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 slightly less than half full size of that hardy and vigorous bromeliad known as Aechmea caudata var. variegata. This plant varies considerably in the length and width of the leaves. The plant from which the drawing was made is a relatively small specimen, with leaves hardly more than 12 inches in length, but otherwise typical in the irregular white striping on the green leaves. The rare inflorescence is orange red with yellow petals that fade and wither soon after anthesis, but the inflorescence remains colorful for a month or so. M. H. Hobbs.
No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.
THERE AND HERE
HURRIED TRIP THROUGH EUROPE last summer did not permit much time for seeing bromeliads, but a few observations were made which might be of some interest to the readers of the Bulletin. Whereas bromeliads in the Western Hemisphere and Australia and New Zealand are grown chiefly as a hobby, as a part of a greenhouse or lath house collection, or as shade plants in the warmer regions, in Europe they are almost exclusively cultivated as houseplants. As might be expected, they seem to be more popular in the north of Europe than in the south, and rare is the window that does not feature an interesting array of plants. All kinds may be seen peeking through lace curtains geraniums, succulents, ferns, clivias, petunias, and bromeliads being common sights. The bromeliad most often seen was a Billbergia with leaves similar to B. Χ 'Mead hybrid' grown in southern California. Aechmea fasciata, Aechmea fulgens discolor, Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor, and Vriesea splendens were the other kinds most often noted. They were also featured in almost all of the florists throughout the Continent from Copenhagen to Athens. The prices for these plants ranged from $5 to $10 so definitely were not plants for the man who has to count his liras, his marks, or his drachmas.
It would seem that the day of the small home garden is over in Europe (Britain excepted), for practically all the building that is being done, and there is an amazing amount, is in the form of high rise apartments, the individual dwelling being almost a thing of the past. This is indeed a sad commentary on modern living, especially for the plant collector and the person who likes to garden.
Only twice were bromeliads seen growing outdoors. The first time came as a complete surprise. Although not too well known in the rural areas of Britain, bromeliads were seen in the charming town of Penzance in South Devon. Aechmeas were in the florist's window, and Fascicularia pitcairniifolia lined the walks in the public park. According to a resident of the town, the plant is a great favorite because of its brilliant color when in bloom and accordingly is grown in many private gardens.
The second instance in which bromeliads thrived outdoors was on the magnificent estate of Julian Marnier-Lapostolle "Les Cedres" at St. Jean-Cap-Ferrat on the Cote d'Azur in southern France. This is indeed a plantsman's paradise the formal gardens, the jungle walks, the bamboo groves, the cactus and succulent collections, the conservatory of rare tropicals, and his bromeliads are all superlative. Marnier-Lapostolle has undoubtedly the largest collection of bromeliads in Europe. The bulk of his collection is housed under lath, but he has thousands growing on trees and palms. His particular interest being in Tillandsias, he has spared no pains gathering all that he can obtain so his collection is probably one of the largest to be found anywhere. Equally fine collections of Tillandsias can be found in the gardens of Dr. Richard Oeser of Germany and Dr. Luigi Califano of Italy.
LYMAN B. SMITH
AT DE LEON HAS FLOWERED a handsome but very puzzling new bromeliad that he collected in Colombia. At first glance the sunken nested flowers and spreading blue acute petal-blades make one think of Neoregelia. However, on dissecting the plant one finds that the simple inflorescence has a long axis like an Aechmea and sessile (unstalked) flowers and unappendaged petals like a Nidularium. Since Nidularium includes one species with a long axis, N. loeseneri, and two with spreading acute petals, N. Burchellii and N. microps, it seems best to locate the new species in this genus. It is a pleasure to dedicate this new species to Mr. De Leon as the first fruits of his exploration:
|L. B. Smith|
NIDULARIUM DELEONII L. B. Smith, sp. nov.
N. burchellii (Baker) Mez et N. microps E. Moor. ex Mez
affinis, sed axi simplici, elongato, floribus majoribus, laminis petalorum azureis differt.
Plant stemless; leaves in a broadly funnelform rosette, to 47 cm. long, bearing a narrow median channel along the top of the sheath and the base of the blade, covered beneath with fine appressed white scales; sheaths large, narrowly elliptic, blades strap-shaped, rounded and apiculate, slightly contracted toward base, to 55 mm. wide, less densely lepidote and darker above, subdensely serrulate; scape 8 cm. long but completely hidden; scape-bracts imbricate, broadly elliptic, serrulate, very pale green, the upper ones much enlarged and forming a tight cylindric involucre around the flowers; inflorescence central, nested in the center of the rosette, simple, ellipsoid, 8 cm. long including the petals, 3 cm. in diameter, many-flowered; axis 35 mm. long, finely white-lanate; floral bracts narrow, equaling the sepals, subentire; flowers sessile; sepals oblong, subsymmetrical, 32 mm. long including the 6 mm. terminal mucro, 6 mm. wide, short-connate, white-flocculose; petals 40 mm. long, the blades acute, spreading, 15 mm. long, blue; stamens included; pollen-grains ellipsoid, biporate; ovary thick-ovoid; epigynous tube small, narrowly funnel form; placentae median, large; ovules obtuse.
Type in the U. S. National Herbarium, collected 6 km. north of Espriella, Narino, Colombia, April 1960, by Nat J. DeLeon (No. 362) and flowered by him, January 1962, in Miami, Florida.
Smithsonian Institution. Washington, D. C.
NAT DE LEON
T SEEMS A BIT IRONIC that a series of unplanned events would help lead to the discovery of a new bromeliad species, yet such is the case concerning Nidularium deleonii. In April of 1960, two days before I was to leave for Colombia, I was notified that my flight had been canceled but that I could leave at a different time on the same day. This would be fine provided a friend who was to meet me at the airport in Cali could be notified. I was promised it would be taken care of. Arriving at the Cali airport my friend was nowhere to be seen. Two hours later I had reached the boiling point and took a taxi to the airline office. I promised heads would roll if something wasn't done and three telephones went into action. An hour later I was still in the same fix. I walked the streets of Cali trying to figure my next move and then fate stepped in, for while walking the streets of Colombia's second largest city, I ran smack into my friend.
As fast as it could be arranged we were on a plane for Pasto, for the object of our search was to be that area south of Pasto along the Simon Bolivar Highway. Arriving in Pasto we soon learned that the last bus had already left for points south. This proved to be a major calamity, for the buses only ran twice a week. We wasted three days trying to obtain transportation out of the city; two of these on promises that never materialized. Finally we were on the road and since all the delays meant a change in plans, I selected Junin as our first collecting stop.
|L. B. Smith|
|R. W. Read|
Collecting about Junin was fantastic. While the area is perhaps best known as being in the heart of Anthurium andreanum country, the bromels there have no rivals. A variety of miniature Guzmania species particularly caught my eye. To see Ronnbergia morreniana growing wild is a sight to behold, and Pitcairnia bakeri is perhaps the most interesting of the genus. Even as I collected the gems Junin had to offer, I somehow had the feeling they would not like growing conditions in Miami, so we pulled up stakes to head for Tumaco where I could send home all my loot by air freight.
The bus to Espriella that would meet the train to Tumaco broke down. You guessed it we missed the train to Tumaco. Since there would not be another for two days, there was nothing to do but more collecting.
Espriella is a little town in the Department of Narino, Southwest Colombia. To the south of the town stretches a vast swampland that continues on to the coast. To the north the area starts its climb and there one can find plenty of virgin forests to explore. We spent our first day collecting about the town and its immediate vicinity. Here we collected Catopsis sessiliflora, Vriesea sanguinolenta, and Aechmea angustifolia. The latter was a superior phase, its foliage heavily spotted with red. Also seen here was Guzmania hitchcockiana, a noble bromel with leaves heavily pubescent.
The next day we hopped a truck ride heading north out of town. When we reached a point some 6 km., the woods looked ripe for picking. High in the trees we could see hundreds of Guzmania lingulata var. flammea in bloom. What a sight like so many torches lighting up the sky. Here we again collected bromels found in or about the town. In brighter areas Aechmea dactylina held its bright red inflorescence bracts upright and proud. This new introduction, collected in both red and green foliage forms, will be heard from in the future.
Of course a number of bromels not seen in flower at the time were also collected and brought home. One of these flowered for the first time in January of this year. This flowering plant sent to Dr. Lyman B. Smith, is now to bear the name Nidularium deleonii. How well I remember collecting this particular bromel, for after detaching it from its host I turned to dump it, when out sprang a viper. While it was collected growing in rather deep shade, its scaly leaves suggested that it could tolerate more light. At home I have grown it on the bright side resulting in a more compact and more tubular plant. Nidularium deleonii I will have to admit is not showy by comparison to other species of the genus. Its inflorescence is sunken within the cup and its pale green scape bracts and light blue flowers will never make people forget Nidularium regelioides. It is, however, an important discovery, for in the words of Dr. Smith, "Your new species of Nidularium is all the more remarkable because it is the first outside of eastern Brazil. It is also the first addition I have had to the genus since my Bromeliaceae of Brazil."
8300 SW 62nd Place, Miami, Florida
Y FIRST ATTEMPT AT GROWING SEEDS from the Society met with failure. Although the vermiculite-sand-sphagnum moss mixture which I used was probably adequate for the job, yet it could not function with the little attention I could give it.
Since then I have devised a method whereby I need look at my seeds only once a month, a procedure which should appeal to the lazy and/or busy members of the Society. I have to date grown good healthy crops of Tillandsia capitata, Aechmea bracteata, Acanthostachys strobilacea, and a few more whose names I'm not certain of.
I combine 15 grams of non-nutrient powdered Agar with one liter of Hyponex solution (Ό teaspoonful to a gallon of water) and boil until the mixture is clear. About one minute actual boiling should do. I pour this mixture into clear glass bottles with caps, just enough in the bottom of each bottle to form a good solid base, about one inch in a 6-ounce pharmacy type bottle.
I put on the caps but do not screw down tightly and cover the top of the bottle and lid with brown paper squares and tie around the neck of the bottle. This is autoclaved for 15 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. Ordinary canning technique should work also. After cooling, the screw caps are tightened.
The seeds are merely strewn on top of the solidified agar, the cap put on and the bottle put in a light but not sunny place and forgotten for a month. After the seeds have germinated and the surface of the medium looks a little dry, I spray with water just a little. After seedlings are to the point of overcrowding and pushing out the top of the bottle, I break the bottle and put up seedlings in the usual mixture.
This method has the advantage of keeping the seeds moist and apparently free from such ills as damping off, etc., that usually beset the beginner.
11140 Robledo Dr., Oakland 3, California
A query has been received regarding an Aechmea seen in Europe and designated as Aechmea forgetiana. The plant is rightfully Aechmea caudata var. variegata. In April, 1903, F. Sander & Co., of St. Albans, England, exhibited this bromeliad under the name of Billbergia forgetiana at the 15th Quinquennial International Exhibition of the renowned Belgian Horticultural Society at Ghent. The first picture of this plant was published in Gardener's Chronicle (London) on page 258 of the April 25, 1903 issue, and was labeled B. forgetiana. In 1931 the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis received a plant of B. forgetiana. It has been cultivated by Mr. Foster in Orlando, Florida, since 1935 and has been correctly identified as Aechmea caudata var. variegata.
TOWERING GIANT OF AECHMEAS!
HE COMPELLING AND INTRIGUING ROMANCE of the horticulturist's avocation exploded anew two years ago in Florida when commercial airline pilots on the Brazilian and Peruvian runs began bringing in what to them were merely impressive plant curiosities, but to experienced Florida nurserymen were among the most startlingly beautiful bromeliads they had ever seen.
Early in 1961, a commercial airlines pilot discovered that limited quantities of rare bromeliads had become available at Iquitos, Peru, deep-water port on the Amazon River. The plants had been collected by natives of the interior farther up the river where lower growing trees made plant collecting possible. A second pilot, seeking tropical fish for distribution in Miami and elsewhere in the United States, went one thousand miles up the river, and through connections with native collectors found some thousand rare bromeliad plants including the much sought-after Aechmea chantinii. Bringing the plants to civilization took several months, but eventually all of these bromeliads were brought into Florida by planes whose use was made possible because the expense was absorbed by shipments of rare tropical fish.
While most of the bromeliads were impressive, some were obviously merely variations of known species. One group of plants, however, caused great excitement among all who saw them, because for brilliance of color and massiveness of flower these bromeliads surpassed all others. Standing out above all others was an Aechmea with a "shocking" pink inflorescence that towered sixteen inches above the foliage. This looked like a pink form of Aechmea chantinii, which differed from its prototype not only in color (usually orange) but in size, for it was at least twice as large as the Aechmea chantinii usually seen.
Whether this particular Aechmea was a "sport" and the only one of its kind was a question that bothered one nurseryman in particular. Mr. Jack Holmes, of Tampa, Florida, decided he would like to have more of these plants for his nursery, so he financed flights far into the jungles of Brazil's interior and a thousand miles up the Amazon into Peru, with the specific commission to confine the search for the pink Aechmea only.
Over the next several months, hundreds of plants were flown back to Florida, where each shipment was carefully sorted to isolate the desirable pink forms. Mr. Holmes, in his own words, "went wild over these." Again, this exhaustive search for rare bromeliads was made economically possible because the expense of the flights were largely absorbed by the basic business of the airlines importing shipments of rare tropical fish, animals, snakes, and birds.
After months of selection and elimination, the choice was narrowed to a half-dozen plants, each outstanding for its "shocking" pink color, its fine form, and the great size of the inflorescence. As propagation by off-shoot of these bromeliads was carried out, it became apparent that a truly large sized flower could be developed on a plant of modest size one readily adaptable to house, garden, and patio use.
|Aechmea 'Red Goddess'|
It was also obvious that these new plants could never be made sufficiently available on an import basis and that methods of seed selection and germination would have to be developed. But this was not an easy matter, for Aechmea chantinii, up to this time, was notorious for its reluctance to set seed. The few people in Europe and the United States who were lucky enough to own these plants had obtained them by subdivision.
It was not until the exact timing of flower development and an almost minute-to-minute schedule of hand pollinating was determined that success beckoned. During this period plants were put under a twenty-four-hour vigil, and most often pollinizing was correctly done only in the dark hours before dawn. It was then that commercial quantities seemed assured.
Subsequent blooming of these Aechmeas in the Tampa collection has proved that they differ from the Aechmea chantinii previously found in that they can truly be designated as giant types that are stiff and pyramidal in shape. In addition to the pink form, an equally brilliant red has also been developed through careful selection of outstanding parent plants.
|Aechmea 'Pink Goddess'|
"The Pink Goddess" Aechmea chantinii, as the strain has become known in the Tampa collection, is described as a "shocking color," so bright and brilliant is its hue. Like its new red twin, it normally bears flowers four to five times larger than the Aechmea chantinii usually seen. The fourteen-inch flower head, with bracts more than an inch wide and four to six inches long, dominate a plant that reaches thirty inches in height.
The thousands of plants now thriving in the Tampa collection have proved the new "Pink Goddess" Aechmea chantinii to be a true, repetitive strain, along with its sister strain, "Red Goddess." Although still limited in availability, because of continually improving breeding techniques, these handsome Aechmeas will soon be numerous enough to supply the demands of bromeliad enthusiasts everywhere.
P. O. Box 52R, Wheaton, Illinois.
JOHN M. RILEY
HIS NOTE HAS LITTLE TO DO WITH BROMELIADS specifically; however, it is given in hopes of stirring those with a need for a greenhouse to supplement their bromeliad collections to more active consideration of the problem. An acceptable greenhouse may be had for approximately $350 to $500, and it need not conform in every respect to the really nice one offered for about twice this amount, but with the same floor area. Quite often the best combination for a particular house and landscape doesn't fit exactly the stock models offered. Finally, you may obtain a savage pleasure in throwing off the awful pressures to conform. Try a little creative thinking on the particular problem before throwing yourself on the mass market. It isn't easy to remove redwood splinters sometimes and cutting glass which has a definite bias is exasperating, but oh the satisfaction of a greenhouse just suited to your personality, your collection, and your pocket book!
The paragraphs which follow discuss two greenhouses built by the writer, neither of them standard in make and appearance and both successful (at least from the personal point of view).
A deep and narrow lot in Georgia called for a greenhouse joined behind the garage for best exposure and minimum cost. The plants being raised at the time consisted of bromeliads and epiphyllums particularly required lots of headroom and an unusually tall greenhouse.
Two greenhouse manufacturers were contacted and asked for recommendations. One offered a plan, utilizing pipe structural support and conventional glass and wooden sash enclosure. This was accepted, with the greenhouse manufacturer furnishing only the specialized fittings and lumber. Standard pipe, glass, putty and foundation material was shopped for at local prices. Construction began with the exact location of pipe footings for the frame. Patience and a bit of flexible wire permitted framing the place with reasonable accuracy. By using the 3 x 4 x 5 relation in a right angle triangle as measured off by the wire, a creditable job may be done even though the areas involved are on a grander scale than is usual in carpentry. By experience: Don't use string for this purpose, it stretches and no two measurements are the same. A plastic hose makes a good level for truing up the floor area over large areas. Just fill the hose and notice that the water in it extends the same distance above the ground when the ends of the hose are elevated. With a careful placement of pipes and leveling of the supporting structure, the fun begins. Lots of sawing, measuring and beforehand calculation, but nothing strange but the glass. With a metal frame for the eaves, window sills, and rooftop, the carpentry is simple. The first round with glass cutting is kind of spooky, but with gloves at first and a bit of instruction from the local hardware store on how to use a glass cutter, this too becomes a pleasure. A strip of glass the width of the sidebar and rafter spacing makes a dandy guide for spacing these bars parallel and the right distance apart.
The wooden sidebars and rafters must be spaced parallel and square, obviously, but if you slip, it is not impossible to trim a Ό inch strip from a glass pane. Laying glass in putty is one of the more pleasant tasks. It goes very fast and is lots of fun. The glass panes overlap about 3/8th of an inch like shingles. A brad at the top of the pane, and two at the bottom edge is required. To nail safely against the glass, a small metal bar may be used. Simply push the brad into place by hand. Place the bar over the head of the brad so that the bar lies along the glass but with an edge up high enough for you to hammer it without pounding the glass itself. Painting is one of the more tedious tasks, but this can be done a bit at a time with no expense but your labor and the paint itself. In my greenhouse I chose to fill in the foundation from bench height down with green corrugated plastic. The small pieces made it an ideal arrangement for dealing with a manufacturer who steadily accumulated a number of imperfect pieces of larger sizes. These were trimmed out to the correct length and attached very simply with screws. The green color was beautiful at night, giving the greenhouse a warm summery glow whenever it was seen from the outside. Also important was the opportunity to plant below the bench level. A number of ferns, begonias and other plants thrive in the deeper shade provided under the bench.
My particular location for a greenhouse was unusual. Just to one side of our property grew a tall hickory tree. For this reason a couple of experiments with glass and hickory nuts were advisable. From the highest distance I could attain a hickory nut dropped on double thickness glass always bounced off. No breakage at all! A large percentage of the single weight glass panes survived the same treatment. Fortified with this knowledge the greenhouse was erected. Next fall, however the truth was out: A hickory nut from the highest portions of the tree which struck within an inch of the edge of the glass would break it. These nuts which struck the center did no damage. Here was a problem of heroic proportions. The solution lay deeply in the field of statistical mathematics (and home economics not to mention pride) By placing a screen of chicken wire with about a 2-inch mesh from roof top to edge, the hickory nut had to (1) pass untouched through the chicken wire (2) strike with-in an inch of the edge of the glass pane. The odds were sufficiently against this combination that never another pane of glass was broken. I will confess the development of a gaussian tic whenever at night a hickory nut would come whistling down from the tree to strike the roof . . . SPRONNG! . . . Crack! . . . Nary a broken glass though.
Heating this greenhouse was another nice problem. After a number of temporary installations and temperature measurements around the greenhouse, a location was chosen which gave the best and most even distribution of warm air. A gas heater thermostatically controlled was chosen for this purpose. Its capacity was adequate in mild weather, but during really cold spells a small bathroom heater was pressed into service. The regulating feature of the one heater still maintained a nice even temperature despite the unusual cold.
Conditions were different in California, but equally trying. No trees to contend with, but building regulations caused trouble instead. The best place for the green-house was right off the kitchen window where the plants could be seen and the exposure was right. However, the building code prevented extending any structure above the existing roof line. A greenhouse manufacturer was called in and he explained with good logic that the roof slope had to be great enough to cause the condensation at night to run along the rafters and sidebars out of the greenhouse.
Drippage from condensation on cold mornings is sure death to plants of a tropical nature. Problems again! This time the solution lay in the use of plastic sheeting for the roof. The water may drip from the edges, but it would run along the belly of the corrugations. Up went a test panel and the conclusion was that with the best conditions permitted by the building and desired architecture, the greenhouse could take the shape of a shed with a 10-foot high glass front and a 7½-foot high wall in back. The span of plastic was 10 feet. This combination seemed to permit water to run for quite a ways before gathering enough weight to drip. So the green-house was built with this in mind. Cross supports were placed at three-foot intervals and as the water hit the support it left the plastic and dripped to the ground. The benches were constructed so that this drip was outside their edge. The result was no trouble at all, and since the California area suffers dryness, rather than dampness, the extra moisture in the greenhouse was an advantage.
Heating in this mild climate was by means of infrared lamps with the operation controlled by an industrial thermostat. The problem here was to maintain temperatures above 38 degrees on cold nights. I will confess a bit of trouble at first. The use of red colored infrared lamps resulted in calls by each of the three neighbors who saw the red glow late at night after temperatures dropped to the danger level. I guess its only a matter of luck that the fire engines didn't come roaring down on us. Later these lamps were replaced with the kind which gives out a light which is more of a yellow hue and not so noticeable.
The purchase of materials is perhaps the difference in an inexpensive and a major investment in a greenhouse. If the glass is bought all at once and by the box, and the greenhouse structure is chosen for the most economical combination of glass and wood, considerable savings are possible. The glass size doesn't figure in price particularly, except that there is a compromise between the number of supports needed and the size of the glass pane required. An 18-inch glass width proved to be near optimum in my applications. Lumber requirements are important too. In some areas simple forms may be used, while others require special shapes, increasing costs by a good margin. In my application the sidebars and rafters were standard greenhouse lumber, but the balance was strictly standard redwood sizes. Of course labor is one of the larger elements of cost, and the greater your efforts as compared to the degree that the manufacturer has to prefabricate the structure, the greater the savings overall. Labor might not be the best word, for the satisfaction of planning and building things which endure is becoming a rare experience in this age of gadgetry designed to rob a man of all activity except the work to pay for more gadgetry.
Just a word to the wise: If you should undertake an independent design of a greenhouse, it is best to conform to the mores of the local building inspectors, regardless of feeling. A building permit, an electrical permit and an inspection following each are important to protect your insurance and to enable adequate participation in the privileges of taxation. To do otherwise would invite difficulty later when the structure is discovered by the tax assessor, or reported by people who would rather throw stones than to have glass houses.
20190 Lynton Ct., Cupertino, California
ISS PADILLA'S CONTRIBUTION to the Bulletin, describing bromels now in cultivation fills a long-felt gap and will help me greatly to clarify many points about my bromel collection. I have only a few of the plants listed those that grow wild around here but I feel tempted to tell members who cultivate them, how the plants live in their natural habitat. I shall pick from Miss Padilla's list the names I can place, and tell what I have seen of the plants in my restricted natural area.
I live in Teresopolis, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brasil, (there is another Teresopolis in the State of Santa Catarina). Our town is situated back of the Organ Mountains, at 3,170 ft. above sea level. To the southwest we can see most of the peaks in the chain, the highest reaches 7,543 feet and is 16 km. away. The lower parts of the mountain slopes are clad in cloud forest, and that is where most of the bromels live. Our climate is temperate. We have rainy summers and dry clear winter days. Frost is very rare.
AECHMEA COELESTIS is not as common as it used to be. This is not because collectors are after it, but owing to ever increasing devastation of forest to make room for people moving in. The plant lives clasped to tree trunks or heavy branches and sometimes forms big clusters, especially near the ground. In one gorge, Cascata dos Amores, I found a huge clump that had leaves over 2 feet in length. It grew on a tree trunk near the ground beside a brook. Plants in the upper branches stay smaller. Transplanted into the garden, into a pot, or fastened on a stout piece of tree-fern, a new shoot will in time grow into a well proportioned rosette of moderate size. Ae. coelestis develops slowly and is lazy to flower. Heads come up in late autumn, about April. The stout upright flowerstalk supports a pyramid-shaped aggregate of buds protruding a little above the leaf tips. The pyramid has a few lower branchlets and a big branch in the center. The first buds to open are the lowest of the big branch. The flowers are pale French blue, like those of Ae. fasciata. Soft dark red spines peep out between them. White scales cover calyx and stem. Birds relish the ripe black berries.
AECHMEA FASCIATA is the queen of the medium-sized bromels around here, beautifully proportioned and of almost continuous color-effect. Leaves in the wild plants are always gracefully curved despite their natural stiffness. Its home is the mountain forest from about 600 to 1100 m above sea level. A few outposts may be found in forests bordering brooks that run toward the Interior. Rose-red funnels proclaim its presence in tree tops; silver banding over black betrays it in the shadow of the undergrowth. If there is a flowerhead the effect is arresting.
The red variety (Ae. fasciata purpurea), although not very common in our woods, is almost the only one in our district. To me it splits up in two forms (or sub-forms): a smaller rose-colored one that lives in tree tops, and a larger, very dark red one almost black that grows in the lower layers of the forest, on trunks or boulders. When transplanted into the garden, the small rose-red holds its type for many successive generations of offshoots; the large dark-red one tends to reduce in size and to become dark green as the years go by. The white crossbands are always present.
The light-green variety (Ae. fasciata fasciata), I found only once, in a stretch of forest since replaced by homes and apartment houses (Cascata Guarany). I brought the plant home an infant, not knowing who it was. It grew and prospered fastened to a Cupressus trunk 1 m. above ground in Ύ shade, and finally revealed its identity by way of the pale pink torch. It has flowered several times since and supplied a number of offshoots. It looks exactly like the picture on page 11 of Bulletin Vol. XII, No. 1. Recently I spotted an additional specimen of this variety, about 10 m above ground in a tree along the new road to Rio where it runs through virgin forest (km. 47/48).
With us Ae. fasciata flowers around Christmas, but by no means every year. Torches appear very sparingly. Once I had two in September. After flowering the leaves fade somewhat. By January little red is left in them. Color returns when the cold sets in, around April.R. Carmela Dutra 181, Teresσpolis, Brazil.
JW. B. CHARLEY
HE QUESTION OF WHEN TO REMOVE SUCKERS from the mother plant of a bromeliad is often raised. Not in all cases is it just a matter of cutting off the "pup" at any old age. It is a very common sight to see these offshoots removed far too early, with the result that the too-small sucker either dies or remains stationary and after a struggle to put up a small sucker itself. It is far better to make haste slowly and await a good spread of leaves, usually when the sucker is about five inches long. Certainly, there is a chance of getting a second lot of suckers from the mother plant if one removes them when they are small, but usually the result is not very much different if one will wait a bit longer.
Heating a glasshouse can often be a problem. The use of oil-burning open-flame heaters of the room-heating variety is often a necessity, as no other means of heating a glasshouse may be available. These if properly serviced are very efficient and economical and can lift the temperature in a small glasshouse up as much as 20 degrees. But there is a danger. Even if the lamp gives off a clear, odorless flame, after a few months of winter a slight oily scum can easily be seen on top of the water in the cups of the bromeliads. This scum may settle on the leaves and be absorbed into the plant, and although this may not kill the bromeliad, it will eventually cause a brown rot at the base of the leaves.
A writer who paid a visit to the region of the headwaters of the Orinoco River in Venezuela reported that the rain there could wash a man's brains right out of his head. This region among many others in similar types of country is brom country, and such tropical downpours could completely flush out the cups of broms in no uncertain manner. It is suggested, and indeed has been proved, that a hose pointed fairly down the center of bromeliads and allowed to overfill the plant and flood it violently, just short of damaging the leaves, is the cure for oil water, and also for stagnant water. Afterwards, one may give the usual fertilizer into the cleansed water supply if it is the usual practice to do so.
The Jungle Bromeliadium, Mt. Tomah, Bilpin, N.S.W., Australia.
Just about all my life I have known Billbergia nutans and, of course, Ananas comosus, but I did not know the word bromeliad and the amazing plants that are members of this family until given a couple of the loveliest and most fascinating plants one could imagine.
Then I started to collect. I got one here and one there, and the thing grew. I had Bromania.
A large glassed-in verandah was ideal for growing these plants, but before long it was full up, and the plants spread to the sitting room, the kitchen, the bedrooms, and every available corner. So I built a special glasshouse for them, for the fever was strong upon me.
I planned it carefully to be as much like jungle conditions as possible. I had a lovely pair of ringneck doves to fly beneath the roof and a pair of guinea pigs to roam beneath the benches, both gentle creatures. The doves promptly cooed, wooed, and nested in my favorite Neoregelia. There wasn't room under the benches for the guinea pigs either; there were broms there too.
I built three more glasshouses after that and had some suitable plants outside as well. The fever was really hot. There is not much more room for more glasshouses, and the position now?
Look, they're coming in the windows,|
Look, they're coming in the door,
The sunroom's full and won't hold any more.
W. B. Charley, Mt. Tomah, Bilpin, N. S. W., Australia
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