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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 member-ship: Annual, $5.00; Sustaining, $7.50; Fellowship, $15.00; 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, California, 90049.

OFFICERS
PresidentDavid Barry, Jr. Editorial SecretaryVictoria Padilla
Vice PresidentFritz Kubisch 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
Warren Cottingham
Ed Hummel
Fritz Kubisch
Marcel Lecoufle
J. G. Milstein
Julian Nally
Victoria Padilla
Jack O. Holmes
Jack M. Roth
Dr. Russell Seibert
O. E. Van Hyning
Charles A. Wiley
Wilbur G. Wood
Jeanne Woodbury
W. R. Paylen

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, W. Germany

P. Raulino Reitz
Itajai, Brasil

Walter Richter
Crimmitschau, E. Germany

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

Henry Teuscher
Montreal, Canada

Active Affiliates
The Bromeliad Guild, Los Angeles, California, W. R. Paylen, President
Bromeliad Society of La Ballona Valley, Culver City, Calif., Fritz Kubisch, President
Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay, Tampa, Florida, E. J. Wurthmann, President
Bromeliad Guild of Greater New York, New York City, J. G. Milstein, President
Louisiana Bromeliad Society, New Orleans, La., Mrs. C. L. Brown, President
Bromeliad Society of South Florida, Miami, Fla., R. W. Davis, President
Bromeliad Society of New Zealand, Auckland, N. Z., W. Rogers, President

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


SPECTACULAR NEW VARIETY IN THE GENUS AECHMEA

MULFORD B. FOSTER

Aechmea Magdalenae var. quadricolor M. B. Foster var. nov.

A var. Magdalenae foliis rubro albo virideque longitudinaliter pictus differt.
Cultivated in Orlando, Florida.

M. B. Foster No. 3070 (type in U. S. National Herbarium).

his new variety of Aechmea Magdalenae is a startling addition to the list of highly colored variegated bromeliads The glossy, loose rosette of leaves with their distinct longitudinal stripes of green, white and yellow blending down into red, make a beautiful setting for the compact global flower head with bright red bracts and sepals which enclose the butter-cup yellow petals.

While the typical form of this species, with its all-green leaves, was commonly known for centuries among the middle American natives, we can only surmise what those Indians of old might have said if they could have seen this brilliantly variegated form of one of their favorite fiber plants which they called "Pita" or "Pinuela". A fine, strong fiber was extracted from its leaves throughout the Mayan country. It is native from Mexico south to Colombia and Ecuador.

The fruits, borne on a stout stalk, are sometimes eaten although they are quite acid.

Edouard Andre first collected this plant in 1875 on the Magdalena River in Colombia and named it, in 1888, Chevalliera Magdalenae. But a year later, in 1889, he agreed with Baker that it was an Aechmea and it was so published.

In 1923 C. H. Wright published it as Bromelia Magdalenae. Then Standley in 1925 decided that it should be called Ananas Magdalenae. However, Dr. L. B. Smith has now concluded the uncertainty by accepting it as Aechmea Magdalenae.

This new variety quadricolor was first seen in a Mexican garden, but its original source is not known.

—Box 491, Rt. 2, Orlando, Florida.

(Pictured on the Cover)


THE BROMELIADS OF THE PERUVIAN ANDES

PROF. DR. WERNER RAUH

(Translated from German to French by Julian Marnier-Lapostolle and G. G. Pariot and published in the March--May, 1956, issue of Cactus, the quarterly of L'Association Francaise des Amateurs de Cactees et Plantes Grasses. Translated from French to English by David Barry, Jr.)

he bromeliad family covers vast expanses of Peru and in certain areas is the characteristic vegetation. Regardless of the many climates found in a country so rich in contrasts, representative members of this interesting family may be found in each. The climatic regions embrace the sandy deserts along the Pacific Ocean with scant vegetation, desolate slopes of the western Cordillera, dry forests of the north, valleys deeply cleft and arid, elevated glacial zones, and heavily forested areas of the eastern Andes.

Of all of the genera, Tillandsia has the largest number of species spread over this great expanse. It is found throughout the country from the Pacific coast to the tributaries of the Amazon, and becomes the most interesting biological species.

The genus Puya is also broadly distributed. It reaches an extraordinary development in the middle and high Andes where it flourishes at an altitude of 4500 meters, the limit of vegetation. The genus Pitcairnia is found on the west slopes of the Andes (with a fewer number of species) and on the east slope. The genera Guzmania, Aechmea, Billbergia, and other epiphytic types are principally on the east slope of the Andes.

As the result of an expedition conducted in 1954 to the high Peruvian Andes with the aid of the German Association of Research and of the Scientific Academy of Heidelberg, it was possible to send many live bromeliads to Europe. In this connection we wish to thank Dr. Lyman B. Smith, Smithsonian Institution, for his determination of the herbarium material. These plants are presently in cultivation in the Jardin Botanique, "Les Cedres", of Julian Marnier-Lapostolle and in the "Palmengarten" of Frankfort. Of the many bromeliads that we collected we shall treat here only those species that are of a morphological and ecological interest.

  1. Terrestrial bromeliads
    1. Without roots: These species are described in literature as being "without roots," but nevertheless they have a root system that is barely developed, that is, not visible and that exercises no function. The plants lie in full sun. (Tillandsia paleacea, T. tectorum, T. latifolia, etc.) Water is obtained from the numerous scales that entirely cover the leaves and color them silvery grey.
    2. With roots: These species have normally developed roots that convey water to the plant (Puya, Pitcairnia, Aechmea, Deuterocohnia).
  2. Bromeliads that are air plants: they are epiphytic on trees or in the cracks of rocks.
    1. Without roots: Tillandsia usneoides is the only one in this category.
    2. With roots: These roots serve to affix the plant to the soil and do not convey water which is absorbed by the leaves. In this group are the following: Plants with large leaves that form a funnel in which water is stored against the dry periods. Plants with narrow leaves that are covered with water-absorbing scales that color the plant the silvery-grey referred to above. The surprising differences between these biological groups are due to their geographical distribution.
The bromeliads with grey leaves (Types IA and Type II in part) live in deserts, semi-deserts, and dry valleys—in other words, areas with little rain over the years. The plants get their necessary moisture from the humid atmosphere. Their little flowers are formed on inflorescences scarcely developed. Many species reproduce themselves vegetatively.

The bromeliads that are funnel-shaped need a great amount of humidity and live in areas of heavy rainfall. The funnel formed by the leaves holds water to carry the plants though dry periods. The leaves are broad, the inflorescences brightly colored, and the spikes carry showy bracts.

The terrestrial bromeliads have well developed root systems (Type IB of the genera Puya and Pitcairnia) and are confined to areas with abundant rainfall, especially during five or six months of the year.

Desert Tillandsias

The traveler who goes from Lima, the capital of the country, toward the east in the direction of the Carretera Central of the Andean chain, crosses first a sandy desert which, from August to March, is practically without vegetation, except on low hills that arise from the sandy plain. On the slopes toward the ocean are grey shadows which are masses of a grey-leaved Tillandsia (T. latifolia).

Their rosettes of rigid leaves extend across the sandy desert, not raising themselves upward as they are not attached to the ground by roots. This condition would not be evident from a superficial observation and it is why the botanist Weberbauer described T. latifolia as being without roots. Notwithstanding, a transverse cut through the rosette reveals the existence of these roots that descend in the tissue of the exterior covering as they do likewise in some other bromeliads. Roots are rarely external in T. latifolia, do not absorb water, and act solely to aid in forming the axis of the rosettes.

As the rosette undergoes its development, a spike in the form of a serrated tuft forms in the heart. The old rosette divides and dies after having formed in the center of the tallest leaves a bud that produces many rosettes.

A botanist will find also in this desert the very interesting T. latifolia var. major, which is remarkable in its specialized vegetative form. The flowers are replaced by single or multiple vegetative growths, the ends of which develop into floral stalks. This kind of branching produces one flowering period after another. It results in extensive chains of rosettes lying on the sand, the general aspect of which is that of small dunes.

Reproduction by seed appears to be rare in T. latifolia var. major. T. purpurea is generally associated with T. latifolia and also described by Weberbauer as being without roots. Its growth resembles that of T. latifolia.

As one goes farther into the interior, Tillandsias become more numerous. Near the station of Sta. Clara, on the right bank of the Rio Rimac, in the arid plain among the spurs of the Andes, are the ruins of the pre-Inca city of Cajamarquilla with its roofs of rough tile. The ruins of the houses are entirely covered with T. latifolia and T. purpurea.

(all photos by author)
Above—
Tillandsia tectorum

 

Left—
Tillandsia paleacea

  
Tillandsias growing on rocky cliff
Between the ruins and especially on the large stretches of sand to the east of the city, the species that is interesting, if not the most interesting of the Peruvian species, T. paleacea grows in such quantities that it gives from a distance the impression of a grey carpet. The little cushions that the plant forms when young become a kind of cordage several meters long lying on the sand and raised above it a distance about equal to its spread. These cordages are oriented in the same way—toward the sea; the buds face the same way, continuing in their development while those on the opposite side wither and die. The principal mass of these cordages consists of small twigs in dense mats that shrivel and blow away. Only the extremities of the cordage are alive. The total effect is that of a sheet of shimmering water. Reproduction by seed does not appear to take place in spite of the great number of plants, and in opposition to those that reproduce like T. latifolia and other Tillandsias of the desert, few flowers and seed are found. Reproduction is principally vegetative. The individual growths detach themselves readily, are transported by wind, affix themselves in other places, where new cordages begin to form.

Weberbauer also described T. paleacea as being without roots, which is partly right. Absorption of water is accomplished only from the surrounding air, and T. paleacea needs much humidity to live. As a consequence, confirmed by observation, plants rarely arrive alive in Europe, even when sent quickly by air. Also, T. paleacea lives only in areas that are regularly swept by sea breezes and is never found in areas sheltered from them.

The same heavy clumps of Tillandsia are found in the desert in the north of Peru near the city of Trujillo. There live T. latifolia, T. purpurea, and T. recurvata. The Trujillo

form of T. recurvata differs from the type plant in several details. The type plant is found only as an epiphyte in the form of strongly branched clusters, held to its support by attachments, with long straight leaves, while the desert form is always a compact mass of round cushions, lying in the sun, and without visible roots. The distichous leaves are shorter and thicker than those of the type. For these reasons the desert form should perhaps be considered as a variety or at least as a variation. The inflorescences with long spikes have few flowers. Sometimes even the basal flower develops only into a sort of bud.

In the extreme south of Peru near the Chilean border is a very interesting Tillandsia named Tillandsia werdermanniana. The growth resembles that of T. latifolia, but is distinct from it in its great multiplication of inflorescences in the form of buds.

The area of distribution of the rootless desert-type Tillandsias corresponds to the winter and spring fogs, extending from 8° S. latitude to the Chilean border. In Peru they are called "garuas," and they begin in May and last until October. These fogs envelop the desert coast in a thick veil rising to 600 meters, an altitude above which, during this dry season, is a sky without a cloud. The period of the "garuas" is called by the Peruvians "el tiempo de lomas," which means the season of the hills. Even though it never rains at this time and the fog never becomes more than a drizzle, the humidity is enough to support the growth of this interesting form of Andean plant life. The chief vegetation of the hills consists of bulbous plants; perennials being relatively rare.

  
Tillandsia recurvata
The distribution of the coastal fogs in the upper layers of the atmosphere is strongly influenced by the unevenness of the land surface. The fogs do not reach certain places, so that the distribution of the growth of the "lomas" and of the Tillandsias is very irregular. Now and then among the great areas of vegetation will be gaps. The farther from the sea, the thinner the fog, and the more the vegetation seeks the ridges and summits of the hills. When reaching the heights devoid of fog and vegetation, at the top limit of the nebulous bed of the "garuas," even the Tillandsias without roots begin to disappear.

The dry period goes from November to April. Not a drop of water falls day after day. The sun shines in a sky without clouds. If during this period the Tillandsias do not dry up completely, it is by the grace of the winds from the nearby ocean, blowing steadily and bringing with them enough humidity to permit the Tillandsias to persist and to live even during times of extreme drought.

The Tillandsias of the Dry Forests

The winter fog does not penetrate the coastal areas above 8° south latitude, and as a consequence the plants that ornament the hills, the Tillandsias, are very rare.

Now we approach the equator and we enter a rainy area. In north Peru, from the Ecuadorian border south to 5° south latitude extends the Desierto de Sechura with a width of 150 kilometers, where the Tillandsias have disappeared and are replaced by dry forests rich in cereiform cactus. Cereus cartwrightianus, Pilocereus tiveedyanus, and species of Monvillea are examples. The forest is characterized by the great trunks of Bombax on which one may find certain species of Tillandsias. Tillandsia usneoides hangs in great garlands from the wide thickset tops of Bombax. This species grows in Peru in a very special way. It is more particularly found in areas of periodic dry seasons. It is entirely absent in the deserts; it is rare in the fog belts; and is found only in heavy growth in the dry forests in the north of Peru, in the dry valleys of the Rios Urubamba, Apurimac, Maranon, and in many other places as well. T. usneoides is not very particular in its choice of habitat, succeeding about as well on trees as on the face of rocks or on telegraph wires.

Tillandsia espinosae is another interesting species of these dry forests. Beginning with a floral rosette, it develops numerous secondary rosettes on extensions of sections that carry leaves and form rosettes in their own turn. As soon as these last begin to flower, new segments develop from their base. The sections and groups of growths resist decomposition and remain for a long time forming cushions five feet in diameter that envelop and cover completely the trunks and branches of trees.

Also in great quantity is Tillandsia multiflora var. tomensis whose yellow-green rosettes cover the tops of trees in several layers. T. disticha has leaves that divide in two directions and enlarge themselves at the base, as does T. bulbosa, to form a ball that stores water. T. juncea and T. complanata are remarkable because of their numerous pendent lateral inflorescences.

The plant life of the coastal region of northern Peru gathers in the dry valleys of the interior of the country (such as those of the Rio Urubamba, Apurimac, and Maranon) and in the immense valleys of the back country which cut the Cordillera from west to east. We had the opportunity of studying almost all of the bromeliads of the valley of the Apurimac, not far from Limatambo. The valley forms here a gorge of great grandeur with precipitous walls. A drop-off of 4000 meters separates the bottom of the valley at an altitude of 2000 meters from the Glacier of Vilcabamba at 6000 meters, only a few kilometers away. The dominant character of this valley is the dry heat which remains there because of its being so entrapped. One can see day after day the clouds descending from the glacial massif and passing over the defile without ever dropping rain. Consequently, the vegetation is strongly xerophytic, showing in its floral structure a marked resemblance to the coastal vegetation of north Peru. Forests of Bombax and cactus characterize the place, and bromeliads abound. Among the terrestrial bromeliads to be first noted is Puya densiflora, whose large spiny rosettes form thickets in the Bombax forest. The epiphytic Tillandsias, in particular T. recurvata and T. capillaris, grow in such luxuriance that the branches are covered with a thick mantle. As a result of this thick matting, the trees and thickets begin to die, which is the reason the natives call Tillandsias parasites. It is curious to note that the Tillandsias die at the same time as their support, although it has been proven that Tillandsias extract no nourishment from their host. When the host begins to die, the equilibrium between the two plants is destroyed, ending in death for the epiphyte.

Tillandsia bryoides

Tillandsia capillaris var. capillaris

T. capillaris is found in great quantities in many places in Peru often as epiphytic on Cereus. One of the most interesting species of the valley of Apurimac is T. bryoides, which resembles a moss rather than a flowering plant. It forms little tufts from 5 to 8 centimeters, branched with growths at the base that bear little spiral flowers. During severe droughts the leaves lie along the trunk which increases the resemblance to moss; during time of much humidity they extend out from the axis.

Other species of Tillandsia (T. streptocarpa) are found in the branches of Bombax and in the candelabras of Azureocereus hertlingianus.

The Bromeliads of the Rock and Cactus Desert

The desert side of the Western Cordillera arises abruptly and where it meets the gentle slope of the Eastern Cordillera supports a wretched type of plant life. The lower slopes adjoining the area of hills (600 to 800 meters), which serve as a division point between central and south Peru, are practically without vegetation. Only isolated Cereus stand here and there. Vegetation is only in the thickets (Salix humboltiana, Inga feuillei, Acacia macracantha, Schinus molle, etc.) along the water courses.

Above 800 meters there is a vegetation in addition to that found along the sides of water courses which is principally cactus. This region, known as the "Desert of Rocks and Cactus" goes up to 1700 meters. It derives its desert character from an almost total lack of rain. This zone is relatively poor in bromeliads. Among the strange species we noted were Deuterocohnia longipetala, Tillandsia tectorum, T aureobrunnea, T. saxicola, T. aurea, T. favilosa, and T. lanata. The first two are of special interest as they comprise the dominant plant growth of certain regions.

Puya densiflora

Deuterocohnia longipetala is a terrestrial species of the hot and dry valleys of north Peru. It is a plant with strong roots and many-leaved rosettes that form wide cushions and hang down from the rocks. Deuterocohnia is the only bromeliad with inflorescences that last for several years. They form well-branched panicles of strong, woody stems, at the base of which the buds are formed and remain first in a dormant state ready to put forth a new growth in the following year, while those of the current year dry up. In this way the inflorescence flowers for two or three successive years before the entire floral structure dies.

Tillandsia tectorum is one of the more beautiful Peruvian species. The shoots are strongly leaved and often form garlands, somewhat branched, that are several meters long and simply hang over the naked rocks.

Even though T. tectorum and Deuterocohnia live in the dry valleys where it rarely rains, the humidity of the surrounding air is nevertheless sufficient to meet their needs for water. Their large scales serve to retain the humidity in the air. It was observed that during the dry period the wind in the valley blew everyday toward noon and brought in enough humid air.

Puya marura

The Bromeliads of the Middle Altitudes of the Andes

The vegetation of the west slope of the Andes changes with the altitude. It becomes richer because of frequent heavy rains. The kinds of cactus that live in regions of extreme dryness begin to disappear and are replaced by others (Trichocereus peruvianus is an example); however, this change is noted by the larger number of species rather than by the number of individuals. These are small bushes and shrubs with leaves that remain green and which mix with the astonishing rosettes of Fourcroyas and Puyas at 2000 to 3000 meters, for the middle and high Andes are regions favored by Puyas.

In south and central Peru this genus is represented by many species, each of which inhabits a very restricted area. From an ecological viewpoint, these Puyas are found in the most varied places. We found them in foggy bogs, on hanging rocks, in regions of snow as far up as 4500 meters (P. weberbaueri), and in hot valleys of scant rainfall (Puya marura). From a morphological viewpoint, most of the species show the same form of growth. At the large end of trunks, either prostrate or erect, more or less long and more or less branched, are rosettes of leaves that are long and heavily spined. These trunks have around them at their base a thick mantle of dead leaves and heavy roots which run along the bark and come out at the base of the trunk. The flowers are small, often of a steel-blue or a peculiar green-yellow that turns to violet-purple in fading.

Puya raimondii

 

Below—
Deuterocohnia longipetala

Puya raimondii, one of the most imposing species still found today in Peru, is by way of disappearing. It is found only in a few places, such as Lampa, near Lake Titicaca, in the Cordillera Blanca to the South, and in the Cordillera Negra. As we met with P. raimondii as isolated single plants, even in intermediate regions, we conclude that the actual habitat is but a vestige of a former wide distribution.

P. raimondii is different from other bromeliads in that it has no offshoots and flowers but once and then dies. Reproduction is only by seeds, but only a few appear to germinate. Most of the seed capsules that we examined were infested with insects that had consumed most of the substance.

With the passing of years P. raimondii forms a trunk 50 to 70 cm. in diameter, surrounded at the base with its dead leaves, finally reaching a height of 2 meters. Solid roots tie the plant to the ground. The top is crowned with a strong rigid tuft of hard and heavily spined leaves. When the plant is ready to flower, an inflorescence of massive form reaches a height of 6 meters and covers itself with innumerable flowers. The withered inflorescences are used by the natives for various purposes, including construction. Although this Puya is found on rocky terrain between 3700 and 4200 meters sometimes in groups of thousands, one can see that these groupings will disappear in the near future. The Indian sheepherders who watch their flocks in these heights burn the plants on the pretext that the animals get caught in them and cannot escape from the spiny leaves. As the trunks and leaves are rich in resin, the plants burn readily and ignite other plants that are not in flower. Due to this fact few plants are found that have been spared. It is urgent that protective measures be taken so that this highly decorative species that characterizes the vegetation of the Peruvian highlands be saved.

In the elevated valleys of the north and central Cordillera Blanca, at an elevation between 3900 and 4500 meters, right at the foot of glaciers, are encountered magnificent forests of the high mountains comprising Polylepsis, Buddleia, and Gynoxis. The old knotty trunks and branches of the trees and the faces of rocks are covered with a thick mass of Tillandsia deppeana to an astonishing extent. This plant is, of all the bromeliads found in Peru, the one that lives at the highest altitude.

We again encountered a multitude of different species of bromeliads in the fog-bathed forests that go down the east side of the Andes toward the virgin forest. A dense forest stands here in central and south Peru, reaching an elevation close to 4000 meters. The upper zone is characterized by a fog present all the year; thick cushions of moss, tender Hymenophylaceas, magnificent orchids and bromeliads in astonishing forms cover the knotty branches of the trees. Our feet sank in the rotten wood and deep moss. Large clumps of bamboo impeded our progress through the fog and thick vegetation, but we rejoiced in the marvelous flowers of innumerable orchids and the brilliant inflorescences of Tillandsias that could be seen everywhere.

The bromeliads tend to disappear as one goes down the long east slope. The virgin forest, strictly speaking, is poor in species of these interesting plants as compared to those one finds in the fog forests.

Due to their wide distribution throughout Peru, bromeliads most definitely occupy a place of first importance in that country.

—University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


WHOLESALING BROMELIADS

JAMES B. VOSTERS

Author
Dwarf Pineapple

e have been commercial growers of all kinds of tropical and flowering house plants for some 47 years, and I might say, we have been quite successful at this venture because we now operate nurseries in three states. Our main office is at Secane, Pennsylvania, with branches in Wilmington, Delaware and Miami, Florida. Since all business in the free world is based on a profit motive, we have to be perfectly honest in that everything we do is orientated in making a profit. Tropical foliage plant business from 1955 to 1960 was a real boom business, and we are quite happy to say that we reaped many of the advantages from this boom. We also feel that we have brought many plants into the house of the American consumer. The one for which we are best known is the rubber tree Ficus decora, which was introduced by us and for years we remained the world's largest shipper of this item.

All this is by way of background as to what we do. For years we have looked at the bromeliad business and have tried to figure out why no one in the commercial world could make a profit and stay in the bromeliad business. I can well remember in 1946 bringing in Vriesea splendens, getting the plants up to flowering size and finding no takers for the item. We have watched, also, with interest all the hobbyists and collectors and small retailers who grow this, and again because of profit motive we could never see where any commercial grower has made any money growing these plants solely because we believe the American public was not willing to pay the high retail price necessary because of the slow rate of growth of the plant.

About two years ago we decided to give bromeliads another try and go all out to do anything we could to make a market in the plants. At our greenhouses at Secane, we tried 8 to 10 different types of bromeliads, brought them up under careful greenhouse culture, saw that they were of A-1 quality and sold them to retail florists in bloom. We are pleased to report that the business has become profitable, and we believe in the Philadelphia location we can continue to grow these for the foreseeable future.

Since we also operate glass greenhouses in large nurseries in Miami, we thought this would be the proper place to grow these plants up to their blooming size, which in many cases takes quite a time. Since, also, we do quite a good business in Europe, both in selling items to European greenhouse growers and buying plants from European greenhouses, last spring the writer made a trip to Europe for the express purpose of buying bromeliads and trying to figure out why they sell so well in Europe and still not so well in the United States. The amazing part about all this is that dollar value for value on normal exchange rates, the European grower gets a higher price per plant than the American grower, and it is still true that European labor is cheaper than American labor. Last spring we bought about 20,000 bromeliad plants of many varieties for growing on, and we must now admit we are completely "hooked." We believe someone in the country will be successful in putting these plants into the average mass market home in fair quantity. We believe the Bromeliad Society Bulletin helps immensely, disseminating information about these products, and we have found that there are so many questions asked by the consumer about how to care for the product that we have made a cultural label to go with each plant. We estimate it is going to take four to five years to get the average housewife to know what a bromeliad is and to realize it is probably the best buy in a house plant of any plant available.

We have even tried selling blooming bromeliads which retail about $10 in the better grade of 5 and 10 cent stores, and we have found that the American consumer is not ready to accept the fact that a thing this expensive and this good is safe to buy from this type of outlet. It should properly be sold in the retail flower shops, but there lies the catch. It is very difficult to get many retailers to try these plants.

We believe that the members of The Bromeliad Society all over the country might have some ideas on this, but perhaps they are not interested in more widely disseminating these plants; however, we would be curious to know their reactions.

We consider at this time that there are only approximately five growers of bromeliads in any commercial quantity in the entire North America. We consider ourselves to be one located in Philadelphia; there is one in Ohio, one in Toronto, Canada, and one near Los Angeles, California. When we talk of commercial quantities we mean inventories of 20 to 30 thousand plants with several hundred of each variety in bloom at any given date. These growers do not mail individual plants to individual consumers, but rather sell in wholesale lots to retail flower shops across North America. We believe that with two hundred million people in the United States and twenty million in Canada, the use of this product should be far greater than it is.

I guess we might really say with accuracy that we are the largest bromeliad growers in North America, because we do sell immense quantities of pineapple plants. These are miniatures which show great promise. In our greenhouses in Miami, over 4000 of the young pineapple plants are in the budding state and are ready for the market in 6-inch pots. The green foliage of the pineapple plant makes it an attractive ornamental, but the miniature pineapple fruit—which develops a fragrant pineapple aroma as it ripens—is proving to be the great attraction.

It takes some 12 to 18 months for a pineapple plant to produce a normal sized fruit, but we have developed a technique where by we can get fruits in almost half the time. The process begins with the removal of suckers which grow around the mature fruiting plants. When potted, these suckers require about six months to develop a strong root system. When fully rooted, a chemical shock treatment induces the young plants to put forth premature buds which develop into very small but otherwise normal pineapples.

At first the plant puts out a small red bud which has the appearance of a pincushion and bears some resemblance to the pineapple at its smallest stage. Later the buds put forth small purple flowers, which are followed by the fruit itself. The period between budding stage and maturity is about eight months, which means that the ornamental sales appeal life of the plant is at a peak for a considerable length of time.

With nearly 100 employees and 33 acres of piped shadehouses we are ready to step up production of this latest ornamental, consumer reaction during initial test marketing having been exceedingly good.

We want to take this opportunity to invite anyone in the Society to visit us any time he is in Miami, whether his interest is to buy or to just look and talk.

—17000 Old Cutler Road, Miami, Florida.


Bromeliads are costly plants and should be treated with respect. A new plant is certainly entitled to a clean new pot. This is particularly true if your water supply is alkaline. Clay pots tend to absorb the salt in water and in time have a high lime content. Such pots can give trouble and be one of the reasons why the tips of the leaves of your plants are brown. For this reason some growers prefer to use redwood baskets or plastic pots. A weak solution of fertilizer applied once a week will help to offset the alkaline water.


SOME OBSERVATIONS ON GROWING BROMELIADS IN
SOUTH FLORIDA

J. A. STEPHENS

Offset or Sucker Production in Bromeliads

romeliads, as might be expected, vary considerably in their capacity to produce offsets. Hohenbergia stellata is a prodigious producer if the suckers are removed as they are formed. Neoregelia spectabilis can be counted on for six or more offsets if they are removed judiciously. The same is true for Neoregelia marmorata, Billbergia saundersii hybrids, Aechmea miniata var. discolor, Vriesea carinata, and Vriesea × 'Mariae'. Notoriously shy in producing offsets is Vriesea splendens, which usually produces only one offset near the center of the plant after blooming has been accomplished. Timing is important in the removal of suckers. Even the Hohenbergias will form but one or two offsets if they are left on the plant, and this is true of many other genera.

Some bromeliads produce offsets before and after flowering, others only after flowering, and still others produce them without ever flowering. What mechanism in the plant triggers the production of offsets? The production of an inflorescence apparently is not the all-inclusive mechanism.

Usually offsets are produced when the growing tip is destroyed mechanically, or biochemically by imbalance in the crown's aqueous content. This will occur even in the smallest plants. There are possibilities here for the grower who desires offsets rather than flowering plants.

Bromeliads in Dish Gardens

Several years ago Arvida Nurseries in Kendall, Florida, grew Cryptanthus bromelioides var. tricolor by the thousands in their showplace greenhouses. The compactness and color of this plant make it an excellent dish-garden subject. Jones & Scully, Inc., of Miami, have also grown a considerable number of Cryptanthus zonatus for dish-garden use. Besides Cryptanthus, other bromeliads are suitable for dish gardens. Billbergia saundersii, B. × 'Fantasia', B. × 'Santa Barbara,' and even the humble B. nutans will provide height. Aechmea × 'Foster's Favorite' is a source of good reddish coloring.

Bromeliad dish gardens should be given all the light possible short of burning. They should be watered sparingly if long-term use is contemplated and color is to be maintained. For short-term use they may, of course, be placed where light is subdued. Bromeliad Inflorescences as Cut Flowers

Florists in the Miami area are quite enthusiastic about the cut spikes of Hohenbergia stellata. The staggered array of cerise bracts on the stout stem seems to do something for jaded floral appetites. The spikes last for several weeks in water.

Not quite so spectacular are the bright red bracts of Aechmea bracteata. This is another long-lasting stout spike, whose prickly green tips make it a good subject for a massive arrangement in a hotel lobby, bank foyer, or even as an altar piece.

—10450 S. W. 60th Ave., Miami. Florida.


IN THE NEWS . . . . .

Mr. Charles Wiley, 4036 Via Solano, Palos Verdes Estates, California, a member of the Board of Directors, has offered to act as Chairman of the Seed Fund. He is most enthusiastic about his work and has amassed an interesting collection of seeds. Those interested in obtaining seeds should write him directly, enclosing a self-addressed stamped envelop for their reply. Those who have seeds to spare are earnestly requested to send any surplus to Mr. Wiley, so that others may enjoy the pleasures of raising bromeliads from seed.

Members who visit the Hawaiian Islands should not fail to visit the Foster Gardens in Honolulu, where bromeliads may be seen growing to their ultimate perfection. This is a public garden and visitors are welcome.

The Delaware Valley Bromeliad Group had one of the featured displays of the 1966 Spring Flower Show held by the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society in Philadelphia the week of March 12-17. Against a background of Spanish moss, were grouped some of the rarest bromeliads among Philadelphia area collections. Prominent was the skillfully planted bromeliad tree, property of Mr. and Mrs. Frederic L. Ballard. Larger ground growing bromels, large field grown Neoregelia and Cryptanthus hybrids were used with large ferns and clustering palms to create a natural tropical effect. Exhibit chairman was Paul Whippo of Hatfield, Pennsylvania. He was assisted by Patrick Nutt, Paul Buckman, Norman McFarlane and Peter Cox.

Interest in bromeliads in California is running high, due no doubt to the fact that more and more bromeliads are being displayed in flower shows. At the Flower Show held in San Francisco last autumn, a number of members won prizes with their plants . Mrs. Bessie E. Gibson had guests sign a book, placed in the special Bromeliad Room and 800 persons signed up. Mrs. Gibson sent a number of invitations to these people with the idea of forming a society in San Francisco. Her first meeting was held in November, the second in January, and she is well on her way to establishing a group of enthusiastic members in the Bay City.

The Greater New York Chapter is one of the most active of the affiliates. Each spring they participate in the great international flower show held in their city, they publish an interesting leaflet which is sent to all the members, they have worth while meetings, and every holiday season hold a gala Christmas party. Thus membership in this group is a combination of work and fun and learning.

There should be more affiliated groups scattered throughout the country and abroad. For further information and for a list of those residing in your area, write to the editor.


J. Padilla
Aechmea lamarchei

his Aechmea has long been grown in southern California under the name of Aechmea lagenaria. However, this name has been thrown into synonymy by Dr. Lyman B. Smith and it is now called Aechmea lamarchei. A native of Brazil, it was introduced into cultivation in 1892.

This Aechmea belongs to the group of which A. chlorophylla, A. triangularis, A. bromeliifolia are members. In common, they all have a compact cylindric, strobilate flower head. The flowers of most of these species have yellow petals and white sepals. However, regardless of the color of the petals, they turn jet black the second or third day after blooming, thus giving a unique appearance to the flowering head, making it have at least three colors all at once according to the species—purple, white and black as in the case of A. triangularis, and yellow, white and black as in A. lamarchei.

Aechmea lamarchei is a hardy individual, evidently thriving under all kinds of conditions. The writer had this plant for a number of years and it had multiplied generously, but it was not until it was relegated to the darkest part of the garden, almost completely hidden by ferns, that it deigned to bloom. The photo was taken with a flash light.

—V.P.


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