THE JOURNAL OF THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY|
Editorial Office—647 South Saltair Avenue
Los Angeles, Calif. 90049
The Journal is the official publication of the Bromeliad Society, a non-profit corporation organized in 1950. Subscription is included in the membership dues. There are six classes of membership: Annual, $7.50; Sustaining, $12.50; Fellowship, $20.00; Commercial, $25.00 and Life, $150.00.
President—William R. Paylen, 1008 Gretna Green Way, Los Angeles, Calif. 90049|
First Vice-President—Elmer J. Lorenz, 5110 Monte Bonito Dr., Los Angeles, Calif. 90049
Second Vice-President—Eric Knobloch, Box 121 Braithwaite, La. 70040
Secretary—Jeanne Woodbury, 1811 Edgecliffe Dr., Los Angeles, Calif. 90026
Treasurer—Virginia Berezin, 130-A Alta Ave., Santa Monica, Ca. 90402
|David Barry, Jr. 11977 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, Ca. 90049||Handbook Revision|
|David H. Benzing, U. of So. Florida, Tampa, Fla. 33620||Research|
|Edward McWilliams, U. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48105||Research|
|Eric R. Knoblock, Box 121, Braithwaite, La. 70040||Regional Asst. to Editor|
|John Riley, 3370 Princeton Court, Santa Clara, Ca. 95051||Education|
|George Kalmbacher, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, N. Y. 11225||Reg. Asst. to Editor|
|Ervin Wurthmann, 5602 Theresa Rd., Tampa, Fla 33615||Reg. Asst. to Editor|
|Patrick Mitchell, 4324 Bettis St., #6, Houston, Texas 77027||Affiliated Societies|
|Wilbur Wood, 1621 Irving Ave., Glendale, Ca. 91201||Hybrid Registration|
|Kelsey Williams, 7430 Crescent Ave., Buena Park, Ca. 90620||Promotion|
|George Milstein, 33-55 14th St., Long Island City, N. Y. 11106||Education|
|Fritz Kubisch, P. O. Box 389, Culver City, Ca. 90230||Show Coordinator|
|William Dunbar, 11444 Ayrshire Rd., Los Angeles, Ca. 90049||Legal Adviser|
|Bea Hansen, 279 Mt. Wellington Hwy., Auckland, N. Z.||Reg. Asst. to Editor|
|Charles Wiley, 4036 Via Solano, Palos Verdes Estates, Ca. 90275||Slide Library|
|Amy Jean Gilmartin, 401 San Bernabe Dr., Monterey, Ca. 93940||Research|
|Lottie Cave, 7453 Denny Ave., Sun Valley, Ca. 91352|
Adda Abendroth, Brazil
Luis Ariza-Julia, Dominican Republic
Olwen Ferris, Australia
Mulford B. Foster, U.S.A.
Marcel Lecoufle, France
Harold Martin, New Zealand
Richard Oeser, Germany
Prof. D. W. Rauh, Germany
Raulino Reitz, Brasil
Walter Richter, Germany
Dr. L. B. Smith, U.S.A.
Robert G. Wilson, Costa Rica
Julian Marnier-Lapostolle, France
Like a Christmas star is the inflorescence of Orthophytum vagans. Photo by George Kalmbacher.
|Aechmea luddemanniana marginata 'Mend'|
The thrill of finding a mutation does not come too often in the course of a lifetime. This variant occurred in a flat of seedlings in 1960. The margins of the small seedling were nearly white for the first few months. When transplanted and given more light, a blushing pink began to show. In the second year when placed under slat-shade conditions of filtered sunlight the bright pink color appeared. The numerous leaves form rosettes of 60 cm in diameter. The variegated margin of the leaves is from 1 to 1¼ cm wide. Each leaf is from 35 to 40 cm long and 5 to 6 cm wide. Measurements are taken from a nearly mature plant.
As with all variegations the question arises whether this plant will reproduce itself in the same true marking. It was with great relief after the first flowering to see the suckers come with the original bright pink coloration. The growth habit conforms in every respect to the normal A. luddemanniana species from Mexico. Seedlings were raised from the mutant and all of the seedlings came plain green.
The clonal name of 'Mend' was chosen from the initials of four persons involved in the life history of the seedling: M—for my wife, Mildred Merkel; E—for Edward Ensign who sowed the seed; N—for Julian Nally who gave the seed to Mr. Ensign; and D—in memory of Ralph Davis, who encouraged me to propagate the plant.
This Aechmea received an AWARD OF MERIT from the Royal Horticultural Society of England in the Chelsea Flower Show of May, 1971.
There is another variegated form of A. luddemanniana from Mexico which has the variegation in parallel lines throughout the leaf. This is often referred to as "striated."
—Boynton Beach, Florida.
ERVIN WURTHMANNAechmea luddemanniana var. variegata was first observed by the writer in a private garden in Fortin de las Flores, State of Vera Cruz, Mexico, in October, 1967. It was rumored at that time that the plant was first collected by a Mexican guide who lives in that area.
Its leaves are characterized by grass-green outer margins, approximately ¼ the width on each side of the leaf. The center bands running longitudinally are chartreuse grading into carmine. The color in the center bands intensifies toward deeper carmine with the advent of cooler days and longer nights. The variegation seems to remain constant in the offsets.
The plant is similar to Aechmea luddemanniana in size and conformation, but is of somewhat slower growth habit. Culture would be the same as for the type plant, although the variegated form would prefer to grow somewhat more moist.
As propagation is limited to the formation of offsets, this variety will be somewhat rare for a considerable length of time.
AMY JEAN GILMARTIN
|Bombacaceae tree just coming into leaf, coastal Ecuador|
People, plants, vitality; learning everyday.|
A country harsh and gentle.
Life and death in full array.
Bleak peaks, Indians downtrodden.
Rivers red with mud, banks sodden.
Deserts bursting into green.
Plants dwelling on each other.
Lives so intertwining,
Every kind depending on another.
The people too, a truth divining
Learn to live and help their brother.
Having once fallen in love with a country just as with a person, there seems to be a link which always remains regardless of how great the distance or how varied the subsequent experience. So it has been with Ecuador and me. We lived in Ecuador from 1961 to 1964 and during the summer of 1965 I made a bromel collecting trip there while living in Honolulu. Now, six years later, Ecuador is still very much a part of my life and what I learned during that time will still be with me many decades hence.
The plants, in turn, are so much a part of the country that Ecuador without its varied verdure is unthinkable. Ecuador's plants and their interrelations, her people, and the man-plant interrelations can all be equally instructive to those fortunate enough to live there.
What do I think of when I think of Ecuador? So many things: for a start the three-hour drive up into the Andes mountains from Duran. Duran, a dreary little town, lies across the Guayas River from the city of Guayaquil and must be reached by La Gabarra (the ferry boat), transport which is more outstanding for its amazing capacity than for its speed or trustworthiness. Leaving the muddy point of disembarkment in Duran, one drives across the hilly coastlands past occasional rice, coffee or tagua (ivory nut) farms, cattle and their omnipresent companions, cattle herons, a recent arrival from Africa. Most of the hilly coastland consists of scrubby vegetation interrupted occasionally by stately trees of the family Bombacaceae.
During the winter, December through May, the coastal hills near Guayaquil are green and thickly overgrown. Tangled vines clamber over each other. In the summer the same vegetation appears as open scrubland. Many plants shed their leaves and the branches remaining are dry and brittle so that the shrubs seem dead, though this is the result of the regular, seasonal drought-dormancy.
The ascent up the Andes, many miles from the coast, seems gentle at first, but these slopes impose their effects upon the climate and vegetation throughout their range in elevation, starting with the first few hundred meters and continuously so up to the high mountain passes. Along this road the altitude reaches more than 3,500 meters or 11,500 feet. As one ascends almost any portion of the Andean chain, the changes in the vegetation types are so rapid that new plant communities are passed before a driver even becomes aware of them.
With the increasing altitude, other kinds of farms also begin to appear. And there are orange groves, not cultivated in the California style but orchards that initially appear as just more of the natural vegetation. The trees are small, unpruned, and covered with leafy liverworts, ferns, mosses and bromeliad plants.
The plantings are made in loose arrangement and cultivated in the tropical way. Pests abound and many other plants all grow helter skelter in tropical togetherness. Crop productivity is dishearteningly low by temperate agricultural standards, but organic material is produced at a rate and in a degree of diversity that cannot but quicken the heart of the observer.
Along with this land's verdure (perhaps I could say verdurosity?) I think of the people of Ecuador and I think of their humor, and of the heat and the moisture of rains, fogs and clouds. Especially I think of the people who farm and fish and who know their land best.
|The author's home near Guayaquil taken in April during the rainy season.|
|The edge of a typical farm in coastal Ecuador approaching the base of the Andes, showing a tree epiphytized by Vriesea sanguinolenta. The author's daughter Dale is dwarfed by the vegetation.|
I arrived in Guayaquil the first time on board the freighter Santa Flavia with our three children plus one more who would be born several months later in Guayaquil; very appropriate perhaps, to be bringing even more life to this country which boils over with vitality.
My husband had flown south from California and planned to meet us in Guayaquil. One mid-afternoon three weeks out of San Francisco, we entered the formidable estuary formed by the Rio Guayas on the west coast of South America. Guayaquil rather than being a sea port is very much a river port. Long after the loom of the lights of Guayaquil had first appeared we finally set anchor off the Malacon fronting the river. The evening's usual hustle and bustle of the river port was a good introduction to the country, but so much was different and strange to me that at the time I could absorb only a very few of the details.
While house-hunting for what would be our home for the next three years we lived in the city of Guayaquil. I still clearly remember being awakened every morning for two weeks at 5 o'clock by the sound of the Cathedral's bells and the street vendors' voices. And most of all I remember the smell of the cocoa beans which were placed out on the streets each morning to dry all day in the sun, certain streets being regularly blocked off for this more essential purpose.
After moving into our new home located about ten minutes from the center, it seemed natural for a couple of biologists like us to explore this country. During our first trip to the "campo" I began to be especially aware of the marvelous tropical plant family, Bromeliaceae.
What casual delight to pluck an epiphytic Vriesea from its habitat and to bring one home and wait for its continued growth in our patio and for its eventual flowering. It wasn't until later that I came to much prefer to see them growing where they belonged. What species would this one be? At about this time I began to form a friendship with Dr. Lyman B. Smith of the Smithsonian Institution. This was a friendship carried on by correspondence for several years before we ever met. During this time he must have noticed that among my botanical collections sent to the U.S. Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. was a larger proportion of species of Bromeliaceae than of any other plant family.
In his letters he gradually led me into using some of the preferred methods for preparing bromel herbarium specimens and encouraged my efforts at species identifications by sending me his book, Bromeliaceae of Colombia (Smith, 1957).
One memorable plant collecting trip among many was to the Oriente, the region east of the Andes which is part of the drainage area of the Amazon River. This trip combined bromeliad hunting and searching for medicinal plants for the Escuela de Ciencias Naturales of the University of Guayaquil. My husband, one of my students at the University, and I made the trip from Guayaquil to the Oriente and part way down the Zamora River by landrover, canoe and mule.
Vriesea hitchcockiana km. 25 Loja-Catamayo 1900 meters
Puya fastuosa in the alpine region of the Andes. 3350 meters
|Tillandsia secunda growing in open, high country. 2300 meters.|
Ernesto Gonzales, a student at the University's School of Natural Science where I taught, and Red, my husband and I, together and separately, had taken several trips on the western slopes of the Andes, but on this particular trip we headed for the area of the Jivaro Indians in a portion of the Amazon River Basin. We would be following in the foot steps of Dr. Calloway Dodson currently of Florida and Dr. Mildred Mathias of the University of California at Los Angeles, not to mention some of the great plant explorers of the 19th century such as Eduoard André (1889) and the English botanist, Richard Spruce (1908).
Bromeliad hunting in the lowlands of the Oriente requires more patience than collecting in the high Andean country. In the wet lowlands (500 to 1000 meters) east of the Andes the bromels are much less conspicuous and probably actually fewer in number than in the open country of the highlands or even on the moist western slopes. But some of these species in the Oriente are worth waiting for such as Aechmea drakeana. One large plant, Guzmania conifera, can easily be missed for several reasons. It usually grows either on inaccessible ridges or if in the river canyons it may be an epiphyte high in the forest canopy. One was collected with the help of a "lenador", woodcutter, who upon request chopped down a large tree for me.
Coastal desert with Tillandsia latifolia var. divaricata growing
epiphytically upon a cactus, near sea level.
Right— T. latifolia
During our brief stay at Zumbi, an Ecuadorian Army outpost on the Zamora river which we reached by canoe with the help of two young and willing if somewhat inexperienced "bogas", we searched for both bromels and possible medicinal plants. Moreover my goal was always to collect plants of any species which might be of botanical interest. One afternoon I was outside with my nose in a bush obtaining flowers for preparing herbarium specimens when I heard my husband who was walking nearby whisper sharply, "look, Amy". Another plant in flower, I thought? But no, he pointed silently past my shoulder and when I turned, not ten feet away were six Jivaro Indians in loin cloths, carrying blow guns and walking noiselessly down a path. They looked at me nearly as curiously as I at them and then they were gone, but they were probably more accustomed to seeing visitors than I was to seeing them. A few of the older members of the nearby Jivariá knew Spanish, but these young men were more interested in hunting for food than in talking to gringos with peculiar interests.
|Plant press and Tillandsia multiflora var. decipiens collected in coastal scrub at 50 m.|
Leaving the moist lowlands below, one enters a completely different world. The open high country is just as exhilarating in a different way as is the diversity and exuberance of the wet lowland vegetation.
Each species usually has its own particular growth form adaptive to the surrounding environment in which it evolves. For example, in the cloud forest one will find species which have broadly lingulate blades with relatively few trichomes. Benzing and Burt (1970) have recently demonstrated the moisture and nutrient absorbing properties of these trichomes which Mez (1904) called "trichompomps". Although there is usually a direct relation between the moisture level of the environment and the density of the trichomes found in any species, in some areas with high rates of precipitation throughout the year, certain species are nevertheless highly lepidote (having many trichomes on the leaves). It was noticed that these highly lepidote but broad-leaved species were growing in cloud forest areas in the vicinity of wind swept ridges. Although the habitat is apparently moist, the constant high winds produce a high rate of evapo-transpiration increasing the adaptive advantage for having many trichomes which absorb moisture as well as reduce evapo-transpiration (Gilmartin, 1971).
My work started in Ecuador with general plant collections. I soon began to specialize in the family Bromeliaceae. My plant press usually had several bromel species in it drying. With the encouragement of Lyman Smith I became interested in the systematics of the group and undertook work on the Ph.D. New species and taxonomic reductions appear in Gilmartin (1968) as well as Gilmartin (1971). In order to facilitate plant-identification by the novice especially, the keys in the latter are illustrated with accompanying sketches. In addition, slightly more than 100 of the 245 species are illustrated with photographs. Six maps of different portions of Ecuador and a list of many of the more commonly collected sites with their longitudes and latitudes accompany the keys and descriptions and notes for the Bromeliaceae published by J. Cramer.
As mentioned in the Bromeliad Society journal XXI (3) between pages 60 and 61, the book may be purchased through Stechert-Hafner, Inc., 866 Third Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10022 for $26.40, the prepublication price. As is customary with this type of publication, the author does not receive any remuneration from its sale.
Some bromeliads of Ecuador.
Upper left—Tillandsia sceptriformis
Upper right—Vriesea sanguinolenta
Lower right—Guzmania squarrosa
(ALL PHOTOS BY AUTHOR)
ANDRÉ, Eduoard, 1889. Bromeliaceae Andreanae, Description et Historic del Bromeliacees. Librairie Agricole, Paris. p. 118.
BENZING, David and Kathleen M. Burt. 1970. Foliar permeability among twenty species of the Bromeliaceae. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 97(5): 269-279.
GILMARTIN, Amy Jean. 1968. Taxonomic notes on some Bromeliaceae of Ecuador. Phytologia 16(2): 153-167.
____________________ 1971. Bromeliaceae of Ecuador. Phaner. Monog. Volume IV. J. Cramer, released by Stechert-Hafner, N.Y. p. 290.
MEZ, Carl. 1904. Physiologicische Bromeliaceen-studien. I. Die Wasserokonomie der extrem atmospharischen Tillandsien. Jahrabuch. wiss. Bot. 40(2): 157-229.
SMITH, Lyman B. 1957. Bromeliaceae of Colombia. Contr. U.S. National Herb. 33: 1-311.
SPRUCE, Richard. 1908. Notes of a Botanist on the Amazon and Andes. 2 vols. London.
|Fig. 1 Florescent fixture suspended by adjustable chains from an angle bar frame secured by wing-nut bolts. Above the unit are epiphytic Tillandsias.|
Up to now, this series has dwelt primarily on the horticultural aspect of the indoor cultivation of bromeliads. The author feels that if he demonstrates how he has constructed his various bromeliad growing areas, his ideas could be adapted to fit into various home schemes. There is no doubt that with the direction pollution is developing, urbanites will be spending most of their time indoors, departing from the home only for business, necessary purchasing, and occasional socializing. Because they are of the utmost benefit for human wellbeing, indoor gardens should be developed for family health.
Many hobbyists will doubtlessly wish to grow certain bromeliads in the epiphytic manner. They can do so, without damage to floors or windowsills, by the use of a plastic container which can fit around the slab of hapuu or cork bark on which the bromeliad is mounted. Heavy gauge plastic, which is sold in the five-and ten-cent stores for upholstery or slip covers, can be used, the size being determined by the size of the slab. All four corners of the plastic are pinched together and each pair of end corners is folded over each other. A pair of pliers is heated over a kitchen stove burner and is used to heat each end securely. Then two narrow straps of plastic long enough so that when they are attached there is at least one inch of space between the bottom of the plastic bag and the base of the slab are cut and welded on to the container. The slab is then fitted into the container, the straps being used to secure the container to the slab. The container is filled with water which is readily absorbed into the slab, and which leaves an inch of water beneath the slab. This water supplies additional humidity to the plants. It is amazing how beautifully some bromeliads can develop on one of these setups; in fact, some Tillandsias will not grow any other way in the home.
Some enthusiasts will want to grow their plants attached to a tree. The problem of this system in an apartment is the danger of damage to the surrounding floor area due to spillage from over-enthusiastic watering. This can be prevented by placing the column of tree fern or log into a wide, low pot and wedging it by the use of stones or wood pieces. The log or tree fern is then hollowed out on top and in spots around the length, carved out in a 45° slope. Plants are then inserted into these spots held firmly in place by mixing wads of osmunda with chunks of coarse peat moss and packing these firmly around the roots in the hole. Terrestrial bromeliads such as Cryptanthus can be planted in the flower pot around the base of the log.
Of course, the simplest method of growing a limited number of plants is on a windowsill with or without the aid of artificial lighting. Regardless of the source of light, it is important to construct a simple stand which will not only contain the excess water spillage but also be a source of humidity upon which bromeliads are dependent for healthy development. Procure 4 pieces of scrap lumber about 3 or 4 inches wide, the length dependent on the window size. These are simply nailed to make a topless and bottomless frame. A large piece of heavy-gauge colorful opaque plastic at least 18 inches longer and wider than the frame is pressed into the frame and filled with some non-soluble granular materials such as pebbles, coarse gravel, or perlite. The excess plastic is tucked under the frame to conceal the lumber. Water is poured into the filler until it reaches to within ½ to 1 inch from the top. Many pots can be placed on the filler surface and the excess water will not damage the bromeliad roots, while at the same time, it supplies an enveloping humidity by its constant evaporation.
Since, in many urban areas, windowsill light is no longer of sufficient quality to grow bromeliads properly, one must resort to the assistance of artificial florescent lighting for best results. Fig. 1 illustrates an easily constructed unit of the author's invention. The frames supporting the light fixture are made of angle irons bolted together; the fixture is supported by chains which can be adjusted to any desired height.
|Fig. 2 FloraCart with more than 100 bromeliads being grown on it.|
If one wishes to grow bromeliads in quantity, nothing beats the FloraCart shown in Fig. 2; it will hold about 100 plants. Each shelf is at a different distance from the light source to accommodate plants of different heights. The advantage of the FloraCart is that it may be wheeled to different locations. The light that has proven best for bromeliads is the "Vitalite" florescent tube, a full-spectrum light source which has made it possible to grow bromeliads once considered impossible houseplant subjects.
|Fig. 3 High humidity growing chamber visited by Dr. Lyman B. Smith, who is examining one of its inhabitant bromeliads.|
The most ambitious unit that the author has constructed is the high-humidity cabinet (Fig. 3). It is ideal for displaying a driftwood arrangement and can hold a great many plants with very little effort. The unit pictured is 2 by 5 feet and is 4 feet high. It is simply constructed of two box-like sections, each about 6 inches deep and is mounted on casters for easy movement. The upper box holds the light fixture and the lower one contains a small heating cable with a fixed 70° thermostatic control. The two parts are separated by the same angle bars that were used in making the windowsill light unit. The lower box is filled with a granular matter (the author uses pine bark). The area inside the unit is sheathed with a heavy gauge transparent plastic sheeting. Instead of growing the plants in pots, it is recommended that the plants be mounted on an attractive piece of wood, such as sand-blasted grape-vine. The lower mulch is kept very moist to supply humidity. Mounted Tillandsias can be suspended from the Vitalite tubes. If the plastic becomes coated with moisture film, the box should be open for ventilation every few days.
These units are not the only ways to grow bromeliads, but are just the methods the author has used and found to be practical and a good substitute for the natural method of growing bromeliads.
—Long Island City, New York.
|Photo 1.—Native habitat of T. hildae.|
One of the most exciting of the large Tillandsias that I have ever found in the dry valleys of the eastern slopes of the Andes is the new Tillandsia hildae It is chiefly desirable when in its vegetative stage, for the flowers are small and insignificant. When you see T. hildae for the first time, you would not think that it is a Tillandsia. Because of its white cross-banded leaves, this bromeliad looks like an Aechmea, for example A. farinosa, but the leaf margins are smooth and without teeth. When you study the flowers, it is obvious that the plant is a true Tillandsia.
T. hildae has its own story. I know the plant from its locality—the dry valley of the Rio Chamaya near the village Chamaya—where I first saw it in 1956. At this time we found only plants without any inflorescences. I took some specimens back to the Heidelberg Botanical Garden, but as yet they have not flowered. In 1967 I returned to Chamaya and we found hundreds of plants, growing in steep, nearly inaccessible rock walls—but not one plant was in flower. We were sure that it was a new species, but we could not describe it, for we did not know whether it was a Tillandsia, a Vriesea, or a species from another genus.
On our last expedition to Peru in 1970 we intended to explore the rain forests of the Rio Cenepa in the Amazonas basin, and on the way we had to pass the deep valley of the Rio Chamaya—the locality of our unknown bromeliad. This year we were a little later in the season (end of August) and were full of hope of finding our plant in flower. Indeed, we discovered new spots with thousands of plants, all growing in steep rock walls (see Photo 1) at an altitude between 1200 and 800 m. Again, not one plant showed a trace of an inflorescence! We were indeed disappointed! Night was coming on, and we were obliged to make a camp near the Chamaya River, but it was very difficult to find a suitable camping place in the narrow valley.
Next morning, we were just about to leave the area of our bromeliad when my wife discovered by the help of binoculars a specimen in full flower right on the edge of a vertical rock wall, about 100 m above us. How to get up there? With the help of a rope, my driver, a very clever Peruvian, tried to climb up, but it seemed impossible. After many fruitless efforts he finally succeeded to get up and to bring back the plant completely undamaged. It was a real Alpine climb! Naturally we were happy to see the flowers, and we recognized at once that the plant was a Tillandsia. For my wife Hilda who discovered the first and the only flowering plant, I named it in honor of her—Tillandsia hildae.
Following is the description (the Latin description will appear in the papers of the Academy of Science of Mainz):
Plant stemless, flowering up to 2 m high (Photo 2), at the base of rosette with numerous adventive plants. Leaves numerous, rosulate, erect, very hard and stiff, forming a big rosette (90 cm high and 1 m in diameter). Sheaths indistinct, broad elliptic, 12 cm broad and 20 cm long, dark castaneous-brown and densely lepidote. Blades up to 60 cm long, 8-10 cm broad, ligulate, involute, tapering gradually into a sharp tip, dark green or brown, with white, densely lepidote cross bands (Photo 2 and 6) especially beneath.
Scape up to 1 m and 3 cm thick at the base, glabrous, dark violet. Its bracts imbricate, longer than the internodes, the lower ones subfoliate, the upper ones with a short, erect narrow, triangular cross-banded blade.
|Photo No. 2.|
|Photo No. 3. Tillandsia hildae in cultivation.|
Inflorescence erect, lax, pyramidal, about 80 cm long and 90 cm broad at the base, 2-3 pinnate. The basal branches horizontally spreading, up to 45 cm long, the upper ones divergent and shorter. (Photo 4.)
Primary bracts much shorter than the spikes, but longer than the sterile base of the branches, broad-triangular, up to 5 cm long and sparsely lepidote. Secondary bracts smaller, glabrous, dark violet.
Spikes thin and very lax, about 20 cm long with a slightly geniculate, glabrous, green or dark violet rhachis.
Floral bracts distichous, very lax, longer than the internodes, erect, adpressed to the rachis, ecarinate, nearly glabrous, ovate, acuminate, up to 25 mm long and 10 mm broad, dark violet and green margined (when dried strongly nerved).
Flowers erect, often with a slightly curved tube up to 45 mm long, blue violet.
Sepals shorter than the floral bracts, 20 mm long, 7 mm broad elliptic, short acuminate, green with violet tips.
Petals narrow ligulate, 45 mm long and 4 mm broad with recurved tips. Stamens and style exserted.
Holotype: RAUH 24 319 (28.8.70) in the Herbarium of the Institute of Systematic Botany of the University of Heidelberg.
Habitat: frequent and wide spread on steep rock walls in the valley of the Rio Chamaya, Northern Peru.
According to the Tillandsia key of L. B. Smith (Phytologia, Vol. 20, 3, 1970, p. 151) T. hildae must be put into the relationship of T. rariflora André, which is known up today only from Colombia. It is my opinion that T. hildae belongs in the relationship of T. platyphylla Mez, which I collected in the valley of the Rio Utcubamba and of which the diagnosis is incomplete.
|Photo No. 4. Inflorescence of T. hildae.|
Concerning the leaf shape and color, T. hildae seems to be a little variable. I found forms with broad castaneous-brown and such ones with smaller, dark green, less cross-banded leaves.
In cultivation T. hildae becomes a beautiful plant. The white lepidote cross-brands become very intensive (Photo 3) for the dust of the natural habitat is lacking. It is easy to cultivate, but cane must be taken with watering, for it is a plant of an extremely dry region.
FRANK CORNELISONMy retirement from the Army in 1962 was the fulfillment of a 22-year-old dream—now there was nothing to do but to fish in the south Florida gulf coast sunshine and to loaf to my heart's content. But for some reason or other, my physical and mental makeup could not stand this strain, so I decided to give the "green thumb" routine a whirl.
For the next two years I managed to accumulate many types and sizes of the flora and fauna of Florida and to get thoroughly confused. In 1965 I was introduced to bromeliads by one of the few growers in this part of Florida, and from that introduction a hobby consisting of 50 bromeliads has now grown to a part-time business with over 3,000 bromeliads.
In 1965 I read everything I could lay my hands on about the cultivation and pitfalls of growing these wonderful plants and finally came to the conclusion that most of the experts agree that in many of the genera the roots do nothing but hold up the young plants. With this in mind I felt that any way a 2-inch seedling could be propped up—if the other factors such as temperature, moisture, and sunlight were in accord—the young plant would grow to maturity. Another thing that prompted this action was the lack of space on my ¼-acre lot.
I took 3 five-foot-long boards, known in the building trade as one by two's, and every four inches along the wide side I nailed with small brads an old-fashioned wooden clothes-pin, the type with the metal spring. This gave me three rows of 16 clothes-pins, plus 5 on each of the 2 two-foot end strips of one by two's or a total of 58 clothes-pins to plant a two-inch seedling on.
Only Vrieseas, Guzmanias, Catopsis, and Tillandsias were used. After damping the young roots in the clothes-pins, I attached 4 pieces of aluminum wire to each corner of the frame and hung it up 2 feet from the roof of my nursery building that was covered with 75% shade nylon netting. After two months a close examination of the plants revealed that 100 percent of them were doing fine and had that nice healthy appearance we strive so much for in the growing of bromels.
At the present I have over 400 bromeliads growing in my clothes-pin garden, and I welcome everyone to come by and take a look. It is much easier attaching a young bromel on a clothes-pin than using the old time-consuming method. The money saved on pots and potting material is also substantial.
I must add, however, that this method has its limitations, as larger plants cannot be held up by clothes-pins because of stem size and weight, but for the first two years of their lives young bromeliads seem to like the top perch in my nursery that has been provided for them to sit on.
—225 San Bernardino St., North Fort Myers, Florida 33903.
|Above—Tillandsias and Guzmanias on racks|
|The completed rack|
Florida seems to be leading the bromeliad world these days in the production of handsome new bromeliad hybrids. The stunning Aechmea pictured above is Aechmea × 'Ralph Davis,' a cross of A. dealbata × A. dichlamydea var. trinitensis made by Ervin J. Wurthmann of Tampa, who named it in honor of his friend, the late Ralph Davis of Miami, who was an ardent bromeliad grower. The cross was made in 1965 and flowered for the first time in 1970. Its beautiful large bright-rose inflorescence makes it an outstanding plant.
Aechmea × 'Morris Henry Hobbs' was made by Ralph Davis several years before his death to honor his friend, Morris Henry Hobbs, famous artist of New Orleans. It is a cross of Aechmea dealbata × A. chantinii.
W. C. Frase of Orlando named his beautiful Vriesea cross in honor of his wife Enid. This hybrid of V. × Mariae × V. splendens var. formosa was made in 1961 and flowered in 1965.
Upper—Aechmea × 'Morris Henry Hobbs'
Right—Vriesea × 'Enid Frase'
PHOTO – W. C. FRASE
The upper photograph shows Aechmea pectinata as it usually appears for a number of years. Suddenly it will decide to bloom and the ends of the leaves become a vivid red.