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.
Herbario, "Barbosa Rodrigues"
Itajai, St. Catarina, Brasil
Mr. Walter Richter
Dr. Lyman B. Smith
Mr. Henry Teuscher, Dir.
Coincidentally, the tropical zebra butterfly shown is named Heliconius Charitonius. A striped skink, Eumeces Fasciatus. stalks a measuring worm, larva of a Geometrid moth, while below a tree frog, Hyla Cinera, is about to snap up a lady beetle, Adalia Bipunctatus.
No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.
Guzmania lingulata var. cardinalis|
Bracts of the inflorescence are brilliant red. The plant is 1½ feet in diameter
H. Teuscher, Curator of the Montreal Botanical Garden
This paper is to redeem a long-standing promise made to Mulford B. Foster to write an account of the bromeliads which I saw and collected during my stay in Ecuador in the spring of 1956. The main reason for this delay is that I had to wait until the plants which I brought back with me flowered in our greenhouses so that Dr. L. B. Smith could determine them for me.
Foster will probably snort: "Why didn't you collect herbarium specimens? They could have been identified as soon as you came back!"
Seemingly, he has me there, but not quite. The facts are that not one of the bromeliads which I collected in Ecuador was in flower while I was there. The only flowering bromeliad which I saw on this whole trip was a weedy, and anything but ornamental, Tillandsia. Its leaves were spotted in a very unpleasant way, making them look as if they had some sort of disease, and the flower spikes which were produced in great profusion all around the base of the plant made it look even uglier because the flowers are minute and hardly visible. Large rosettes of this Tillandsia covered the branches of a tree extending over a rushing stream at an altitude of 9,000 feet, but I noticed them only because between them grew Oncidium nubigenum for which I was looking. This demonstrates another one of my failings. When I have my eyes focused in search of one particular kind of plants — in this case orchids — I see others only incidentally or when no orchids are around. "A one track mind."
The plant is 2½ feet in diameter. All the bracts are a brilliant red.
Perhaps, I have apologized sufficiently, but I will admit voluntarily still another weakness. Even if many of the bromeliads would have been in flower, it is unlikely that I would have collected herbarium specimens of them. Though my main interest was in orchids, I collected very few herbarium specimens even of them, which I dearly regretted later. I know that Foster always collects herbarium specimens as well as living plants and then, after an exhausting day, sits up half the night to take care of both. I just haven't got that kind of energy. I can gather up all my remaining resources to take care of either one or the other but not of both, and I wanted living plants most of all. Besides, to preserve herbarium material in a hot, humid climate with frequent rains is much more work than to keep living plants from spoiling. In other words, I am a poor plant explorer.
In spite of the fact that I collected bromeliads haphazardly and when they were not in flower, merely selecting those which looked distinct and promising, I brought home some very choice things. As far as I am concerned, this was no more than blind luck enhanced by the circumstance that my friend Jose Strobel took me to a place which he knew to be exceptionally interesting. Though located close to a main road (Cuenca to Guayaquil, altitude 3,400 feet), no botanist seems to have been there.
In addition to two new species of orchids (Maxillaria tentaculata and Rodriguezia teuscheri) and a very distinct new species of Columnea (a gesneriad which is now being described), I found there also two other interesting and handsome gesneriads, one which is probably a new species of Alloplectus. Guzmania teuscheri, described by Dr. L. B. Smith in the November-December 1959 issue of the Bromeliad Society Bulletin, likewise came from these woods.
Other bromeliads which I collected in the same place were the brilliant Guzmania sanguinea André, the handsome and stately Guzmania gloriosa André, the equally showy Guzmania lingulata Mez var. cardinalis André, the pretty Guzmania angustifolia (Baker) Wittm, and the interesting but not very showy Guzmania strobilantha (R. et P.) Mez. The night-flowering Tillandsia narthecioides Presl. with reddish, grass-like leaves and T. pugiformis L. B. Smith with insignificant flowers were also included in my harvest. Other plants I collected there and brought home with me were the ferns Elaphoglossum undulatum (Willd.) Moore, Nephrolepis pectinata Schott and Polypodium patentissimum Mett., as well as Anthurium ovatifolium Engler and Anthurium rotundilobum Engler. Many of these are rare in cultivation and some, apparently, have never been in cultivation before.
All of these plants occurred on the first floor of the jungle forest, as Foster describes it in his 1945 article in the journal of the New York Botanical Garden reprinted in Vo. IX, No. 6 of the Bulletin. No telling how much more of value I might have discovered if I had climbed to the second and third floor. Foster will probably gnash his teeth because I didn't. Unfortunately, I just couldn't muster sufficient energy to attempt anything of the sort. I had had to spend the night before on the hard floor of a shack, the night temperature dropping to near 50° F., and I had hardly slept at all. No tree climbing for me.
The fact, however, that it was possible to gather during such a superficial exploration and in only half a day of collecting so many unusual plants near one of the main roads, goes to show how much of interest is yet to come out of Ecuador. When one considers that large parts of this country are still completely unexplored, not only botanically but otherwise, the possibilities appear to be almost unlimited.
From Mrs. Abendroth, of Teresopolis, Brazil, comes an interesting newspaper clipping showing a picture of a bromeliad planting on a beach walk in Rio de Janeiro and the following story:
"State authorities committed a crime against public health when they planted bromeliads on the beach. The plants are condemned; water gathers in their cups and provides breeding ground for mosquitoes. They are a weed, a nuisance; health authorities destroy them. Not long ago the Federal Government spent millions to uproot them on the coast of Santa Catarina. Unbelievable as it may seem, now the same kind of plant has been transferred to the gardens of our beaches. There is water in them already and the mosquitoes are getting busy. Soon they will harass those living in the neighborhood. It will not be long before the residents protest."
|The mezzotint of Quesnelia rufa reproduced from La Belgique Horticole of 1882. This plant is now more correctly named Quesnelia quesneliana.|
Mulford B. Foster
When I first saw the illustration of Quesnelia rufa (as shown here) in La Belgique Horticole, Vol. 32, 1882, Plate VI, I wondered why we had not found this giant plant in Brazil. Although Racine and I had found Quesnelias of all sizes and shapes on our 1939 and 1940 expeditions in Brazil, we had never seen such a large plant as the Q. rufa which is rendered in this illustration.
This intriguing picture has long been a source of curiosity and speculation. It provokes a number of questions. What relationship does this primitive bagpipe player have with this bromeliad? He gives the appearance of a high Andean native while the plant grows in the low coastal areas of Brazil.
It is quite evident that the artist who drew the picture in La Belgique Horticole never saw this gorgeous Quesnelia in flower in its native state, but the botanist's description as to dimensions of the plant gave him his clue as to size, and his artist's license did the rest. Like the cobra of India, often pictured as standing almost on the tip of its tail, (an impossible feat) when swaying before its charmer, this Quesnelia, which has a crawling habit, was depicted as standing on its long caudex as though it were as upright as a tree trunk ! This, of course, would be impossible considering the thinness of the trunk, which is actually only three inches in diameter although twelve feet in height.
|Q. Quesneliana, the seashore cousin of the pineapple which sends forth a flower head of "crepe paper" pink bracts.|
Much more natural is the illustration in Flore des Serres of 1845-55 showing this plant in flower in a large urn, the plant itself appearing to be almost four feet in height.
After our Brazilian expeditions, Dr. Smith examined our herbarium material; he stated that we had collected all but one of the then-known species of Quesnelia plus the discovery of one new species, Q. imbricata. However, the giant Q. rufa was not included in our list. We had found no such upright plant, but we had found one that seemed to be crawling with an elongated trunk which turned out to be the species pictured in the 1882 messotint and now named Quesnelia Quesneliana.
This ambiguous name needs a little explanation. A bit of research brings out the fact that this Quesnelia species was first named Billbergia Quesneliana by Brongiart in 1841 in honor of Quesnel who was the consul at that time in Cayenne, French Guiana. The next year, in 1842, Gaudichaud was not satisfied that it belonged to Billbergia, so he erected the new genus in honor of Quesnel and, of course, had to give another specific name, making it Quesnelia rufa. Thus it remained for forty-seven years until Baker, in 1889, changed the specific name to Q. cayennensis. Forty-one years later, in 1930, Morren again made a specific name change, calling it Q. Skinneri. It seems that the authorities made invalid attempts at naming this outstanding Quesnelia. In recent years Lyman Smith waded through all of the records made from 1841 forward and concluded that the rules of nomenclature would not allow any of these later specific names to be valid. He had to go back to the original specific name (of Quesneliana) which he accepted. The original generic name (of Billbergia) could not be accepted, but he could accept the generic name of Gaudichaud's, so the plant became known as Quesnelia quesneliana (Brongn.) L. B. Smith, as published in the Arquiv. Bot. Estado Sao Paulo, Nov. set 2:196, 1952.
In 1939, on July 11, Racine and I first visited the littoral (area adjoining the sea) north of Victoria, the capital city of the state of Espirito Santo in Brazil. There we came upon a startling sight—great masses of bromeliads growing almost to the ocean's edge, where one would expect to find extensive areas of scrub palmettos (Serenoa repens) in a similar location on the Florida coast. Fortunately, they were in full bloom in mid winter, luscious pink flower torches showing us, for the first time, the spectacular Q. quesneliana in bloom. The lavender-blue-edged white flowers, each one held by "crepe paper" pink bracts assembled in a compact columnar spike, was almost too fantastic to be real.
Its habitat was, strangely, in pure white seashore sand at almost the first line of growth on the ocean front. Later we found it inland near the tideland areas where fiddler crabs were running around in the shade of these bromeliads.
Of course, we must take a few of these plants back alive to Florida! But could we find a small one? No. The plants were without beginnings—were—stoloniferous—the old trunks crawling and branching in different directions in a maze below the light green leafy torch holders. We cut off a few of the smallest sections which, luckily, withstood fumigation four months later upon arrival at the port of entry. Those plants are now crawling around on the ground at Bromel-La, but have never flowered in all these twenty-two years! But we have not given up hope yet. Perhaps they are seeking Florida's Atlantic littoral which might be a more favorable location for producing their oceanside blooms!
Rt. 3, Box 658, Orlando, Florida
Notice has just been received of a great horticultural show to be staged in Hamburg, West Germany, from April 26, 1963, to the beginning of October, 1963. According to advance information, all the nations of the world are invited to participate in what will be one of the greatest expositions of its kind. It is hoped that our European members will enter bromeliads and that those other members who are visiting the Continent at this time will avail themselves of this opportunity to visit this outstanding event.
Charles G. Hodgson
When I look back over the past few years and reflect on the difficulty of getting bromeliads into this country from overseas and compare it with the position today, which, alas, was much more difficult, I feel that, taking all the factors into consideration, the effort was well worth while.
Today there are over one hundred varieties in the country, with a good representation of genera. I am indebted to Mulford Foster in particular and other friends in general for the ultimate collection of my plants. As fast as I have been able to get stock, however, the bromeliads have gone out to other collectors, who have in turn, obtained plants from other sources and who also have raised a few plants from seed. The botanic gardens in four of the states are giving attention to the cult and are getting seed from overseas.
Seven years ago I raised a number of seedlings, most of which have gone to various fanciers. Vriesea splendens and its hybrids are still only half grown. A critic of mine once remarked to me that it was "cranks" like me that kept the cactus family from dying out. Today, if that same individual was about, he would say that it was cranks like me that keep bromeliads in existence. That is the essence of the situation. We are indebted to the enthusiasts for the further interest of our hobby. Nurserymen, also, are now giving attention to their culture. Once the ball gets rolling, it gathers momentum.
Recently I visited a nurseryman, who had a nice batch of seedlings, six inches high, which included Vriesea splendens, Billbergia, Aechmeas, one or two other Vrieseas and full grown specimens of Vriesea hieroglyphica and Billbergia "x Fantasia". I enquired where he obtained them and he told me that he had received them from a grower in New South Wales . Recently I have received from other fanciers a few new plants to add to my collection.
As I have stated above, the bromeliads now in this country are an average representation of the genus. We have both the smooth and rough leaved Ananas, which are grown extensively in Queensland, also the variegated form.; Bromelia serra; Puyas; Dyckias (5 varieties); Hechtias; Pitcairnias (4 varieties); Tillandsias (including T. usneoides, T. ionantha, T. Butzii, and several others); Billbergias, Guzmanias, Aechmea racine, A. orlandiana, and several others; Neoregelia marmorata, spectabilis, etc; Nidularium in variety, Canistrum roseum; Cryptanthus in variety; Cryptbergia; Quesnelia (4 varieties) and Acanthostachys with pendant growths four feet long.
Some of our favored bromeliads are Aechmea miniata discolor, Tillandsia cyanea, Vriesea carinata, Vriesea splendens, Nidularium striatum, Nidularium fulgens, Neoregelia carolinae, Aechmea racinae, Aechmea fasciata, Billbergia vittata, Vriesea hieroglyphica, Cryptanthus zonatus, Quesnelia liboniana.
The quarantine division of the agricultural department is building a quarantine glasshouse in the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, and it is to be hoped that in the future we will be able to get better treatment of the plants we wish to import, although unfortunately at the present time we are restricted to about five plants.
7 Dresden Street, Heidelberg N 23, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
FROM THEIR APPEARANCE
Enthusiasm for bromeliads is gaining momentum everywhere. All over the world people are now growing these interesting plants, although, in many instances, they do not know how to give them the correct care and have trouble accordingly. It is not difficult, however, to provide the proper culture for bromeliads if one will study carefully the plants themselves.
Since the "Bulletin" is read in all parts of the globe, it is not possible to consider the growing conditions to be found in each country. Many of the hardy bromeliads can be grown out of doors in California and Florida, where many subtropical plants are raised; but in less favorable climates, these plants must be grown under glass. Here in my country, Germany, it is very difficult, and often impossible, to obtain a good coloring of the leaves with the sun-loving varieties because the intensity of the light is not sufficient. This article deals entirely with the care of bromeliads in the home or greenhouse. In an environment where conditions can be controlled, it is easy to grow bromeliads successfully.
Bromeliads differ from other plants in a number of ways. Most plants, depend upon water for their existence and have roots which absorb the water from the soil. This is not true with bromeliads. The root system of bromeliads is often insignificant and is used to attach the plant to branches, palms, or cacti, and the roots absorb water only to a certain degree. Most of the water which a bromeliad consumes is taken through cells at the base of the rosette the so-called scales or hairs on the upper or lower side of the leaves. The cells at the base of the leaves are not visible, and one cannot form an opinion from them as to the needs of the particular plant. It is different, however, with scales. In many cases the appearance of the plant is determined by them. The best example of the decorative value of scales is Aechmea fasciata. with its silvery grey banded leaves — one of the most beautiful of all bromeliads.
The growth and appearance of bromeliads are influenced greatly by their surroundings. Those varieties with smooth and brilliant leaves are natives of the rain forests, where favorable conditions are created by little variation in temperature and humidity. The rosettes are able to store water as a reserve for a less favorable time; therefore there is no need for scales on the leaves. In the rain forests there is always shade and little change in growing conditions. There you will find growing Vrieseas, Guzmanias, and some of the Tillandsias, such as T. flabellata, T. grisebachiana, T. lindenii, and others. All these plants need high temperature and humidity without periods of drying out. Protection from the sun is necessary for the successful growing of these plants, but dark, dank corners should be avoided.
In the next group of bromeliads, we find plants that will tolerate more light and lower temperatures. Among these are most of the Nidulariums and some of the Aechmeas, such as Ae. fulgens and Ae. miniata These plants should, accordingly, be kept less warm and given more light than those coming from the rain forests mentioned above.
Next, we come to the bromeliads with visible scales. This group includes Neoregelias, Aechmeas, Billbergias, Cryptanthus, and a number of lesser known varieties. These bromeliads live under conditions where there are varying temperatures and where there are periods of no rainfall. As the rosettes cannot hold enough water for the periods of drought, these plants are provided by nature with numerous scales which help to catch any moisture, such as that which might be absorbed from nightly fogs. These bromeliads must also be given some protection from strong sunlight, although in the summer, they should be given as much light and air as possible. They do not mind a changing humidity and do not need to be kept too warm. Cryptanthus, however, are an exception, for they prefer a higher temperature and shade at all times. They will withstand a varying humidity. Aechmeas and Billbergias with heavy leaves and strong spines should not be grown too soft, for they are found in their native habitat growing under less favorable conditions.
Another group of bromeliads are the Tillandsias, which are the most epiphytic of all genera, and which are found growing under the most adverse conditions. Many Tillandsias form no rosette at all. The roots having no purpose other than to attach the plants to branches, Tillandsias of necessity must be endowed with extreme scales. As these plants are used to being surrounded by constantly moving air and plenty of light, they will not tolerate a constantly wet condition, but need to be dried out between waterings. Some need shade for growing and some will not tolerate direct sunlight. Tillandsias should not be kept too warm and should never be grown as houseplants, for the air would be too dry. They can, however, be grown in window boxes or in closed cases if the proper conditions can be provided.
Finally, there are the xerophytic bromeliads, such as Dyckias and Hechtias, which are rarely grown in Europe. These plants are to be found growing with succulents, such as the Agave, in regions where there is little rainfall. As these bromeliads are terrestrials, they have a well-developed root system, which provides for the intake of water. Thus there is no need for scales, which are seldom found, if at all. These bromeliads should be grown cool, with but little water especially during the winter and lots of air and light at all times.
It is difficult to describe in detail the many varieties of bromeliads in a short article, but it is possible to find the right solution as to their cultural problems from a close observation of the plants.
Crimmitschau, D. D. R.
Q. Is Vriesea splendens propagated only by seed because it does not produce suckers? Can you tell me if there are any others like this and if so could you publish a list of them?
A. V. splendens can also be propagated by offshoots, but the manner of removing the offshoot is a bit more delicate and difficult than with most bromeliad species.
After the inflorescence of a plant has reached it maturity, the new shoot will appear near the axis next to the inflorescence instead of at, or near, the base of the plant as is usual with most bromeliads. When this new shoot has reached a height of five to six inches, it may be removed with a sharp knife. The operation is a delicate one as it is necessary to cut through the live tissue of the old plant which will separate nearly half of the plant. This cut must not injure the tissues of the new offshoots and the old basal leaves should be removed before cut is made.
If this operation is carefully done and the cut tissues treated with Captan, it is possible that the old plant may produce one to five successive offshoots from the uninjured side. These later plants may be, generally, more easily removed than the first one. It takes some courage as well as a surgeon's skill to attempt this operation, especially if you have only one plant in your possession.
Guzmania sanguinea will produce its new offshoot in the same location as V. splendens.
Many, if not most bromeliad plants, may be deliberately injured in the axis, so be careful to antiseptically treat it with Captan, so that rot or decay will not set in; offshoots, one or several, may then soon appear at the base of the plant—the main plant, of course, will not continue its growth. This procedure, of injuring the center, may be carried out even with seedlings, two or more inches in height.
Offshoots of V. fenestralis, generally, appear halfway between the axis and the basal leaves. These are more easily removed.
M. B. F.
Edward L. Sard
A highlight of a short three-week vacation in parts of England, Scotland, Holland, Belgium, and France was the visits to several gardens and nurseries where bromeliads play an important role. It was indeed a pleasure to visit countries where bromeliads are valued as house plants. Imagine seeing at an open air flower stall at the Place Madeleine in Paris Vriesea carinata in bloom for 9 francs ($1.80) or a good sized specimen of Vriesea splendens for 6 francs ($1.20)!
Lack of time prevented visits to many members in Britain, but Maurice Mason's collection proved to be truly outstanding and definitely superior to those in Kew Gardens or the Royal Botanic Garden of Edinburgh. Holland, of course, is the country for house plants, and virtually every house has at least one bromeliad, usually Aechmea fasciata. In fact, it was quite a sight at the Aalsmeer flower market to see carts full of Aechmea fasciata in bloom waiting to be auctioned. The highlight of our visit to Aalsmeer, however, was a very pleasant meeting with Count Orloff-Davidoff, who is doing a tremendous job to spread interest in bromeliads and who has some fine things for sale.
The Floriade was quite interesting for many horticultural specialties, and it featured a splendid and quite sizable tropical garden containing many bromeliads in a naturalized setting.
One of the most impressive sights of all was a visit to Horticulture Flandria in Bruges, Belgium. With 750,000 square feet under glass, this is undoubtedly the largest nursery in Europe and features many tropicals, including most commercial bromeliads. It was really exciting to see 35,000 plants of Aechmea fasciata in one greenhouse. Also in Bruges is Sanders & Fils, and we managed to add a few bromeliads to our collection from both Flandria and Sanders, as well as from Marcel Lecoufle outside of Paris.
Unfortunately, most commercial growers usually have orchids or foliage plants as their major interest, bromeliads are generally a sideline. The result is that there has been no attempt to resolve some of the muddy nomenclature problems that exist. Here is a task for the Bromeliad Society!
249 - 43 Van Zandt Avenue, Douglaston 62, New York
Jack M. Roth
I have been growing Tillandsias, Neoregelias, some Nidulariums and Aechmeas outside for a period of one year in my backyard in the San Fernando Valley. All of the Tillandsias are mounted on manzanita trees and I have quite a bit of Spanish moss wrapped around the trees to hold the humidity. There is an automatic humidifying system on a time clock, and during the heat of the summer when it reaches 95 degrees, the system is set to go on three times a day for seven minutes each time. This does away with almost all hand watering on the Tillandsia trees. Last winter the temperature dropped to 30 degrees, and for frost protection, I placed six 150-watt infra-red lights in various parts of the garden, set to go on at 32 degrees. There was practically no frost damage last winter on either bromeliads or the species orchids. The light control is the same as used in chicken brooders and is quite inexpensive.
If there is doubt in my mind about certain bromeliads being able to take the cold weather, I keep one plant in the glass house and one outside, so if it should be too cold for the plant outside I always have another plant and will not lose my stock. The area is surrounded by a high fence, and a swimming pool is in the center of the bromeliad garden. This also might have some effect on protection against frost. I will submit another report on the bromeliad garden after the plants have gone through this winter.
12418 La Maida Street, North Hollywood, California