flower or not. The second plant is similar, except that the leaves are vertically striped with a creamy chartreuse.
Nidularium fulgens is a showy plant whether in bloom or not. The glossy
light green leaves, which are prominently serrated and subtly dotted with dark
green spots, form a perfect rosette. During its blooming season, the center
colors a vivid cerise. Nidularium regelioides is similar except that it
has fewer leaves and less conspicuous leaf serration. It is a fast-growing
plant and generous with its offshoots. Its blushing heart remains in color for
When growing Tillandsia or Vriesia seeds, I find that I have most success when I use the following method. I take a piece of tall fern fibre about four or five inches long by about two inches in diameter, soak it in warm water till thoroughly soaked, then insert the point (about one to one and a half inches) in a four-inch pot and pack all the spaces with sphagnum moss. The seeds are wound on and sprayed to make them adhere. Watering is done by pouring water on the top of the fibre. The moss absorbs the surplus and feeds back later, making further waterings infrequent. If a polythene tent is placed over the pot, it will remain in a moist condition for several days. The seeds find a varying degree of dampness from top to bottom – dryer on top and damper lower down – giving at least some seeds the dampness they require. Even if only twenty-five percent germination is obtained, all the plants needed grow.
This method is modified for Neoregelias, Aechmeas, etc. The block is merely laid on its side on moist sphagnum moss and the seeds sown on it after the fibre is roughed up to hold the seeds. I now thoroughly moisten the whole pot and wrap in polythene, which I leave for as long as necessary 'till the seeds germinate.
I have some plants from seeds of Pitcairnia ferruginea, which I sowed in this manner. The largest now measures approximately four feet in height and eight feet in breadth although it has not yet flowered. It is a traffic stopper, and the whole street is awaiting the coming of the inflorescence. So am I !
Charles Webb. 13 Elizabeth Avenue, Dulwich Hill, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia
BROMELIADS AT PORT OF ENTRY
What to expect in the way that your imported bromeliads will be treated at the inspection stations of the Plant Quarantine Division of the United States Department of Agriculture is contained in the letter to the President of the Bromeliad Society, under date of December 9, 1959. The writer, Mr. E. Kostal, is Chief, Plant Importations Branch, Hoboken, New Jersey.
"Our long experience in
fumigating imported plants indicates that fumigation with methyl bromide is one
of the most important operations in our efforts to prevent the introduction of
new and dangerous insect pests through the medium of imported plants and plant
products. Many millions of imported plants, including bromeliads, have been
successfully fumigated. We have received complaints of fumigation injury and
have investigated many of the complaints at nurseries and other plant
establishments. In most cases, factors such as the weak condition of the
plants, unfavorable conditions in transit, and careless handling at
destination, contributed greatly to the poor condition of the plants
We wish to cooperate with the Bromeliad Society's members, within the framework of plant import restrictions, to enable successful importation of specimen plants. Importations of a few small greenhouse grown plants such as those out of two or three inch pots may be passed without fumigation if there is reason to fear fumigation injury and if no serious plant pests are found after careful examination. Or the plants may be given a Malathion-DDT dip in lieu of fumigation for common surface insects. We cannot, however, waive fumigation of large importations of plants nor of large plants which, due to their structure, are very difficult to examine thoroughly. The same holds for most plants collected in the wilds. To use alternative treatment methods in such cases would usually require much extra time and labor and would seriously interfere with Inspection Station operations, especially during periods of heavy importation."
This letter reflects a cooperative policy on the part of the quarantine people that is a great gain to bromeliad collectors. It is hoped that some of the soft-leaved species that are so beautifully colored and marked, and that succumb to methyl bromide fumigation, can now be introduced to horticulture. It is also hoped that this quarantine policy will be followed by quarantine authorities of countries in the Old World where methyl bromide treatment is now discouragingly lethal to most bromeliads.
By Edward L. Sard
My first bromeliads were acquired in the Spring of 1957 during a visit to Puerto Rico. I purchased about six plants from Pennock's and immediately became fascinated with them as house plants. I then acquired a few more plants in the States and in the winter of 1958, on a trip to Mexico, collected another 20 plants, mostly Tillandsias. Not having a greenhouse, my 30 plants presented a problem as to where to keep them. We finally rigged up some shelves in the laundry room, which received considerable humidity from the dryer but light was inadequate and it got quite cold during the winter. I lost several plants that winter, but had been sufficiently bitten by the bromeliad "bug" to decide that my indoor gardening efforts would be concentrated on bromeliads. Fortunately, my wife shared my enthusiasm and we both wanted a sufficient collection to maintain a supply of bromeliads for a rather large living room planter.
Meanwhile, I joined The Bromeliad Society and began to learn a little bit about the cultural requirements of bromeliads. Miss Padilla and Roger Taylor were most helpful. My collection also expanded steadily and finally my wife and I decided to devote a portion of the laundry room to build an indoor greenhouse. We felt that this would be cheaper than an outdoor greenhouse; besides, we were unwilling to give up any of our limited outdoor gardening space to a greenhouse.
I was convinced that bromeliads could be grown successfully under lights, provided that sufficient humidity could be maintained. Since I am a very busy person, I wanted a set-up that would be virtually automatic, so that the plants could be ignored for several weeks at a time without any serious damage occurring. Accordingly, we took the end of the laundry room, an area about 10 ½' x 5 ½', and enclosed the fourth side with redwood and an aluminum storm door. Two of the sides were concrete outside walls and the third side was the back of the garage. A window faced west. Transite benches supported by steel pipe were installed all around, with a small sink in a corner on one side. On one of the long sides, a second layer of benches just off the floor was constructed out of surplus redwood. Four inch shelves ran around the entire room. Six ten gallon galvanized garbage pails were placed under the other bench and housed all necessary potting materials: viz., tanbark, peat moss, sand, garden loam, manure, and leaf mold. I calculate that I have almost 60 square feet of usuable bench surface, enough to house over 200 plants.
|PHOTOS BY AUTHOR|
|A three-quarter view of the right hand bench. Virtually all the bromeliads in the foreground are Billbergias of various types. The Strelitzia Reginae potted in a tub is clearly visible. The smaller bench behind it with the thermometer showing contains mostly Xerophytic Tillandsias and some Catopsis which are closer to the lights. Also visible is a partial view of the bottom bench which runs about 10 degrees cooler and contains a variety of plants.|
Humidity is supplied by a Walton humidifier, with an automatic humidistat. The entire inside of the greenhouse was sprayed with a waterproof paint before any plants were installed. It should probably be painted every three years. Watering is simple. If done wholesale, with a 2 ½ litre watering can, it takes two or three minutes. This is normally done twice a week, but I have already established that the plants can go two or three weeks without any watering and no visible damage occurs. Once a month or less frequently, each plant gets an individual bath and is fertilized with emulsified fish.
Most of my bromeliads are now potted in 100% tanbark, as my results with osmunda were poor and with various potting mixtures not particularly good, and they seem to thrive at about 80% humidity in the bark.
Light for the top benches is supplied by four four-foot Floralite fixtures, each containing two forty-watt fluorescent tubes (each a different shading of blue or pink light) plus two 15-watt incandescent bulbs. There is also a similar two-foot fixture at the far end of the top benches, with two 20-watt fluorescent tubes and two 15-watt incandescent bulbs. Thus, the top benches, which also provide illumination for the shelves, have a total of 510 watts. The 10½ foot bottom bench is illuminated by two four channel fluorescent fixtures, each using 40 watt tubes, with different shadings of light. The wattage for the bottom bench thus totals 320. Top and bottom lights are controlled separately by Time-All automatic controls. The bottom is set for 13 hours and top for 15 hours. While I cannot prove it scientifically, the mixture of red and blue light is undoubtedly superior for flowering. The bottom bench is also maintained at a temperature about 10 degrees cooler than the top, not only because hot air tends to rise but because the incandescent lights on top yield a considerable amount of heat.
|Partial view of left hand bench with two of the garbage pails underneath containing potting materials visible. The plant in the foreground with the inflorescence clearly visible is Tillandsia Lindeni. To its right can be seen the striped bands of Vriesia Splendens Major.|
Heat is supplied by an electric heater attached to a thermostat for automatic control. It is set at 65 degrees so that during the winter the temperature will vary between 60 and 80 degrees. During the summer, the heat builds up on a hot day into the 90's, but it is not nearly as hot as an outdoor greenhouse. This summer I closed off the lights and put about half my plants outside, where most of them prospered. I kept about 75 plants inside on the bottom bench. Most of these were bromeliads and prospered with the exception of a few xerophytic Tillandsias, such as Tillandsia bulbosa, which I lost and which I attribute to excessive humidity for these plants. I also found two Nidularium innocentii and an Encholirium in poor shape, but I am now treating these as terrestrials and have taken them out of the greenhouse and house them in a special planter in the den where a modest collection of cacti and succulents is maintained. These plants have shown immediate improvement and obviously could not take the humidity in the greenhouse, especially vriesia, aechmeas, billbergias and guzmanias, and including some orchids and an anthurium, did beautifully.
Ventilation, however, is a problem as it is really the only part of the culture which is entirely manual. I have a fan rigged up opposite the window and when the window and door are opened a good current of air can be generated. In hot weather, however, it is only hot air that is pushed around. I therefore moved in a portable evaporative air cooler during the summer months, and found that by putting this on I could lower the temperature five or six degrees. On exceptionally hot days, when the outside temperature was well into the 90's, we could keep the greenhouse temperature down to about 85 by opening all doors leading downstairs and letting our air conditioned living room air roll down into the greenhouse. I think that next summer I shall probably keep the top lights going, but without the incandescents.
The cost of installing this small indoor greenhouse was about $700, of which $500 was for all types of parts and supplies and $200 for labor. If one is handy and has the time, the labor part could be reduced, but this includes electrical work and plumbing. Allocating the labor costs to the four major functional requirements, the costs break down as follows:
|Lights, including all electrical work||$200|
|Humidifier and humidistat, incl. installing||130|
|Heating and plumbing||110|
The only major maintenance cost is the increase in the electricity bill, which I estimate on the basis of nine months operation. at about $120 for the year. Bulbs are expensive, but when purchased in quantity can he kept to a tolerable minimum. This is surely far, far less than an outdoor greenhouse would cost to maintain in this climate. Of course, if I were to build an outdoor greenhouse, it would be larger.
While I now have almost 100 bromeliads, about 70 have gone through a winter and summer in the indoor greenhouse. The losses, as indicated above, were only five or six plants and those of a type that normally do not want much humidity. I think I also lost a few that were collected in Mexico due to the methylbromide spraying at Quarantine.
The flowering results are most interesting. Of course, with plants having been acquired from all over, but principally from Belgium, Mexico, Nicaragua, California, Florida and Puerto Rico, generalizations could well be misleading. Ranking my main species by percentage of flowering, four out of eight aechmeas have flowered; eight out of 20 tillandsias, and six out of 15 billbergias have also flowered. Then there are three out of nine cryptanthus and two out of three catopsis, as well as two of six neoregelias. Thus, I am now getting a goodly number of offshoots. Moreover, we always seem to have enough in flower to make an interesting display in the living room planter.
I am satisfied that my little indoor greenhouse is an excellent way to raise most bromeliads. It is also a wonderful system for lazy or busy people. Humidity-loving types like vriesias and guzmanias do very poorly in our living room planter, but thrive in the greenhouse. Other plants with similar cultural requirements, such as virtually all gesneriads and most orchids, as well as begonias and other broad-leaved tropical plants, do extremely well. I had started to collect African violets, but frankly there is too much work involved as they must be sprayed and nursed and this I do not have time for. For a small bromeliad collection, which I expect to grow to about 200, thereby forcing all non-bromeliads out, an indoor greenhouse as described above can be recommended as a lot of fun and very little work, and one which seems to give excellent results on a year-around basis.
249-43 Van Zandt Ave., Douglaston 62, N. Y.
TO: All Growers of Bromeliads
FROM: John Beckner
SUBJECT: Registration of Bromeliad Hybrids.
I have been asked to handle the registration of Bromeliad Hybrids. Anyone having such hybrids to register should write to:
736 Myrtle Way South,
St. Petersburg 5, Florida.
1) Parentage, indicating which bore the seed,
2) Your proposed name for the cross,
3) Date the cross was made,
4) Date the cross flowered,
5) Name of person who made the cross,
6) All possible details of foliage and flower (fruits if possible, too), of the hybrid,
7) In cases where several distinct clones or varieties of one or both parents are extant, please indicate in some detail just which ones were used.
In naming garden plants we must adhere to the "International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants," 1958 edition. Unfortunately, little attention to nomenclature rules has been evident in the past among bromeliad breeders. The sizeable number of Vriesia, Guzmania, Neoregelia, Cryptanthus, and Billbergia hybrids being grown without names, with erroneous names, without parentage recorded, and so on, has made this a very troublesome family of plants. I am going to follow the regulations of the above mentioned code, and will utilize some of the rules of Sander, which have, all in all, been unexcelled. The following rules will be particularly pertinent to Bromeliaceae:
Names must be in a major European language, such as English, Spanish. German, or French.
All plants with the same parentage must bear the same name, but a cultivar (or clonal) name may be added if needed.
No name, of hybrids or cultivars, should be duplicated within any one genus. I would like to request that this name be voluntarily widened to cover within each of the three subfamilies, so that future taxonomic revisions, shifting species from genus to genus, will cause no confusion on this account. Such existing exceptions to this request as Neoregelia carolinae 'tricolor' vs Cryptanthus bromelioides 'tricolor', Cryptanthus acaulis 'rubra' vs Cryptbergia 'rubra', and also vs Billbergia amoena 'rubra'; and many others that doubtless exist, must remain, but there is no need to add to their ranks.
Such words as "a", "the", "an", "Miss", "Mrs.", "Mr.", superlatives, names of more than three words, Latin names, etc., will not be accepted as hybrid names. The descriptions of hybrids should include pertinent measurements, in the metric system or English System (which will be converted to metric in the permanent system), and colors (given preferably according to the Nickerson Color Fan).
I am compiling notes on hybrids made to present, and request all possible data on these be sent in by growers. Unless we can start with a solid foundation, future registrations will be uncertain.
I would like to add a few requests, not requirements, addressed to all those concerned:
That a copy of the Nickerson Color Fan be obtained.
That a copy of the International Code be obtained – and read.
That a good 35mm color transparency be taken of the hybrid in flower, with its two parents, or slides of each in bloom be taken and sent to me. These will make a very valuable addition to the written records and in time our society will have an excellent file on Bromeliad Hybrids.
BROMELIAD LITERATURE – Bromeliads–A Cultural Handbook, the official publication of the Bromeliad Society, is the only book of its kind in English. Second printing now available. Price $2.00 May be obtained from the Secretary. Terrestrial Bromeliads by Mulford B. Foster is still obtainable. Send 60 cents to the secretary for your copy.