THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETIN
|President||James N. Giridlian||Editorial Secretary||Victoria Padilla|
|Vice President||Charles A. Wiley||Membership Secretary||Jeanne Woodbury|
|Treasurer||Jack M. Roth||Art Editor||Morris Henry Hobbs|
|Board of Directors|
David Barry, Jr.
Nat de Leon
Mulford B. Foster
James N. Giridlian
Morris H. Hobbs
E. H. Palmer
Jack M. Roth
Dr. Russell Seibert
O. E. Van Hyning
Charles A. Wiley
Wilbur G. Wood
Mrs. Adda Abendroth
W. B. Charley
Monsieur Charles Chevalier
Mulford B. Foster
A. B. Graf
E. Rutherford, New Jersey
Charles H. Lankester
Richard Oeser, M. D.
P. Raulino Reitz
Dr. Lyman B. Smith
|Affiliated Societies and their Presidents|
|The Bromeliad Guild, Los Angeles, California||Jack M. Roth|
|Louisiana Bromeliad Society, New Orleans, Louisiana||Mrs. Nell Emery|
|Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society, St. Petersburg, Florida||Mrs. B. E. Roberts|
|South Florida Bromeliad Society, Miami, Florida||Ralph W. Davis|
|Bromeliad Society of New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand||William Rogers|
|Bromeliad Society of Australia, Sydney, Australia||J. S. Martin|
A habit drawing of Aechmea tocantina approximately one-half life size. This is the only known specimen of the species, and is the property of the University of Southwestern Louisiana. It was collected in Bolivia by Ira S. Nelson, professor of horticulture at the university. The plant is well over a meter in height, with the huge inflorescence of yellow tipped green berries about level with the top of the leaves. Scape bracts are rose. Leaves are gray green with large spines.
— Morris H. Hobbs
No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.
WHERE HAVE THEY GONE?BELIEVE IT WAS OMAR, THE TENTMAKER, who said, "Each morn a thousand roses brings, you say, but where leaves the rose of yesterday?"
This is a question that could well be applied to all kinds of plants, for a perusal through any old catalogue—say one of fifty years ago—will disclose a number of varieties no longer to be found in our gardens, public or private, and in none of the nurseries. What has happened to these plants? Where have they gone? Many were outstanding species, and their loss to horticulture is great. That so many good plants have disappeared is indeed a mystery.
Because of injudicious collecting, many wildlings, too, are disappearing from their native habitats—orchids and bromeliads once found in certain localities have all but vanished. Often, unfortunately, these plants so avidly but so carelessly collected, will not stand fumigation or thrive under cultivation, and so die and are lost forever.
The mad race to produce something new has finally caught up with the bromeliad fancier. Crosses and recrosses are being made in such hectic abandon that one wonders what will be the end result. In many instances, the new generation of plants can in no way compete in beauty or in style with the parents. In the meantime, many old beauties have been put aside and forgotten, to come, perhaps, to an ignominious end on the back shelf. Most likely, many fine species have been lost to cultivation in this way. True, two world wars brought havoc to Europe and particularly to greenhouses and plant collections, but this author believes that some effort should be made to ferret out those lost gems, perhaps still to be found in some obscure botanical garden or private collection.
For example, who today has Vriesea ginoti, described so eloquently by the late Jules Chantrier in one of his catalogues? A cross between Vriesea fenestralis and Encholirion roseum, it was described as being a very interesting and ornamental plant, having remarkable vigor, being larger and more striking looking than Vriesea fenestralis. Another beauty that M. Chantrier relished was his V. fenestralis var. mortfontanensis—a cross between V. fenestralis and V. tessellata. This plant was more vividly marked than its parents, the under sides of the leaves being a deep red which showed through the leaves giving them a roseate glow. Perhaps these crosses can be remade if superior clones are used. However, this is not true of species that somehow have just slipped away from the scene.
A look through some of Mulford B. Foster's old listings will disclose plants no longer on sale today. There may be some fortunate hobbyists who still have some of his early rarities—for example, the charming little Vriesea racineae, but for most of us this is a lost gem.
It is sincerely hoped that those members who have large collections which include many such rarities will see to it that these plants are perpetuated so that they are not lost—in the mad race for new bigeneric hybrids—to horticulture.
— V. P.
RECEIVED FROM "DOWN-UNDER"UR CONGRATULATIONS GO TO THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY of New Zealand and to the Bromeliad Society of Australia, who inside of a few short months have become organizations of note in their communities. The New Zealand Society has its meetings in Auckland, although a large number of members reside outside this city. The Society has been fortunate to acquire a permanent meeting place, always an added asset, and has a regular agenda set up for each meeting. For many, bromeliads are new plants, so the showing of slides is still a part of each meeting. Also, the main interest of the group at this time is the finding of ways and means by which new varieties can be brought into New Zealand, a difficult task due to strict quarantine and custom laws.
According to the secretary, Mrs. Hanson, the Society is gaining new members quite steadily. She writes that all the members are very "keen" on bromeliads, and a great future is foreseen for these plants, which all members definitely believe to be the plant of the future insofar as New Zealand is concerned.
The Bromeliad Society of Australia already has a bi-monthly publication and an affiliated study group. There seems to be no keeping these enthusiastic people down. Their "Bromeletter," under the editorship of Robert Agnew, is a very ambitious project for such a newly formed organization, and was designed to keep the interests of those members who live too far to attend the regular meetings held regularly in or around Sydney. An imposing array of officers has been set up, headed by Mr. J. S. Martin, acting as president. Dr. D. Johnston is an Associate Vice President representing the Society in Canberra and Mr. John Himmerman, well known as a cactus expert besides being avidly interested in bromeliads, is also an Associate Vice President, representing the Society in Victoria.
The affiliated study group was formed by a group of enterprising members residing in the North Coast of New South Wales. This group has been called the "Beautizone Group"—Beautizone because this part of N. S. W. north coast has major tourist attractions and is recognized for its beautiful scenery. The leader of this group is Mr. Wal Hudson of Sawtelle. More such study clubs are expected to form shortly.
The Bromeliad Society of Australia is quite eager to get off on the right foot—and its members are making a concerted effort to clear up nomenclature, and a registration of hybrids under the leadership of Dr. D. Johnston has already been set up.
The honorary trustee from Australia is Mr. W. B. Charley, who has been a regular contributor to the Bulletin.
— V. P.
GROWING BROMELIADS IN FRANCE
MARCEL LECOUFLEN EUROPEAN GREENHOUSES, as well as in horticultural exhibits and in the home, bromeliads are either grown in containers of various kinds and sizes or attached to pieces of log. Growers often raise their plants in the greenhouses, but bring them into the home when the plants are in flower.
|Illustration # 1|
Containers may be large or small and in different shapes as shown by the accompanying illustrations. Illustration No. 1 shows a curious dish with three legs in which grow a Vriesea splendens, a Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor, and Aechmea fasciata. This makes a highly decorative piece.
|A Bûche Garnie|
Many bromeliads are grown in sphagnum moss or orchid compost and set in pieces of log, known in France as "bûche garnie." In Illustration No. 2, we see Aechmea × 'Foster's Favorite,' Billbergia saundersii, Vriesea splendens, several Cryptanthus, and a form of moss growing happily on an old piece of wood. In such plantings we have tried to simulate as closely as possible the natural growing conditions of these epiphytes. Because of climatic conditions not many bromeliads can be grown outdoors in France, although Mr. Julian Marnier Lapostolle, whose home is on the warm " Cote d'azur," raises many Tillandsias in his world-famous botanic garden.
|Tillandsias growing in the garden of M. Julian Marnier-Lapostolle.|
It was these Tillandsias ("filles de l'air") that inspired our older bromeliad growers, such as Bleu (1835-1901) and the Chantrier Brothers to create what is known as "bûches garnies." A "bûche garnie" from Jules Chantrier's catalogue was shown in Volume IV, page 45, of this Bulletin. Ch. and Ed. Morren advocated this means of growing bromeliads in the Beligique Horticole (1851-1885), as did also the grower L. Duval (1854-1907) in the publication Les Bromeliacees (1896). A modern "bûche garnie" created by the author is illustrated in the colored photograph heading this article. Cryptanthus and Aechmea orlandiana were used.
Now in this atomic year we still sell to our florists different kinds of "bûches garnies," which are very popular. Also in demand are bromeliads grown in ceramic pots and encased in wire containers. The pots are usually yellow, deep red, green, black, or white; the iron wire is painted usually in white. An example of this type of container is the cage (8 by 12 inches) in the shape of a horseshoe ("fer á cheval") in which are grown Aechmea tillandsioides and ivy. The red flowers of this Aechmea remain in color for weeks; then the berries turn blue— all of which makes us think of a bird in its cage. As plants are so much easier to care for than birds, these cages are always popular. The cage may be set on a table or hung from the wall.
|Vriesea splendens var. cayenne|
The Chinese cart, which is also illustrated, has the same sized pot.
The Vriesea splendens used here is a special variety which flowers freely on plants much smaller and younger than the major and other known varieties. This special strain was imported from Cayenne some years ago by the Museum of Natural History of Paris. It has multiplied and gained favor, despite the many crosses and selection of Vriesea splendens made in this country during the past century.
Many other kinds of containers are used—those in the shapes of sleighs, ladders holding pots, baskets, etc.
|Mr. and Mrs. Lecoufle in their office, showing their extensive orchid library — one of the largest in Europe — and their use of bromeliads as indoor plants.|
— 1, Rue de l'Eglise, Boissy Saint Leger, France.
IN COLOMBIA AND ECUADOR
LYMAN B. SMITH
(Reprinted from Plant Life, Volume 1, Nos. 2 & 3, July & October 1945)HEN EDOUARD FRANCOIS ANDRÉ, botanist, horticulturist and editor, journeyed from the mouth of the Rio Magdalena in northern Colombia to Loja in southern Ecuador, he collected and studied a great variety of plants, but there can be little doubt that his main interest lay with the bromeliads or members of the pineapple family. It must have been or he would never have continued to collect such difficult plants to prepare through all that grueling journey. Then after his return to France he spent many years studying his collections and produced as his one great monograph, the "Bromeliaceae Andreanae," an account of the 122 species and 14 varieties which he had brought back. Of these, 91 species were described as new either here or in his earlier brief enumeration, and it should be noted that the great majority of them are still considered valid. With excusable pride he noted that Humboldt and Bonpland found only 19 new species of bromeliads over a much wider area.
André's achievement in making such a notable contribution to science can best be understood in the light of his character and training as revealed in the narrative of his journey in "Le Tour du Monde" and in the introduction to the volume on his Bromeliaceae. Since André was not given to self-analysis, one must read between the lines to see the man. There one is struck with his enthusiasm for collecting and his firmness of purpose that sees him through the difficulties and disappointments of travel under the most primitive conditions. Yet all the time he is describing his hardships, he seldom fails to see their humorous side and point it up with a dry Gallic wit.
His training he dismisses briefly except for an affectionate tribute to his friend and teacher, Edouard Morren, the leading authority on bromeliads in his day. There is not even a hint that André was a landscape architect famed the length and breadth of Europe, and the bald statement of the scope of his commission from the French government is all we have to indicate the esteem of his fellow countrymen. The fact remains that he was superlatively well prepared to take advantage of every opportunity to advance natural science.
Thus, after an introduction much too long for André's approval, we find him and his two companions one day in late November of 1875 embarking on a new but ramshackle stern-wheeler at the Magdalena river-port of Barranquilla. He paid humorous tribute to the Yankee owners and skipper, passengers, food, service and last, and doubtless most difficult, to the mosquitoes.
The ship had to stop at intervals for fuel and André seized each such opportunity to rush ashore and collect. At Isla Brava, one of these stops along the torrid lower reaches of the Magdalena, he collected his first new species of bromeliad, Aechmea penduliflora with its delicate nodding inflorescence. Evidently it did not make much impression on him at the time, for Isla Brava is not mentioned in his narrative. Understandably the great heat (sand up to 127° F.), the poisonous snakes and the vara santa tree with hollow branches full of vicious ants, all had greater impact at the moment.
The other species of the lower Magdalena were typical of tropical lowlands around the Caribbean: Guzmania monostachia, Catopsis sessiliflora, Tillandsia Valenzuelana and Aechmea magdalenae. It seems strange that he should be the first to discover the latter species, for it extends from Colombia to Yucatan, grows in dense impenetrable stands of great extent and has long been used by the Indians for its fiber. Possibly its resemblance to a pineapple caused earlier botanists to overlook it, or to look the other way rather than try to collect it.
Even on the more temperate upper Magdalena, André found the elevation still too low for optimum conditions for bromeliads. At Honda, he changed from the boat to the mule train which was to be his chief conveyance henceforth, and started southeastward up the Cordillera Oriental toward Bogota.
André was quickly adjusted to this new mode of travel and even the toboggan tactics of the mules on wet clay slopes soon failed to distract his attention from the spectacle about him. The trail rose, the temperature dropt, and soon Spanish moss, Tillandsia usneoides, and stunted vegetation marked the beginning of the "tierra fria" or cool upland where gaudy Ericaceae predominate.
At Facatativa he reached the rim of the ancient lake-bed in which Bogota lies. There he found his first truly Andean species of bromeliad Tillandsia incarnata, which covers the ground with a gray carpet flecked with the bright red of its bracts.
After a short stop in Bogota where he made some very helpful acquaintances, he continued across the remainder of the Andean chain to Villavicencio on the western edge of the great llanos or prairie country of the Orinoco Basin. Crossing the Andes he began to pick up new bromeliads in earnest: Tillandsia heterandra, Pitcairnia guaritermae and brachysperma, and Aechmea servitensis, as well as a number of older species. However, in the bromeliad-poor llanos, André found only Aechmea angustifolia, a characteristic species of the Amazon Basin.
From Villavicencion, André retraced his steps to Bogota, then swung off his old course toward a more southerly junction with the Rio Magdalena. At first he followed along the lazy curves of the Rio Funza where he found two more new tillandsias, then where the Funza suddenly drops off nearly five hundred feet in the great Tequendama Falls, André encountered his Tillandsia tequendamae with its own cascade of bright red bracts in a pendent inflorescence.
His route turned southward now to Barroblanco and Fusagasuga, whence he made a side trip to the famous Gulf or Chasm of Icononzo. A short distance from Icononzo he found a striking bromeliad which he later described as Aechmea columnaris on account of its slender inflorescence which reaches a height of eight feet and seems to be made of hundreds of golden beads. Its leaves are blood red for two-thirds their length, making even the sterile plants extremely ornamental.
|Assorting the Day's Collection|
Nearby André collected what might be called the minimum bromeliad, for it had no stem, no scape, and only a single flower in the center of a tiny rosette of leaves. It was later named Tillandsia Andreana by Edouard Morren. André also discovered Bromelia nidus-puellae which has a dense mass of flowers nested in the center of the rosette.
Back at Fusagasuga he turned westward again and descended the Cordillera Oriental to the Magdalena at Guataqui, finding little of note in bromeliads as he rapidly lost altitude.
After crossing the Magdalena in a precariously balanced dugout canoe he started up the first slopes of the Cordillera Central. Beginning with a single new pitcairnia just across the river, his list was increased by another pitcairnia, a tillandsia and three guzmanias by the time he reached the crest of Quindio Pass.
On the way up, his route passed for a time through stands of beautiful wax palms with white trunks like slender columns of ivory, and at Las Cruces he came to an hacienda whose economy was based in large part on the collection of this wax. The owner of the hacienda proved both intelligent and hospitable and André stayed for a while to take advantage of the rich collecting.
On one occasion his host organized a jaguar hunt for André's special benefit. André struggled down to the bed of a ravine through dense jungle and laid in wait for the jaguar to be driven past. Unfortunately some epiphytes—among them some new tillandsias—so distracted his attention that the beast got clean by him and he caught only a glimpse of it as it flashed into the brush.
Leaving Las Cruces, André went up over the divide and struggled into Salento after nightfall. Here his Tillandsia rariflora proved to be rare in more than flowers, for nobody has collected it in the seventy years that has elapsed since then. Another night on the downslope he was forced to spend in a filthy hovel at Tambores, but next day he reached Cartago in the Cauca Valley. The west slope of the Cordillera Central had netted him a new aechmea and four new tillandsias.
From Cartago, André turned sharp left and proceeded southward up the Cauca Valley. As usual, the return to the lowlands signaled the practical disappearance of interesting bromeliads. The same distance that had yielded him so many new ones in crossing the Cordillera Central, now gave him nothing new and very little old along the winding swampy Cauca.
By the time he reached Buga about seventy miles to the south of Cartago he felt there was little more to learn from the monotonous valley. So agreeing to rejoin his companions at Cali, he took one peon and started on a side trip across the Cordillera Occidental. After ferrying the Cauca, he went down its west bank over terribly muddy and often flooded roads until he reached Vijes. There he was warned that his intended route over the mountains was both difficult and dangerous, but feeling sure that the alternate route offered but poor collecting he stuck to his decision.
He was soon rewarded with some very rich collecting as his trail entered the dense humid forest of the Alto del Potrerito. There he found a great variety of cryptogams and the new bromeliads, Guzmania sphaeroidea and Tillandsia Carrierei, as well as Tillandsia tenuispica that he had discovered but a short time before.
As André climbed higher he came out on the rounded crests of the Cordillera with their short grass or loma formation. Then his route went down and for a time he found forest between Alto del Bitaco and the Rio Dagua. This stretch of trail drops three thousand feet in a short distance. Looking down, André remarked on the strange white pattern on the vegetation below and his guide explained that it was the bones of travelers and their mules picked clean by the vultures. In spite of the risks of such a trail, he still managed to collect a few more new bromeliads.
At Las Juntas he started back after an unpleasant night with vampire bats. His Tillandsia fragrans comes from this locality and further on where he entered an arid region at Los Hornos (the ovens), he came on a great bromeliad, six to nine feet high with rigid leaves like fluted zinc and great red-violet panicles. This was the Tillandsia secunda of Humboldt. In the small settlement of Los Hornos the houses were surrounded by very effective hedges of Bromelia Karatas with its long leaves armed with great sharp hooks pointing in all directions.
André rejoined his companions at Cali, rested from an attack of fever and made preparations for the next leg of his journey. This part from Cali to Popayan was uneventful.
Next he had a choice of two southward routes from Popayan to Pasto and deliberately chose the worse because so little was known of its geology. Both his expectations and his fears were justified and the party reached Pasto much the worse for fever and little richer botanically.
At Pasto, André rested and refitted for two weeks and also took some short side trips. Best of these was the one to Laguna Cocha high in the western Andes near where the great Rio Putumayo has its source. A local mountaineer offered to guide him and they set out early one day with several other natives of Pasto. Leaving their horses at an Indian village they began the hard ascent of the Cordillera del Tabano by the "monkey trail" using their hands almost as much as their feet. On every side an infinite variety of cryptogams, orchids and bromeliads covered all parts of the trees and in spite of the difficulties of the trail André managed to collect a goodly number. Guzmania candelabrum hung from high branches like the chandeliers of a cathedral.
After going through a narrow defile so overgrown as to be almost a tunnel, they emerged on the Alto de la Cruz and were rewarded with a magnificent view of Laguna Cocha. A painful decent by two "ladders" of roots brought them to the edge of the lake at the hut of Casapamba, but not without losing two of the party who spent a miserable night in the woods.
The next day André set out in the driving rain to explore the lake margin. As he waded through tall sedges something like a telegraph pole suddenly loomed up before him. It was Puya gigas, one of the largest of bromeliads with a flowering stem thirty feet high. Although André was able to cultivate it in France, it never produced flowers there.
Before leaving Pasto, André was met by Jules Thomas, a French resident of Tuquerres who had come especially to conduct him to that city. About halfway there, near the deep gorge of the Rio Guitara they encountered a beautiful puya with a graceful open panicle and pale green flowers. Years later André described it as Puya Thomasiana in pleasant memory of their association.
From Tuquerres, André made a short excursion to Volcan Azufral on whose lower slopes he found puyas, tillandsias, guzmanias and other plants that grow well in European cool houses. In sharp contrast to the deep lowland was the pale grass of the upper slopes and the riot of color in the crater lake of Laguna Verde and its surrounding amphitheater.
André had heard of the rich lowland country about Barbacoas to the northeast and decided to go collecting in that direction in spite of reports of the worst roads yet. He soon passed the western crest of the Cordillera and before him lay the great alluvial outwash from the bursting of the prehistoric lake that used to occupy the upper reaches of the Patia. At San Pablo the trail became too bad for his horse and he had to proceed on foot or riding in a chair strapped back to back on his Indian porter. About the same time he entered the rainiest country he had yet seen. Heavy storms were almost continuous and the Indians built their cabins on stilts like lake-dwellers.
If the trail to Laguna Cocha merited the title of "monkey trail" this could only be described as the "bird trail." At the Rio Cuaiquer which he had to cross on a swaying bridge of lianas, André found his Guzmania Morreniana with its close-packed chestnut spikes and hieroglyphic leaf-markings and Guzmania Eduardi with its brilliant red involucre. Both commemorate his friend Edouard Morren.
At Los Astrojos at the summit of a long climb, Indians had erected a rustic cross and adorned it with an epiphytic guzmania with appropriately blood-red leaves. This was André's Guzmania sanguinea which became popular in cultivation.
Near another crest, Alto de Armada, he looked up to see bright red and yellow heads of flowers hanging from delicate vine-like plants of Guzmania caricifolia and graminifolia. These two species that have yet to be rediscovered, he placed in a new genus, Sodiroa, on the basis of their habit.
Just short of Barbacoas, André turned back in order to save the collections he had made. In addition to the bad trail he had his worries from close landslides and a drunken porter whose delay in returning to Tuquerres nearly ruined the last lot of specimens.
Heading south on his last lap toward Ecuador, André traveled over a high nearly bare plateau where the only trees were an occasional alder or willow. However, the low vegetation of such genera as Bomarea, Fuchsia, Berberis and Vallea was very colorful, and many high cascades added to the grandeur of the scene. Bromeliads were few, but he did find Tillandsia lajensis near the sanctuary of the Virgin of Laja and Tillandsia rectiflora by the natural bridge of Rumichaca which he crossed into Ecuador.
In Colombia, André had frequently been below the optimum range of bromeliads, but now in Ecuador he traveled at such an altitude that he was more often well above it. On the paramo above Tulcan, he met with his first Ecuadorean bromeliads including Tillandsia tetrantha var. scarlatina with brilliant red bracts.
By the cañon of the Rio Chota he found both extremes of bromeliad range, with the new Puya aequatorialis on the bleak paramo and Tillandsia recurvata along with sugar cane plantations on the riverbanks some 4500 feet below. The puya was another indication of the height of his route since it is a genus of the open paramo formation above tree-line while the majority of bromeliads prefers dense forest.
After reaching Quito, Andre did a little local collecting and then had the good fortune to meet R. P. Sodiro who knew the region in great detail. On their expedition they went south to Corazon and then struck west down the Rio Toachi. At Tambillo near Quito, André found his Tillandsia pastersis for a third time. It is interesting to note how often André recollected his own new species, a situation which is eloquent of the neglect of the family by earlier collectors.
|André and companion sleeping among bromeliads; Niebli region, Ecuador|
On the slopes of Corazon André found his Puya vestita with densely woolly sepals and Tillandsia homostachya, another member of the sub-genus Pseudo-Catopsis with zig-zag spikes of tiny flowers. At one point along the river they passed through a stand of horsetails, Equisetum giganteum, over fifteen feet high. The return was complicated by mutinous porters but André cowed them by heroic measures and brought his collections safely back to Quito.
A second trip was north and west of the region of Niebli where André found his richest collecting in Ecuador. In the haul were three new guzmanias and a new tillandsia and according to his illustration they even slept surrounded by bromeliads.
After about a month, André left Quito and collecting a little more as he moved south he finally arrived at Babahoyo on the Rio Guayas and here his account in "Le Tour du Monde" ends. However, we know from his collections that he went to Loja before starting home.
After his return to France, his bromeliads occupied much of his time for the next thirteen years, and later botanists are grateful to André not only for the magnitude of his collecting but even more for the accuracy and fullness of his reports.
NOTESince the original publication of this article in 1945 the following changes in nomenclature have been made:
Tillandsia heterandra becomes Vriesea heterandra
Tillandsia tequendamae becomes Vriesea tequendamae
Aechmea columnaris becomes Aechmea latifolia
Tillandsia fragrans becomes Vriesea fragrans
Tillandsia secunda becomes Tillandsia mima
Tillandsia rectiflora becomes Tillandsia Fraseri
These are all covered in my Bromeliaceae of Colombia.
—Lyman B. Smith, Smithsonian Institution, Washington 25, D. C.
A NEW BOOK FOR YOUR BROMELIAD LIBRARYROMELIADS IN CULTIVATION, Volume I, by Robert Gardner Wilson and Catherine Wilson, Hurricane House Publishers, Inc., 3744 Stewart Avenue, Coconut Grove, Florida, 126 pages, $6.50. Bob and Catherine Wilson's book is out at last! And our congratulations go to the authors for producing a truly splendid work. A beautifully conceived volume, it is a delight to the eye; a thoughtfully planned reference book, it fills the long-felt need of both the amateur and the professional grower; a distinctly warm and personal piece of writing, it will undoubtedly interest many in growing this fascinating group of plants.
Although The Bromeliad Society's Cultural Handbook and Dr. Lyman B. Smith's many botanical studies on bromeliads have long been available, this is the first book in English written purposely to interest the novice in simple language that he can understand. As such, Bromeliads in Cultivation is a real landmark in the history of horticultural literature.
This book is the first of two volumes, the bromeliads under consideration extending from the genus Abromeitiella through the genus Greigia. In all, twenty-five genera are described not only in clear and concise and vivid terms, but by the use of excellent pen and ink sketches and some 125 colored plates. In this way, plant identification has been made extremely easy.
The Wilsons, who have lived with bromeliads for the past twenty years and have learned to love and know these plants, understand well the problems that beset the grower, and they have endeavored to cover every aspect of the cultural needs of these exotics. Potting, propagation, watering, fertilizing, light, temperature, pests, diseases and grooming make up the first part of the volume. This is followed by a descriptive list of genera and species. A few hybrids are mentioned, but the list is not an extensive one.
Of particular value and interest to the grower are the quick reference lists, in which bromeliads are grouped according to their light requirements, their general contours, their size, their colors, their flowers, their foliage, and their types of flowers. Such information has heretofore been unavailable in English, and will be very helpful to the beginner in choosing the bromeliads to suit his needs.
The Wilsons are to be thanked for writing this book, which must have been a true labor of love — compiling lists is never an easy or enjoyable task. Special mention must be made of the artistic setup of the book and the beautiful dust jacket, which depicts a patio arrangement of bromeliads. This photograph alone should win many friends for the bromeliad family.
— V. P.
HIS OUTSTANDING VRIESEA, a native of Brazil, was first introduced into cultivation in 1825 as Tillandsia regina. It has also been known as Tillandsia blokii, Vriesea blokii, and Alcantarea; but was given its present name by Beer in 1857.
The illustration shows a well-grown specimen raised by Marcel Lecoufle in his greenhouse near Paris. The young lady, Miss Lecoufle, gives some idea of the size of this plant, which measures over six feet. Mr. Lecoufle imported this plant in 1953 from Brazil, at which time it measured between four and five inches. The plant was grown on the shelf nearest the roof, where it obtained the optimum heat and light. Mr. Lecoufle took this plant, as soon as it put out its inflorescence, into his living room, where its bright yellow flowers on the red stem added quite a decorative note.
WILLIAM DRYSDALEHANDY TOOL FOR USE IN REMOVING SUCKERS which adhere closely to the parent plant is the curved grapefruit knife with serrated edge. Also handy is the steel saw-blade knife offered by orchid supply houses.
Another useful item from the same source is redwood shavings which as an additive to fir bark inhibits the formation of mycelium fungus. Use one-half to one third shavings to the remainder of the fir bark. The mycelium is most apt to develop when there are wood chips mixed with the bark. While the fungus is harmless, it forms a tough shield-like cap on the surface and is impervious to water, causing dehydration of the plant.
For lining baskets sphagnum is unrivaled, but for many occasions shredded redwood bark is not only effective, long lasting, but very handsome because of the rich red color which holds for a considerable period before darkening. This bark comes in large bales intended for use as insulation in home construction. However, it can be used in a multitude of situations wherever an acid material is needed. It may be placed in the bottom of pots for drainage to hold fine soil from being washed out. It may be incorporated into the mixture prepared for orchids or any other potting mix where an acid reaction is wanted. For lining hanging or wall baskets, this material may be peeled off in sheets. Where this is of some thickness bromeliad roots will work their way into it. A bale is tightly compressed and will serve one's needs for several years.
The wire pot hangers made of heavy gauge wire which clamp over the rim of a pot are ideal for air plants since they may be hung wherever one wishes—on the clothes line to enjoy a rainstorm or in a tree for a summer outing. In the crowded glasshouse one can accommodate a much greater number of plants than if they must be kept on a flat surface. There is also a greater exposure to air and less crowding of foliage. Also one can form chains of hanging plants, by hanging another hanger on the clip which catches the rim of another post already suspended. These hangers are galvanized, but the wires can be bulged out to accommodate the plants, and only the lower leaves are apt to develop spots at contact, although all plants are not susceptible. Giving the wires a vinegar rinse is most desirable. This grower would be decidedly inconvenienced if he had to do without these hangers, for otherwise he would have no place to winter two-thirds of his collection
— 4300 Isabella, River-side, California.
JOSEPH F. CARRONE, JR.ORE ARDENT BROMELIAD FANS YOU COULD NOT FIND! My wife, Susan, and I enjoy not only the horticultural end of our hobby, but we also have a keen interest in botany and taxonomy as well. When Aechmea chantinii became more readily available a few years ago, we purchased and indexed as many of these plants as we had space for in our glass greenhouse and plastic house. Soon thereafter we began an intensive hybridization program with the nicer varieties of this species and other species and hybrids of a number of genera in the vast bromeliad kingdom. Along with this we attempted to self-pollinate various clones of Aechmea chantinii and to reproduce this species by pollinizing the nicer ones with each other.
After repeated efforts to reproduce A. chantinii by self-pollinating any given clone, we have come to the conclusion that all of the clones of it that we have in our possession are virtually self-sterile. On the other hand, we have found that functional gametes are produced and reciprocal pollination of any two clones of this species has given viable seed very abundantly.
This intra-specific pollination has resulted in the creation of some very fine youngsters of straight A. chantinii. To give you some idea of the latitude of variations, we can show you near-white plants with scale formation closely approaching that coverage found in the all-white varieties of Aechmea fasciata. Possibly with another generation or so of selective breeding, we will have attained that degree of perfection found in these plants. We shall see! Then, too, there are some very evenly barred ones. Others have yielded plum-red colored plants, brownish plants, blackish-purple ones, light greens, and pinkish ones. I am referring here to the leaf color beneath and between the whitish banding. Incidentally, do not confuse these seedlings with a cross of this species and the dark colored forms of Aechmea amazonica; I am talking about straight A. chantinii only and about selective breeding within this same species in order to produce all of the differently colored forms of A. chantinii.
Quite naturally, different fertilizers and growing media have varied effects on the density of scale formation and on the regularity of spacing of bars on the leaves of this type of bromeliad. Shading or protection from sun also shows marked influences on the above-mentioned characteristics as well. Each of these different factors could be covered by many-paged articles themselves. However, at this time I am touching on some of the efforts we are making along breeding lines alone. Cultural methods have been covered from time to time in this publication by other persons.
Getting back to our breeding program, I might add that our clone of A. chantinii, designated by us as No. 33, has produced barred offspring in the No. 1 generation with Aechmea fulgens var discolor (our No. 2) with Aechmea fasciata and with the variety purpurea, as well as with several other nice bromeliads.
I think that perhaps it would be best to stress again that we have found this clone No. 33 to be completely self-sterile as are our other clones of A. chantinii. Therefore, when you have given some consideration to this heretofore unknown breeding behavior of A. chantinii, you immediately discount the idea that no hybrid as such was produced, but, instead, a selfing of this particular clone was accomplished. Knowledge of the self-sterility, then, encourages us to use No. 33 as the mother-seed bearing parent in crosses involving different species and genera of bromeliads. We are assured, thereby, that each time viable seeds are produced by this plant, a cross of the two plants involved definitely has been made.
A chantinii No. 33 produces functional gametes resulting in viable seeds when involved in a mating with other clones of A. chantinii as well. We also are confident that some of the genes for passing on this barring tendency to its young will surely be handed out to other straight A. chantinii seedlings we obtained from clone No. 33. We will not have to rely on a sexual division of clone No. 33 to have material for pollination purposes over a greater period of the year. A stock of such plants is much needed by hybridizers today.
Perhaps there are other clones of this species that already have this power—only through breeding can we determine which ones they are.
There are other clones of A. chantinii in our collection that have given noteworthy results even if they do not pass on their barred pattern to their hybrid offspring. Our clone designed as No. 14 has the ordinary bright scarlet floral bracts with the added attraction of one or two black to greenish-black bands at the apical end of these bracts. We feel sure that this is a fixed characteristic now that we have bloomed a sexual offspring of this clone and have seen this characteristic repeated. We hope that some of the seedlings of clone No. 14 show this barring in their inflorescences.
Not very many flowers of an inflorescence were pollinated on successive mornings, as I had to be away from home at the time. Except when the plants in bloom were placed beneath the bench the night before, the flowers that had opened that day were past their period of usefulness for breeding purposes. Some flowers were therefore skipped. Since then we have worked out a method of sustaining the useful life of these flowers and can now pollinate A. chantinii as late as four or five in the afternoon. More will be given about this in a later article.
Quite early in our breeding program we noted that A. chantinii will hold, and apparently mature, a seed capsule even though pollination, or better, fertilization of the seed embryo, had not occurred. In such instances the capsule tends to become more pulpy or thick-skinned and noticeably larger than those others that contain seed. On maturity, capsules with seed, whether they be viable or otherwise, turn bluish and become soft near the base; the others ultimately wither and brown. Therefore, if you should harvest only empty seed capsules, do not reason that through some cultural error you have lost your seed although you had pollinated the flowers. This is purely a characteristic of this species and, to some extent, of the whole genera as well; if fertilization has not taken place, you will not receive seed.
Everyone who has seen some of the nice plants we are making has expressed a desire to have some of our seedlings. We have not sold any and do not intend to at present. Our effort is directed toward advancing the study of bromeliads and creating better material to use later in a more elaborate breeding program. Among the seedlings we have growing will come the breeding stock of tomorrow. This belief and patient care will be necessary throughout, if we are to accomplish our goals.
—New Orleans, Louisiana.
that the Board of Directors feel that it is to the best interests of the Society to increase — very slightly — the membership dues. When the Society was first organized, the Bulletin consisted of only eight pages, with a minimum of illustrations. During this past year, we have increased the number of pages to twenty-four and have included colored illustrations — all this despite rising costs and increased postage rates. In other words, for the past year you have received three times more bulletin than you did at the beginning in 1950 but have paid no more. Please note the change when you write your check for your renewal.
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