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 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
PresidentCharles A. Wiley Editorial SecretaryVictoria Padilla
First Vice PresidentJack M. Roth Membership SecretaryJeanne Woodbury
Second Vice PresidentFritz Kubisch TreasurerVirginia Berezin

BOARD OF DIRECTORS
1969-1970
Lottie Cave, California
Nat DeLeon, Florida
William Dunbar, California
Edward McWilliams, Michigan
Julian Nally, Florida
Russell Seibert, Pennsylvania
Mary Wisdom, Louisiana
1969-1971
David H. Benzing, Ohio
Ralph Davis, Florida
George Kalmbacher, New York
Fritz Kubisch, California
W. R. Paylen, California
Ralph Spencer, California
Charles Wiley, California
Wilbur Wood, California
1969-1972
David Barry, Jr., California
Virginia Berezin, California
George Milstein, New York
Victoria Padilla, California
John Riley, California
Jack M. Roth, California
Jeanne Woodbury, California
Ervin Wurthmann, Florida

HONORARY TRUSTEES
Adda Abendroth, Brazil
W. B. Charley, Australia
Charles Chevalier, Belgium
Mulford B. Foster, U.S.A.
Harold Martin, New Zealand
Richard Oeser, Germany
Prof. Dr. W. Rauh, Germany
Raulino Reitz, Brasil
Walter Richter, Germany
Dr. L. B. Smith, U.S.A.
Marcel Lecoufle, France


PICTURE ON THE COVER –
Different crowns of variegated pineapple grown by Alejandro Santiago in Puerto Rico, showing their great decorative potentialities.


Articles and photographs are earnestly solicited by the editor. Length is no factor. Please mail all copy to the editor, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90049.


VARIEGATED PINEAPPLE FROM PUERTO RICO

ALEJANDRO SANTIAGO

Ananas comosus in four-inch pot.

The pineapple family, Bromeliaceae, is composed of stemless herbs native to tropical America whence they have been disseminated to other areas of the world. They have. stiff and sometimes spiny leaves. One of the best known members of this family is the genus Ananas, to which the commercial pineapple varieties belong.

The genus Ananas comprise a large group of plants that are very suitable for ornamental purposes because of the beautiful foliage, their colors, their shape, their attractive fruits, the variegation of the leaves and crowns of the fruit.

The author has been able to collect and cultivate in large scale different varieties of variegated Ananas Comosus. Seven of these are described below.

  1. Ananas comosus variegatus. Var. Golden Rocket
    1. Fruit cylindrical, conic in shape, 7 inches long by 5 inches diameter at base and 4 inches at apex; fruit deep copper-green in color with a silvery cast.
    2. Crown 6-8 inches long by 5-6 inches across, crown leaves crowded and numerous, smooth margined crown leaves with one broad clear yellow central strip or the yellow strip with one to several continuous to interrupted slender green strips; apex acute to acuminate recurved prominently at base and. only slightly above; all the leaves have a silvery-grey cast which is very prominent below. No slips develop at base of crown.
    3. Vegetative leaves with a single bright yellow, broad central strip and bright green on either side, both the green and the yellow strips may have continuous or broken lines within them, the yellow usually occupies 3/5 of the width of leaf; the margin is smooth and very pale yellow.
    4. Slips - Base of fruit produces an occasional slip only, none is produced at the base of crown.

  2. Ananas comosus variegatus. Var. Naranjito
    1. Fruit cylindrical to barrel shaped, 3½ to 4¼ inches long by 3 to 3½ inches wide; deep cherry red in color flushed with a little green at base of segments (eyes); the scales are gray tipped and with 1 - 4 short grey lines.
    2. Crown 3 to 6 inches long by 3½ to 6 inches wide; leaves crowded and are smooth to unevenly fine toothed; lower draws recurved at apex, upper stiffly erect; color green with a deep reddish cast and narrow yellowish to reddish borders.
    3. Leaves with a broad dull green central strip and bordered by a single marginal strip on either side which tends to be yellow in the vegetative state and pink to red in the fruiting state; the margin is smooth; very little color below.
    4. Slips - Crown produces no slips but the base of the fruit produces 7 - 15 slips depending on vigor and age of plant.

  3. Ananas comosus variegatus. Var. Puerto Rico
    1. Fruit cylindrical to barrel shaped, to 6 inches long by 4½ inches wide, segments cherry-red at the base and greyish-silver in the center; edible.
    2. Crown - 5 inches tall by 5 inches wide; leaves with a very wide pale green central strip and a narrow pale yellow-green marginal strip; basal leaves slightly recurved upper stiffly erect; margin smooth but with a few straight to upward curved spines at apex and/or base.
    3. Leaves with a broad central pale green strip (usually solid color and a pale yellow-green marginal strip; margin smooth to a few scattered small upwards curved spines (mostly at apex and base).
    4. Slips - None at base and crown but 0 to 7 at base of fruit.

  4. Ananas comosus variegatus. Var. Linares
    1. Fruit cylindrical 4 inches long by 3 inches wide. Small bright pinkish-red with medium sized greyish tipped scales; margin of scales with soft erect short spines; of poor eating quality.
    2. Crown - Medium sized (4 inches by 4 inches) and occasionally fasciated; leaves strongly recurved at apex; margin spiny with pink to lavender, small upcurved spines; leaf with a green central strip and a wide cream colored margin; occasionally a leaf is almost completely cream colored.
    3. Leaf with a medium broad central strip and a marginal strip of cream to cream with a pinkish blush; the small single and double upward curved spines are a deeper pink to red than the marginal strip.
    4. Slips - None at the base of the crown but an average of 10 develops at the base of the fruit.

  5. Ananas comosus variegatus. Var. porteanus
    1. Fruit much like #1 in size and color but the bracts instead of being small and spineless are medium sized with a few small marginal spines; they are pinkish red instead of greyish also.
    2. Crown fairly large, 6 inches long by 6 inches wide; margin spiny with mostly small single upcurved reddish spines (or few double spines); the leaves have a deep green margin fading to pale greenish with a red blush.
    3. Leaves with a broad central strip of a pale greenish-cream color with a pinkish-red blush; the deep green margin is rather broad; the spiny margin is similar to the spines of the crown leaves.
    4. Slips - Mostly 3 at base of crown and 5 at base of fruit.

  6. Ananas bracteatus. Var tricolor
    1. Fruit elongate cylindrical (5" by 3") reddish-pink fading to greenish-white as it matures; the bracts are very large, pink with recurved apexes and spiny margined.
    2. Crown very large in comparison to fruit size (6 inches tall by 7 inches wide); all the leaves have recurved apexes; the broad central green strip of the crown leaves is often streaked with several cream to pale greenish stripes; and bordered by a narrow to broad whitish stripe; the margin and large upcurved single spines are reddish-pink; the leaf is occasionally cream with a narrow red border.
    3. Leaves have a broad green central strip which is frequently streaked with lighter stripes and bordered by a white to pink strip; the margin and large, distant upcurved spines are reddish.
    4. Slips numerous at base of crown (and average of 20) and only 1 to 3 at base of fruit.

  7. Ananas bracteatus. Var. variegata
    1. Fruit long cylindrical 7½ inches long x 3 inches wide, very similar otherwise to #6.
    2. Crown large as in #6 but apexes of leaves not so recurved (few in number, not dense or crowded). It differs from #6 in that the broad central area is broader, the white to cream area is very narrow with only a few green streaks in it and no prominent red area at the base of the spines; the spines are, however, the same as in #6.
    3. Leaves the same as the crown leaves.
    4. Slips average 20 at base of crown and only 1-3 at base of fruit.
Greenhouses and Growing area, Puerto Rico

Ananas bracteatus var. tricolor

Ananas comosus — "Red Spanish"

The author wishes to express thanks to Dr. Roy Woodbury, taxonomist from the Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Puerto Rico, for helping in the description of the plants, and to Dr. Julio Bird for the photographs.


CHARLES H. LANKESTER

DOROTHY LANKESTER

(June 14, 1879 - July 8, 1969)

Charles Lankester — Honorary Trustee of the Bromeliad Society 1950-1969.

Charles Herbert Lankester (better known as "Don Carlos" by his many friends in all parts of the world) was born ninety years ago in Southampton, England. At the age of twenty-one he read an advertisement in the Daily Telegraph offering employment in Costa Rica as an assistant in the Sarapiquí Coffee Estates Company. He applied, was given the position, and in December, 1900, set sail for the country in which he was to spend the greater part of his life. To a young man coming from provincial England at the turn of the century, the then little-known Central America country, Costa Rica, proved to be a naturalist's paradise.

Sarapiquí, situated in the northeastern section of the country, turned out to be too rainy for commercial coffee production, and the company's plantations there had to be abandoned three years after Don Carlos arrived. However, it was here, amid the most luxuriant tropical vegetation, that his interest in plants, insects, and birds grew strong. On the termination of his contract, he returned to England, only to come back to Costa Rica a few months later. During the next four years, he tried his hand at various occupations, but probably the most interesting was that of collecting bird skins for M. A. Carriker, Jr., in Guanacaste and other parts of the country. How helpful this collection was to Carriker can be seen from his book, An Annotated List of the Birds of Costa Rica including Cocos Island, published in 1910 by the Carnegie Museum of Pittsburgh.

In 1908, Don Carlos became administrator of a coffee farm at Cachí in the Reventazón Valley, where for the next nine years he lived with his wife and young family. During these years he became intimate with other naturalists then in the country, including Henri Pittier, Pablo Biolley, Adolfo Tondúz, Carlos Werckle, Jose Zeledón, and Anastasio Alfaro, as well as with Alan Rolfe at Kew and Oakes Ames at Harvard University. And it was in these years that he was able to get out into the surrounding hills and forests on rewarding collecting trips. Many of the plants collected, not only orchids but bromeliads, cacti, ferns, and seeds of trees and vines, were sent either to Kew Gardens or to the herbarium at Harvard. Of these plants, many proved to be new species and one a new genus. The latter, the orchid genus Lankesterella Ames, and many of the newly discovered species, now commemorate his name.

In 1920, Don Carlos returned to England to place his children in school. While on this visit to his homeland, the British Government commissioned him to make a year's tour of inspection of coffee estates in Uganda. At the conclusion of a visit to the native coffee cultivation of the Bagisu, he joined the district Commissioner on a hurried trip to the Jackson Summit of Mount Elgon, where he collected Oenostachys dichroa, a genus of the Iridaceae new to East Africa. While in Uganda he also discovered a new species of orchid, Aerangis collum-cygni.

In 1922, Don Carlos returned to Costa Rica, and two years later he went to live at "Las Cóncavas," a coffee farm near Cartago that he had purchased some years earlier. It was here at Las Cóncavas, over the next thirty-three years, that Don Carlos built up the garden of orchids, bromeliads and other plants that became the mecca of all botanists passing through Costa Rica. His vast knowledge of the country and its flora was of great value to many of them. Plants from all over Costa Rica were placed in the garden in surroundings as nearly natural as possible, and many were brought from distant parts of the world. His trip to Africa and later visits to the Canaries, Brazil, Mexico, and Guatemala added many species to the collection.

In 1956, when Don Carlos was too old to continue managing his coffee farm, he sold Las Cóncavas; but the garden was transferred to a nearby property known as "Silvestre." Here the large collection of plants is still preserved and visited by many people. It is hoped that Silvestre may eventually become a national botanical garden. But in any case, the memory of Don Carlos will live long in Costa Rica, for all over the country are trees of the flame-of-the-forest or Africa tulip (Spathodea).

—San Jose. Costa Rica.


EASY METHOD FOR RAISING SOME BROMELIADS FROM SEED

RICHARD OESER, M.D.

Neoregelia and Billbergia seedlings on Hapuu fernwood slabs 4-5 months after sowing.
Size of slabs — 6 x 3 x 1 inches.

Referring to Walter Richter's suggestions for raising hard-leaved bromeliads (Bulletin XIX, No. 4, P. 86), I can describe a most primitive but successful way for the non-commercial bromel-fan who gets seeds from his Aechmeas, Neoregelias, Billbergias and other berried fruit plants and wants to raise new ones from seed.

Take a slab of hapuu (Hawaiian fernwood) and hang it in a horizontal position from a wire, as the picture shows. Be sure that the hapuu is fresh and has not been used for previous germinations. Hold the ripe berry of your bromeliad between two fingers and squeeze the seeds directly on to the surface of the fernwood, just as you would squeeze the toothpaste on to your toothbrush. Spread the seeds equally over the fernwood. Allow the fruit jelly which contains the seeds to dry, so that the seeds stick firmly on to the fernwood. It is not necessary to wash the jelly off the seeds. The next day moisten the slab by dipping it into your water container; then hang it in a shady place (full sunlight will dry out the slab too quickly). Keep the slab moist. If necessary dip it daily; the excess water will drip off. By following this procedure you will see the seeds germinate after a few days. Now you should use some fertilizer in your dipping water. After the seedlings are about one inch high, break the fernwood apart and transfer the little plants into planting dishes with the usual potting material.

This method of germinating seeds has two big advantages over other procedures;

  1. By using fernwood and hanging it in a horizontal position, it is almost impossible to overwater the seeds.

  2. By hanging the slabs, the snails will not get to the little leaves. These two points are the most critical in plant raising. (I might also add that the fresh seed of the berry doesn't need time to absorb water. It can germinate immediately, so it avoids infection by fungi which destroy slow germinating seed.) By following the described procedure, you will easily succeed in germinating and raising your new plants.

—Germany.


From Australia come several interesting methods of growing Tillandsias from seed. One member made a bromeliad tree and bound the branches with Indian Hemp. Tillandsia plants were secured to it and grew extremely well. While planting some Tillandsia seed, this grower decided to try a few on the hemp-covered branches of his bromeliad tree, as he felt this would be good for germinating the seed in simulated natural surroundings. His hunch proved correct, and he had a nice batch of Tillandsia seedlings sprouting on the limbs of his tree. Another grower has had good results germinating Tillandsia seed on cones of Banksia ericafolia, and another has found that "Blackboy" fiber holds a lot of moisture and is good for this type of seed.


BROMELIAD-HOUSEPLANTS FOR TODAY AND TOMORROW

WALTER RICHTER

(Translated by Adda Abendroth, Teresopolis, Brazil)

Humidity

The need of water rises under the effect of light and warmth; it recedes as air cools and illumination gets fainter. The lesson we learn is that in bromeliad culture humidity must be adjusted to light and temperature. Supply humidity when warmth and light abound; if they are scarce, use water sparingly. The rule follows what happens in nature: a winterly rest period and growth in summer.

Soil and air humidity need not necessarily be alike. As bromeliads do not depend on their roots for moisture the way other plants do, a moderately moist root-clump combined with high air humidity produces best results. Bromeliads do not want to be wet all over, especially not while cooling off. Species coming from rain forest climate—Vrieseas and Guzmanias, appreciate uniform humidity in the soil and in the air. Only in winter, provided surrounding air is warm enough, can humidity be slightly lowered. Members of Group I (Aechmeas, Billbergias, Neoregelias, and Nidulariums) should get alternate periods of more and less humidity, according to time of day and season of year.

Watering in bromeliad cultivation makes no great demands on labor. One thorough weekly soaking of the highly absorbent planting mix is generally sufficient. Spots that dry up quickly—a place near heating pipes or close to ventilation panels should get more frequent inspection. Easy to water are the plants accommodated in boxes, but it is well always to keep a lookout for drier spots.

Spraying involves a little more dedication. On hot days it should be repeated three or four times between 9 o'clock in the morning and 2 in the afternoon. A further spray later in the afternoon should only be resorted to on extra warm days and if you can be sure that by nightfall the plants will have dried completely. The finest spray is the best because it will not increase soil humidity. Permanent spraying fixtures are on the market, and their installation in the greenhouse is recommended. Water coming from mechanical sprays under sufficient pressure is like a fine mist and spraying can be reduced to a minimum. A general rule is to stop spraying Group I when the thermometer falls to 15°C, and Group II at 18°C.

Quality of the water was discussed elsewhere. Let me say again the best water is that taken from a river, a brook, or a pond. If tap water is very hard, it should be softened artificially.

Water accumulated in the cups poses a serious problem from the chemical point of view. Even rain water is not always perfectly pure; it may contain salts the plant will not absorb. Water in the cups evaporates and will concentrate what salts it may contain. Such concentration may harm the plant and stunt its development. Problems of this kind have as yet not been studied to any degree, but they do lead us to an additional growth factor.

Nutrition and Feeding

In the past it was thought that bromeliad roots have only an anchoring function and that they do not absorb nourishment. This concept has had to be abandoned: at least, it cannot be generalized. Terrestrial bromeliads—like other terrestrial plants—use their roots to take in food and water. In bromeliads with scales on their leaves, the situation is a little different. The scales help to trap moisture from the air during dry periods and will carry the plant through a spell of drought. Quite a number of epiphytic bromeliads have an extensive texture of roots that fastens them to their support and doubtless also absorbs water and nourishment. The scheme complements the work of the scales without making the plant directly dependent on the roots. In practice this means that such species will prosper in cultivation without fertilizer in the potmix if food coming from the scales in the funnel and on the blades is sufficient. In the wilds the "slow but steady stream of food floating past" is a fairly sure source of nourishment. In nature it does not matter if some of the plants starve and stay behind in development. But in our nurseries or in the cultivation of single plants it is a different matter. We want sets of uniform plants that have more or less the same growth rhythm; we count on their fast and satisfactory development. In our case careful and judicious feeding is very important.

In cultivation it is risky to use fertilizer in the cup. Organic substances, even if much diluted, often cause decay. Inorganic products are apt to disfigure the leaves with their precipitates. Satisfactory results have been arrived at with the application of very weak (say 1:1000) fertilizer sprays at frequent intervals. This may, to some extent, equal conditions in the homeland.

Nowadays it is thought to be of greater advantage to use pre-fertilized plant-mix for larger plantings, or liquid fertilizer in the soil when needed. The work of Dr. Josef Sieber, Freising, Germany, throws some light on how the fertilizer works. It was asserted beyond doubt that young plants respond better to root fertilization than to fertilizer in the funnel or on the leaves, a method that is downright harmful at this stage. At a later period, feeding the leaves produced better growth than no fertilizer at all. Best results, however, were obtained with combined root and leaf fertilization. Dr. Sieber thinks the reason is that nitrogen is more readily absorbed by the leaves while the roots take in phosphorus and potash. Careful tests proved his assumption to be correct. The following ingredients were used in the tests. To warrant purity and to attend to every possible need the following pure chemicals were dissolved in ten liters of perfectly clean rain water: 16,57 g of Ammonium Sulfate, 75,38 g Calcium Nitrate, 39,62 g Mono-Kaliumfosfate, 45,62 g Kalium Nitrate, 20 g Magnesium Sulfate, 2 g Ferric Ammonium Sulfate, 1 g Ferric Ammonium Citrate.

The 2 percent solution was diluted 0,125% to 0,25% and tried out on different plants in their successive development steps. Nidularium innocentii received concentrations from 0,1 to 0,15% during the main growth period; Aechmea fasciata got concentrations from 0,1 to 0,25%. The results were convincing proof of the necessity of complementary fertilization. On the other hand, Vrieseas and Guzmanias gave signs of being sensitive to salts even in their adult state. With them it is advisable to apply only the weakest concentrations or else organic fertilizer.

Further experiments showed that peat or patent-mix favors root development much better than gravel or chopped brick. This incidentally means that the soil-less method would be of no avail. Sieber's experiments also yielded interesting information as to what happens when a single nutrient is left out. Lack of nitrogen caused tubular growth, narrow leaves, and pale-green to yellowish coloring often with a reddish whiff and many brown dead leaf tips. Lack of phosphoric acid had an even stronger effect on Aechmea fasciata. The plants remained small with only a few leaves that were dead in their upper half. Lack of potash produced uneven, stunted parts, a very pale tone on the blades, and many dead leaves. A few samples suffice.

The experiments reveal that we are just beginning to learn which food is good for bromeliads; we are entering a domain that will enable us to accelerate cultivation and improve growing methods in the home. But they also show that the natural slow growth rhythm of the Bromeliaceae permits speeding-up only within narrow limits. The influence of nutrients on flower formation and size of spikes is still in the dark. Bromeliad species with little root formation must get their fertilizer by way of their leaves. Spraying with weak nutrient solutions during the growth period has advantages; this method harbors no danger as long as you work judiciously. This information applies to all bromeliads in a general way. Our ambition to shorten the development period should never induce us to expect too much from our plants.

Extra Lighting

The search after ways to promote development goes on. Artificial illumination for young plants as well as for mature specimens holds a promise.

The following data are based on tests carried out in the Netherlands. Two weeks after planting the seed, the sprouting grain got 8 daily additional light hours. Source of light consisted of mercury lamps and incandescent tubes. They were installed about 80 cm above the seed-containers, later above the seedlings, with a light intensity of 150 watts per square meter. Artificial lighting was applied from the beginning of December to the middle of March. The same treatment given Aechmea fasciata showed subsequent improvement. The 9-months-old plant was three times the size of its untreated brethren. Incandescent tubes were found to be more effective and economically more profitable than the mercury lamps. The important factor is probably the high light intensity.

To accelerate flowering Aechmea fasciata, plants 2½ years old were submitted to eight hours of extra illumination from a 55-watt per sq.m. lamp at a distance of 1 m. Ten weeks later (end of December to beginning of March) most of the treated plants were in bloom. The untreated ones reached sales status three months later. Using light intensity of 20 watts per sq. m., the application may be reduced to 5 or 6 weeks. The temperature during the treatment should be at least 16-17°C. Humidity must be high enough to provide ideal conditions for the developing plants. Combined artificial illumination periods in youth and at a later age guaranteed 80 percent sales status at the end of two years of cultivation. Since then, the acceleration process has been generally adopted to make Aechmea fasciata bloom, and it has yielded good results. Experiments to speed up flowering in other bromeliad species are still outstanding. (Pages 157-160)


TILLANDSIA-LIKE VRIESEAS FROM PERU

PROF. DR. W. RAUH

Rauh
Fig. 1 Vriesea espinosae — at 1000 meters

Fig. 2 Vriesea espinosae (L. B. Smith)
Syn: Tillandsia espinosae

One of the most interesting Vrieseas from the xerophytic deciduous forests in northern Peru and southern Ecuador is Vriesea espinosae, first described by L. B. Smith as a Tillandsia. But, because the petals have ligulae at their base, the plant must be put into the genus Vriesea. Without flowers it is not possible to decide whether a plant is a Tillandsia or a Vriesea.

  
V. espinosae
In its habitat V. espinosae is found frequently in the lower mountains of the Andes, at an altitude from 500 to 800 meters. It forms big clumps, which envelop the branches of the trees as a thick mantle. (Figure 1). The formation of these mantles is due to the striking growth-form of the plant.

V. espinosae forms flat rosettes of a diameter up to 15 cm. The numerous leaves are very rigid, narrow triangular, tapering into a long tip. They have a breadth of 5-7 mm at their base and are densely silvery gray lepidote. After flowering, the mother rosette begins to die, but in the axils of the basal leaves several (up to 7) new buds begin to develop, which will continue the branching system. (Figure 2) At first these new shoots begin with a horizontal 5-15 cm long stolon, covered with hard and rigid scale leaves. After a time these stolons change their direction of growing and form new rosettes, which are arranged in a circle around the mother plant. As this process will be repeated after each flowering period and as the offshoot-like parts will not wither or decay because they are a bit lignified, many branch generations will stay in formation, and this unit builds meter-size clumps in which only the youngest rosettes are alive, all the others having died.

The inflorescences are simple and unbranched. They are 10-15 cm long. The unique spike has a length of 7 cm and bears 4 to 8 flowers. The flower bracts are bright red, almost glabrous and rounded on their back. The blue-violet flowers are about 3 cm long; stamens and style are included.

The Ecuadorian plant seems to be larger than the Peruvian. Despite its abundant occurrence in its native habitat, Vriesea espinosae is not easy to cultivate, at least in Europe. Unlike other bromeliads that may be found growing in the same areas, this Vriesea needs a long period of acclimatization. Because of its small size it would be suitable for amateurs with restricted space.

—Heidelberg, Germany.


BROMELIADS IN THE BOTANISCHER GARTEN BERLIN-DAHLEM

CHRISTIAN ZECHEL

When in 1646 the first botanic garden in Berlin, Germany, was founded by Doktor Elscholz, a physician and prominent expert in the field of horticulture in the court of Friedrich Wilhelm the Great, one would certainly have not found a single bromeliad there. It was not until 1690 that Ananas comosus and Bromelia pinguin were brought to Europe as the first living plants of the bromeliad family. So we can assume that the second botanic garden in Berlin, too, in 1679 did not display any bromeliads. But things had changed when in 1897 plans for a third botanic garden were realized in Dahlem. Those were the days of great and widespread interest in bromeliads, and already in the years before some bromeliads had been cultivated in Berlin. In 1816 Friedrich Sellow had been sent to Brazil to collect plants for the botanic garden, and in 1838 and following years Eduard Otto traveled through Cuba and Venezuela and brought back many bromeliads. In the meanwhile botanists and gardeners in Berlin were describing and cultivating the new species which came in. We find the names of Wildenow, Koch, Klotzsch, Bouche, Dietrich, Link, Chamisso, and Schlechtendahl connected with bromeliads which were imported for the first time during that period. In 1821 there were only 21 species of bromeliads in Berlin, but in 1882 the listing of the garden shows exactly 180 species and varieties.

This was a good start for the Botanic Garden in Dahlem. There is little doubt that bromeliads, as well as orchids, carnivorous plants, and palms, were the favorites of visitors who came to see the new greenhouses. Bromeliads are favorites today, too. Perhaps the most colorful all-year display in the Garten Dahlem is the Bromelienhaus—or bromeliad-house. This is one of the smaller greenhouses of the garden and is reserved with the exception of a few Anthuriums, Philodendrons, and Dieffenbachias for bromeliads. The Bromelienhaus was built originally in 1909 as a part of a circle of fourteen greenhouses, the largest of which is the Palmenhaus. This was reopened last year after a long period or reconstruction, since in 1913 it was severely damaged like all the greenhouses in the garden.

In 1938 there were about 400 bromeliad species, varieties, and hybrids in Dahlem, but these like most of the tropical plants were lost at the end of World War II. This is why there are only a few palms in the Palmenhaus now. But here one may find Pitcairnias growing on the floor, some Vrieseas, Neoregelias sitting on the branches of dead trees, and many Dyckias, Hechtias, and small Puyas growing among pebbles on the southwest side of the house. On the higher branches are Tillandsia schiedeana and T. caput-medusae.

But for bromeliad fans the Palmenhaus is only an overture. Let's go to- the Bromelienhaus. As in the days of the Dahlem bromeliologist Prof. Harms there is a great deal of scientific work done in Dahlem now, but most of the greenhouses are used to display rare plants. You will not find any potted plants in the Bromelienhause. Many of the finest ornamental varieties like Vriesea splendens and its hybrids. Guzmania lingulata var. splendens, Tillandsia cyanea, and others are planted on trunks of Robinia pseudoacacia, which will withstand extreme moisture up to five years and more. Grey beards of Tillandsia usneoides stream down from the branches of these trees—always a special attraction for visitors. Other bromeliads, such as pineapple varieties, Cryptanthus, Billbergias, Aechmeas, and Quesnelias are grown on the ground or on old logs. On benches which run along the sides of the greenhouse, one may find many species of Cryptanthus, as well as other genera.

Like all greenhouses this one is too small, so most of the grey-leaved Tillandsias (some of which came from Dr. Oeser and Prof. Rauh) are housed in a separate house, which is also used to grow seedlings and those species which are difficult to keep alive. This house is not open to the public, but I believe that any member of the Society could get permission to take a look at this part of the bromeliad collection.

—Germany

(Note: This article was written before July 31, 1969, when almost all plants of the Palmenhaus were killed by fire.)


TWO NEW HYBRIDS OF UNUSUAL INTEREST

Ervin J. Wurthmann of Tampa, Florida, registers the following:

Vriesea × 'Rosa Morena'—V. erythrodactylon × V. × 'Mariae' F2

Year of making cross—1966, first flowering 1969. The seed parent V. × 'Mariae' F2 is a seedling plan of V. × 'Mariae' which has an inflorescence with pastel red bracts.

Aechmea × 'By Golly'—Aechmea orlandiana × Ae. victoriana var. discolor.

Year of making cross—1965, first flowering 1969.


SOME NOTES FROM NEW ZEALAND

MRS. F. B. HANSON

If you do not have heat in your bromeliad house, you may have noticed that after frosts the condensation causes quite a lot of drip on to your plants. I feel it is these very cold drops of water that cause winter damage on some bromeliads, and we do know that drops from rafters made of treated timber can cause terrific damage amongst some bromeliads as well. Noticeably it is Neoregelia carolinae and varieties that seem to be badly affected by the former.

If we are going to have a frost I usually put newspapers over the plants. Since doing this I have found that there has been much less damage on the plants. In the late morning I take off the papers, and it is surprising how wet some are, and always in the same part of the house, too. It doesn't take long and it is well worth the bother, so I pass this hint on to anyone who may be interested.

Also, don't forget to keep one of those little grapefruit knives in your bromeliad house. These are ideal for removing offsets, as the slight curve on the knife helps it to get closer to the main stem. The serrations are good for cutting through tough offsets—better than any knife I find.

Recently several members have mentioned that they have found root mealy bug when repotting their broms. This pest can be killed by watering the plants with Malathion—1 dessert spoon to a gallon of water as recommended for spraying. No damage is done to the roots and the bug is soon cleared up.

Cryptanthus all have the same curious form of very little stem and only a small clump of roots, if any at all. It helps propagation to simply place scoria or medium gravel in a shallow saucer or bowl and a layer of sphagnum moss on top. You can then push the sharp pointed stems into the moss and water only enough to keep the moss damp. All Cryptanthus enjoy a fair amount of light and sunshine. The more sun the pinker the foliage becomes. C. beuckeri with its mottled leaves likes semi shade. If the offsets start forming in the early winter, don't remove from the adult plants, but leave until mid spring, removing any old withered leaves to allow full light round the offshoots.

In one of our stores—McKenzies, I saw their salesman talking madly and wrapping up plants as fast as he could. Customers waited for another lot to arrive when one lot was sold out. What was all the fuss about? Tillandsia × 'Emilie' on ponga blocks—beautiful little plants with deep coloring and many with stripes for only 79 cents! No wonder everyone snapped them up. But what of the future? I wonder how many of these plants will be alive this time next year? Even if half of them have turned up their toes by then, who knows whether they will have died in vain? They may have kindled that spark that is the beginning of a keen bromeliad fancier. Let us hope that amongst all those hundreds of folk who bought the plants at least a few will be potential members of our Society!

—Auckland, New Zealand.


TWENTIETH BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION

This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the formation of the Bromeliad Society. In the short space of two decades, due to the efforts of the Society and its members, bromeliads, which were practically unknown in America, are today a favorite collector's item and may even be purchased in supermarkets.

It all started with a Round Robin which had been initiated by the Flower Grower magazine. As most of the members of this robin resided in southern California, it was decided to hold regular meetings rather than exchange ideas by correspondence. A preliminary meeting was held on Sunday afternoon, May 21, 1950, at the home of Mrs. Dorothy Behrends in Los Angeles, at which time plans were made for an organizational meeting in September. On Sunday Afternoon, September 17, 1950, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Overton in Glendale, California, a group of about 30 enthusiastic plant lovers met and organized a society, not just a local affair but an international society for the benefit of bromeliad enthusiasts all over the world. Leading the group were Mr. Mulford B. Foster of Orlando, Florida, and Mr: David Barry, Jr., of Los Angeles, both avid collectors of bromeliads.

On June 6 of this year the Society will again hold a meeting in southern California—this time to celebrate its twentieth birthday. It is hoped that as many of the charter members, as well as all others, will he on hand to join in on the festivities. There will be a two-day flower show staged by the Bromeliad Council representing the local affiliates, garden tours, and a banquet to climax the event. The banquet will be held at the La Canada Country Club, beautifully located in the foothills of La Canada and not far away from the original meeting place. There will be an exciting program, prizes for all, fine food, and an evening of good fellowship—in fact, it will be an event that no member of the Bromeliad Society will want to miss.

Members are urged to set aside June 6 and 7, 1970, as this will be an exciting time for all bromeliad enthusiasts. June is an ideal time to visit southern California, as the spring bloom is at its best, the country is still green, and the weather cool and pleasant. It is a fine time to plan a southern California vacation.

Registration fee and banquet are $7.50—a small amount indeed for all that is promised. More information will appear in the next issue of the bulletin. For further details, please write the Editor, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90049.


Pineapple Plantation in Puerto Rico

 
Leaves from various variegated pineapples Ananas bracteatus var. variegatus


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