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
Robert Wilson, 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.
This is the red phase of Tillandsia flabellata, collected in the mountainous area of S. E. Mexico. It is also found in Guatemala and Salvador. The sheaths and leaves are dusty maroon, with occasional darker cross bands. The four bracts, branches from a single stem, are bright scarlet, while the flowers are blue violet with exserted yellow stamens. A pair of small Mexican birds are shown, the collared seedeater, Sporophila Torqueola. The upper bird is the female, the one below, the male. The cover shows the bird and plant one-half full size. — M. H. Hobbs.
No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.
|An Island Carib Indian (foreground) presenting a pineapple to a Spanish Dignitary in the Lesser Antilles (frontispiece from Rochefort's Histoire Naturelle et Morale des lies Antilles de l'Amerique, 1665).|
W. H. Hodge
Some remarks by friend and former associate Dr. Lyman B. Smith in the February, 1960 issue of this Bulletin have inspired this brief comment about some early reports and illustrations of bromeliads. As an "all-American" family of plants, bromeliads, individually or collectively, were unknown to white men prior to the discovery of America in 1492. Dr. Smith suggests that bromeliad records must have been made very soon after the discovery. This is, of course, correct. Two "bromels" now very familiar to us all were involved, the pineapple (Ananas comosus) and Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides).
An early illustration including Spanish Moss, shown hanging from a
Mexican Cypress Tree.
(From the Badianus Manuscript, 1552)
Utilitarian plants would have been especially noted by explorers whose primary interests in those days were species that might prove useful and might bring wealth to the discoverer. As one might expect, that queen of all indigenous tropical American fruits, the pineapple, found its way very early into the records. As a matter of fact, it was first observed in the West Indies during the Columbian voyages, though strangely enough no mention is made of it until Columbus' second voyage in 1493. I say "strangely" for it would be unusual if a fruit as palatable as the pineapple had not been widely carried in pre-Columbian time from its original South American home to all parts of the West Indies, including Cuba and Hispaniola, which were visited during that October, 1492 to January, 1493 period, when Columbus was in the New World after his spectacular discovery. Apparently the pineapple was not observed during that first exciting year.
Not until early November of 1493, shortly after making the first landfall (Dominica) of the second Columbian voyage, was the pineapple first introduced to European palates. The place was a cove near the southernmost tip of Guadeloupe, now a French Antillean possession. According to the records "the flavor and fragrance of this strange fruit astounded and delighted them" (the Spaniards). The Indians who were growing pineapples on Guadeloupe were the fierce Caribs, who for so many years were hostile to European penetration into the central Caribbee isles. By a modern coincidence, on nearby Dominica — scarcely 50 air miles distant from Columbus' first contact with this fruit — pineapples may still be seen growing in the gardens of the last descendants of those Island Caribs who nearly 500 years ago grew the fruits which so delighted the exploring Spaniards. Some years later, in 1665, an engraving, apparently depicting this historical event, appeared in one of the early accounts of these islands. The plate (here reproduced) shows a kneeling Carib presenting a pineapple to a European dignitary. Actually, the famed chronicler, Oviedo, had described and accurately illustrated this fruit over a hundred years earlier, in 1535.
Early authentic descriptions of Spanish Moss are not known to me, but there is a very interesting illustration (see figure) showing that this most unusual of our American bromeliads was figured in 1552, only 17 years after the appearance of Oviedo's pineapple picture. The illustration in question is from the Badianus Manuscript, a remarkable 16th century herbal, prepared in 1552 by two Aztec Indians, describing and illustrating "medicinal plants and native remedies" of pre-colonial Mexico. Discovered in the Vatican Library in 1929, this long-overlooked manuscript was finally published in full color in 1940 by the John Hopkins Press. On one of the color plates in this herbal wisps of gray-green Spanish Moss appear hanging from the cone-bearing crown of a Tlatzcan tree or Mexican Cypress (Cupressus benthamii), the bark of which was believed to be a specific against psora, a skin disease. The bromeliad is not listed as a specific; it was added by the Indian artist to give a more naturalistic look to his sketch.
Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Mulford B. Foster
|M. B. Foster|
|Billbergia horrida survives near fatality although it hangs by a thread.|
Adaptability and the will to survive are the outstanding qualities of many bromeliads, especially when they are on their own in native tree haunts.
About a year ago, I fastened a rather poor specimen of Billbergia horrida in the crotch of one of our live oak trees. The bromeliad had no active live roots at the time, but as soon as the rainy season came on the roots began developing and the plant perked up with a new vigor. However, before the roots had developed sufficiently to support the plant well enough to withstand a heavy wind or a fallen branch, the calamity happened and it was blown over, but not from its perch. Soon a new offshoot started to develop at the base and now a good strong offshoot is holding on with its newly formed roots. The leaf cup carries its own water and B. horrida is back on the job.
During this period of the survival-test a strand of Tillandsia usneoides was blown from a nearby tree catching on to the rough bark; it began holding on without the assistance of roots. The photographer saw an excuse for the accompanying photo—two examples of "jungle survival."
Although both of these bromeliads start out with roots in their juvenile stage, the Billbergia will always depend a great deal on its roots for food or for attachment or both, but T. usneoides (Spanish Moss) continues to survive and grow on to untold lengths without the assistance or necessity of roots. It drapes but does not cling with roots after it matures from the juvenile form.
Bromeliads have what it takes to survive not only in the forest jungle but in the homes of enthusiastic lovers of plant beauty and form.
Rt. 3, Box 658, Orlando, Florida
The picture on the cover of Bulletin Vol X, No. 6 (Nov.-Dec. 1960) featuring Vriesea philippocoburgii var. vagans, was well timed indeed—at least for the Organ Mountain region in Brazil. At this time of year this drowsy species puts up its red spikes, and it did so this last year in great number. It was quite an event for the bromeliad enthusiast, for the last great bloom here occurred thirteen years ago. From 1948 to 1960 there was only an occasional spike or two in our forests.
The Vriesea in question—its cumbersome name might be shortened to "Philcova" —is one of the commonest representatives of the family in our neighborhood, forming large clumps on the tops of virgin forest trees. It is a conspicuous item always easy to identify whether in flower or not. When in bloom this Vriesea is especially attractive with its graceful red spikes—their colorful charm lasting for several months.
Transplanted into the garden, a rosette or a group of them will do well in a tree fork, on a trunk, or placed between rocks on the ground, in half shade. Each year a few tubular tubes emerge from the lower leaf-axles of the youngest rosette. With time the lower leaves of the tube decay and expose a section of aerial stolon about the size of a pencil, while a new stiff-leaved rosette spreads at the stolon's end. New shoots will grow from it the next season. In time there are so many off-shoots that some get crowded to death.
The two or three survivors in each rosette point in all directions and eventually become a stoutly entangled colony. A flower stalk will develop only from one of the center rosettes if it had at least one series of three subsequent offspring. When a rosette widens and pales in its heart by the end of October, that is the first sign of the coming flower. A fair-sized spike stands upright about 75 cm and has an average of 13 branches. The first flowers, with their spreading orange-yellow corolla, start to open in April. They last only one day. Hummingbirds, wasps, and different flies visit the flowers avidly. They find plenty of pollen and down in the tube white mites. From one to four flowers open each day until June. Seeds mature around the closing of the dry season early in October. Drought bursts the pods and scatters the contents to the winds, the hummers and other birds gathering the fluff to line their nests.
In 1956 I brought home from a collecting trip a clump of extra small Tillandsias. Along came, unnoticed at first, a little bundle of five separate shoots somewhat lighter in color. Each shoot had 4 or 6 opposite linear leaves, the longest measuring 5 cm. A magnifying glass revealed the absence of the characteristic Tillandsia scales. The little tuft grew to the size of a teacup producing many pale linear leaves with kinks in them, as if they had been crumpled by some external agent. By August 1958 the new inner leaves were broad at the base and had a black patch on their sheath. Four shoots had survived, close together. Two years later the size had doubled and the group looked much like a small "Philcova", stiff yellowish-green blades with a suggestion of netting of a darker hue and black patches on the sheaths. But at this writing there are still no stolons or tubular off-shoots so I am not sure of the plant's identity.
In the wilds "Philcova" shows great resistance, staying alive for many months on the forest floor if an accident removes it from its lofty abode. One colony that had been placed on an exposed stump one and a half meters above the ground as an experiment did not develop like the rest of the plants put in half shade. It withered and the rosettes remained small. This year it is putting up four tiny spikes, about one third the size of normal.
I would be interested to know whether any American growers have succeeded in getting the plant to bloom from one lonely rosette.
Rua Carmela Dutra 181, Terropolis, Rio Janeiro, Brazil.
Our fellow member and contributor to the Bulletin, Professor J. L. Collins, has recently published The Pineapple, a monumental summary of his life work. To call it "encyclopedic" is no exaggeration for it covers all possible types of information from an interesting history of the pineapple for the lay reader to detailed expositions of its taxonomy, morphology, genetics, cultivation, and utilization. Of particular interest to our members are the sections on breeding, climate and soil, cultural methods, diseases, and influence of environment, for what is true of the pineapple is often applicable to other bromeliads. The book is one of the "World Crop Series" and may be purchased for $9.75 from Leonard Hill Books Limited, Eden Street, London, N. W. 1, England, or Interscience Publishers, Inc., 250 Fifth Avenue, New York 1, New York, U.S.A.
Lyman B. Smith
The Louisiana Society for Horticultural Research has published in their Bulletin No. 6, for March 1961, two articles on bromeliads. The first one by Lyman B. Smith entitled "Introductory Notes on Bromeliads," is a very thorough review of bromeliads in terms of history, habitat, and characteristics. Ten photographs vividly illustrate the contents. Mulford B. Foster contributes a shorter article on the subject, "Bromeliad Culture," which gives the beginner an approach to growing bromeliads. A number of other plant subjects are handled in this 54-page issue, which may be obtained for $1.50 from Mrs. U. B. Evans, Haphazard Plantation, Ferriday, Louisiana.
The Bromeliad Society offers an additional service, the loan of an interesting collection of 35 mm. colored slides which illustrate the various genera of bromeliads. Affiliated societies or individual members who may wish to show these slides to their local garden groups may borrow these slides by sending one dollar for postage to the editor.
Hohenbergia catingae is a stiff-leaved bromel that grows in great masses on the vast, dry, rocky deserts called catinga in north Brazil. It holds considerable liquid and thus survives sunstroke and drought in those almost treeless exposed areas.
|M. B. foster|
|Hohenbergia catingae Ule|
Because of its resemblance to Aechmea, the layman would find it difficult to recognize quickly a member of the Hohenbergia genus. Hohenbergias differ principally in the structural parts of their flower and fruit and are distinguished from most bromeliad by their numerous cone-like heads. Aechmeas, with few exceptions, have but one spike when it is cone-like. The two have in common similar plant forms and growth habit. However, the leaves of H. catingae are stiff, sharp, and narrow-more like a yucca than that of an Aechmea. In fact, a mass of these Hohenbergias is as formidable as the familiar Spanish Bayonet.
Since H. catingae does not have a colorful inflorescence it is not in demand by horticulturists. With its white and pale green inflorescence parts, it is merely interesting. One can only wish that H. catingae inherited some of the great color of H. stellata. In fact, H. catingae in bloom looks like a complete H. stellata with multiple heads. (See Brom. Bull. Vol. VI, No. 4, p. 53)
The state of Bahia, Brazil, is a favorable Hohenbergia habitat of the terrestrial, xerophytic species, and nine species have been cited there.
The genus name is in honor of the Prince of Wuertemberg, a German patron of botany known as Hohenberg.
Rt. 3, Box 658, Orlando, Florida
Bromeliads are costly plants and should be treated with respect. A new plant is certainly entitled to a clean new pot. This is particularly true if your water supply is alkaline. Clay pots tend to absorb the salt in water and in time have a high lime content. Such pots can give trouble and be one of the reasons why the tips of the leaves of your plants are brown. For this reason some growers prefer to use redwood baskets or plastic pots. A weak solution of fertilizer applied once a week will help to offset the alkaline water.
Mulford B. Foster
|M. B. Foster|
|Hohenbergia catingae Ule var. elongata M. B. Foster|
Hohenbergia catingae Ule, var. elongata M. B. var. nov.
A var. catingae ramis inferioribus valde elongatis differt. Collected in Brazil; growing in granitic rocky areas in full sun near Jacobina, in the state of Bahia; altitude 500 meters, June 15, 1939, by M. R. and R. Foster, No. 86; Type in Gray Herbarium.
This new variety has longer flower spikes than the typical H. catingae var. catingae. It grows in large colonies and is the most common species of bromeliad in the area.
We found this new variety in the great catinga area of Bahia. This section is somewhat like a mesquite area in Mexico where most of the plants are armed with spines or thorns. In this Jacobina section, spiny cacti and Euphorbias are neighbors with such bromeliads as pre-dominate in the genera, Neoglaziova, Bromelia, Gravisia, and Encholirium—xerophytic plants, all of them for they thrive in the desert and like it! With their sharp spines and dagger-like pointed stiff leaves, they are well protected from animals.
Rt. 3, Box 658, Orlando, Florida
CULTURAL HINT — Now is the time to check your heating plant. Some thermostats have points that need to be cleaned occasionally. The wire from the thermostat to the heater should be looked over and the pilot light should be cleaned, as soot may cause it to malfunction. The burner should be cleaned and all connections should be gone over to be sure they are tight. If there is a vent pipe, check to see that it is open and clean. This check up, which will take only a few minutes, may prevent a lot of worry and grief when the temperatures fall down to zero this coming winter.
If you desire to purchase new plants that must be sent to you from a distance, be sure that they are sent before the cold weather sets in. Although bromeliads can take a surprisingly low temperature for brief periods, they will not tolerate being shipped when the temperature falls below freezing.
E. H. PALMER
In the May-June issue of The Bromeliad Society Bulletin is a letter from Nancy M. McLaughlin that provides much food for thought. One statement, in particular, has motivated me to sit down and put some thoughts on paper.
"Bromeliad collectors, amateur and professional — " she writes, "we need your help if bromeliads are to be further popularized among average gardeners and home owners." Also, she says, "bromeliads . . . currently, I gather, are considered rare, exotic, and temperamental."
Since the inception of The Bromeliad Society and the issuance of The Bromeliad Society Bulletin, its information disseminated has been, of necessity, much more of a professional and technical nature. Even today there is an enormous amount of such material of interest to the trained biological or horticultural enthusiast. However, there is, today, (and has been for some time) a need for dissemination of such information as shall interest some among the millions of home gardeners who may wish for items that are out of the ordinary and make wonderful conversation pieces — where bromeliads so well fit in. Such information would then be available to the general public and more would realize that bromeliads are not something to be seen only in conservatories but fascinating plants one can grow in their own home if they wish and if suitable conditions can be managed.
It must be recognized that both factors are of great importance. Of what use all the technical data compiled if only released to a few hundred persons and the subject matter, the actual plants, only observable and analytically understood in great botanical gardens and conservatories or in large private collections? Is it not also important that as the general public views these treasures, those among them who have gathered some information about bromeliads and, recognizing them and appreciating them, may wish to obtain some plants for their own enjoyment?
I think, in St. Petersburg, there has been a great picture, dramatically unfolding, in the past ten years. Ten years ago, newcomers to St. Petersburg, my wife and I knew nothing about bromeliads. We were, however, given a "strange" plant by a friend. It was photographed. The newspaper wrote it up as a "rare" plant, identified by Mulford Foster as an Aechmea pineliana. Then Mr. Foster put on the first large display of bromeliads in the annual orchid show. Then the local society was formed, and has participated in such shows since. Back then, though, it was not only amazing but sometimes amusing to hear comments about these plants. Today, not only are the ignorant or foolish comments almost unheard but a great awareness of and about bromeliads appears to have come about.
Largely because of this there has been a growing interest on the part of commercial nurserymen, landscapers and others. This past winter we have, in our Society meetings, had constant attendance by representatives from two large nurseries in Tampa and two in St. Petersburg; also from a plant rental service in Tampa serving commercial buildings; also from landscapers in St. Petersburg. They have come to learn more about bromeliads because of the greatly increased demand for these plants.
The Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society can well claim the greater credit for this development. Both collectively, and individually, members have sought in all ways to further public interest in bromeliads. Collectively there have been displays at orchid and other shows, sometimes as large as a 12 ft. by 30 ft. display. Years ago, a small "flyer" was prepared giving certain basic information about bromeliads. This was mimeographed and handed to any who wished information about these plants. Literally thousands have been so distributed. The last big display was put on by member John Unger, with assistants Mesdames Klein and Watkins. This was at the horticulture show at the county fair grounds under auspices of Pinellas County Horticulture Club. Several thousand people attended and over 700 of these "flyers" were handed out.
Individually there has also been activity. Mrs. Anderson had a display at Gulfport show and also gave a talk before a garden club. This writer gave a talk before a large group at a Home Demonstration Center and also, as president of the society, was invited to appear on a T. V. program (Educational T. V. Channel for this area) and this half-hour program, with potted plants and driftwood pieces, was surprisingly well received and viewers spoke highly of the clarity and beauty of the plants which included Aechmea fasciata, Guzmania vittata and other carefully selected for T. V. showing. This program was part of a series arranged by Assistant County Agent Gil Whitton who acted as host and also interjected many down-to-earth questions.
Personally, I am well aware of the great need for full recognition of the two phases of bromeliad knowledge to be adequately presented. There is a definite need for the technical or scientific phase of bromeliad knowledge but there is also a place for that information that serves the average home gardener, or, rather, the one in every thousand, maybe, who cares enough and is interested enough in these plants to include them in his collection. This may be in many ways. At our home (my wife and I both "work" at this) we have driftwood pieces in the house, one in the dining area 4-5 years old. We have a small 12 x 20 greenhouse, a 12 x 20 shade house, many plants in the garden, or on a "bromeliad tree" in our patio. We have grown them every way imaginable. Two years ago we had over two thousand plants, then reduced them to our present one hundred or so. We have often been complimented on our "housekeeping" and the condition of our plants, and that is why we are constant boosters, glad to show our plants and happy in the pleasure we get just "pottering around" with them.
"Popularization"? Well, methinks our society here has done quite a lot in this direction and, perhaps, our little personal part has helped.
10301 65th Ave., Largo, Florida
Along the coastal slopes and valleys of California from Santa Barbara north to beyond Monterey the trees are adorned with long grey-green festoons. Many people here call this Spanish moss and indeed from a distance it appears to be. It also is an epiphyte and has been used commercially in a similar manner to Spanish moss. On close examination the similarity ends. This plant is the lichen Usnea for which Spanish moss — Tillandsia usneoides — was named.
Frederick H. Gerber
I have read with interest the registrations of new species in the Bromeliad Society Bulletin over a period of years, with equal interest the registrations of inter-specific hybrids, and finally with consternation (for it had long been my impression that by definition a species was a biologic unit by virtue of some genetic barrier between it and all other species) the registrations of bigeneric hybrids. For those familiar with the hybridization in the Orchidaceae this interspecific and intergeneric hybridization probably seems natural enough, but it is important to a large segment of thought that the barrier against interbreeding is axiomatic by the very definition of the term, species.
It is argued by some that in the Orchidaceae this interspecific and intergeneric breeding refutes the taxonomic status of those groups involved. Some scholars maintain (Dr. Oakes Ames, The Genus Epidendrum: Botanical Museum, Cambridge, Mass., 1936, pp. 5, 6.) that all that complex of orchid plants listed variously as Cattleyas, Laelias, Epidendrums, Sophronitis, and others, among which and between which gradations can be found in nature, and among which and between which cross pollination and fertile hybrids result, should all be included in one genus, Epidendrum.
Needless to say, such a revamping of the taxonomy, what with the myriad horticultural members and the now involved hybrid status, could never be managed, The correction of names on the specimens in collection and the synonymy which would result in, for example, Sander's List of Orchid Hybrids would cause greater rather than lesser confusion, and it is perhaps better to propagate what might be an "unnatural" taxonomic system than to reduce the records to a meaningless state.
The awareness that there were more and more interspecific and intergeneric hybrids in the Bromeliaceae prompted me to go back and review the botanical concepts of the terms involved so that I would have a better idea of what was going on. It is the intention here to share my notes and ideas from what I have learned in my readings and observations in the hope that with this more or less fundamental botany in mind, those who are seriously concerned with the Bromeliaceae may have a fuller understanding of the divergences in a plant family and what may occur in their hybridization work. Also, it has become increasingly obvious that the word "hybrid" does not, of necessity, mean something superior — hybrids are not infrequently quite inferior horticulturally to the parental species used in making the cross.
Of particular interest is the recent notation from "Down Under" by Bromeliad Society member William D. Morris (Page 74 Vol. X; Sept-Oct. 1960) "I hope to raise second-generation hybrids. I think too many people fail to get the most out of their plants, as they are satisfied with their primary crosses." The accumulated evidence in genetics would certainly support this conviction.
There are some more or less unfamiliar terms used in this report, and an attempt has been made to interject explanatory notes with these terms when used, rather than to use footnotes or an appended glossary. For those readers who are already familiar with these terms, indulgence is begged. Also for those readers who are aware of the gross oversimplifications in material as adapted, the same indulgence will be needed.
The attempt here is to draw a word picture of the bromeliad plant as a composite unit of cells dependent upon those plants which preceded it, a complex organization in a larger plant society having thrust upon it the latitudes and limitations of its genealogical past, rather than being some unrelated entity which happens to be pretty to "grow" and "show". In truth the plant is a very complex piece of nature, the result of inheritance, influenced by environment with the selectivity to survive limited by the "plasticity" of its genetic make-up, tempered possibly by mutations. Ultimately, we select our plants for the "growing" and the "showing", but whether or not we are aware of it our plants are subject to the workings of the genes they carry as a part of this complexity. The tolerances are determined by the genes and the latitude of tolerance "harks back" to ancestral forms which are still functional in the particular genes derived from those many parental individuals.
Although all the cells that make up any particular plant do not appear alike, and in fact are not alike, each one was developed from the fertilized ovule: the fusion of the pollen nucleus and the egg nucleus which is the beginning of the new individual. Pollination is not synonymous with fertilization. On pollination the pollen grain will produce a pollen tube which contains two nuclei. The pollen tubes grow down the style from the receptive stigma, and when eventually they reach the ovary with ovules, a single pollen tube will enter an ovule. At this point the pollen nucleus migrates from the pollen tube into the egg cell, and the subsequent fusion of the pollen nucleus with the egg nucleus is fertilization.
The now fertilized egg cell grows by a cell division process called mitosis. The nucleus of any cell in resting condition is a rather granular body surrounded by the cytoplasm of the cell whose function is primarily nutritional. At the first stage of cell division the materials of the nucleus begin to change in character. The materials which at first appeared granular begin a gradual process of "condensing", and soon there are discernible threads of nuclear material that are knobby and irregular. These threads are the chromosomes. They are called chromosomes because of their affinity for certain color stains used in cytological studies. These shortening threads soon become quite short and thick and they become oriented on a middle zone area of the nucleus termed the equatorial or metaphase plate. At this stage of division these chromosomes become further oriented into like (homologous) pairs. Each of these chromosomes divides into equal parts by a longitudinal splitting. Each chromosome has a particular area of sensitivity termed a spindle attachment; and as cell division progresses, one half of each chromosome is dragged to opposite ends of the nucleus by this spindle attachment area which precedes it as though pulled on the end of a string. Under certain conditions of staining there may appear thread-like lines which are termed spindle fibers. Eventually on opposite sides of this nucleus there is an aggregate of one half of each chromosome that was in the original nucleus; the division of the chromosomes has been equal quantitatively and qualitatively. The original nucleus now divides further with the formation of two discrete nuclei each containing these halves of the chromosome material. As this stage is completed, a new cell wall divides the surrounding cytoplasm and the nuclear materials return to the granular amorphous condition, and we have two complete cells each identical with the parent cell from which they were derived. In this way our fertilized egg cell becomes two cells, and, in time these two become four and on and on ad infinitum. As the new cells accumulate there occurs a differentiation into different types of cells, some to become the one cotyledon (for Bromels are monocotyledons), some to become the radicle or primary root, others to be the plumule or apical tissue which will produce the first true leaf.
When this seed is finally ripe, it is encased in a seed coat. Under satisfactory growing conditions this seed takes up water, expands, ruptures the seed coat, and extends its primary root and its one cotyledon which in the light develops chlorophyll. With the production of this first green organ and the first root which takes up water and mineral our new plant becomes self sufficient.
Eventually the germinating seed becomes a full bodied plant and under proper conditions of age and culture produces flowers of its own. Here we encounter the second type of cell division. Until now all cell division has been mitotic, that is the equal division of all chromosome materials.
In the production of the flower a different type of cell division takes place. This process is called meiosis. As the time of production of ovules and pollen cells approaches, the nuclear materials orient themselves just as they have before; the chromosomes again become oriented in pairs on the equatorial plate. At this point, the processes differ. Instead of the chromosomes dividing longitudinally prior to migration to either side of the cell nucleus, one each of each pair migrates and the new nuclei derived do not not have the same components as the original cell. Each is made up of only one chromosome of each pair instead of half of each chromosome.
In mitosis, the usual vegetative form of cell division, the genetic materials which are present in the cell nucleus are divided into equal and identical bodies; in meiosis the chromosomal materials are divided into halves which are not identical to the parental cell. The chromosome number of the normal vegetative cell is diploid, the chromosome number of the reproductive cell having half the chromosome number is termed haploid.
The knobby areas which were detectable on the condensing chromosomes are the chemical complexes called genes and it is these genes which determine all the inheritance in our individual. They determine long leaf or short leaf, wide leaf versus narrow leaf; they determine pigmentation or lack of pigmentation; they determine tolerance of full sun or intolerance to drought; they determine flowering season; in short, they determine all the seen and unseen characteristics of our plant and all the tolerances of physiological responses.
If, for example, our plant has the hypothetical chromosome number of 24, that is — twelve homologous pairs of chromosomes — then each cell produced mitotically from any other will also have 24 chromosomes in as much as each chromosome divides in half longitudinally. And each cell in the formation of ovules or pollen cells will have a chromosome number of twelve being composed of one each of each pair.
When chromosomes gather at the metaphase plate (the equatorial zone), each pair becomes oriented with like chromosomes aligned with similar genes adjacent to similar genes. Dissimilar genes repel one another. (To be continued)
There are many factors which enter into the successful growing of bromeliads (e. g., temperature, smog, humidity, light, etc.,) any of which would take many pages to cover adequately. However, the newcomer to the field need not concern himself too deeply at first with each and every aspect of each and every factor if he will pay heed only to a few simple rules.
1. It matters not what compost is used (hapuu, fir bark, pumice, leaf mold, etc.), so long as it permits good drainage and can be easily leached. It should be material that will not readily break down or be a host to insects, fungi, etc. It should be a compost that can be controlled by feeding nutrients.
2. Watering is very important—be sure the water drains quickly through the pot, and do this 2 or 3 times each watering, so as to eliminate soluble salts from the compost. Bromeliads cannot accept soggy compost.
3. Ventilation, or a nice breeze, at all times is desirable; in fact, many growers insist this is essential to successful bromeliad culture. Remember that bromeliads are air plants.
4. Fertilizers should be applied weak strength at regular intervals. As to the brand, most of them seem to do very well.
5. With the exception of the soft green-leaved Vrieseas and Tillandsias, give your plants all the light you can without burning the leaves. Most plants need light to flower.
6. Bromeliads seem to do rather well in a considerable range of temperature. The higher the day temperatures the greater the humidity and water requirements. A minimum of 40°F and a maximum of 90°F should produce good results.
7. Keep your growing areas clean, and use any of the standard insecticides for control This is the time of year to give your house a good thorough cleaning and fumigating.
8. Learn to understand the needs of your plants, it will be fun and give you wonderful returns.