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
Jack M. Roth, President, Southern California Bromeliad Society
Robert Wilson, President, South Florida Bromeliad Society
|Board of Directors|
David Barry, Jr.
Nat. J. De Leon
E. W. Ensign
Mulford B. Foster
James N. Giridlian
Henry M. Hobbs
E. H. Palmer
Jack M. Roth
Dr. Russell Seibert
O. E. Van Hyning
Wilbur G. Wood
Mrs. Adda Abendroth
Dr. Alberto Castellanos
Monsieur Charles Chevalier
Mulford B. Foster
A. B. Graf
Charles H. Lankester
Auckland, New Zealand
P. Raulino Reitz
Dr. Lyman B. Smith
A drawing of a rare and beautiful bromeliad from Costa Rica, Vriesia Sintenisii, found growing on a tree in the estate of Mr. Charles Lankester at Cartago, in February. Leaves are green at the base, shading into brownish red above the sheath on the lower sides, with occasional spots of deep red. Bracts are bright scarlet, shading into maroon at the tip. Flowers are yellow. Also shown is a Red Legged Honey Creeper, Cyanerpes Cyaneus, found in Central America. About one half full size.
No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.
A WORD FOR THE BILLBERGIA
HEN IT WAS ANNOUNCED THAT BILLBERGIAS were going to be discussed at some length in this bulletin, several society members threw up their hands in what amounted to holy horror. According to their way of thinking the subject of Billbergias was too elementary for a publication of this sort and not enough people bothered to raise these bromeliads any more.
It certainly is true that Billbergias are among the easiest bromeliads to grow, that they multiply rapidly, that they propagate easily from seed or offshoot, and that it is next to impossible to kill a Billbergia by mistreatment. Perhaps growing a Billbergia does not present a challenge as does a Vriesea or a Guzmania, but a collection of fine Billbergias well grown can be a source of great satisfaction, as they rank among the most beautiful of the entire bromeliad family.
For most of us—in the United States that is—Billbergias were the first bromeliads that we knew and grew. In Florida it was probably B. pyramidalis that attracted attention, whereas in California B. nutans is still used by the uninitiated as a synonym for bromeliad. In Australia, too, B. nutans grows in great abundance. In fact, rare is the garden in the temperate regions that does not have a clump or two of Billbergias growing in some protected area.
Billbergias are found growing natively from Mexico to Argentina, the greatest number and the most colorful, however, being found in central Brazil, Dr. Lyman B. Smith listing 53 species and varieties in his Bromeliaceae of Brazil. Although these bromeliads are classified as epiphytes, they seem to grow with equal ease perched on trees, clinging to rocks or stumps, or rooted on the ground. Indeed, Billbergias are good-natured plants and appear to adapt themselves to any growing condition in which they find themselves.
When brought under cultivation they are just as amenable. Most of them are quite hardy and will do well in the open garden if given a light porous soil—the kind used for begonias or fuchsias. For the most part, Billbergias do best under lath house conditions, although some species require an intensity of light just short of direct sun light to bring out the full beauty of their coloring. Billbergias grown in deep shade, as a rule, seldom attain their optimum potentialities in the way of flowering and foliage coloration.
Because of their adaptability Billbergias can easily be grown with other plants that like similar conditions, such as ferns, camellias, azaleas, and even succulents. Some Billbergias are effective if grown in clumps in a partly shaded spot or rockery others—those whose foliage and form are of singular beauty—are seen to best advantage when just a few shoots are allowed to remain in a container. B. leptopoda is an excellent example of a Billbergia which should not be allowed to get crowded in the pot. Some like to multiply in the crotch of a tree or attached to a palm, and others make stunning hanging basket subjects. They all make good house plants.
Billbergias are the most easily identifiable of all bromeliads. Their leaves are fewer in number (seldom exceeding eight) than in most other species and are with only a few exceptions tubular in form. The foliage is generally banded with gray cross bars, although irregular spotting and blotching, are by no means uncommon, as in B. saundersii, B. amoena var. viridis, B. leptopoda, etc. Most species have a pendent inflorescence with large brilliantly colored bracts. B. pyramidalis and B. horrida and their hybrids are among the few exceptions that have an erect flower spike. The inflorescence, though lasting but a short while, is always spectacular. From bracts, ranging in color from green to white and from pink to red, emerge the flowers tubular in form with the ends of the petals curled back. The predominating shades of the petals are purple, blue, yellow, green, and white.
There has been more confusion over the nomenclature of Billbergias than with any other genus. This has been due, no doubt, to the ease with which these plants can be hybridized. Billbergias propagate readily from seed, and the seedlings mature and flower in three years, with the exception of B. zebrina, B. meyeri, and B. porteana. In California there were a number of early growers of bromeliads, such as Charles Case, Richard Atkinson, and others, who produced a number of very fine Billbergias but kept no record of the parentage. Today, California gardens contain many of these excellent hybrids, but what they are no one knows for sure. This situation probably also may be found existing in Florida, Australia, and other temperate countries.
It is not only the hybrids which cause confusion, however, for a species even in its native habitat is sometimes not readily recognizable. One plant growing high on a tree and another growing closer to the ground may appear so different that they would appear to be two different species. This is due to the fact that different growing conditions sometimes tend to change the appearance of a Billbergia so radically that identification is not easily made. Any interesting experiment is to take a Billbergia (B. amoena is excellent for this purpose) that has several offshoots, separate the little pups and plant them in various locations about the garden—in the sun, in the shade, in the greenhouse, in the open garden, etc.—and note the difference in appearance as the plants mature. Some will have long leaves, some, short; some will have wide leaves, others will be reed-like; some plants will have interesting mottled foliage, some will be plain green. In fact, it will be hard to believe that all these plants were offshoots of the same mother plant. It is readily understandable, therefore, that it is easy for the amateur to become confused when it comes to recognizing his plants. Luckily, present-day nurserymen are attempting to be scientific in the naming of their Billbergias, though, unfortunately, error does still exist in some instances. On the Continent, a number of bromeliads are classified as Billbergias, when, in truth, they are of a different genus. The two best known examples of this mistake in nomenclature in the use of the name B. rhodocyanea for A. fasciata and B. forgettii for A. caudata var. variegata.
During the past few years a number of Billbergias have been reclassified and renamed. The following are a few of the names which have become obsolete:
B. amabilis — now B. vittata
B. bonplandiana — formerly used for B. nutans and B. distachia var. straussiana
B. calophylla — formerly used for B. vittata
B. caespitosa — formerly used for B. distachia.
B. leopoldii — obsolete but still occasionally found being used erroneously for B. vittata, B. brasiliensis, and others.
B. minuta — former name for B. nutans
B. quintissima — now B. macrocalyx
B. rohaniana — now B. vittata
B. rubro-cyanea — formerly erroneously applied to B. saundersii
B. thyrsoidea — now B. pyramidalis var. concolor.
B. zonatus — now B. vittata
|Billbergia × 'Fantasia'|
TO BE FOUND IN AMERICAN CULTIVATION
B. amoena — This is a very variable species, both as to color and size. The type is a plain green tubular plant of medium size. The flowers all have a green ridged ovary, blue green sepals, and blue tipped petals. B. amoena and its many varietal forms, several of which have been named, are highly desirable bromeliads. B. amoena var. rubra was discovered in the state of Espirito, Santo, Brazil, in 1939 by M. B. Foster. It is two to three times as large as some of the other varieties of B. amoena. The rich red leaves with white and yellow spots may be two to three feet in height.
B. amoena var. viridis is the most colorful of all the varieties of B. amoena and is certainly one of the most decorative of all Billbergias. The spotted and barred, green and rose foliage makes it an outstanding bromeliad. Its inflorescence differs from that of other varieties in that the flowers have plain green petals.
B. buchholtzii — This plant does not appear in any listings of commercial growers, but Oakhurst Gardens in southern California has for sale three variations. Whether these belong under the listing of B. buchholtzii is not known. However, the plants so named are very attractive. No. 1 is a dwarf form with brilliant orange-scarlet bracts and deep blue flowers. When well established, it will have several blooming periods a year. No. 2 has tall, light green foliage, rose bracts and lavender flowers. No. 3 has very attractive leaves of huge size, deep green with bronze shadings and barred transversely with gray. It becomes purplish in the sun. The flowers are violet with pink bracts.
B. distachia — This is an old-time favorite that has been in cultivation for over seventy years. As can be noted from the illustration it is a medium-sized plant with compact tubes and pendant flower heads. The leaves are green tinged with purple and covered with a whitish scurf; the flowers are green, tipped with blue and the bracts are rose. There are four varieties of B. distachia listed: B. distachia var. distachia, with lavender green leaves, B. distachia var. straussiana with green petals, B. distachia var. concolor with green leaves, and B. distachia var. maculata with spotted leaves. Fantastic Gardens in its most recent catalogue lists a fourth variety which it calls B. distachia var. rubra. It is described as a plant of "upright tubular growth. Leaves look like purple haze in the sky with silver clouds shining thru. Pendulous flowers rise above the urn and are tipped with blue, rose bracts. Unusual color effect."
B. elegans — A husky appearing, rock-gray, saw-toothed tubular plant, this Billbergia is one of striking contrasts, for its dainty flowers seem out of keeping with the heavy foliage. This species is different from all others in that the flowers are produced from the axils of the bracts rather than terminally. The flower is long, pendent and of a delightfully different green; the bracts are a clear shade of rose. The buds have dark blue tips.
B. euphemiae — This Billbergia has been popular for many years. As it is a stoloniferous plant, it is attractive when grown in hanging baskets. The wide, reflexed blue-green leaves are about a foot long. The inflorescence is especially noteworthy, the bracts being a powdery rose and the flowers an enchanting violet. Two new varieties of this species have recently been introduced by Mr. Foster: B. euphemia var. purpurea, which differs from the type in that it has reddish-purple leaves and does not have gray bands: and B. euphemiae var. saundersioides, which had long narrow leaves prominently spotted with white and pink.
B. horrida — This attractive plant received its name from the large spines on its leaf margins. It is a medium-sized plant with stiff, green leaves with indistinct gray bands. It is quite tubular in form although the leaves flare slightly at the top. The inflorescence is erect; the flowers are a transparent green. B. horrida var. tigrina is similar to B. horrida except that the leaves are maroon-brown with distinct silver-gray bands. The flowers are fragrant at night—an unusual characteristic among Billbergias. Both of these Billbergias are interesting plants and worthy of a place in every collection.
B. iridifolia var. concolor — This is a delightful little Billbergia which should be in every collection. Its color scheme is particularly attractive; its leaves are soft grey, the bracts a delicate pink, and the flowers a clear yellow. Concolor in this instance means that the petals of the flower are one pure color. Suitable for pot culture.
B. lietzei — This is another charming small type of Billbergia, and this one is usually in bloom at the holiday season. Its curled, light green leaves are dotted with yellow; its flowers are a bright cerise. It does not multiply too rapidly; thus its value as a small pot is at once obvious.
B. leptopoda — Again we have another gay little Billbergia that is best as a pot specimen. It is often referred to as "the permanent wave plant," as its leaves, from a tubular center, curl back as though trained to that effect. The plant seldom reaches over 12 inches in height. Its green leaves are spotted with white; its erect inflorescence bears red bracts and blue and yellow flowers. This Billbergia is most effective when grown with just one or two offshoots.
|M. B. Foster|
|Billbergia pyramidalis. possibly the most commonly grown bromeliad in the Florida gardens|
B. macrocalyx — This is a tall, tubular plant, with leaves flaring towards the top. The leaves are a soft green, banded with white; the typical Billbergia-type inflorescence bears red bracts and frosted pinkish-white, blue-tipped flowers. Grows well in the ground or on trees.
B. meyeri — This Billbergia belongs to a group which includes B. pallidiflora, B. porteana, B. rosea, B. venezuelana, and B. zebrina. They differ in petal colors and leaf colors and the shape of the ovaries, but all have a pendent inflorescence. The petals curl back when the flowers open (one or two each day), leaving the stamens and pistil exposed. The following day the petals uncurl and straighten out. B. meyeri is a tall, thin, tube-like plant with gray-brown foliage that is heavily mottled with peltate scales. Its inflorescence of pink, lavender and yellow is attractive. As this Billbergia comes from dry, barren lands, it can with-stand considerable neglect.
B. minarum — A rather rare Billbergia, but deserving of a place in everyone's collection. Its tall, narrow spotted leaves makes it an attractive pot plant specimen. The petals are of a peculiar gun-metal blue.
B. nutans — This is the friendship plant of southern California—found in almost every garden because it is easy to give a slip to a visiting friend. In no time at all it will form a large-sized clump. It will take either shade or sun and is grown in any medium. A potfull will last for years. The mostly narrow, sword-shaped leaves are 8 to 12 inches long, olive green but more red colored in the sun. The bracts are light pink and the flowers are blue and green on pendent stems. A highly decorative inflorescence, it is often used by flower arrangers. It is a winter bloomer. There is a miniature form of this Billbergia, both leaves and flowers being smaller than the type usually seen.
B. pallidiflora — This is an interesting robust Billbergia to be found growing in Mexico south to Nicaragua. It closely resembles B. porteana and B. meyeri in growth habit and appearance.
B. porteana — This is an old-time favorite, dating back to 1857. As can be noted from the colored illustration this is one of the most beautiful of all Billbergias. It is indeed a noble plant in size and structure. Its robust grey-green mottled leaves form a tall plant that reaches 36 inches in height. The pendent flower stem hangs over the side and the tips of the flowers often touch the ground. The bracts are a brilliant rose, wide-spread. The flower petals are green. It is a slow grower, but well worth waiting for.
|Billbergia vittata has a flower spike as outspoken as a rooster|
B. pyramidalis var. pyramidalis — This is probably the most commonly seen bromeliad in Florida and is to be found in almost every garden. Stiff, broad rich green leaves develop into huge clumps around the base of trees or against buildings, also on the heavy limbs of trees. The erect inflorescence rises to several inches above the leaves; the red flowers tipped with blue forming a most spectacular flower head. There is a winter-blooming and a summer-blooming variety of this Billbergia. B. pyramidalis var. concolor differs from the type plant in that its petals are entirely red. This particular Billbergia does not bloom readily in southern California, either indoors or out. Recently Mr. Foster introduced B. pyramidalis var. striata, a very handsome variation with light blue-green leaves striped with cream. As most variegated Billbergias are banded cross-wise, this vertical striping is both unusual and attractive.
B. rosea — This bromeliad from the island of Trinidad is often found in European listings as well as in American collections. The gray, scurfy leaves form a narrow tube reaching to three feet. The pendent inflorescence has rosy bracts and yellow-green petals. It is very similar to B. Porteana and is often mistaken for it.
B. venezuelana — This Billbergia is certainly one of the most spectacular of all bromeliads. It is similar in habit to B. porteana, but its foliage is more strikingly mottled. It is a highly decorative plant whether in bloom or not and always attracts attention. The pink bracted pendant inflorescence may reach over two feet. The petals are chartreuse.
B. vittata was first described in 1848, but then suffered a variety of names. The true species has dark blue sepals which have an interesting little twist to them which makes the flowers truly distinctive. The leaves are greenish-brown; the inflorescence is somewhat drooping. Its suberect flowers arise from red bracts; petals are violet and green.
MULFORD B. FOSTER
N "MEMOIRS OF THE N. Y. BOTANICAL GARDEN", Vol. 10, No. 2, April 1960, Dr. Lyman B. Smith has described eight new species and one new variety of bromeliads. These, two Cottendorfia, two Pitcairnia, one Brocchinia and four Navia, were collected by Maguire and Wurdack on their 1957 expedition to the Guayana Highlands in Venezuela, an area that abounds in the otherwise rare Brocchinia and Navia genera.
In the publication Wrightia, Vol. 2, No. 2, May 1960, Lyman Smith publishes two new varieties, one of Pitcairnia, one of Catopsis, found in the loan material of North American Bromeliaceae from the Lundell Herbarium.
With few exceptions in the Bromeliad Family, the flowers in the different genera are bisexual, having both sexes present and functional in the one flower, but in the genus Catopsis a different condition is found. In Mexico and Central America certain species of Catopsis are dioecious, the male and female elements being found in different individual plants. This has caused some of the species to receive different species names for the male and for the female plants.
In the case of Catopsis sessiliflora which was first discovered in Peru in 1802, the plants of this species had flowers with both sexes on each plant, but when plants of this same species were discovered in Mexico in 1831; they were found to have flowers with separate sexes on different plants. These plants were named separately, Catopsis aloides and also Catopsis apicroides but they were both the same identical species as Catopsis sessiliflora which had been found originally in Peru; the only difference was the arrangement of the sexes in the flowers.
Now, Lyman Smith has given the masculine plant a varietal name (in Wrightia) — C. sessiliflora var. dioica. This plant was taken in British Honduras in 1947.
Dr. Smith thus explains the situation, "as in Catopsis nutans, the different sexual states of C. sessiliflora have been treated as distinct species. It is interesting to note that the dioecious states of Catopsis are limited to Mexico and Central America, although the genus as a whole and even the above species are widely distributed in the West Indies and northern South America."
It is quite a unique situation to find a species of bromeliad with a different arrangement of the sexual parts in the plants found in Mexico and Central America differing from those of the same species growing in South America.
Rt. 2, Box 461, Orlando, Fla.
MULFORD B. FOSTER
Billbergia amoena (Lodd.) Lindl. var penduliflora M. B. Foster, var. nov.
A var. amoena inflorescentia pendula, scapi bracteis aurantiacis differt. Collected in Minas Gerais, near Caraca, Brazil, in July 1940 by M. B. and R. Foster #683. (Type in U. S. National Herbarium.)
This interesting variety of Billbergia amoena with its pendent inflorescence is quite in contrast with the typical form because of its pendulous inflorescence and the large primary and scape bracts which are very rich orange in color. The leaves, strap shaped, form a rather narrow tube. These tubular, grey-green plants grow on the rocks.
It was our experience in 1939 and 1940 to find more varieties and forms of Billbergia amoena in Brazil than of any other species in the genus. We made fourteen different collections in seven different states.
The typical variety was first described as Tillandsia amoena Lodd. in Oct. 1818, and in Dec. 1818 the same was described as Bromelia pallida Ker. In 1825 it was named Tillandsia variegata Vell., but thirty-two years later, in 1857, Beer put it in the right genus and named it Billbergia pallida; in the same year it was called Billbergia pallescens by C. Koch and Bouche. Another thirty-two years later, Baker gave it the name of Billbergia speciosa. And, as if this plant had not had enough names, DeJonge ex Mez, in 1916, named it Billbergia Wiotiana, then, in 1919, Mez called it Billbergia Wacketii.
In spite of all these attempts to name a Billbergia species, the specific name amoena, originally given by (Lodd.) Lindl. in 1827, still stands as the legal specific name. (It has been proven that he had the wrong genus).
Since then, varieties have been published:
- var minor (Antoine & Beer) L. B. Smith
- var viridis L. B. Smith
- var rubra M. B. Foster
- and now, var. penduliflora M. B. Foster
Amoena means beautiful, and no matter where you find it in all of its variable forms, this Billbergia is beautiful.
— Rt. 2, Box 491, Orlando, Fla.
JOHN M. RILEY
|Bromeliads are to be found growing happily in the Botanical Garden at the University of California|
HIS SHORT ARTICLE is to bring to the attention of West Coast members the collection of bromeliads at the University of California in Berkeley. Although it is apparent that bromeliads are not of primary interest as are the cacti and succulents, there is sufficient material to make a trip worth the while for bromeliads alone.
Starting with the outdoor section of the garden there is a hill devoted to African plants and another to South American plants. A substantial collection of tough-looking xerophytic bromeliads, all in mature growth and loaded with spines, keeps one strictly on the path. The following list covers the most predominant plants: Puya alpestris, P. venusta, P. coerulea, P. chilensis molina, P. werdermanii, P. longistylea, Fascicularia bicolor, Greigia sphacelata, Deuterocohnia, Pitcairnia sp., Hechtia texensis, Dyckia fosteriana, and Hechtia dawsonii. In addition there are at least a dozen species labeled by number only, presumably awaiting identification after blooming.
Within the greenhouse known as the "orchid house," there is a most complete collection of rain forest plants, ranging from the leafless Florida "ghost orchid" to the rare Stropocactus wittii. Of interest to serious collectors are many ferns and secondary epiphytic plants in association with the orchids and cacti. Tucked here and there among prize specimens one notices a bromeliad, then two, and finally a substantial collection becomes apparent. One of the old standbys is Neoregelia spectabilis, mounted high overhead on a sphagnum- covered branch. The plant has been in place for almost ten years according to the curator of the gardens. Also prominent is N. tristis, a small plant with its undersurface peppered with light yellow spots. An adventuresome plant, much like N. ampullacae, with six offshoots reaches for the ceiling. Aechmea marmorata with its stylish, slender silhouette can be immediately spotted. Billbergia horrida stands aloof from several creeping ferns which enfold its base. The old familiar Spanish Moss is an elegant cascade of snowy white. The plant is so clean and free of the usual dingy grey that it could be mistaken for a separate species.
Tillandsias are particularly well represented and may he found scattered tucked in odd corners among the orchids and cacti. A nice group of T. ionantha competes with an orchid just below it. Around the plant are many seedlings which grow naturally from the previous season's bloom. A real jewel is a little T. gaetneri var. rocha, which has refused to take root in the strange surroundings, but has condescended to bear lovely magenta blooms over several offshoots. T. plumosa is elegantly displayed against a limb, being a horizontal star of slender grey leaves pressed against the limb with the younger leaves thrust forward to form an outward radiating center. T. cyanea is mounted in sphagnum over a bench and below it are several T. lindenii. T. standleyii is mounted high, being rather plain amidst the orchids. Also represented as fully mature specimens are T. recurvata and T. butzii.
On the greenhouse bench, Vriesea fenestralis is represented by only one plant, a bit unhappy with the surroundings. A nice specimen of Acanthostachys strobilacea trails over the edge of the bench, quite at home. At least a dozen plants are unlabeled, and the visit of an expert would be interesting and useful. Most of the collection was imported several years ago from the National Botanical Garden in Washington, D. C., and from the Missouri Botanical Garden. At least one plant is a mystery worth solving. The underside is maroon and the upper a deep glossy green, much the same as Aechmea miniata var. discolor. The shape of the plant flares from the base until the upper leaves are virtually horizontal. The leaves expand until at the tips they are perfectly round and up to four inches across. The bloom is said to be a tall branched structure, like that of a Tillandsia, but the smooth glossy leaves are against this possibility.
Mr. Myron Kimnach, the curator, explains that the collection is primarily for the interest of botany students. It would be nice to display a few of the more desirable bromeliads so as to fix the family in the minds of the future "Fosters" now in training.
An impressive feature of the collection is the perfect balance of many species of plants, all healthy and mature specimens. These range from tiny ferns confined to the foot of larger plants to cacti which trail a full twelve feet from the roof to floor.
It would not be possible to mention this garden without doing homage to the really magnificent collection of succulents and cacti in the next greenhouse. Finally there is a greenhouse devoted to useful tropical plants, including the pineapple, cocoa, and other economic plants of the tropics.
— 20190 Lynton Ct., Cupertino, California
LYMAN B. SMITH
HE NEWS THAT PROFESSOR J. L. COLLINS is already at work on a second edition of his great book on the pineapple1 has prompted me to take another look at the classification of the genus. In so doing I have found two pieces of unfinished business, the provision of a name for the crownless wild pineapple and the promotion of Ananas ananassoides var. nanus to specific rank.
The first, I took care of in "Phytologia" (vol, 8, p. 12), by transferring the specific name monstrosa from Ananassa to Ananas. Incidentally we have a strange twist of thought here, because the lack of a leafy crown on the fruit is considered a freak or monstrosity, while in almost any other fruit its presence would be monstrous. Be that as it may, the great Brazilian authority on the pineapple, Dr. Felisberto Camargo, vouches for this species being perfectly typical of the genus in all other respects.
|L. B. Smith|
|Ananas ananassoides var. nanus|
The second item is effected technically as follows:
Ananas nanus (L. B. Smith) L. B. Smith, stat. nov.
Ananas ananassoides (Baker) L. B. Smith var. nanus L. B. Smith, Bot. Mus. Leafl. Harvard 7: 79, pl. 3. 1939.
My change of heart in this regard is thanks to the long and patient labors of Mulford Foster in propagating the plant for many years and thereby showing that its distinctions, although suspect at first, have proved remarkably constant.
The new classification of Ananas is summarized in the following key:
|1. Leafy crown on top of fruit wholly lacking||1. A. monstrosus|
|1. Leafy crown on top of fruit well developed.|
|2. Fruit over 15 cm long at maturity, succulent; scape stout, usually short.|
|3. Floral bracts conspicuous, imbricate and covering the ovaries, coarsely serrate.|
|4. Leaf-spines all ascending; floral bracts colored at maturity; petals bearing scales.||2. A bracteatus|
|4. Leaf-spines toward base recurved; floral bracts pale green at maturity;
petals bearing vertical folds.
|3. A fritzmuelleri|
|3. Floral bracts inconspicuous, not imbricate nor covering the ovaries at maturity, serrulate.||4. A. comosus|
|2. Fruit less than 15 cm at maturity, dry or nearly so; scape elongate, slender.|
|5. Leaves straight, erect, unarmed except for the large terminal spine, 35 mm wide.||5. A. erectifolius|
|5. Leaves recurved, serrate, usually not more than 25 mm wide.|
|6. Apex of the scape weak and easily broken; fruit many-flowered, to 15 cm long.||6. A. ananassoides|
|6. Apex of the scape tough; fruit few-flowered, only about 4 cm long.||7. A. nanus|
United States National Herbarium, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.__________
1. J. L. Collins: The Pineapple. World Crops Series. Leonard Hill, Ltd., London. Interscience Publishers, Inc., New York.
E. H. PALMER
|Sid Avery & Associates|
|Decorations for a luncheon of the Men's Garden Club of Los Angeles|
HERE IS NOTHING MORE ANNOYING than to have a fine plant, perfect in every respect and eminently "show-worthy," and to find one morning that a pest or pests have caused a disfigurement of one or more of the leaves.
Perhaps in Florida we have more pests than in other locations. I do not think so, but pests thrive the year round! Chief of these is the red spider that ruined the pineapple crop many years ago. Although it is not so much of a problem today, there are occasions when it is evident. A very close inspection with powerful magnifying lenses will sometimes disclose such evidence, especially in young seedlings. But there are other pests that work inimically to perfect plant growth.
Right here, I know I am going to mention things that are usually decried, but, nonetheless, do exist. Scale is not the only despoiler of bromeliads! It is a lovely day, the door of the greenhouse or shade house is left open, a "miller" pops in, lays a few eggs on tender leaves, especially on young seedlings; and overnight, it seems, a dirty little worm has eaten his fill. Or, perhaps, a cricket has chosen to sit on a leaf in the night and has chewed a ragged hole, or, again, a small snail may embed himself between two leaves. Also mealy-bugs or cottony scale may find their way deep down between two leaves. Even in the open garden wild rabbits and young deer seem to like the taste or flavor of those prickly Dyckia leaves.
All of this indicates that no matter how carefully bromeliads are grown, or in what latitude, or under what conditions, there are insect pests that discover something they like in bromeliads and can overnight ruin the show-worthiness of a plant. There is only one answer to this problem: constant vigilance and frequent treatment with pesticides.
It has been said that bromeliads are free from the pests that are usually a problem when growing other plants, and to a great extent this is true. However, the foregoing points out the necessity for proper care. This, in the case of bromeliads, is quite simple; hence the oft-repeated comment that bromeliads are easy to take care of.
There are four varieties of scale that appear to favor bromeliads. Unfortunately, once the scale situation has been discovered, it is usually too late to do anything; for even after removal, the scale leaves a whitish area that is a disfiguration of the plant. Some scale also moves slightly and leave a brownish line of a quarter inch or so. A beautiful Neoregelia marmorata was brought to show recently. It had been infested with scale and although the plant had been cleaned up and no live scale was apparent, the plant was nevertheless completely disqualified for any honor.
One of the best remedies for such scale is the use of a Malathion dip. Malathion in an oil emulsion should never be used, as any oil base is injurious to bromeliads in that it affects the "air" or "breathing" conditions so vital to these plants. The dry powder, readily obtainable, is mixed with water at the rate of two teaspoonsful to a gallon of water. An old garbage can or lard pail can be used for this purpose. When the solution is thoroughly mixed—stirred constantly for at least one minute—a cloth should be placed around the base of the plant to hold the soil or potting medium, then the water within the cup emptied, and the plant immersed in the solution, upside down. Care must be taken to see that the solution gets into all the crevices. After the plant is lifted out of the solution, care should be taken to see that there is none left in the plant, and the plant laid sideways or in a position from which any surplus liquid will drain out. This procedure leaves a film of the solution on the leaves of the plant. After 15 to 30 minutes have elapsed, the plant should be rinsed with clear water, the cup refilled with water, preferably with a trace of nutriment therein.
The solution should not be made any stronger and should not be allowed to stand in the cups for more than a few minutes. The cups should not be scrubbed. The drying-out process should not last for more than one hour at the most and then the plant should be rinsed thoroughly and filled with fresh, clean water—rain water being preferable.
Should this process still permit a few scale insects to remain, it should be repeated in a day or so. Normally, however, this process, repeated every two to four weeks, should keep your plants clear of scale and even of other insects that may cause damage to your plants. In the case of a rare (and it is quite rare) infestation of mealy-bugs or cottony scale, it will be necessary, in addition to the foregoing process, to take a small camel's hair brush, dip it in the solution and brush out the infestation. Those tiny snails may also be reached with such a brush which will not injure a leaf in any way. Red spider sometimes attacks young seedlings, and they may be treated with the Malathion solution, but at about half the foregoing strength.
Some commercial growers use other formulae and have also tried certain trade-name insecticides, but for the hobbyist, the grower of a few bromeliads, the above process is well worth abiding by. Again, don't use any oil sprays or oil of any kind on bromeliads. Do not try Parathion, which is stronger than Malathion and very effective, but very dangerous for an inexperienced person to use. And do not use slug bait around your plants, one falling in a cup would kill that plant. And as a final word of caution—do use rubber gloves when dipping!
Generally speaking, a weekly or bi-weekly careful inspection of your plants and then a dipping in the solution will save a great deal of time that might be consumed if the plants were allowed to go until infestation was perfectly obvious. It is also a time saver to see that the water in the cups does not become spoiled or contaminated. Mosquitoes and other insects are far less likely to make a home of the cups if water is kept fresh and sweet. Of course, one cannot follow this procedure "way down South" when the plants are in the open in a garden or on a "bromeliad tree," but frequently wash out the cups.
Here, then is a simple and easy way to protect your plants from depredations by various insect pests. It is all a part of the fun and joy in growing show-worthy bromeliads.
—10301 - 65th Avenue, Largo, Florida
FREDERICK H. GERBER
F I COULD HAVE BUT ONE BROMELIAD, which one would it be? This is a hard question to answer as so many do well and have different virtues. Nothing in our estimation gives the year-round satisfaction as the colored foliage forms of the Neoregelias. Nothing is quite so flamboyant as the ephemeral Billbergia pyramidalis that grows almost as well as the weeds in the shady spots in our garden. Little can challenge the remarkable color combination of the Portea petropolitana var. extensa spikes that have been going strong for months. And who can describe the satisfaction day after day of many of the Vrieseas when one has flowered them himself!
We would be loath to part with Aechmea marmorata even through it is a shy bloomer, but it is so architectural and rich of texture. Ae. orlandiana and Ae. × 'Bert' are always a pleasure with their splendid foliage markings. We think that the latter is the richer and more durable of the two.
Instead of one bromeliad, we could limit ourselves perhaps to ten, which might be Guzmania lingulata,. Vriesea × Mariae, V. incurvata, Portea petropolitana var. extensa, Neoregelia marmorata crosses, Neoregelia carolinae, Aechmea marmorata, A. bracteata, A. chantinii, and A. miniata and its hybrids.
—Box 1355, Ormond Beach, Florida
HOW I GROW MY BROMELIADS —
I would, first of all, like to say that I think the Bulletin is a very fine one. I enjoy them all. I must especially comment on Mr. Hobbs' exquisite drawings, which are an endless delight.
I, myself, grow many other kinds of plants indoors and find that the emphasis on greenhouse culture for bromeliads discouraging. I will admit that my success in flowering bromeliads is not staggering, but, in some ways, I have grown finer plants than many I have seen grown in greenhouses. Vrieseas have done especially well for me. Despite some publicity in this matter, I find that many horticulturally prominent people are still laboring under the delusion that one must have a greenhouse to grow these wonderful plants. I will admit that this is probably the best artificial environment for them, but one can achieve much more than worthwhile results with a little experimentation. For instance, in the beginning I used osmunda, fir bark, and the generally recommended mixtures for epiphytic plants. It just won't work in a house. So I switched to a well-drained mix which is more retentive of moisture. The plants certainly said "Thank you." I am sure that our membership must include many like myself without greenhouses, and I would love to hear more about how well bromeliads have done as houseplants.
Esther Deutsch, Rt. 4, Huntington, Long Island, New York
I grow my bromeliads in three special houses. Some are grown in a glass house which has a west exposure and full sun from noon on. Some are grown in a chicken-wire covered frame under an oak tree with filtered sunlight most of the day. I also have a redwood slat house located on the west side of our dwelling. I've found that this house with its sheltered growing conditions and full sun from, noon on, the best. All of these houses have overhead cover, so watering is very well controlled. I also have many plants growing in the yard; these are all in pots, sitting on benches and on the ground. I will have to admit that this is my most successful medium of growing. From these statements you no doubt will think that bromeliads are coming out of our "ears." They are! There are also about 400 orchids mixed in with the bromeliads, and they all get the same treatment, fertilizer, and insect spray.
Madalene McRae, 316 Michigan Ave., Daytona Beach, Florida.
You may be interested in knowing that I have been very successful in growing some Tillandsias by simply gluing them in the place I wanted them to grow. In one case this was in the crotch of a tree. (At this time I lived in Culver City, about two miles from the coast and had much fog and dew.) This plant seldom got any water other than rain, fog, and dew. It survived but did not multiply.
Donald Andree, 12120 Salem Dr., Granada Hills, California