BSI Journal - Online Archive


THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETIN

The Bromeliad Society Bulletin is the official publication of the Bromeliad Society, a non-profit corporation organized in 1950. The Bulletin is issued six times a year. Subscription to the Bulletin is included in the annual membership dues. There are four classes of membership: Annual, $4.00; Sustaining, $6.00; Fellowship, $12.00; and Life, $100.00. All memberships start with January of the current year. For membership information, write to Mrs. Jeanne Woodbury, 1811 Edgecliff Drive, Los Angeles 26, California. Please submit all manuscripts for publication to the editor, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles 49, California.

OFFICERS
PresidentJames N. Giridlian Editorial SecretaryVictoria Padilla
Vice PresidentCharles A. Wiley Membership SecretaryJeanne Woodbury
Treasurer           Jack M. Roth

Board of Directors
David Barry, Jr.
Ralph Davis
Nat de Leon
Mulford B. Foster
James N. Giridlian
Morris H. Hobbs
Ed Hummel
Eric Knobloch
Fritz Kubisch
Marcel Lecoufle
J. G. Milstein
Julian Nally
Frank Overton
Victoria Padilla
E. H. Palmer
Jack M. Roth
Dr. Russell Seibert
O. E. Van Hyning
Charles A. Wiley
Wilbur G. Wood
Jeanne Woodbury

Honorary Trustees
Mrs. Adda Abendroth
Teresopolis, Brazil

W. B. Charley
Bilpin, N.S.W., Australia

Monsieur Charles Chevalier
Esneux, Belgium

Mulford B. Foster
Orlando, Florida

A. B. Graf
E. Rutherford, New Jersey

Charles H. Lankester
Cartago, Costa Rica

Harold Martin
Auckland, New Zealand

Richard Oeser, M. D.
Kirchzarten, Brsg, West Germany

P. Raulino Reitz
Itajai, Brasil

Walter Richter
Crimmitschau, E. Germany

Dr. Lyman B. Smith
Washington. D. C.

Henry Teuscher
Montreal, Canada

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
Bromeliad Society of Greater New York J. G. Milstein
Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay, Tampa, Florida Ervin J. Wurthmann
Bromeliad Society of La Ballona Valley, Culver City, California Warren Cottingham
The Bay Area Bromeliad Society, San Franciso, California Kurt Peters

(No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.)


 

REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST

VICTORIA PADILLA

HE PICTURE ON THE COVER was taken several years ago while I was vacationing in Costa Rica. The trip in every way was a memorable one. I found the land enchanting, the people gracious, and the plant life overwhelming. Here nature seemed to outdo herself in being both beautiful and benevolent. The grasses were so rich, I was told, that the cows gave pure cream, not just milk. Stakes put into the ground to serve as posts refused to remain as stakes and blossomed into trees (Erythrinas). Epidendrums lined the roadsides; everywhere I looked the scene was lush and lovely. As I went up into the cloud forests, I saw bromeliads, orchids, aroids, and ferns in great abundance. I truly felt that I was in a great greenhouse, surrounded as I was by many of the plants which I carefully nurtured under cover at my home. If ever there was an "other Eden," this was the place.

However, much has changed since that time. Almost everyday one reads of fresh disaster which has fallen upon this valiant little country. For almost two years Mt. Irazu, a volcano which is part of the "Ring of Fire" — the geologically active lands which lie along the huge rim of the Pacific Ocean — has been in a state of almost continuous eruption, pouring forth tons of black, gritty, extremely fine volcanic cinders both onto San Jose, the capital of the country, and over the once lovely surrounding countryside. The gritty fallout is known as "la ceniza," the Spanish word for cinders or ashes. It covers everything. Sometimes the ceniza fallout is so bad that the people cannot leave their homes. Extensive damage has been caused to dairy farms, coffee plantations, vegetables, and tobacco, not to mention the untold loss to wild things, both animal and plant. Once a botanist's paradise, the slopes of Irazu have become a place of desolation.

The photograph was taken a few hundred feet from the summit of Mt. Irazu (elevation 11,260 feet) in a forest almost always bathed in mist. The trees were alive with bromeliads, the brilliant coloring of their foliage lightening in an uncanny way the half shadows. Many plants grew in this area which would not survive in lower elevations. The bromeliads, too, were unique, in that they would lose their vibrant coloring if taken away from their mountain home. Perhaps it was the combination of the continual fog, the chemicals from the volcanic soil and air, and the high altitude that gave them their dazzling hues.

Probably nothing remains of this beautiful dream-like forest, which seemed to me at the time to be a place of utter magic. No living thing could withstand the blasts from the fiery furnace not far away. And even if the blasts did not actually reach this "fairyland forlorn" the ever drifting ceniza would fill the hearts of the bromeliads and choke out all hopes of survival.


PITCAIRNIAS

MULFORD B. FOSTER

Author
Pitcairnia xanthocalyx — a hardy terrestrial with yellow flowers

R. LYMAN B. SMITH has just recently finished a most exhaustive work on the genus Pitcairnia in Phytologia of March, 1964. Fifty-five pages of small print, representing countless hours of tedious research, makes it a milestone accomplishment.

Although it is the second largest genus in the family, little has been written on the Pitcairnia for the horticulturist or bromeliad fancier. The genus was named in honor of Dr. William Pitcairn by L'Hérit in 1788.

Mez, in the Pflanzenreich in 1935, listed 183 species of Pitcairnias. Since then Dr. Smith has transferred to Puya, or reduced outright, some forty of those species; more than 100 new species have been added, so now he recognizes a total of 261 species as well as quite a number of varieties.

Every country in North and South America, with the exception of Canada and the United States, has Pitcairnias growing natively within its boundaries. More than half of the known species, 150, are native to the Andes of South America, while forty-eight are native to Central America and Mexico. The Amazon-Orinoco Basin has thirty-one species; the West Indies, fourteen; the high plains of Brazil, seventeen, and West Africa only one.

It is this one loner that causes much botanical speculation. This one species, P. feliciana, native to French Guinea in West Africa, is the only species of bromeliad that is native to any country outside of the Americas. How this species of Pitcairnia ever made its way into Africa is an unsolved mystery. Dr. Smith states in his article "Lone Oriental of the Bromeliads" in the Bromeliad Society Bulletin (Vol. 8, No. 2, 1958): "A thorough canvass of all American species reveals that none can be considered close to P. feliciana."

The much-debated Wegener hypothesis, or the idea that the Old and New Worlds were once a single land mass, then split and slid apart to form the Atlantic Ocean, would give a possible explanation for this Pitcairnia to have established itself in Africa far in advance of our later, more highly developed bromeliads such as Tillandsias, Vrieseas and their relatives. In this theory I quite agree with Dr. Smith.

A few years ago, M. Jacques Felix, the discoverer of this unique Pitcairnia in West Africa, sent the writer his own original drawing of his specimen plant as well as a photograph of the plant growing in its native rocky cliffs; this photo was made in 1937. A reproduction of the drawing was shown in Dr. Smith's article as mentioned above. This was the first time that the drawing had ever been published.

In Dr. Smith's Bromeliaceae of Colombia, 1957, he lists seventy-six species in that country. When Racine and I were in Colombia in 1946, we collected thirty-four of those species; eighteen of them were new discoveries and three were new varieties. They ranged from one to eight feet in height; very few of them would be suitable for horticulture.

Author
Pitcairnia fosteriana — A gangling bromeliad that manages to reach up through a dense undergrowth to show its white flowers.

P. Fosteriana which we discovered in Colombia on this same trip was most interesting with its gangling stalk eight to ten feet high; the white flowers, six inches long, are almost half-moon in shape.

In Costa Rica the writer found only one new species, P. halophila (salt-loving); it grew on rocks and often received the salt sprays of the Pacific Ocean.

In Brazil, where we found our greatest 'prizes' in bromeliads, over 100 new species, only two of them were new Pitcairnias.

Very few of the Pitcairnia species have entered horticulture in the United States. P. xanthocalyx, which has withstood temperatures in the lower twenties in our garden, is often seen in Florida gardens. Its yellow flower spikes make a nice addition to any tropical garden. This Mexican species flowered in the Kew Gardens as early as 1877; Mr. Veitch flowered P. Karwinskyana, another Mexican species, in 1877.

Author
Pitcairnia tabuliformis — A most unusual bromeliad, formed like a table.

P. tabuliformis was discovered in Mexico in 1860 and has been in cultivation in Europe and America ever since. As a pot plant I have grown a few specimens of this unique bromeliad, but it is not often found in collections because it does not like the hot summer temperatures under glass.

P. heterophylla, native from Mexico to Colombia and Peru, was discovered in Mexico and introduced into horticulture in 1838; it is still found occasionally in cultivation. We have found this species growing on tree limbs and in crotches as well as on rocks in Colombia and Venezuela. At the time it was quite a surprise to find a Pitcairnia growing as an epiphyte.

P. aphelandraeflora, one of the smallest species is still found in collections. The plant is only a few inches high but its red flowers are attractive for a short time.

Author
Pitcairnia corallina — Its coral-red flowers seem to crawl out on the ground from under its leaves.

P. corallina is unique in that its inflorescence of bright red flowers rises slightly above the ground and then proceeds parallel with the ground as though crawling out from its dense foliage. This species is native to Colombia and Peru and has been in cultivation more than 100 years.

Author
Pitcairnia ferruginea — The largest in the group

P. ferruginea, perhaps the largest of all the Pitcairnias, first flowered in the Temperate-House at Kew Gardens in 1860 and was still going strong in 1895. In the Andes of Bolivia and Peru it was an arresting sight to see its twelve-foot tall flower spikes on the mountain side.

The Pitcairnias are, no doubt, among the oldest types of bromeliads because of their primitive characters. Their small, dry seeds cannot be carried far by the winds, nor are they contained in berry-like fruits to tempt birds or other animals who carry them inadvertently for replanting. They have no plumose appendage such as the Tillandsias, Vrieseas and their relatives have. The Tillandsias, in contrast, have the largest number of different species of any genus in the family because they have more efficient ways of traveling about. The distribution of their seeds is via air, the modern way.

Generally speaking, the Pitcairnias, while very interesting and attractive in flower, do not have the eye-appeal that most other bromeliads display. They are usually more grass-like in appearance, and do not have the sculptured forms that give so many of our favorite bromeliads their distinctive class.

—Rt. 2, Box 491, Orlando, Florida


Although Pitcairnias are not recommended as houseplants, Frank Hausman, who grows his bromeliads in a New York apartment, is the exception that proves the rule. In the March, 1964, issue of The Bromeliana, the fine little publication of the Greater New York Chapter of the Bromeliad Society, he writes as follows:

"Last August a small species of Pitcairnia in my collection bloomed, and the flowers developed and opened perfectly. In October another species of Pitcairnia sent up its spike with about 10 buds. The sepals formed, then they seemed to reach a standstill for several days — the petals did not protrude fully. I thought possibly the dry air from the steam heat was the trouble, so I started spraying the inflorescence with a fine mist several times a day. In a few days, to my surprise and pleasure, the petals developed and the flowers opened perfectly. Each day two of them would open, about three inches in length, tubular just a little bit of the end opened. They were red, and the effect of the whole was most attractive. The yellow pollen grains were right level with the stigma, so with a pencil I attempted to pollinate them, and may have succeeded as large pods have formed."


PITCAIRNIA HUNTING IN SANTO DOMINGO

LUIS ARIZA JULIA

VER SINCE MY INTEREST WAS AROUSED by the genus Pitcairnia, a name associated in my mind with far-away places like Pitcairn's Island, I have been wanting to get the yellow flowered species cited in the Catalogus Florae Domingensis as P. xanthocalyx, which is in reality P. samuelssonii. Disappointingly, it was mentioned as from Haiti. Relations not having been so good with our neighbors most of the time, I started to inquire if it had not been found on our side, plants being no respecters of lines drawn on a map. It turned out to have been collected by Dr. R. A. Howard, and Dr. Lyman B. Smith kindly furnished the list of localities where collections had been made.

By chance, a scheduled trip of our Botanical Institute to Samaná Peninsula fell through, and in the last days before Holy Week, I rushed to get a hold of our Curator, Prof. Eugenio J. Marcano, to convince him that NOW was the time to go out and collect P. samuelssonii, before he should become involved in any other project. In a stout Volkswagen bus from the University with the experienced driver used in all expeditions at the wheel, we started off on a auspicious day for things botanical — Palm Sunday.

Author
The climb out of Deep Valley, Hondo Valle, Dominican Republic.
In the background the mountains of Haiti.

Author
Pitcairnia jimenezii, a discovery by the author, found in the
limestone cliffs of the eastern part of Puerto Plata Province.

We followed the route taken by Dr. Howard, a rather primitive road now, and at his time probably little more than a couple of jeep tracks. Not long out of El Cercado, going down to La Rancha creek, we saw the first clump of Pitcairnia, out of flower, which on closer examination, did not agree with any of our six other species, and so we decided that it simply had to be P. samuelssonii by elimination. Our driver, wielding a machete most expertly, promptly bagged a part of this specimen - literally so - in a jute bag for better protection of the long leaves. Further plants were found and some "bagged" in the places on Dr. Howard's list and then we went off from Hondo Valle (Deep Valley) hard by the Haitian frontier, on a grass covered road rising steeply for several kilometers to a high point, which we judged to be around 5000 feet, for starting down on the other side, there was a section of cloud forest with Tillandsias compacta, selleana, lescaillei, caribaea, incurva, a profusion of Catopsis nitida, even Vriesea sintenisii, though not the highly colored, wine-red form seen at still higher elevations. We were running parallel to the frontier as we descended to the border town of Elias Piña.

Coming down, we made further collections of P. samuelssonii, and though the dried inflorescences seemed uniformly stout, their length and branching varied with the exposure. Where out in the open, leaves were also shorter and inflorescences simple, while where protected, leaves tended to be longer and there were long, branched inflorescences. Leaf blades are noticeably wider than those of our other species with lepidote undersides, evenly spinose to the tip, but, particularly at the base, these spines are bigger than found in the species resembling it most as far as this characteristic is concerned, P. fuertesii. The underside is evenly and fairly heavily silvered, which at once distinguishes it from P. fuertesii, which has two silvery stripes on the underside of the leaves, separated by the glabrous median channel. The dimorphs protecting the new spring growth in the center of unflowered plants, are as much as 4½" long and wickedly barbed. This characteristic, too, sets it apart from the other species mentioned. As in P. cubensis, from a very much circumscribed location in the western end of Puerto Plata Province, the dry leaves stay flat, ribbon-like, instead of rolling up as they do in our other five species.

I have had the thrill of finding a new Pitcairnia species, another which was not known to exist in our country, and now, one longed for and successfully hunted up. We think it is P. samuelssonii; the campesinos we asked say that the flowers of this "mayita" (little Bromelia) are yellowish; but ah! Dr. Smith, if it should turn out not to be it but something else . . .

—Puerto Plata, Republica Dominica


LIGHT AND COLOR

SOME FURTHER OBSERVATIONS

HE FOLLOWING ARE TWO STUDIES made of the influence of light on the coloration of the foliage of bromeliads. One comes from the East Coast, the other from the West. Mr. Roger K. Taylor, who has grown his plants in Baltimore, Maryland, writes as follows:

Some of my plants have been in the greenhouse at the laboratory where I work; and recently there was a spell of sunny and unseasonably hot weather over a weekend, during which time the attendant, a novice, failed to provide adequate watering. The usual shading materials had not yet been installed, and the temperature rose to over 100°. Gloxinias under partial shade, dracaenas, and some others, were extensively damaged. Most of my plants, the bromeliads, came through fairly well, though there was some leaf scorching. The abrupt color change, though, which some of them displayed after this exposure, is the subject of this note.

Two were a form of Neoregelia carolinae, which in good light develops a red flush; the larger had already done so, the smaller was still green. Every trace of red disappeared from the former, and the green was faded; the latter was severely scorched, and bleached in its entirety to a straw color. I had previously noted in the Bulletin that a hybrid of this species can undergo reversible color changes with differing light exposure. Here too the effect was found to be reversible, and with astonishing rapidity — after a few days the red returned, primarily to the inner leaves of the one plant, and the other has turned green again, after they were brought from the greenhouse and placed on our front porch where they still receive direct sun, but only during the morning.

Another observation was that a Vriesea × 'Mariae' survived this drastic exposure without damage, whereas several kinds of Neoregelias on the same bench, which one would suppose to be more rugged, were more or less scorched. This plant had all along been a pale bronzy yellow; it, also has been brought home. Now, after two weeks, some green is developing, but the response is much slower than with the Neoregelias, which showed more change in as many days.

I'm not inclined to generalize about the bleaching, as it may well be a complicated function of light intensity, temperature, and relative humidity, and such accidental factors as air motion and amount of water in the plant; but these are the observations, and perhaps others are in a position to amplify them.

—3122 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore 18. Maryland


R. WILLIAM DRYSDALE, of Riverside, California, who lives in an entirely different climate, has this to say: When one thinks of the infrequency he encounters red foliaged plants, it is remarkable to contemplate the prodigality of red-leaved forms among our air plants.

Being gifted with a remarkable intellect, I was disconcerted to find that bromels do not concur in my ideas of what they should have in the way of light exposure! The old red phase of Billbergia saundersii, I learned long ago, will with too much shade become an unexciting drab green, but with strong light the plant takes on a rich and striking rosy red. (Grown on a bromeliad tree in osmunda — a manner of growth in which it does not receive an abundance of water— it becomes an outstanding "strawberry pink.") Having learned one lesson well, I thought it would apply to all instances, particularly when the experience was reinforced with Aechmea × 'Foster's Favorite,' which in a strong light exposure is a startling mahogany, but in the shade is a nondescript greenish-brown. Once this greenish condition develops, the plant does not revert back well to the rich red it previously possessed. The color will improve, but will, unfortunately, not attain its former intensity. New growths developing from these plants if grown in a good exposure will, however, be as rich as any previous ones.

Having obtained Guzmania lingulata var. splendens (G. peacockii), after seeing a magnificent specimen at California Jungle Gardens in Los Angeles, I resolved to keep it in color by placement near the top of a fiberglass roof. Since the plant possesses not only purple undersides but a considerable amount of this shade on the upper side of the leaves as well, it is a highly colored plant. However, in this exposure there seemed to be a stronger development of the green areas. Thinking this was due to the shadow cast by the fiberglass, I persisted blithely in my assurance that the plant was in the best situation. But the green persisted. Then noting a Neoregelia microps, which had been on the ground and had retained its rich red shade, I decided to put the Guzmania on a lower level. This move was just what the plant wanted, for the leaves immediately began to take on a reddish tinge.

An experience similar to this and concurrent with it concerned the singularly beautiful Vriesea malzinii. The bromeliad was purchased because several of the central leaves were a spectacular purple-red (which is a horrible designation for this remarkably striking color possessed by the red phase of some bromels). It was placed in a greenhouse of unpainted glass but screened with lath. Here the entire plant developed into an unbelievably rich color. There were a few round green spots on several of the leaves, but many were entirely colored on the upper and under surfaces with this remarkable color. It possessed a striking spriteliness and sparkle. During the summer this plant was grown under fiberglass, which casts a light shadow. The Vriesea was hung just under this covering where the light intensity is greatest. In this situation, most of the leaves developed green tips, which reduced the striking quality of the plant. When it was returned to the glasshouse in the winter, it again regained color.

It would seem that many plants having red foliage take on a more lively hue during the winter. Is this due so much to exposure as to some systemic response in the plant due to the length of day or some aspect of the growth cycle? Cooler weather does not appear to be the causative agent in all instances because it is noted in the glass house too. Possibly color variation may have been initiated by temperature change prior to replacement in the glasshouse. At any rate factors other than light seem to influence the intensity of color in red-leaved forms. Rex begonias are also more colorful and take on an extra "glow" during the short-day periods. Of course, this is also the cool weather period, but a heated glasshouse would counteract this factor. If one knew the climatic feature of the locale from which these widely scattered plants come, he could better understand these changes in tone of color.

—1212 Isabella Street, Riverside, California.


AN EQUIVOCAL EXPERIMENT

WERNER B. FISHER

In Vol. XIII, No. 4 Bulletin, I reported an experiment in March, 1963. I had left the sprinkler running slowly all night in the patio. Everything was thinly coated with ice. The sprinkler kept running until everything had fully defrosted. Nothing was damaged.

In January, 1964, I repeated this experiment. Again several hours of below freezing temperatures were predicted. This time I used a mist sprinkler. Next morning: a heavy coating of ice. However, temperatures climbed rather quickly into the low 50's — contrary to prediction. This time only Dyckias fosteriana. rariflora and remotiflora var. angustior came through unscathed. Even Aechmea distichantha var. schlumbergeri was scalded.

No doubt the sudden rise in temperature precipitated defrosting within the leaves and the subsequent break-down in tissue. Sadder and not much wiser, I still have no definite conclusions on icing plants to protect them against cold. A new foam process for citrus, if applicable, may bring the climatic breakthrough. Unfortunately, meterologists have prognosticated about eight more years of unseasonable winters for Florida.

—P.O. Box 567, Ocala, Florida


OBSERVATIONS FROM DOWN UNDER

GETTING BACK TO NATURE

T CAN BE NOTED THAT ON MOST TREES during a dry period the older leaves will start to fall; this is because the trees cannot support all their foliage, and the older leaves must fall first. On a hot dry summer day in a forest, leaves are showering down all day. The same is true with bromeliads; if the plant cannot support all the foliage, the older leaves on the outside of the plant begin to fold, go brown, and die.

In any nursery or collection one sees signs of the outer leaves having been removed for this reason. The inner growth, being young, is noticeably healthy. What can be the cause of this and what is the cure?

Those who have taken Broms from the jungles tell us of the mass of organic material found in the tanks of the plants; this includes all sorts of leafmold rotting down in the water, as well as many insects, snakes, lizards, frogs, mosquitoes, and scores of smaller life. These are without doubt feeding the plant. Being tidy of mind, we immediately proceeded to wash out all this vital plant food, leaving the cups clean and bare. We then fill the cups with pure clean water and plant the Brom in many cases in pure sand or sandy soil, which contains almost no plant food to give life to the plant. These bromeliads are then placed under cover and expected to grow vigorously and to sucker and flower.

One can easily be convinced that food in the cups is vital. Place a hardy Brom outside under some trees in a sheltered position. In a few weeks the cup will be full of leaves rotting deep down in the water and still whole on the top. After some months the tanks are deeply filled with rich rotting materials, and if a cup is opened up, one will find earthworms and other insects there doing the job that nature intended that they should. Never again a hungry Brom.

A simple method to carry out this type of feeding for those Broms which have to dwell inside, apart from foliar feeding with spray material, is as follows:

Grind up together some leafmold, fowl manure, and weed ash; these three will make a complete natural, organic food, containing the Big Three elements known as N. P. K.; i.e., nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash. Make into a meal and put one teaspoonful into each cup and keep well watered. The response will be pleasing, and the plant will be fed in nature's way. Foliar spraying can still be given to the plant to take the place of rain and mist which the plants do not get when grown indoors, and these mists and rains contain elements which we can apply by spraying.

In Australia there is only one artificial soluble fertilizer for foliar spraying which does not contain copper and zinc. This is Complesal, and it is not sold in packets, but only in large sacks. Some nurserymen, however, buy these large sacks and packet Complesal for the convenience of small growers.

— W. B. Charley, The Jungle Bromeliadum, Mt. Tomah, Bilpin, N. S. W. Australia


TWO FLOWER SHOWS OF IMPORTANCE

ABROAD AND HERE

Author
M. Lecoufle's Exhibit at the Floralie, showing native hut.

HE MOST IMPORTANT FLOWER SHOW IN FRANCE is "Les Floralies de Paris," held every five years in the city of Paris. The show held this last April attracted millions of spectators and from all accounts was indeed spectacular, having displays from all parts of the world.

We are indeed proud that M. Marcel Lecoufle, a member of our board of directors and world-famous for his splendid greenhouses, won "le premier grand prix d'honneur," "le prix du Conseil Munical de Paris," and 23 other prizes. In other words, he was the grand sweepstakes winner.

No photograph can do justice to Mr. Lecoufle's lavish, beautiful display, which occupied a space approximately 30 by 90 feet and was designed by an outstanding landscape architect. The theme was a primitive village, complete with huts, a high waterfall, a stream, a hanging bridge, and many trees dripping with orchids, bromeliads, and other choice epiphytes. Tillandsias were much in evidence, beautiful specimens of T. prodigiosa attracting much attention. T. usneoides was festooned from the ceiling which had been transformed into a blue sky by means of blue linen.

Holmes Nurseries
Holmes Nurseries Exhibit.

An entirely different kind of show but in its way important was the First All Bromeliad Show ever held. This was also staged in April and was the effort of the members of the Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society. The scene was Clearwater, Florida. Many notables in the bromeliad world gathered to honor Mr. Mulford B. Foster, in whose honor the show was held and for whom a special reception was given on the evening of the show. Among those who had notable displays were Mulford Foster, Bob Wilson of Costa Rica, Earl J. Small Orchids, Inc., the Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay, Ervin Wurthmann, and Jack Holmes. John Unger won first prize for the best amateur exhibit, and the Holmes Bromeliad Nurseries won first for the best commercial display.


BROMELIADS IN A NATURAL SETTING

HATTIE H. DAVIDSON

UR HOME AND TROPICAL GARDEN, situated on a five-acre tract of land, has much native growth such as pine, cypress, sabal palm and many of the low growing plants indigenous to this area. We have added exotic fruit and flowering trees and called the place "Flower Ranch."

Our bromeliads are planted under and on large clumps of scrub Palmetto (Serenoa serrulata). This species which puts up a curved trunk after growing along the ground for several feet. Starting from a common base, these raised trunks spread out like the spokes of a wheel, some reaching the height of ten feet or more. We keep all old lower growth cut out, just leaving six or eight inches of boot. The new top green growth provides ample shade for the so-called air plants. We have three clumps like this, one planted with Billbergia pyramidalis, one with native Tillandsia, and the largest group is the mixed planting of Billbergia, Aechmea, Neoregelia, Vriesea and other species.

There seems to be many methods for raising these hardy plants. No set rule need apply. The object we worked for was to give a natural appearance. On the ground between the Palmetto trunks we hauled in some broken shell, mixed with sand, added charcoal and burnt wood in small pieces, some dry cow manure, peat moss, broken coconuts with and without outer fiber, ground up pine cones, and mixed in some rotted wood shavings. On top of this mix are pieces of cypress trunks, some are partly buried, others placed to look like tree stumps. Then bromeliads have been planted, in the soil, against the cypress logs, and in the Palmetto boots where fronds have been trimmed away. The Caribbean pine trees (Pinus caribaea) give partial shade and also constantly scatter a generous cover of needles. These rot slowly but do add to the natural look.

For some years, we just had B. pyramidalis which is the common variety here. These have propagated by offset very rapidly. Next we acquired some Neoregelia spectabilis. These reproduce more slowly, but we now have groupings of these and some single plants growing up on cypress stumps. The ones receiving the most light have the best color. They truly live up to the common name of "Finger Nail Plant."

In the last five years we have added, as the planting area was improved, some Aechmeas, various Billbergias, several hybrid Dyckias, a few Vrieseas, Porteas, etc. During spring and summer of 1963, the following bloomed — B. × Theo. Mead; B. nutans; B. sandersii; B. Euphemiae; Ae. angustifolia; Ae. Bracteata; Ae. lueddemanniana; Ae. 'Foster's favorite;' Vriesea carinata; Cryptanthus fosterianus and my especial favorite Tillandsia cyanea. Some of these are growing in coconut shells, others on the ground or on logs, as I mentioned before. When rainfall is scanty, we use a mist sprayer at least once a day; our humidity here is apt to be high and that keeps the bromeliads in good condition.

The native species bloom in the spring and early summer months. In the pines and cypress trees on this property we have found four native Tillandsias: which are T. recurvata, T. tenuifolia, T. fasciculata, and a small rosette shaped plant which might be T. bulbosa. We also have T. usneoides, known as Spanish Moss to many people. We brought some down from central Florida, and it soon became very much at home. The other native Tillandsias which were transplanted in and around the the Palmetto seem to enjoy growing near their exotic relations.

—Rt. #1 Box 204, Ranchette Rd., West Palm Beach, Fla.


J. J. Wurdack

PITCAIRNIA CLAVATA

HIS HANDSOME SPECIES WAS FIRST DESCRIBED by Dr. Lyman B. Smith in Phytologia. Vol. IX, No. 4, October, 1963. It was discovered by Dr. John J. Wurdack of the Smithsonian Institution growing in a terrestrial rain forest at an elevation of 9,740 feet in the province of Alto Amazonas in Peru.

This Pitcairnia would appear to be a fairly large one, its leaves measuring approximately three feet in length. Coming from a fairly high altitude, it would probably withstand outdoor culture in our more temperate regions.

This photograph is one of a number submitted by Dr. Wurdack to accompany an article on his discoveries in Peru, which will appear in the next issue.


Send comments, corrections and suggestions to: webmaster@bsi.org
© 1951-2012 Bromeliad Society International, All Rights Reserved.
All images copyrighted BSI.