THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETIN
|President||David Barry, Jr.||Editorial Secretary||Victoria Padilla|
|Vice President||Frank Overton||Membership Secretary||Jeanne Woodbury|
|Treasurer||Jack M. Roth||Art Editor||Morris Henry Hobbs|
E. H. Palmer, President, Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society|
Lawrence Hiscock, President, Louisiana Bromeliad Society
Fritz Kubisch, President, Southern California Bromeliad Society
Nat. J. De Leon, President, South Florida 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
Nat. J. De Leon
Jack M. Roth
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
NOW AVAILABLE — Notes on Bromeliaceae, IV by Dr. L. B. Smith appearing in Photologia for October, 1960. A number of new bromeliads are described. Of particular interest are the Hohenbergias to be found in the Greater Antilles.
No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.
|Harvesting pineapples in Hawaii|
There is something so magical about Hawaii that it is difficult to realize it has assumed the mundane role of statehood. "The Paradise of the Pacific" is the title bestowed upon this small group of islands that make up our fiftieth state, and horticulturists will agree that this name is a most apt one, for plants grow to an overwhelming magnificence there a magnificence to be found only in a few choice spots on this globe.
But above all, and for us bromeliad enthusiasts in particular, Hawaii is pineapple land. No matter how the visitor approaches these fabled islands—whether by land or by sea—he is conditioned from the very start of his journey for what is in store for him. While en route, he is fed pineapple in a surprising number of ways and is served copious drafts of its juice. And after disembarking one of the first sights that he will see is a mammoth pineapple atop a cannery, a symbol that the Islands are the world's greatest producer of this delicious fruit. The fragrance that pervades the air is not that of the thousands of leis worn by the tourists, but is of pineapples being prepared for canning. Everywhere one looks—the motif is that of the pineapple. Rare is the tourist who does not succumb to the comfortable custom of donning an aloha shirt or a muumuu (depending on the gender), and the most popular design of these garments is—of course—the pineapple. Indeed, no one can deny that the pineapple is Hawaii's favorite bromeliad.
|Lanai City — where everyone works with pineapples|
How did the pineapple come to Hawaii? No one knows for sure, but there are a number of tales of how this fruit found its way to these remote islands. According to Dr. Forest B. H. Brown, botanist of the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, the pineapple was known to the Polynesians in prehistoric times, the Marquesans originating six forms of the plant from a single species endemic to Brazil. This would suggest that the Polynesians came into contact with America before the discovery of their islands by the Europeans and that the pineapple was growing in the Hawaiian Islands before the advent of the early explorers.
One early story tells us that in the sixteenth century a Spanish galleon enroute to the Orient from Central America was wrecked on the Kona Coast, the only survivors being the captain, his sister, and a few pineapples. It is interesting to note in this connection that no pineapples today are grown in this area. From other sources we learn that the fruit was brought to the islands by traders and whalers. It is known that Spanish sailors carried pineapple as an anti-scorbutic, as the English carried lime juice, to prevent scurvy, and they may have introduced the fruit.
Although Captain James Cook, who discovered the Islands in February, 1778, and revisited them again in January of the following year, makes no mention of pineapples, there is every likelihood that they may have been growing on the Islands. We know, for certain, that the fruit was growing wild in 1813 and that the Hawaiians already had a name for it—" halakahiki"—a compound of "hala," the fruit of the pandanus which the pineapple somewhat resembles, and of "kahiki"—a foreign land. During that year, definite plantings were made by a certain Don Francisco de Paula y Marin—this we know for sure. It was not until 1885, however, that any great interest in the growing of pineapples in Hawaii was manifested. Before this time, the half wild pineapple which was found on the Islands was being shipped to San Francisco, but the pineapple industry, as such, did not get its start until Captain John Kidwell, a nurseryman later to be known as the "Father of the Pineapple Industry in Hawaii," began growing the variety known as the Smooth Cayenne. This particular variety has never been excelled and is the pineapple that fills the millions of cans of pineapple sent yearly from Hawaii to all parts of the world.
Pineapple today is grown commercially on five of Hawaii's major islands—Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. Whereas the big island, Hawaii, has no commercial pineapple fields, the little island of Lanai is devoted entirely to the raising of pineapple, and its entire population is all engaged in one way or another with the production of the fruit. Pineapple is the second most important industry in Hawaii, surpassed only by sugar.
No bromeliad enthusiast who visits Hawaii should fail to visit the Field Experiment Station of the Pineapple Research Institute at Waipo on the island of Oahu, about a 45-minute drive from down-town Honolulu. Here he will see the varieties being raised for test purposes. Many of these pineapples are so unusual in shape and coloring that they might well be used solely for their decorative value. The Pineapple Research Institute also has a building on the campus of the University of Hawaii in Honolulu. Particularly interesting is the patio around which the structure is built, for bromeliads are most effectively used in the landscaping. Groupings of Neoregelias around the pool demonstrate how colorful and useful these plants can be. While at the Institute, the visitor should ask to see the library to peruse through the literature on the pineapple and look at the collection of old prints.
Ornamental bromeliads are only now coming into their own in Hawaii, and it will probably be several years before they are seen in any number. Until recently there has been a strict embargo on these pineapple cousins because of the possibility that they might harbor pests which could play havoc with the industry. Restrictions, however, have eased a bit, and some plants have been permitted on the islands provided they go through a year of quarantine.
Paul R. Weissich, director of the Foster Botanical Garden, has hopes to acquire enough plants to build up an outstanding collection and in time introduce bromeliads into private estates. The Garden now has a few bromeliads, for the most part consisting of the more commonly known Aechmeas, Vrieseas, Neoregelias, and Guzmanias. Though these plants had recently come out of quarantine when the author saw them, they showed a brilliance of color and a firmness of texture seldom seen in the plants grown in California.
|A little rosy-red pineapple with definite decorative possibilities|
This is true, too, of the plants seen in private collections. One of the oldest and best known bromeliad gardens is that belonging to the Goodale Moirs. The Moirs specialize in orchids, but have a small area devoted entirely to bromeliads—and what plants they are! Imagine, if you will, Portea petropolitana var. extensa with flower spikes almost eighteen inches long. And tree trunks completely covered with Tillandsia lindenii or Vrieseas! But this garden has been described before in the Bulletin, so we should move on to the garden of Howard Yamamoto, also of Honolulu. This member is raising seedlings by the thousands and with amazing results. He stated that when he first tried his hand with seeds, he met with little success as he used the same methods as he would with any terrestrials, but once he changed his technique and treated the plants as through they were orchids, his luck changed. His seedlings—for the most part Vrieseas—are such sturdy little plantlets as to fill the mainlander's heart with envy. Again noticeable was the brilliant coloring of the foliage of his plants, the leaves of Tillandsia lindenii and several Neoregelias being of the deepest red.
On the beautiful island of Kauai is the famous garden estate of the Hector Moirs. Though the interest of Mr. and Mrs. Moir is primarily in succulents, they have integrated many bromeliads with their cactus plantings. Their garden is indeed unique, for they have combined in their rockeries of black lava rock succulents, vandas, and bromeliads—all growing happily under the full tropic sun. As the garden is located in the dry section of the island, the bromeliads (which are known on Kauai as pineapple lilies) are those which need but little humidity. Seen growing in happy profusion were several pineapple species, Bromelias, Billbergias, Portea petropolitana var. extensa, Aechmea bracteata in splendid bloom, and Neoregelia spectabilis hybrids.
No bromeliads were to be seen growing in the Valley Island (Maui), but on the Big Island (Hawaii) two interesting sights took this writer's eye. The first was a little shack high on the side of a volcano that was covered with Spanish moss—how the owner procured this Tillandsia is a source of wonderment. The other sight was a planting of Billbergia pyramidalis that was used as a ground cover under plumeria trees at the Kona Inn. The people thereabouts thought that this Billbergia was a form of torch ginger, and, indeed, the similarity was noticeable.
Hawaii definitely shows promise of becoming a bromeliad paradise. Why? Perhaps for the same reasons that have made this land the orchid capital of the world. Hawaii can give these plants all that they need: a climate that is so ideal that even the tenderest varieties can grow outdoors the year round; a rainfall (known as liquid sunshine) that provides the necessary humidity so that there is little fear of drought and alkalinity is no worry; and a constant current of air provided by the refreshing trade winds which can be depended upon the year round. Hapu, an ideal planting medium, is also easily available, so the grower has little, if anything to worry about. His only problem at this time is obtaining enough plants, but very shortly this will be taken care of.
Mulford B. Foster
There have been so many different names attached to Vriesea splendens, especially in horticulture, that it might be timely to attempt to unravel a bit of the confusion.
Vriesea splendens is now officially known under the three recognized varietal names:
- Vriesea splendens var. splendens, the strikingly-banded phase.
- V. splendens var. longibracteata, the all-green-no-bands phase which until recently was known under the species name of V. longibracteata.
- V. splendens var. striatifolia, the phase with no bands, but with longitudinal white and green stripes. This variety was illustrated and described by the writer on p. 92 of Vol. V, 1955, of the Bromeliad Bulletin.
Commercially and horticulturally we see the following types listed:
- V. splendens
"Major", is a horticultural selected clone.
- V. splendens "Flammendes
Schwert" is a cross between V. splendens "Major" and V.
splendens var. longibracteata.
- V. splendens "Illustris"
is a cross between V. splendens var. splendens and V.
- V. splendens X "Chantrieri"
is another selected clone made between two phases of V. splendens var. splendens.
All of the above four phases are of horticultural origin. They are selected clones or crosses between clones or varieties.
Rt. 3, Box 658, Orlando, Fla
The following are two interesting observations on the effect of light on bromeliads. If any other member has had similar experience along this line, we would be pleased to have his comments.
Roger K. Taylor
On a high shelf in our dining room, under fluorescent lights, we have a collection of bromeliads which with their ornamental foliage make an attractive display. The majority of the plants have their more pronounced markings on the under sides of the leaves, readily visible in this position; one, however, has plain green on the underleaf, and all the color is on the upper faces. Although I do not have precise identification of this one, a number of its characteristics suggest Neoregelia carolinae, and it seems likely that it is a variety or hybrid of this species. The original coloration was a rich green, shading to pink at the very tips, but under the lights a flush of purplish-bronze developed. As this striking color combination was not readily visible on the shelf, I moved the plant to a table about two feet below where it still was illuminated by the lights over the shelf, but the interior was better displayed. In the course of a few weeks the extra color disappeared almost completely; I now have it back on the shelf where once more the purplish overlay has appeared.
Two features of this behavior are of interest. First, what is evidently a delicate balance between light intensity and color was stumbled on by chance. Second, the reversible coloring and fading of the whole plant is at variance with what I have seen with other plants. Normally, in my experience, the leaf color and marking is determined by the light conditions prevailing at the time of the growth, and fixed, so that when for instance more intense illumination is provided the growing leaf bases become more highly colored or more vividly marked, but the outer ends retain their original appearance. Perhaps someone else who knows more about this, would comment.
3122 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore 18, Maryland
What does it take to bring out the optimum coloring in bromeliads? Usually, we can find out only by experimenting. As Mr. Barry has stated, light is a chief requisite. Important, too, is humidity. From my own experience, I have discovered that my plants develop more brilliant foliage in my greenhouse where the humidity is kept at 70° than anywhere else. For example, Billbergia X "Fantasia," B. amoena viridis, and the pink form of Aechmea ramosa achieve a greater beauty of coloration in the greenhouse than when grown under comparable light conditions either outdoors or in the house.
But it would seem that some bromels need more than light and humidity. I wonder whether some plants do not resent being brought down from a high elevation to live at sea level. I have had poor experience with the delightfully colorful Thecophyllums gathered in the highlands of Costa Rica and some brilliantly red Guzmanias and Vrieseas collected in the mountains of Panama. All lost their coloring within six weeks' time in my green house. This was also true of G. danielii from Ecuador. When I first obtained this plant, the foliage was striking because of its maroon undertones—today it is just a muddy green. I do not think that the alkaline content of water is a factor, for I have given these plants rain water only—to no avail.
IN SPIKES OF TILLANDSIAS
David Barry, Jr.
Much of the beauty of Tillandsias such as T. lindenii and T. cyanea is in the bright watermelon pink of their flat spikes. This color is a delightful contrast to the blue or purple of the expanded flower petals.
Light is an important fact in development of the pink color. As evidence, the side of the spike that faces the brightest light is a darker shade of pink than the other side. Yet light is not the sole factor in intensifying the color of the spikes. In fact, too much light will destroy the color. As an example, when plants are placed in the bright light of full sun the pink color will be blanched to the color of celery. When plants are suspended high in a glasshouse in a bright, hot location, even the green of the spike will be whitened.
In addition to light, temperature and humidity are essential factors in the coloration of the spikes. The deepest color in the spikes can be developed by reproducing the cool, moist conditions of a cloud forest. But it will rarely be possible for the average grower to reproduce in his greenhouse or garden such a condition as that of a misty, moving air of cool mountain slopes. Nonetheless, the goal can be recognized, and certain steps taken in its direction.
Keep the plants in the coolest part of your greenhouse or yard. If in the tropics, keep the plants in a shady part of the garden. At the same time, give the plants as much humidity as you can manage by spraying them from time to time and by watering down their surroundings. As an example of the response of the plants to a dull, cool condition, during overcast or foggy days two and sometimes three flowers on the spike will expand at the same time, whereas only one flower is the usual development.
Our fellow society members, the Goodale Moirs, of Honolulu, place their T. lindenii and T. cyanea plants at the upper end of their Nuuanu Valley yard where the cool driving rains and mists from the mountains above descend upon the plants. Under these conditions the pink coloration of the spikes is so dark, and also so bright, that a luminescence seems to be in the color. The Moirs call this place in the garden their cloud forest. Other kinds of bromeliads, besides these Tillandsias, grow luxuriantly there.
T. lindenii and T. cyanea are natives of the high Andes of Peru and Ecuador. As there is heavy rainfall in their native regions, the plants should be watered generously.
11977 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles 49, California
Mulford B. Foster
Dyckia x Lad Cutak M. B. Foster hybr. nov.
Dyckia brevifolia x Dyckia leptostachya
This has been one of the most vigorous hybrids I have ever made. Through the years it has been so floriferous and frost resistant that I felt it was quite worthwhile to publish the account of the origin of this hybrid as originally described in the "Cactus and Succulent Journal" (of Scott Haselton) of the issue No. 10 in October, 1957.
"There have been so few species of Dyckias introduced into horticulture in the past that little choice has been offered to the collector. Then too, most of the known Dyckias are too large for the "pot gardener", so about your only chance of seeing them has been in a California garden or in one of the larger botanical gardens.
"On our trip into the dry areas of Matto Grosso, Brazil, in 1940 we found Dyckia leptostachya. This interesting species had been sent to the Kew Gardens in 1867 but was not described until 1884, although Burchell originally collected it in Goyaz, Brazil, in 1828. Now after 120 years from its first collection it has definitely adopted a new home in our southern states.
"This colorful Dyckia adapted itself so readily and has been so willing to send forth two or three tall spikes of rich orange flowers every spring in our garden and is not at all bothered by frost, that I was most anxious to see what I could do with it as a parent for a hybrid.
"Dyckia sulphurea, which no doubt also included D. brevifolia, from Uruguay and Brazil, was introduced at Kew about 1873. It has for years been a member of many collections and is now a rather common item in the dish garden world.
"In 1943 I made the cross between D. leptostachya and D. sulphurea and this spring (1947) we saw the first plant from this union in full bloom. The results far exceeded our expectations.
"In form this new hybrid has compromised nicely with both of its parents. The leaves are 6 to 10 inches long, glabrous, maroon green on the upper side and vertically lineate on the light green underside; the marginal teeth less prominent than on D. sulphurea, but not recurved as in D. leptostachya. The peduncle from 12 to 18 inches emerges laterally midway between the axil and basal leaves. The inflorescence is a lax, simple spike two to three feet long. This three to four and a half foot flowering stalk of from 40 to 60 ascending yellow orange flowers is a beautiful sight for a period of several weeks, especially when one plant gives forth five flowering spikes as did this first one; it is more floriferous than its parents.
"This new hybrid, much after the nature of D. sulphurea increases vegetatively by subdivision as well as by side shoots, but does not send out underground stolons as does D. leptostachya.
"The light orange flowers are somewhat larger than the dark orange flowers of D. leptostachya and resembles in form the sulphur yellow flowers of D. sulphurea.
"Knowing Lad Cutak* of the Missouri Botanical Garden and his great enthusiasm and tireless work with succulents, has made it a pleasure to name this, my first Dyckia hybrid to show bloom, in his honor."
By Permission, Scott E. Haselton, Ed. Cactus & Succulent Journal, Pasadena.__________
* Bromeliad Society Director.
Please note two errors inadvertently made in previous bulletins:
Vol. X, No. 4, P. 60, paragraph 4 — change "stamens in two series, first series free, 18 mm long, pistil nearly 10 mm above scales, second series free, 18 mm long" to read "stamens in two series, first series fused to petal near base rising 10 mm above scales; second series free 18 mm long;"
Vol. X, No. 6, P. 88 - Tillandsia fascicularis should read Tillandsia fasciculata.
James N. Giridlian
Ever since our good artist friend came out with the superb illustration of the Billbergia on the cover of Bulletin Vol. IX, No. 6, there has been a controversy as to the true identity of the plant illustrated. On page 23 of Volume X, Mr. Hobson himself "corrected" the name of this plant on the grounds that there was no authentic record of the name Billbergia callophylla, and that the true identity was B. vittata. The difference in appearance was excused on the grounds that this species is very variable.
As the politician says, "Let us examine the facts." I purchased the original plant from Mr. Atkinson of Leucadia, California, who was the foremost grower and Hybridizer of bromeliads on the West Coast at the time—1938. I went to his nursery and saw the plants in bloom, and although there were some individual variations, they were not very pronounced. At the time he told me that this plant was a hybrid between B. vittata and what we then knew as B. amoena. He told me that he named it Billbergia calophylla because it meant "beautiful foliage." I have no reason to believe that Mr. Atkinson had made a mistake or that he did not have the right to name it anything that he pleased, even though the name was Latinized. In the old days this was a common practice.
If there had been a mistake made in the name of the plant, it has been in the spelling. It should be calophylla, with one L after the A, not callophylla as presented on page 23 of Vol. X, No. 2 and page 80 of Vol. X, No. 5. It is these spellings as applied to this hybrid that are incorrect.
After Mr. Atkinson's death these plants were widely distributed by Evans & Reeves Nursery of Los Angeles under the name of B. enderi hybrids, enderi being a synonym for B. amoena which now has been identified as B. buchholtzi. Since I have three very distinct plants all of which have been identified with the same name, I call this one B. buchholtzi No. 1. This particular plant is a low growing, slender plant with a very brilliant orange-red bract. It has been used many times in crossing with other species to impart this bright orange coloring to its progeny, which indeed it does. These characteristics are shown in the hybrid plant under discussion because it is lower growing than any B. vittata I have ever seen, and the color of the bract is bright warm red, a color I have never encountered in the true B. vittata, no matter how variable. Also, along with other hybrid Billbergias, it has the habit of blooming more than once a year.
I have had many letters enquiring as to the true identity of the plant from persons who had purchased it from me. I shall, in the light of the above explanation, continue to call it Billbergia calophylla, because I know better, and those who disagree are merely guessing or expressing an opinion. (Note that I do not prefix the name of this hybrid with an X. I am a nurseryman and a horticulturist. My job is to sell the plant under an identifying name and not to make botanists of my customers. It is hard enough for most of them to pronounce plant names without complicating the matter with a lot of XXX's. How would one like to purchase a X Jersey cow?) If there is no authentic record of this hybrid, let us make one now.
P. O. Box 444 Arcadia, California
Some cultural ideas from the members of the Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society.
Discouraged about the appearance of your plants? If an intelligent program of care is faithfully followed, unsightly leaves will be replaced in time by new, healthy ones. Don't discard, just take care, and be patient.
1. Like people, plants respond to regular meals. Feed first, middle, or last of month, or once every six weeks, or whatever appears to be a suitable length of time, but keep to regular definite intervals. Regular feedings mean more even growth.
2. Check the ingredients of your spray mixtures, whether insecticides, fungicide, or nutritional. If they contain copper, zinc, arsenate of lead, do not use them in the vicinity of your bromeliads which resent such minerals.
3. Parathion is not safe for the amateur. Malathion or one of the nicotine sprays (Black Leaf 40, Red Arrow, etc.) are far safer and probably serve as well for the small collection.
4. Bromeliads are a challenge to the grower as they are so responsive to environmental factors such as light, air, heat, cold, moisture. It is interesting to make experiments in order to learn what conditions are best for each plant.
5. Bromeliads used as house plants respond both in appearance and general health when treated to an occasional misty shower. This may be done in basin, bath tub, or outdoors.
6. Bromeliads grown outside need less water in winter those grown inside usually need more water in winter, due to the dry, usually warm artificial heat conditions.
7. Basal leaves of the bromeliads are less likely to hang downward in an unattractive manner if the cup is allowed to overflow occasionally. This does not mean that the plant needs to have "wet feet" continuously. With a watchful eye one can stop the flow of water before the plant is drowned.
8. The potential for sideshoots is at the base of each leaf on the stem of most bromeliad plants. If all growth factors, such as adequate light, water, and fertilizer in the cup, proper depth of stem in planting medium are well taken care of, more "pups" will develop.
St. Petersburg, Florida
Have you renewed your membership for 1961 ? If not, will you please do so immediately so that you will not miss any of the splendid issues which are being planned. Send check to
Mrs. Jeanne Woodbury|
1815 Edgecliff Drive
Los Angeles 26, California
For those who may be interested in pineapples and their culture, Mr. Gholam R. Mirhadi of Honolulu submits the following list. All publications may be obtained without charge either from the Florida Agricultural Extension Service in Gainesville, Florida, or from the Experiment Station at Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico.
Pineapples in Florida, Circular 195, Florida Agricultural Extension Service, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Insect Control in Pineapples, Circular S. 36, Florida Agricultural Experiment Station, U. of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Medina, E. Hernandez, "The Apparent Degeneration of Pineapple Slips in Puerto Rico," Jour. Agr., Univ. Puerto Rico Agr. Exp. Sta., Vol. XXXVI, No, 3, July 1952
de Hernandes, A. R., "Relationship between Chromosome Number and Stomata Size in certain Pineapple Varieties." Jour. Agr. Univ. Puerto Rico Agr. Exp. Sta., Vol. XXXVIII, No. 4, Oct. 1954.
Samuels G., Landrau P., and Olivencia R., "Response of Pineapples to the Application Fertilizers." Jour. Agr. Univ. Puerto Rico Agr. Exp. Sta., Vol XXXIX No. 1, Jan. 1955.
Samuels G., Landrau, P., and Alers S., "Influence of Phosphate Fertilizers on Pineapple Yields," Journal Agr. Univ. Puerto Rico Agr. Exp. Sta., Vol XL, No. 4, Oct. 1956.
Samuels G., Alers, S. and Landrau, P. "The Control of Weeds in Pineapple Fields," Jour. Agr., Puerto Rico Agr. Exp. Sta. Vol. XLI, No. 1, Jan. 1957.
Medina, H. Hernandez, and Lugo Lopez, "Effects of the Calcium-boron on Growth and Production of the Pineapple Plant. Jour. Agr., Univ. Puerto Rico Agr. Exp. Sta., Vol. XLII, No. 4, Oct. 1958.
Question: I would like to start my own permanent collection of bromeliads but do not know which ones to choose. I'll probably be limited to approximately 25 plants—some to grow on a long, narrow balcony, the balance inside. This is all the room I have as I live in an apartment.
Answer: If one has room for only 25 bromeliads he should choose those plants that will give him the greatest year-round enjoyment (colorful foliage, nicety of form, or beauty of inflorescence), that are fairly fool proof (that will withstand the inclement conditions of an apartment), that at all times will maintain a compact habit of growth, that are diversified enough in form and flower so as to make an interesting collection, and that are rare enough to afford the owner a definite pride of ownership. Many plants could be suggested, but the following are recommended as meeting with all the above requirements.
Aechmeas are always good, for they are stalwart plants, stay in bloom a long time, and are always good looking.
Ae. X Foster's favorite, Ae. fasciata, Ae. fulgens discolor, Ae. weilbachii, Ae. miniata, Ae. miniata hybrid (there are a number of good crosses), Ae. ramosa, Ae. X Bert or Ae. orlandiana, and Ae. chantinii are all tried and true.
Billbergia leptopoda, B. meadii, B. amoena var. viridis, B. Fantasia and Billbergia X thyrsoides are all outstanding and will not grow out of bounds.
Cryptanthus tricolor and C. fosterianus are definitely "musts" for your coffee table.
Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor, N. farinosa, N. marmorata, and N. spectabilis will withstand indoor conditions as will Nidularium innocentii var. lineatum or var. striatum and N. regelioides.
You can't be without Vriesea X Mariae and V. splendens. You should have a Guzmania or two. I think your best bet would be G. zahnii and a form of G. lingulata.
I am fearful about recommending Tillandsia lindenii or T. cyanea, for my experience has been that they are not at their best in a house. But, by all means, have either a Tillandsia mobile or a Tillandsia tree. If your bathroom has sufficient light, hang up a mobile—if it drips, it won't matter.