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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 Edgecliffe Drive, Los Angeles, California 90026. 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
Warren Cottingham
Ralph Davis
Nat De Leon
Mulford B. Foster
James N. Giridlian
Morris H. Hobbs
Jack O. Holmes
Marcel Lecoufle
J. G. Milstein
Julian Nally
W. R. Paylen
Dr. Russell Seibert
O. E. Van Hyning
Charles A. Wiley
Wilbur G. Wood

Honorary Trustees
Adda Abendroth, Brazil
W. B. Charley, Australia
Charles Chevalier, Belgium
Mulford B. Foster, U.S.A.
A. B. Graf, U.S.A.
C. H. Lankester, Costa Rica
Harold Martin, New Zealand
Richard Oeser, Germany
Raulino Reitz, Brasil
Walter Richter, Germany
Dr. L. B. Smith, U.S.A.
Henry Teuscher, Canada

Active Affiliates
Bromeliad Guild, Los Angeles, Calif., W. R. Paylen, President
Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay, Florida, Harry Cunningham, Jr., President
Greater New York Chapter of The Bromeliad Society, New York City, J. G. Milstein, President
Bromeliad Society of Broward County, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Thos. Seuss, President
Bromeliad Society of La Ballona Valley, Culver City, Calif., Fritz Kubisch, President
Bromeliad Society of South Florida, Miami, Florida, R. W. Davis, President
Bromeliad Society of New Zealand, Auckland, N. Z., W. Rogers, President
Louisiana Bromeliad Society, New Orleans, La., Mrs. William B. Wisdom, President
San Mateo County Bromeliad Society, San Mateo, Calif., Doris Beaumont, President
Delaware Valley Bromeliad Society, Philadelphia, Pa., Patrick Nutt, President
Bromeliad Society of Orange County, Calif., Kelsey Williams, President

J. O. Holmes

VRIESEA IMPERIALIS was most aptly named, for it is truly one of the noblest of all members of the bromeliad family.

A terrestrial, this giant Vriesea may have a spread of four feet and its inflorescence reach a height of six feet or more. In good light, the leathery leaves, which may measure six inches at their widest part, turn a rich maroon. The branched inflorescence has glossy deep red bracts from which emerge slightly fragrant flowers. Whether in bloom or not, this Vriesea is a handsome plant and makes a most welcome addition to patio plantings.

Vriesea imperialis entered horticulture in 1867 under the name of Vriesea gigantea. In 1881 it was called V. glaziouiana and in 1889, Tillandsia regina. Its name of imperialis first appeared in the Revue Horticole in 1888. This Vriesea belongs to the subgenus Alcantarea, and in continental Europe it is still often listed under this name.

Fortunately, as it is too large for the average greenhouse, this Vriesea is hardy in sub-tropical regions. Mr. A. B. Graf found it growing in the barren uplands of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, where the, days are warm and the nights are cool. It can withstand dry conditions and an occasional drop in temperature to freezing.

Plantlets form around the plant while it is still quite young. These can easily be detached to form new plants.

—V. P.


GROWING BROMELIADS IN RHODESIA

SUE MCCORMICK

"Bromeliads are more rewarding than orchids!" This was certainly not a statement to make to an orchid society gathering, but then, the occasion was a visit to my garden. What had prompted me to make such an assertion was the fact that I had learned the art of exploiting the form and texture of bromeliads to advantage in indoor plant arrangements as well as in landscaping my two-acre garden. As everyone knows, orchids are really not decorative unless in bloom.

I was initially attracted to bromeliads by a color picture of Billbergia amoena var. viridis. My first acquisition consisted of Vriesea hieroglyphica, V. splendens, V. gigantea, and Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor. What knowledge I had regarding their care I obtained from Montague Free's All About House Plants, but I have learned much since 1957 when I first started my collection.

The interest in bromeliads has just recently gained momentum here in Rhodesia. Billbergia nutans, however, has long been familiar and is known by many as "Vuurkleur" because of the four colors in the bracts and inflorescence. Generally it is thought to be indigenous to South Africa as it is so widely grown. A few other bromeliads have found their way into gardens, mainly by rock garden enthusiasts because some varieties combine well with the indigenous aloes. A case in point is our Ewanrrig-National Gardens, where I saw bromeliads growing with aloes, cycads, cacti, strelitzias and gerberas. An unhappy choice I felt was Vriesea carinata, which certainly does not belong with such hard-textured materials. These gardens, though, are well planned and are a sight to behold at the time of this writing.

Salisbury is situated 4,950 feet above sea level. We enjoy a semi-tropical climate with an average summer rainfall of 20 to 25 inches. Day temperature fluctuates between an average of 68°F. in winter to 85°F. in summer. Generally night temperatures are fairly average: between 50 and 60 degrees with probably half a dozen times when there is ground frost. We get an occasional black frost just before the spring breaks in late August or early September, and then it does create a havoc!

I grow most of my plants under cover, but as I acquire more of a kind I experiment by planting in the garden those varieties which I feel will tolerate frost. Varieties which have successfully wintered outside are some Billbergias, Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor, N. spectabilis, N. concentrica, Nidularium acanthocrater var. proserpina, and another variety plutonis. Aechmea orlandiana, much to my surprise, has done well outdoors. It is growing under the protection of Acacia baileyana. A deeper color was apparent as soon as the weather grew colder, and it is obviously very sensitive to light conditions. This peculiarity in some plants is of particular interest and never fails to fascinate visitors.

Most of my plants are grown in a plant house with sides of fibreglass and with a roof of alternate strips of two-foot fibreglass and four-foot aluminum sheets. The advantage of this type of roof is that watering can be regulated and maintenance costs are minimal. In this house, which has no artificial heat, I grow a variety of foliage plants, Anthuriums, Cypripediums, Laelias, Odontoglossums, and Cattleya citrina. Plants are moved about according to their shade requirements. Humidity is provided by overhead spraying with nozzles, fitted to copper piping, which are adjustable. I may add that some of these "nozzles" are from my son's scooter. A small flat bit of aluminum was fitted to the jet and adjusted so as to disperse the fine spray which is quite effective.

In a small glasshouse, built in the first instance to hold a few Cattleyas and to propagate difficult subjects, I raise my bromeliad seedlings. This place is heated only at night when the weather turns cold. Many people in Salisbury have elaborate greenhouses, but I have found it unnecessary for the plants I grow at present. Humidity is provided to a certain extent by growing moss as a ground cover; it is also attractive, but on the benches it can become troublesome as I found in the larger house. The cymbidiums are grown under slats, and this structure will soon be enlarged to accommodate the overflow of bromeliads which are kept in pots for my work.

One of the silliest mistakes I ever made was with my first seeds in October 1961. I was so thrilled to get these seeds that in my haste I forgot to dampen the peatmoss before planting. The pots were stood in a trough of water so that the clay pots could absorb the liquid, but this procedure was not a good one, for later, to my horror, I found little mounds of peatmoss floating on the water in the pots. The moss was scooped up, the seed carefully removed, the peat moistened, and the seed replanted. Germination was good and these plants have now reached maturity and should shortly flower. These are Aechmea pittieri, Neoregelia concentrica, and a handsome plant with broad pale green leaves with black spines—name lost.

When seedlings are big enough to go into community pots, I put them in a mixture of equal parts peatmoss, river sand, and leaf mold; and as they germinate to bigger pots the mixture becomes coarser. My usual mixture for adult plants, Vrieseas and Tillandsias excepted, is the same used for my other foliage plants:

2 parts by volume peat moss

2 parts coarse leaf mold

2 parts rice husks, which is useful as it does not break down quickly.

1 part old farmyard manure

½ part charcoal bits

¼ part oyster shell, and lastly to a barrow load of mixture I add a four-inch pot of bone meal.

The Vrieseas and Tillandsias are usually potted in straight firbark with a layer of old osmunda fibre to prevent the bark floating when being watered. I have at times used bark for some of the Aechmeas and Nidulariums with smooth shiny foliage, but osmunda is in short supply and is used sparingly, as the Cattleya needs have to be catered to. I have stopped using fibre, as bark is so much cleaner and easier to handle. When potting in bark I have found it necessary to use small chips around the base of the plant to firm it, and for this, fibre is also useful.

A year ago I received a parcel of Tillandsia seed and seedlings from Dr. Oeser in Germany and followed his instructions by tying the small plants on to twigs. This took me well into the night, but it was a task contemplated with much joy for the outside world seemed so hostile. These bundles hang from the roof of the fibreglass house and the family take a keen interest in watching the roots developing. The seed was placed on bundles of pine twigs as directed with satisfying results.

Although a careful watch is kept, I have found an occasional plant with scale. This has been successfully treated by wiping the scale off with cotton wool wrapped around the end of a match stick, dipped in Methylated Spirits and the plants sponged immediately afterwards.

I can't say that I feed my bromeliads systematically, but they generally appear to be growing well. I sometimes feed with a weak solution of Bio or Wellgrow, using a handspray. The other pot plants get a monthly feed with a balanced fertilizer, which the African staff see to. I may add that Nekshoni, the African who helps me with the pot plants, is a Malawian who has been with me for seven years. I have only recently let him care for these and pot the easier varieties. Even then, the other day I came upon him having potted up numerous small rooted cuttings with no drainage material in the bottom of the pots. I was told that he did not consider it necessary, as the holes in the pots are small and the plants won't remain in them for long anyway. But he is so cheerful and courteous and I see his point, so I tried to explain once again why it has to be done. It must be bewildering when confronted with so many varieties of plants, and Nekshoni thinks I am crazy anyway as we can't eat them. The indigenous people with a few years of education regard it as infradig to work in the garden. What some of them must think when I am seen cultivating, I can't imagine.

The only established plant I have lost to date has been Vriesea gigantea. I assume this was due to water being left in the cup during a particularly cold spell when some plants were left outside. The base of the plant rotted, but the leaves were used in a flower arrangement which lasted for some weeks.

—14 Kensington Rd.. Highlands, Salisbury, Rhodesia.


BROMELIADS IN THE MANGROVE JUNGLES
OF NORTHERN ECUADOR

ELIZABETH NAUNDORFF

Author

HE NORTHWESTERN COAST of Ecuador, an area of over 150,000 acres extending from the delta of the Santiago River to the frontier of Colombia, is covered by jungles of mangroves. This region has a special charm all its own.

Arriving at the little town of San Lorenzo, one sees what he believes to be a wide lake surrounded by huge trees. It is only from a motorboat or canoe that he can see that it is a great river, with tributaries to the right and left, which opens on to the sea. It takes about three-quarters of an hour by motorboat to reach the delta, but during flood-tide all the jungle stands in water, more than two feet deep. During this time the canoes of the fishermen can pass easily through this enchanting wilderness, following the course of little brooks and gliding under the gigantic air roots of the mangroves. These roots point the way to the bromeliads, but to get any plants a person must do some climbing, for one cannot reach the branches from a boat. Nests of Tillandsia bulbosa perch in the corners of the twigs, their thin twisted leaves like immovable worms. Next to them may be found groups of Tillandsia disticha, not so knitted together as the bulbosa, but a plant which seems to be always in disorder.

Author
Left—The area just beyond the mangroves abounds in ferns and bromeliads.

 

Below—Tillandsia dyeriana

Author

Author
The air roots of the mangroves present a challenge to the plant collector.

Then the visitor arrives at a place where the banks rise some six to ten feet, a sufficient elevation so as not to be flooded at high tide. At once he can see another type of vegetation. Growing in the most salty earth are big ferns reaching a height of about six feet belonging to the family of Chrysodium aureum or Acrostichum aureum.

This is a dangerous wilderness, for one cannot trust the soil but must use the rotten trunks of the mangroves for a pathway. These trunks are covered by bromeliads of enormous dimensions, bright green among the dark leaves of the trees and ferns. Here are found two forms of Tillandsia dyeriana, one dark green with black spots and one yellowish with red spots. Both are unlike the typical T. dyeriana, although, of course, there are similarities. Both varieties are very pretty and not overly large.

Author
Tillandsia subulifera

When one returns to the town of San Lorenzo he will see Tillandsia anceps and the sweet little Tillandsia subulifera. This last one does not grow in the jungles but in the town itself. It seems to prefer old citrus trees, and it was a great shock to me that all those trees where I found the charming plant during my last stay had been destroyed and were gone. I had to spend a great deal of time walking around finding trees that were host to this bromeliad. I am afraid that next time it will be even more difficult.

The jungles of mangroves near San Lorenzo are just a very small sector of a country which possesses more than 600 species of bromeliads in all its different landscapes. In the dry forests of the coast live others quite different from those found in the damp mangroves. Still different are those to be found in the vast rain jungles, those in the eastern and western slopes of the Cordilleras, and those growing at an elevation of nine to ten thousand feet, where there is an abundance of the hard-leaved Tillandsias. No doubt, new and interesting items will make up for the probable loss of Tillandsia subulifera of San Lorenzo.

—Box 3073, Quito, Ecuador.


MARGARET MEE

LYMAN B. SMITH

RS. MARGARET URSULA MEE meets the Bromeliad Society here for the first time with two of her water colors by way of introduction. Since we already include considerable artistic talent as well as technical knowledge in our Society, I am sure that her rare combination of art and science will be fully appreciated. However, that is only a part of it, for each of her pictures has a history of travel, travail, and triumph that makes it doubly interesting.

One's first impression of Margaret Mee is one of fragility, but there never was a more deceiving woman, for she has traveled all over Brazil under the most difficult conditions in order to pursue the botanical art that is both love and livelihood. Fourteen years ago, when she was already working as an artist, she left England for Sao Paulo to help the family of an ailing sister and met the exciting flora of the Brazilian rain forest with its wealth of melastoms, orchids, aroids, and bromeliads. During the next five years she stayed near home and taught art in a local school in her spare time. Then her sister returned to England and Margaret, thanks to an understanding husband, was free for wider travels.

Mrs. Mee had her baptism of fire in Brazilian travel when she and a fellow instructress from the school journeyed to Belem, then east by Braganca to the mouth of the Rio Gurupi that forms the boundary between the states of Path and Maranhao. They had a long wait for the river boat and an opportunity to observe snakes, bird-eating spiders, and other characteristic jungle denizens. Margaret painted a few plants but with great difficulty because the local Indians and caboclos insisted on leaning over her shoulder the better to observe the progress, of her work.

Finally the river launch arrived and they set off upstream. The captain disdained the conservative policy of tying up to the bank every night and in the dark they ran on a rock. Surviving this mischance, the boat continued upstream only to stick fast in a mud bank. After several days, food and drink ran low, but one man managed to reach shore and return with a mess of small land crabs. The crew finally succeeded in pulling the boat free and, shortly after, Margaret and her friend were able to fly home. Margaret had little but experience to show for her first major expedition, but it was to stand her in good stead later.

Her next big foray was to the State of Pernambuco where Dardano Lima, an authority on northeastern Brazil, took Margaret on a series of trips radiating out from Recife—to Caruaru (home of Hohenbergia caruaruensis), Restinga das Prazeres, Rocinha, Serra do Vento, Agua Verde, Serra Negra, and San Agostini. This area, called sertoes (sair-tow-ingsh), is semi-arid and differs from the Brazilian rainforest almost as night and day. Caatinga or thorn-scrub alternates with bare hot sand that burns even through boot-soles. Bromeliads are numerous but are predominantly thorny types like Encholirium, Aechmea, Canistrum, Bromelia, Cryptanthus, Hohenbergia, Orthophytum, Portia, and Gravisia or small species of Tillandsia with narrow gray-scaly leaves.

Vriesea erythrodactylon

Brazilian botanists have not been slow in discovering Mrs. Mee's unusual talent and have shown their appreciation by organizing several exhibits of her paintings. One of these was in Rio on the occasion of the double 150th anniversary of the Jardim Botanico and of the Museu National. Another, in Sao Paulo in 1964, was a memorable occasion when I made her acquaintance and found that her pictures were all that my returning friends had reported.

Her exhibits led to her employment as staff artist of the Instituto de Botanica of Sao Paulo, preparing colored plates for their great work, the "Flora Brasilica", and of these the great majority were bromeliads for the part on which I have been working ever since my first visit in 1928. The pictures of Vriesea erythrodactylon and Vriesea billbergioides shown here are from a lot of twenty that I bought with National Science Foundation funds in order to use them in my monograph. There are more of her bromeliads included in the general collection acquired by the Dumbarton Oaks Library in Washington.

Vriesea billbergioides

Vriesea erythrodactylon is typical of the bromeliads of the dense rainforest around the Institute and on the steep seaward slopes of Sao Paulo's Serra do Mar (or Coast Range) which is within a few hours' drive. Quite naturally species of this area are best represented in Margaret's water colors, but, thanks to continuing long trips, there is a good distribution over all Brazil.

In 1962 Mrs. Mee joined a general scientific expedition led by the Brazilian ethnologist, Harold Schultz (see National Geographic Magazine 125: 736-758, 1964).

They flew to Cuiabá, then drove by truck to Gleba Arinos, by the rubber collector's launch down the Rio Arinas and its rapids to the Rio Juruena and into the Province of Aripuana near the southern boundary of the State of Amazonas. Here they made their base in an Indian village and set about their various research activities.

Flies called pium, closely allied to our back fly of northern North America, made operations very difficult at times, but by now Margaret had perfected her field technique and made her sketches and preliminary paintings inside a tent of fine mesh that was just large enough to hold her and her equipment. Bromels were relatively few but included such interesting and unusual species as Tillandsia paraensis and Aechmea sprucei and fernandae.

Suddenly Dr. Schultz was felled by acute malaria and had to be evacuated. There was barely room enough for Margaret in the boat, so she elected to stay rather than abandon her plants and equipment. Then the camp manager also came down with malaria and became delirious. Margaret went for help, paddling a dugout upstream with the help of a small Indian boy and returning in the nick of time to save the life of the sick man. After four days by river and four by truck to Cuiabá by way of Sao Luiz de Caceres, she took the plane back to Sao Paulo.

In 1963 Margaret spent a month in and around Rio de Janeiro making paintings in the greatest concentration of ornamental bromeliads in the world. Vriesea billbergioides, our second illustration, is typical of this flora that abounds in brightly colored species not only of Vriesea, but also of Pitcairnia, Aechmea, Canistrum, Neoregelia, Nidularium, Billbergia, and a number of others. Her experience in this area ran from the coastal habitat of the Ilha da Guaratiba, east of Rio to the heights of Mount Itatiaia on the borders of Minas Gerais where the single small species of Fernseea and the great chestnut-colored spikes of Vriesea itatiaiae are dominant features.

Late in 1964 Margaret flew to Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, and then north-westerly to Mercés where she took the padres' launch to the Salesiana Mission at Uaupés, and then by canoe to Taracuá where she did the first part of her field work. She returned to Uaupés to go up the Rio Curicuriari, a region made famous a hundred-years ago by the great botanical explorer, Richard Spruce. Returning a second time to Uaupés, she went up the Rio Negro to the Rio Icana for the third part of her operation before returning to Sao Paulo. Her paintings were largely of Aechmea and Streptocalyx with a scattering from other genera like Tillandsia and Pitcairnia. One still unidentified Neoregelia was interesting in that mother and daughter rosettes on the same rhizome were in bloom at the same time.

Latest of Margaret's expeditions was one to Bahia with a group of botanists and amateurs from Rio and Sao Paulo, and Bob and Catharine Wilson from our Society. They drove to Morro de Chapeu near Feira de Sant'Ana north of the great bay that gives its name to the state and collected in dry country reminiscent of Margaret's old area in Pernambuco. On their return, they passed by Milagres and the Serra do Sincra where Martius collected the original Cottendorfia in 1818 and where Ule, in 1906, and Mulford Foster, in 1948, turned up new and interesting species of Dyckia, Encholirium, Orthophytum, and Hohenbergia. The ill-fated trip was saddened by the death of Rino Levi during field operations and most of the collection data was lost on the return to Rio.

Margaret is now working toward an expedition to northern Amazonas to ascend Mount Neblina on the boundary with Venezuela. There she plans to make her first color illustrations of Navia and Brocchinia, genera of the Guayana Highland or "Lost World" area, widely explored by Bassett Maguire and Julian Steyermark. Margaret Mee is making history in the bromeliads and I hope to have further illustrated reports on her journeys and paintings.

—Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.


OBSERVATIONS FROM DOWN UNDER —

SOME THOUGHTS ON FROSTS—From the Bulletin of the New Zealand Bromeliad Society

ITH THE DISASTROUS experience of the 1965 winter we may have lost our sense of proportion because of the damage to our plants during that very cold spell. Firstly, we should recognize that some plants thrive under different basic conditions of temperature. Nobody would try to grow equatorial plants in Iceland or Alpines in Central Africa, simply because the metabolism of the plant needs a basic or cold temperature. We can simulate tropical conditions by means of heated glass-houses and our American friends even install air-conditioning to maintain the optimum temperature for cooler-growing plants. Perhaps we have been led astray by these friends into thinking we can grow any plant under any conditions just because we are intensely desirous of doing so, even when we realize that we are alienating these plants from their natural habitat.

So much depends on the cell content and its adaptability to change, the greatest of which is expansion and contraction. Too much of either, and the cell wall bursts with the consequent loss of its contents. Then we have patches of tissue which have really died, but which we describe loosely as 'burnt.' Temperate loving plants thus die in extreme heat by the mass destruction of cell walls. By the same token, liquids (cell contents) expand when temperatures fall very low. This is what happens when the cell walls collapse and give that appearance that we call 'frost burn.' It is nothing more or less than dying tissue, and the extent of it determines whether the plant will survive or not.

With our broms the remedy seems to be to find by experience which ones will stand up to our lower temperatures and put others into heated houses for the danger period. Generally speaking, a plant goes into a resting period during the autumn and remains that way until spring. In this resting period the cell starch converts to cell sugar which does not freeze at so high a temperature as starch. This could account for the greater damage done by light frosts in those areas where the autumn is not cool enough to promote this starch-sugar changeover.

—Waiwhare.

BROMELIADS IN THE BATHROOMW. B. Charley

It has already been written . . . .

Now they're coming in the window,
Now they're coming in the door,
The room is full and won't hold any more.

Up to date the bathroom has proved the last place to have indoor plants installed, but a certain bromeliad enthusiast rather staggers his overnight guests when they enter the bathroom for morning or evening shower or bath.

High up on the wall, out of reach of hot water and soap, hang Tillandsias fairly bursting with new growth. After the family have all been cleansed, the walls are dripping with moisture and the plants are hidden in the vapor which arises in a dense mist from shower or bath. Tillandsias thrive in this atmosphere and need little other attention except for an occasional spraying with a soluble fertilizer about once a month.

As an experiment, two plants of T. ionantha of identical size were used. One was put in the bathroom and the other left in normal conditions; the bathroom model soon doubled in size.

For mounting Tillandsias, one can use small blocks of tree fern fiber or some other fiber or the soft bark from a tree to which a small wire hook is attached, and the block is then hung on the wall like a picture. One thing is sure—modern bathrooms do not have pokey little windows and the excellent light found in most is quite sufficient for the plants.

Taking a shower and seeing the vapor bathe the plants lends a new experience to the age-old habit of keeping spotlessly clean. You can feel the pleasure of giving the plants a jungle atmosphere. Much the same result can be obtained by placing a pot of broms over the kitchen sink, where humidity arises frequently.

BROMELIADS IN CHAIN STORESW. B. Charley

It is reported from Victoria that a nursery has 30,000 bromeliads coming along; these are to be sold through chain stores for 50 to 70 cents, all of which are reported to be good varieties.

There are two sides to such a venture—one that such a large distribution does help to make these plants known, though it is doubtful if one third would survive being bought by folk who do not care for them and within a year from purchase they would exist no more.

Two, this kind of mass production ruins the market for those who grow superior plants truly named and hardened for growing under adverse conditions. People who get interested in a plant bought from a chain store go to a specialist and expect to buy a bromeliad for the same price and are not happy with the true market price as compared with the chain store price.

A nursery in New South Wales six years ago went in for broms in a large way, having large glasshouses full; these plants went to chain stores at low prices. The nursery, however, did not continue the venture, for it took at least three to four years before the plants were of salable size and the turnover was too low. Also the plants were not fed and were grown in intense heat which made them soft and sickly. Even in the nursery thousands had to be thrown away, and pity help those who bought these plants, as they would certainly not be happy in the usual indoor setting. Also the tags on the plants grown in this nursery got mixed up, and consequently many of these plants were sold wrongly named.

—Mt. Tomah, Bilpin, N. S. W., Australia.


OFFICIAL HYBRID LISTING

Below is a replica of the form to be used in making an application for the registration of a bromeliad hybrid. It is reproduced here for the convenience of those members who have made crosses and flowered them and who wish to have them officially recognized. Applications are coming in at a nice rate, but it is the belief of those concerned that there are many more fine hybrids that should be listed and so gain a world-wide acceptance. Forms may be obtained from the secretary.


APPLICATION FOR REGISTRATION OF A BROMELIAD HYBRID

GENUS__________________________________________________________________

PROPOSED NAME__________________________________________________________

POLLEN PARENT________________________SEED PARENT_______________________

NAME AND ADDRESS OF APPLICANT__________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________

NAME OF HYBRIDIZER OF CROSS IF NOT THE APPLICANT_______________________

_______________________________________________________________________

HAS THE HYBRIDIZER GIVEN PERMISSION FOR THIS APPLICATION?______________

YEAR OF MAKING CROSS______________ YEAR OF FIRST FLOWERING_____________

IF AVAILABLE, PLEASE AFFIX GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT AND/OR         

    PHOTOGRAPH OR COLOR TRANSPARENCY.                                  

THE RIGHT TO REPRODUCE PHOTOGRAPH IN THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETIN    

    IS__________ IS NOT GRANTED__________                              

SIGNATURE OF APPLICANT_________________________________________________

DATE___________________________________________________________________

The publication of the information concerning the above described hybrid in THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETIN will be evidence of its registration. No other acknowledgement of acceptance will be made. Unaccepted applications will be returned to the applicant with reason for non-acceptance.


GROWING BROMELIADS IN ALASKA

DONALD K. TINKER

ROWING BROMELIADS IN CENTRAL or northern Alaska presents several problems, but all of them can be overcome.

In Seward, a small port city on the Kenai Peninsula, the temperature ranges from a few summer days in the 70's to a winter low of 20° below zero. Wind is constant with a high in the neighborhood of 60 miles an hour at times in the winter. Consequently, except for a few mid-summer days, outdoor growing is unadvisable.

In mid-winter, the sun rises at 9:00 or 9:30 a.m. and sets between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m., while in mid-June it rises at 2:30 to 3:00 a.m. and sets at 12:30 or 1:00 a.m. Outdoor humidity ranges from 30 in the winter to 60 - 70 during the summer months.

During the past winter, I became interested in bromeliads and wished to determine whether they would survive given this harsh climate. The first attempt, Aechmea × 'Foster's Favorite,' was unsuccessful; the plant was crushed in transit. Since then, 20 have flourished: 1 Acanthostachys, 6 Aechmeas, 1 Araeococcus, 1 Billbergia, 2 Neoregelias, 1 Pitcairnia, 1 Quesnelia, 5 Tillandsias, and 2 Vrieseas.

Generally the bromeliads have been grown in two different environments. The Tillandsias are placed at a window with southern exposure, natural humidity above 60, temperature range from 65° at night to 75° during the day, and no artificial light. The remaining bromeliads winter in an office with an eastern exposure, white walls and 160 watts of fluorescent lights, eight hours daily. The humidity was artificially raised to 50. Temperature remained constant at 70 to 75. Placement with relationship to the one window was determined by the cultural requirements of each plant. Neoregelia zonata was placed directly in front with the Vrieseas in a shaded corner and the remaining in intermediate spots.

Light seems to be the major limiting factor in growing bromeliads this far north. During the winter months, artificial light is a necessity. It is no problem starting with the lengthening days of April and May. Bromeliads grow marvelously by the windows if given some shading during the cloudless periods. For this purpose I use roll-up bamboo shades. This period with 19 - 20 hours of sunlight seems to make up for the almost sunless winter months when growth is nearly at a standstill.

Obviously bromeliads cannot endure outside weather conditions except for brief visits during warm summer rains. The indoor temperatures have ranged from the low 60's to the high 70's and the relative humidity from the 30's to the 80's. The bromeliads grow well seemingly independent of these temperature and humidity variations.

Under these cultural conditions, watering is difficult. Acanthostachys strobilacea, Araeococcus flagellifolius, and Pitcairnia andreanum are planted in plastic pots with a terrestrial mixture and excellent drainage. The remainder are also in plastic pots but are planted in osmunda. During the winter months, the vases are kept filled and the roots allowed almost to dry out between bi-weekly waterings. Starting with the lengthening days, weekly watering is commenced. This seems about right.

The Tillandsias, with their roots bound in osmunda and tied to driftwood, receive no artificial light but are sprayed two or three times a day. This, coupled with high humidity, seems about right, since T. recurvata is blooming and T. fasciculata is producing seed pods. Humidity rather than light seems most important to this group. Occasional soakings in the bath tub are well received.

Fertilizing is still an open question for bromeliad owners. All my bromeliads receive infrequent—perhaps once every two months—foliar spraying with a 10-10-30 non-organic fertilizer and an application of 30-10-10 to the roots at the same frequency. This does no harm, but I cannot tell whether it does any good. During the dark winter, I do not believe any fertilizer is indicated.

As other growers have found, good air circulation is essential. During most months, open windows are not practical, so small fans are used. These seem sufficient.

Under these conditions of extreme light and humidity variation, as well as high outside-inside temperatures variation, a number of my bromeliads have thrived, although there are a few that have not done well. Acanthostachys strobilacea, Araeococcus flagellifolius, Pitcairnia andreanum, Quesnelia liboniana, all five Tillandsias, and Vriesea barillettii have grown well. The Quesnelia sucker was removed and is now larger than the mother plant, while the Pitcairnia is about to bloom.

All of the Aechmeas and Neoregelias are growing but not so well as those mentioned above. Only two plants seem definitely to dislike the particular cultural conditions—Billbergia × 'Thelma Darling Hodge' and Vriesea splendens. Vriesea barillettii seems quite happy, producing a sucker, now eight inches long.

Scale insects, as well as most others, are not known in this area, so they are not a factor in bromel culture.

Over all, I can say that bromeliads respond to this environment. If a balance between light, water, and temperatures can be maintained, they will grow and thrive. If the grower can overcome the daylight extremes, he should be successful.

—Seward, Alaska.


C. Fred Gates, of West Palm Beach, Florida, writes of his experiences with crossing. In June, 1965, he crossed Billbergia horrida with Neoregelia spectabilis and a month later fruit had formed. Two weeks later seven seeds had germinated, and in November 7 plants were individually planted in tree fern in two-inch containers. In July 1966, the plants were six inches tall and about five inches across and were transplanted into three-inch pots. Mr. Gates does not know whether Billgelia or Horribilis would be a good name for this bigeneric cross.


IN THE NEWS . . .

Above—Bromeliad lovers at the Symposium. The Vriesea fosteriana var. seideliana Reitz was a gift of Alvim Seidel.

 

Left—(From left to right) Dr. Roberto Miguel Klein, Dr. Henrique Berenhauser and his son, and P. Raulino Reitz ready for a bromeliad collecting tour at the end of the Symposium.

On July 14, 1966, the First Brazilian Symposium on Bromeliads was held in Blumenau, Santa Catarina. This was a part of the Eighteenth Annual Meeting of the Brazilian Society for Advancement of Science. Ten major topics were discussed, covering such different subjects as ecology, cultivation, the flora and fauna to be found living in the cups of bromeliads, the economic and ornamental value of bromeliads, and the problem of bromeliad malaria.

The Symposium was organized and directed by P. Raulino Reitz and Roberto Miguel Klein. Forty bromeliad lovers enthusiastically applauded the speeches given at this first important meeting. The topics of the talks were as follows:

Habitat and distribution of Bromeliads.—Mario Aragao.

The Identification of Sterile Bromeliaceae—Lyman B. Smith and P. Raulino Reitz

The Striping Phenomenon along Bromeliad Leaves—Alvim Seidel

The Roots of Tillandsia Usneoides—P. Raulino Reitz

Bromeliaceae of the Great Southern Region of Brazil—P. Raulino Reitz

Contribution for the Study of Tillandsias around Teresopolis—Adda Abendroth

The Bromeliad-malaria Problem—Roberto Miguel Klein

All the speeches will be published in Sellowia No. 19 in 1967.


In July, 1966, the first meeting of the Greater Dallas Bromeliad Club was held by a small but very enthusiastic group of bromeliad growers. A definite study plan has been set up and the little club is off to a good start. All those living in this area who would like to join this group should get in touch with E. L. Hollje, 2307 Loyce Drive, Mesquite, Texas.


Both the Greater New York Chapter of The Bromeliad Society, J. G. Milstein, president, and the Bromeliad Society of New Zealand, W. Rogers, president, are to be congratulated for the excellent newsletter which they publish each month. As so many of the members in New Zealand live in the country and cannot attend meetings in Auckland, Mrs. Hanson, editor, has devised this means of keeping all growers informed as to cultural problems, social events, agenda of the meetings, exhibits, etc. Hers is a chatty little paper, chuck full of interesting information. Perhaps no group is better organized to handle its many problems than this one Down Under. Dinner parties, visitations, competition among members, raffles, exhibits, lectures, participation in flower shows are all extremely well handled and bring a large response.

Dr. Milstein edits his fine Bromel Letter and each month he sees to it that it contains an article by an expert.


H. Yamamoto

In the last issue of the Bulletin, Ervin Wurthmann and William Drysdale discussed what they considered to be the outstanding varieties of Neoregelia carolinae. They were speaking of their experiences with plants grown in California and Florida under ordinary greenhouse conditions and had evidently not seen the plant in the above illustration or they would have mentioned it.

This specimen was grown outdoors by Howard Yamamoto in Honolulu, Hawaii. It is a young plant, not near the blooming stage, but it has attained a coloration that is breath taking. In every respect this is a perfect plant; it has a nice rounded form, good texture and coloration, and broad leaves with no blight or tip burning. The plant was grown from seed obtained from Europe and, according to Mr. Yamamoto, it is just Neoregelia carolinae.


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