THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY
A non-profit corporation whose purpose is to promote and
maintain public and scientific interest and research in bromeliads throughout
the world. There are 4 classes of membership: Annual $7.50; Sustaining
$12.50; Fellowship $20.00; and Life $150.00. All memberships start with January
of the current year.
There are 4 classes of membership: Annual $7.50; Sustaining $12.50; Fellowship $20.00; and Life $150.00. All memberships start with January of the current year.
1970-1973: Lottie Cave, Wm. Dunbar, Elmer Lorenz, Edward McWilliams, Patrick Mitchell, Eric Knobloch, Kelsey Williams.
1971-1974: David H. Benzing, Fritz Kubisch, George Kalmbacher, Wilbur Wood, W. R. Paylen, Kathy Dorr, Amy Jean Gilmartin, Bea Hansen.
1972-1975: Jeanne Woodbury, Ralph Barton, George Anderson, Virginia Berezin, Victoria Padilla, Charles Wiley, Ervin Wurthmann, Jean Merkel.
Adda Abendroth, Brazil; Luis Ariza Julia, Dominican Republic; David Barry, Jr., USA; Olwen Ferris, Australia; Mulford B. Foster, USA; Marcel Lecoufle, France; Harold Martin, New Zealand; Richard Oeser, Germany; Dr. W. Rauh, Germany; Raulino Reitz, Brazil; Walter Richter, Germany; L. B. Smith, USA; R. G. Wilson, Costa Rica; J. Marnier-Lapostolle, France.
Published six times a year: January, March, May, July, September, November. Free to members.
Editor: Victoria Padilla
CONTENTS — JULY, AUGUST, 1972
[UPDATE WHEN MISSING PAGES ARE FOUND]
Aechmea calyculata × A. miniata var. discolor Photo by Jeanne Woodbury.
Articles and photographs are earnestly solicited. Length is no factor. Please mail copy and all questions to the editor, 647 South Saltair Ave., Los Angeles, California 90049.
Individual copies of the Journal — $1.25
The temperature is cool and pleasant, the air pure and pine scented. Hilda, my wife, brings out some sandwiches for a quick meal. Some of the pines are loaded with bromels, and I take pictures in the hope that it will be possible to recognize the various plants, but no luck. Most of them are Catopsis floribunda showing different color phases and the short, stout leaves of higher altitude plants. The first specimens of T. hotteana appear, but they are young plants only with rather yellowish, purple splattered leaves. Mature plants are not in evidence; the wind must have blown the seed upwards.
We keep on towards Constanza, our goal, and see some magnificent specimens of T. fendleri in flower on the way. Juan does some more climbing and we get a good specimen to photograph, regrettably not in situ but in the grass by the roadside. Scape and spikes are salmon pink, the few flowers purple.
At last we reach the valley of Constanza, one whole truck garden with clumps of pines and the town towards the end. The hotel is all by itself on a small hill and has marvelous views over the valley. We eat again, get settled, and then out towards the type locality of T. moscosoi. There they are, mostly on broad-leaved trees. We gather enough plants to satisfy our needs, leaving the rest for others to admire; they are in seed and can thus be propagated.
|Tillandsia baliophylla in garden of Luis Ariza Julia.|
On Sunday morning we climb up the road to Valle Nuevo. We photograph a group of pines festooned with T. usneoides which frame a view of the resort. We climb another 500 meters, and we see a tree with clumps of T. caribbea (Pseudocatopsis) and T. compacta in flower, its nutant inflorescences covered with bright red bracts from which a few dark purple flowers peep. The host tree turns out to be much taller than expected, its height hidden by the steep slope. Juan looks over the situation, then decides on a frontal attack, and in spite of his elegant red sweater, hugs the trunk and climbs until he dislodges a magnificent specimen, which is put away in the trunk of the Mercedes. And so, having accomplished our mission as far as possible we return for lunch and start the trip down the mountains on another road.
The collected "loot." T. moscosoi, Vriesea
didistichoides, T. incurva. Rear: T. hotteana,|
T. compacta, T. fendleri.
Here the pines are few and we see first the ruby red Vriesea (Thecophyllum) sintenisii, which regrettably loses its jewel-like coloring soon after being brought down to the lowland. The steep ravines are covered with graceful Euterpe palms, which in turn carry plants of the great Vriesea capituligera and Guzmania ekmanii. In the rocky ground by the roadside grow seedlings in all sizes of both these tall spiked species. The Guzmania, with red scapes and wide open, yellow flowers, will grow in my garden at sea level but it will not flower. A few more inaccessible Tillandsia hotteana are to be seen, and then as we go farther down the mountain no more Tillandsias are to be found.
Back at home, we pose the "loot" to be photographed. In all, a very satisfactory trip and weekend.
MARY L. BROWN
|Fig. 1 — Cross section of a generalized trichome. From Krauss (1949).|
This work was supported by NSF Grant GB-28014 to Amy Jean Gilmartin, under whom the author worked as research assistant.
Trichomes, absorbing scales found on the leaves of bromeliads, are believed to be instrumental in the epiphytic habit of many of the species of the family. These scales are not only interesting for their beauty, but also apparently function in absorption of water and nutrients through the leaves much as roots would function in other plants. This paper describes a photographic study of the variability in trichomes.
Trichomes in the Bromeliaceae were first discovered by Rudolphi in 1807 and since then have fascinated many people who seek to reveal their form and function. These structures have been called many names, from the simple "scale" (Rudolphi, 1807), to "hair" and "trichompomp" (Mez, 1904), to "peltate scutiform trichome" (DeBary, 1884). The word "trichome" itself is of Greek derivation and means any hairlike outgrowth on a plant.
Through a microscope one can observe that a trichome is composed of two main parts, a cap and a stalk or neck (Fig. 1). The photographs which accompany this article show the cap, which is apparently composed of air-filled cells (Krauss, 1949). The stalk of living cells extends from the cap through the epidermis and into the mesophyll and vital tissue of the leaf.
The exact mechanism of absorption by trichomes is not known, but Mez's (1904) interpretation is often referred to. Apparently the trichome functions as follows: the dry, air-filled cap expands when wet; through capillary and osmotic action, water is drawn to the center of the cap and down through the living stalk cells to the mesophyll. Admittedly this is sketchy information and more research must be done to find out what exactly does occur. Studies by Tukey (1970), Benzing (1970a, 1970b, 1970c), Benzing and Burt (1970), and Burt and Benzing (1969) have been very helpful in establishing mineral and nutritional absorption and translocation. It is thought that organic material which collects at the base of leaves in the rosette decays and is then absorbed into the leaf. One should note that the root system of an epiphytic bromel does function as an absorbing organ, but trichomes on the leaves do an equally good job (Benzing, 1970a).
(All photos by author)
It has also been suggested (Krauss, 1949) that trichomes perform other functions. One of these is the reduction of transpiration. Basically, transpiration is the evaporation of water out of the stomata of the leaves. Stomata appear in some of the accompanying photographs; they are the holes or pores through which gas exchange occurs. Water and carbon dioxide are the raw material used in photosynthesis to produce sugar, the "food" of all plants. Thus water economy is a definite problem with which plants must deal, each in its own way. In the Family Bromeliaceae, overlapping trichome caps often form a dense covering on leaf surfaces and effectively reduce the loss of water vapor from the stomatal pores.
Another proposed function of trichomes is protection against intense sunlight, heat and desiccation. Sunlight is apparently reflected by the thick cell walls of the trichome cap. Krauss (1949) cites earlier workers who feel that the air-filled cells also provide insulation against sudden large changes in temperature. Trichomes have also been photographed by Gilmartin (1972) who discussed some of the variations in trichome types and their possible relationship to habitats.
The present photographs were taken in 1971 with a Carl Zeiss photomicroscope, model number 55156. Small pieces (approximately 1 sq. mm.) of leaves of dried herbarium specimens from the U.S. National Museum were soaked in lactic acid (85%) at 60°C for 10 days. This process cleared the cells and made them translucent enough to see through; however, tannins often remained and show up quite visibly, especially in the stalk (center) cells. Slides were made of peels of epidermis from both the abaxial and adaxial surfaces.
Fig. 2 shows the type of trichome found in the sub-family Tillandsioideae (20 different species examined). This sub-family exhibits almost complete radial symmetry in trichomes (Mez, 1904) — 4 right-angled central cells surrounded by a ring of 8 cells and a second ring of 16. This center disk is then surrounded by 64 elongate cells forming the wings or alae (they actually do look like feathery wings under the microscope and are quite beautiful!). This radial symmetry observed by Harms (1930) and dubbed the 4+8+16+64 arrangement can best be seen in Fig. 3.
The sub-family Pitcairnioideae (30 different species examined) has a fairly generalized trichome structure which is shown in Fig. 4. In this particular species one can again discern 4 central cells as mentioned above. The Tillandsioideae are thought to be derived from the Pitcairnioideae (Smith, 1933-34), the evidence being based on morphological characters and geographical distribution. These photographs may help to support his hypothesis.
The Bromelioideae sub-family (31 different species examined) showed more than one type of trichome. In the specimens I examined I found the largest variation in this sub-family. I also found them to be the most interesting as I was never quite sure what kind of tiny jewel would suddenly appear in my field of view. Fig. 5 shows one of the most beautiful and intricate trichomes of all; here again one can see the 4 central cells. Smith (1933-34) also feels that the Bromelioideae were derived from the Pitcairnioideae, but in a different evolutionary direction; perhaps these photographs lend further support to that theory. Figs. 6-11 show more Bromelioideae trichomes, certainly a wide range of beauty and of variation in form.
Trichomes also vary in other respects. Figs. 12 and 13 are the same magnification, but the size difference is quite obvious; this was noticed by Benzing (1970a). Benzing and Burt (1970) also observed differences in density of trichomes on the leaf surfaces. Fig. 12 shows one lone trichome (2 stomata can also be seen); compare this with Fig. 14. Fig. 15 and 16 show what is probably a difference in age. These two trichomes are from the same specimen — Fig. 16 appears to be the more mature of the two.
And, finally, no article about Bromeliads seems to be complete without some mention of Tillandsia usneoides, commonly called "Spanish moss". This "universal species" is represented here by Fig. 17, probably the most striking trichome of all.
Benzing, David H. 1970a. "Foliar permeability and the absorption of minerals and organic nitrogen by certain tank Bromeliads." Bot. Gaz. 131 (1): 23-31.
______________ 1970b. "An investigation of two Bromeliad myrmecophytes: Tillandsia butzii Mez, T. caput-medusae", E. Morren, and their ants. Bull. Torr. Bot. Club. 97(2): 109-115.
______________ 1970c. "Availability of exogenously supplied nitrogen to seedlings of the Bromeliaceae." Bull. Torr. Bot. Club. 97(3); 154-159.
Benzing, David H. and Kathleen M. Burt. 1970. "Foliar permeability among twenty species of the Bromeliaceae." Bull. Torr. Bot. Club. 97(5): 269-279.
Burt, Kathleen M. and David H. Benzing. 1969. "The absorption of nutrients by leaves and roots in Billbergia chlorosticta." Bromel. Soc. Bull. 19 (1): 5-10.
DeBary, A. 1884. Comparative anatomy of the vegetative organs of the phanerogams and ferns. English Trans. by F. O. Bower and D. H. Scott. Carendon Press, Oxford.
Gilmartin, Amy Jean. 1972. "Trichomes of some Ecuadorian Bromeliaceae. " Morris Arbor. Bull. 23(2).
Harms, H. 1930. "Bromeliaceae" in Engler and Prantle, Die naturlichen Pflanzenfamilien. 15a, 65-159.
Krauss, Beatrice H. 1949. "Anatomy of the vegetative organs of the pineapple, Ananas comosus (L) Merr. II. The leaf. " Bot. Gaz. 110(3): 333-404.
Mez, Carl. 1904. "Physiologische Bromeliaceen-studien. I. Die Wasserokonomie der extrem atmospharischen Tillandsien." Jahrb. wiss. Bot. (Pringsheims). 40: 157-229.
Rudolphi, C. A. 1807. Anatomie der Pflanzen.
Smith, Lyman B. 1933-34. "Geographical evidence on the lines of evolution in the Bromeliaceae." Botanishen Jahrbuchen. Bd. 66, 446-465.
Turkey, H. B. Jr. 1970. "Leaching of Metabolites from Foliage and Its Implication in the Tropical Rain Forest", pp. H-155-H-160. In H. T. Odum ed. A. Tropical Rain Forest: a Study of Irradiation and Ecology at El Verde, Puerto Rico. Division of Technical Information, U. S. Atomic Energy Commission, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
BROMELIADS "DOWN UNDER"The great popularity that bromeliads enjoy in both Australia and New Zealand is due to the untiring efforts of two people—Charles G. Hodgson of Melbourne and Mrs. Muriel Waterman of Auckland. Although both of these fine people have passed on to their eternal reward, the legacy they left behind them has enriched the lives of many of their countrymen. Because of their large collections and their work to interest others in Bromeliads, these outstanding horticulturists were selected by the first Board of Directors to become Honorary Trustees when the Society was first organized.
Mr. Hodgson was for many years associated with the Melbourne Botanic Garden and was largely responsible for disseminating knowledge about bromeliads to plantsmen. This he did by his work in the Garden, by writing, and by sharing his plants. Mrs. Waterman, although at first interested in cacti and other succulents, through correspondence with Mulford B. Foster in Florida shifted her interest to bromeliads, and she soon had one of the great bromeliad collections of the world.
It is to the memory of these truly dedicated people, this issue, largely devoted to bromeliad growing "down under" is dedicated.
|Some members of the Wellington Bromeliad Society|
Bob Lowe's hillside garden is situated on the eastern side of Wellington harbor and has a northerly aspect. The general area is in second growth merging into mature Beech/Rata forest on the higher ground behind. Because of its location and aspect, and the fact that the temperature does not fall much below 0°C in mid-winter, many sub-tropical plants grow satisfactorily outside. In fact, when you wander around the garden you have the feeling that you are in a subtropical setting and it's very easy to forget you are only 30 minutes from the center of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.
All the garden is above the road, and a small gully runs up the side with larger tree ferns in the moister parts. As you walk up from the road into the garden, you pass through an interesting collection of native plants on the way to the patio area outside the house. The area around the patio and the beginning of the rockery has many interesting plants growing in the open. These include clumps of Alocasia regina (in flower) and Calathea zebrina, a large abutilon with attractive yellow variegated leaves up to one foot in diameter, and clumps of Begonia fuchsioiodes and Begonia 'Cleopatra'. There is a large clump of Bambusa (Gracilis?) and the rice paper plant Tetrapanax × paperiferum, and Queensland popular Homolanthus provide interesting foliage effects.
A pathway with very attractive stonework runs from the patio up to the bush area behind the house, and the rockery lies above the path to your left as you proceed up the steps. In the area by the patio the rockery contains tuberous begonias, cyclamen (coming into flower), mountain pawpaw, the white, scented, Carissa grandiflora, sensitive plants Mimosa pudica and a plant of Russelia juncea in full flower sweeping down from the top of the rock wall. Amidst this planting we come across the first bromeliads in a group of large Aechmea pineliana plants growing well and showing good color. In the next section of rockery, in which quite large blocks of local greywacke have been carefully arranged to give a very natural effect, we see a very fine collection of cacti, succulents, and other xerophytic plants, growing well amidst the rocks in a ground cover of fine rock chips. Bromeliads in this section include Puya alpestris, P. venusta. P. coerulea, and some numbered specimens, Dyckia rariflora and Hechtia fosteriana. These plants were growing among closely related plants of such genera as Yucca, Agave, Aloe, Fucreae and Beschorneria.
In addition there were numerous cacti and succulents, Euphorbias, Stapellia varieties (some flowering) poinsettias, the umbrella tree
Schefflera actinophylla and an interesting small plant of Beaucarnea recurvata. Immediately behind the rockery is a grass slope containing many members of the protea family and a flame tree (Brachychiton).
|A hillside planting|
The rockery of cacti, succulents, bromeliads, and allied plants makes a very impressive sight and shows what can be done with such plants. The members were very favorably impressed and several expressed the view that they had not been very keen on succulents but they might have to change their minds.
From the rockery you pass into the bush area where most of the bromeliads are growing. The main path runs up the moister gully bottom, and the garden slopes quite steeply up to your left. Subsidiary paths run off across the slope under the trees. The second growth that is about 15 to 20 feet high has been thinned out so as to let light in, but still gives good shelter. The track we followed took us on a round route up and across the slope and back down the gully floor.
|A view of the water|
The first plant that you see is a large plant of Aechmea disticantha in flower, surrounded by an attractive ground cover of the ivy Hedera 'Glacier'. Also here is a group of Aechmea pineliana (small form), Billbergia brasiliensis, Aechmea recurvata var. ortgiesii, and an interesting plant of the dragon tree Dracaena draco. On the opposite side of the path there are clumps of Aechmea caudata variegata, Quesnelia liboniana with orange fruits following flowering, Ochagavia, Billbergia lietzii, and Billbergia iridifolia concolor. In the branches of the trees above these plants are groups of Nidularium purpureum, and Aechmea triangularis on a ponga. Also on pongas further up the slope are a group of Neoregelia spectabilis. On again, Billbergia nutans and another closely related hybrid form a ground cover round a planting of bananas (Musa ensete). In this area we saw clumps of Aechmea lamarchei, Billbergia × 'Elvina Slosson', Billbergia distachia and groups of Neoregelia marmorata hybrids, both green and better red leaved forms, set about a large Philodendron bipinnatifidum. As we passed along a path across the slope higher up we passed groups of Neoregelia "Saunders No. 3", Neoregelia concentrica (flowering) Billbergia leprosa, Nidularium lubbersii, backed by a large group of Aechmea distachia. Mixed amongst plants in this area were establishing cymbidiums and a ground cover of ivy and various varieties of Ajuga. In this area a group of Nidularium innocentii var. striatum was flowering, and alongside, a plain green similar form of plant but with a very fine red center.
As we moved to where the track links up with the main track up the gully, we passed a group of Neoregelia 'Foster's Hybrid' showing very good bronzy plum color. This plant does very well outside down here and offsets and flowers freely. Next to these were clumps of Billbergia saundersii hybrid, Aechmea fasciata, Nidularium purpureum in a contrasting ground cover of the ivy Heders 'Gold Heart' and H. chlorophytum, Nidularium fulgens, and the birds-nest-fern Asplenium nidis. The party then moved on up through the bush to a lookout and enjoyed the sunshine and view of the harbour and buschclad hills. We then returned back down the main path into the bush-garden area again down the gully towards the rockery. The best bromeliads amidst pongas were a group of Nidularium regelioides, Aechmea weilbachii, and a very attractive grouping of Neoregelia carolinae and var. tricolor in flower. Flourishing vigorously in this area was the native climber Teeomanthe speciosa.
Further down the path we passed groups of Aechmea weilbachii var. leodiensis, Neoregelia sarmentosa var. chlorosticta, × Cryptbergia rubra, Ananas, Canistrum lindenii var. roseum, and Neoregelia concentrica var. plutonis. These latter groups were set off by other plants such as Monstera deliciosa, Begonia rex, Begonia luxurians (about 8 feet tall) Bamboo "Wang Tsai", and cardiochrinum.
We then moved down to the house where we had a very pleasant afternoon tea on the patio where members discussed what they had just seen, and bromeliads in general. We certainly enjoyed looking over Bob's garden, in which there is a great variety of many different plants in addition to bromeliads, and the combination is very pleasing. The garden is a credit to Bob, especially as it is only five years old.
—Wellington, New Zealand
L. P. BUTTThis northern Australian state, nearly synonymous with the Ananas, because of its very productive pineapple industry, is as yet as backward as most countries in knowledge concerning the "air-pines" and other species of the large family Bromeliaceae. This is precisely how it was a short time ago with only about six species being cultivated by ardent collectors of exotic bushhouse plants.
Most of us here had seen these plants, "pineapple cactus," Billbergia pyramidalis var. concolor and Cryptanthus acaulis being the first two remembered in cultivation about 25 years ago. Some of our members have had the former as a garden plant for as long as 60 years!
Possibly the next two species to become available, if one was keen enough to search around, were what we named "Cactus Waratah" or Neoregelia spectabilis and, of course, the old favorite Aechmea miniata var. discolor and its many varieties, all rejoicing in the one botanical name. Unfortunately, when a few of us become enthusiasts, the only source of supply we found was from the late Charles Hodgson of Victoria, a grand old collector with a very fine collection. It was from Charlie, I received my first thirty species some twenty years ago, when we both were keen collectors of all the many plants of cacti and other succulents.
With the growth of interest in the bromel family came an unfortunate unwanted legacy which has remained with us to this day! Nurserymen, keen to cash in on the new plant trend, introduced seed from the great European sources, which were the most advanced in this field. Now we had new, larger problems, because now we all were introduced to the hybrid and the greatest collection of wrongly named plants to be seen in one plant family.
Although the Bromeliad Society of Queensland, founded in 1966, has done much in Queensland to sort out the tangle of species, many are multi crosses and have no bearing in description or growth pattern to species described in the reputable books now at hand. These plants should not be disregarded, however, as many are very interesting. An example is Aechmea tessmannii, which is a very vigorous plant with a fine rose inflorescence and protruding blue florets. Whether we have this plant or A. phanerophlebia, we do not know, but even here we may be wrong, as Dr. Lyman B. Smith tells us that after perusing photographs and leaves, he thinks it is an Aechmea disticantha hybrid. Another plant first known as Billbergia macrocalyx × saundersii now emerges as being definitely B. saundersii × nutans.
With the rapid growth of the Bromeliad Society of Queensland, there has come about a definite pattern of cultivation among the members who have large collections and the time to specialize. Mr. Nez Messo, a very keen Tillandsia grower, has really fine plants growing on untreated coconut fibre rope, which is wound around a base and the plant sewn into it. Others have followed suit, and indeed the best Tillandsias seen here are grown in this way.
Another successful trend has been to procure red sandstone sea rocks taken from low tide coastal beaches, the holes being already in this medium. All that is required is to wedge a small offset or miniature species into the cavities and place in appropriate well-lit situations. Aechmeas, Billbergias, Neoregelias, and Dyckias respond very favorably and will sucker and grow readily, also producing a better color than normally expected. This sea salt impregnated sandstone does not affect the flowering habits of the plant.
The culture of many species on small logs and in actual sawn-off tree stumps is rather widely practiced, Aechmea × 'Royal Wine' and Billbergia × 'Fantasia' on a three-foot stump producing excellent growth and a good effect. Mrs. Grace Goode, a member from a north seaside town, uses this stump culture extensively.
Various media are in use here, but the most successful are the basic mixtures used to grow orchids. The media vary considerably because of temperature differences and our plants need quite a bit of adjustment. One enthusiast, Mr. Jim Soley of Central Queensland, uses a medium of tightly plugged Platycerium fern peat with great success, although this mixture is not suitable for many species down as far as Brisbane.
Seed cultivation is practiced constantly by many of our more enthusiastic members, and many fine new plants are becoming available. In particular, there have been a few choice crosses which we feel are worthy of registration. The beautiful green and yellow striped sport of Aechmea nudicaulis by Mr. Jim Hyde and the fine miniature Neoregelia of Peter Paroz are but two of these.
Considering that this is sometimes called the "Pineapple state," it may seem odd that no great quantities of Ananas in its variegated forms are available. After some investigation it appears that any change from normal color ranges is regarded with suspicion by the farmers, and with thoughts of a possible detrimental virus in the industry, these plants have been promptly eradicated. Fortunately for us, the standard form of Ananas comosus variegatus is available from southern state sources.
—Yeerongpilly, Queensland, Australia.
|The ponga or tree fern house finished and ready to plant, the method of construction quite obvious.|
In New Zealand tree ferns abound and when the native "bush" forest is being cleared for farm development many of these prehistoric plants fall before the bulldozer or the axe. They are protected in national parks and reserves, and are generally less plentiful than they used to be, but whenever they become available the home gardener finds various good uses for them. The rough, fibrous trunks are ideal for the cultivation of bromeliads and the crushed fibre is a good medium for raising seeds.
We first started growing bromeliads 20 years ago and it was not long before we realized that in our mild, almost frost-free climate we could grow many of them out of doors. But we wanted a compromise between the glasshouse where we grew the more tender species and the open air, so we decided to make a special tree-fern or ponga house for the intermediate types which prefer a little cover from the cold winter rains.
One end was attached to the eastern end of the glasshouse, and a solid wall of "logs" about 9 ft. high was made facing north — our sunny side. The length of the structure was about 15 feet, and we made a slanting overhang of pongas about 3 feet wide like a rising cave from the main wall. From this point cross beams sloped across a 10 ft. space to a 5 ft. wall and across the top we tacked impregnated plastic mesh. The method of constructing the wall is obvious in the illustrations.
|A year later, the bromeliads were already thriving in their new environment.|
The result after a year, is clearly visible in the second photograph. We water by hand held hose in the summer, and infrequently in the winter; otherwise the plants had little attention, but they certainly showed their appreciation of this new environment. Quesnelia humilis × liboniana scrambled up to the roof, Aechmea 'Foster's Favourite' chased after it, showering its lovely red seedheads in a cascade effect; Tillandsias were quite at home and the Aechmeas nestled into the joints very firmly. Several Vriesias did well and V. carinata not only grew thickly but provided enough support for a blackbird's nest in the first season. At the base, in a soil well enriched with leafmold, Billbergias grew very large and some started to go up the wall.
We fixed most of the bromeliads on to the wall initially with a little sphagnum moss about their roots and thrust them into the cracks between the trunks. A few had plastic wire to hold them on for a start. In the center of the house we built a raised bed filled with soil in which we set many small plants in pots to grow on.
In five years we had a jungle. The place needed quite a lot of attention by this time and unfortunately we became absorbed in more urgent things. Ivy clambered over the outside and shaded the roof in time, and we had many fatalities as the result of lack of water and light.
Today, with the stimulus of the formation of a Bromeliad Society in nearby Wellington, plus more time to give our plants attention, we are remodelling the "Brom House" as we came to call it, rescuing the remaining plants and replenishing from the glasshouse which has had better care, and from the plants out in the open, which have thrived in spite of neglect. The main wall still stands as firm as ever after about 12 years, and we hope shortly to be back to stage one again. At least our experience showed that tree ferns provide a natural and almost ideal environment for bromeliads—when they can be given a little care.
—Waikanae, New Zealand
OLWEN FERRISMembers of the Bromeliad Society of Australia residing in Sydney, New South Wales, hold their meetings in homes and about once a year meet in the garden of Ed and Glad Lawrence of Baulkham Hills to the northwest of the city.
First impressions upon arrival are of giant specimen cacti used along with indigenous and exotic trees to landscape the grounds that surround the house. The garden is always changing, a new addition here, a tree removed there, and on our last visit, the construction of new rockeries. These were planted with indica and kureme azaleas and ericas.
Ed Lawrence has long been a cacti and succulent collector and owns one of the largest collections in this country, but you soon see that this is not his only interest. As you follow the path to view the cacti and his wife's bromeliads, you first walk through rows of lovely old bonsai specimens, under Sarlon covering, to the glass-covered area where many of the potted cacti are on display. Here also is a large finch aviary with double doors that allow you to walk among the birds. Native shrubs have been planted throughout, while the birdhouse has been cleverly shaped in the form of a cave with a fountain out in front.
Like her husband, Mrs. Lawrence has more than one interest, and her love of bromeliads is closely shared with epidendrums. Many imported species and hybrids are among the plants hanging in a large Sarlon covered house.
By far the greater number of bromeliads grown in Sydney will live in a shade house, and these plants were in a large airy house that gave light shade. The supporting uprights are camouflaged with cement-covered wire netting to look like natural tree trunks. Plant pockets were formed in the shape of hollow branches and were planted with hardy bromeliads like Aechmea × 'Foster's Favorite,' Neoregelia ampullacea, Vriesea carinata, Quesnelia liboniana, Billbergia 'Theodore L. Mead,' and others. Festoons of Tillandsia usneoides hang above the shade loving plants at various points to protect them from too much sun. Instead of benches, raised ground beds are bordered with cement "logs" and down the center beds the upper side of larger logs are flattened to hold large colonies of different species and hybrids. Tall tree ferns are planted at intervals in the side beds with Billbergia vittata, Aechmea racinae, A. gamosepala, A. fasciata, Nidularium billbergioides var. citrinum, and many others "gone native." This shade house holds so many treasures that it needs visiting more than once to see the bromeliads flowering in their seasons.
The tropical bromels, needing winter protection, are housed in a glass house where oil heating is used in cold weather. Here for ease of handling plants are divided into one or two offsets to a pot and stand on the usual standard type benches, with the exception of a corner rockery for the Cryptanthus.
While soft-leaved Tillandsias grow under glass, the hardy species can be found in the shade house and hanging in a small Sarlon covered slat house. These are mounted on slabs of tree fern and either suspended on wires or attached to the slat walls. Several small Tillandsia trees made from suitable branches inserted in small concrete bases have established colonies of Tillandsias species and have been used on many of the Society displays to great effect.
Much work has gone into the making of this large garden. The members enjoyed especially the older trees and plants as a contrast to so many gardens in the outer Sydney suburbs where new gardens are the order of the day.
|Bromeliads newly planted around a pool in the author's garden.|
Most of our bromeliads are grown outdoors, so before commenting on the various species we grow a few words about the climate here in Wellington. Often I have been told we are about the same as San Francisco, but we are somewhat cooler. The New Zealand Meteorological Service writes, "Wellington is not often afflicted with fogs, thunderstorms, hail, snow, or extremes of temperature; it has in fact a pleasantly mild, though rather windy, but otherwise congenial climate."
Day temperatures rarely fail to reach 45°F., and rarely exceed 80°F. Night temperatures occasionally remain above 60°F, and rarely fall below 35°F in the hill suburbs where we live.
Wellington has something of a reputation for windiness, and some parts of the city record over-all average wind speeds of up to 20 m.p.h.; in our area the average is around 10 m.p.h. The most unpleasant feature of our wind is its gustiness — gusts over 40 m.p.h. are experienced on the average about 150-170 days per year. The highest gust so far recorded in our area was 98 m.p.h., and the highest in Wellington was 154 m.p.h. This does cause a few problems when attempting to establish bromels on trees or rocks. Countering this, the persistent wind gives freedom from fogs and the air does not stagnate long enough for air pollution to become serious. Apart from cold wet winters and hot dry summers the biggest drawback to growing most bromels outdoors is the rapid fall in temperature often associated with the onset of a southerly wind. One of these sudden drops last year killed thousands of hardy sparrows in the downtown area, and the appearance of damage on outdoor bromels nearly always coincides with one of these sudden plunges in the temperature.
Nearly all our outdoor bromels are grown in a corner of the garden that has a solid seven-foot fence along the north and west sides, and a PVC roof over two thirds of the area to keep out the winter rain. The remaining sides are open to the weather, and no additional heat is given. The roof has no effect on the temperature, which often drops to freezing during the colder months. We had considerable trouble with plants burning last spring, and overcame this problem by covering the ground with polythene on top of which was placed a two-inch layer of porous volcanic rock. Regular soakings during the hot spells keeps the humidity around the plants sufficiently high to prevent damage. A pond runs the entire length of this area, and many plants are grown on logs over the water. Others are grown on tree-ferns (pongas) along the walls, on ponga stumps, or in pots sunk in the ground.
We also have a small "hot-house" in which we mainly raise seedlings, sick plants, and the more tender varieties. It is actually a glassed-in porch which receives very little direct sunlight, and is a temporary measure until we build a proper glasshouse. Additional light is supplied by 'Total Daylight' fluorescent tubes which are on 14 hours per day to push the seedlings. The temperature is maintained at 70°F while the lights are on and allowed to drop to 50-55°F when they are turned off. Originally we maintained 70°F 24 hours per day (we hadn't read Mr. Foster on bromels requiring exercise) out of deference to the germinating seeds, but the older plants made a very strong protest, some of them declining quite rapidly, so we then moved the temperature to 80°F in the day and 60°F at night. This turned out to be excessively warm for many, so we then changed to our present range which appears to suit all inhabitants. Plants are grown on benches three inches deep lined with polythene and either filled with living sphagnum moss or scoria chips and kept topped up with water. This maintains a really good humidity level.
We are not fully confident of the names of a good half of our bromels, but the following is how we grow those that are named.
A. pineliana and A. recurvata var. ortgesii grow on rocks outdoors in full sun and are certainly more colorful than when grown in pots. Others grown outdoors are A. disticantha var. schlumbergeri, A. calyculata in a tree fork, A. coelestis, and A. caudata var. variegata attached to a tree fern.
Plants grown outdoors under cover include A. pineliana var. minima, bright rose all over in the strong light, several A. recurvata varieties, A. triangularis on a tree branch, A. weilbachii on a ponga stump overhanging the pond. A. calyculata × A. recurvata grows on a log over the pond and is lime-green with blue tips on the leaves and blue-black splotches on the older leaves — when grown in the open this plant becomes far more heavily splotched and gets decidedly unattractive. A. lamarchei had pale grey green leaves when grown in a pot, but since moving to a ponga stump overhanging the pond the leaves have assumed a blood-red flush. A. lubbersii has a rather attractive thin magenta leaf margin, but the longish strap-like leaves suffer a lot of wind damage. When we first obtained A. orlandiana we tied it to a branch over the pond, but that same night we read somewhere it requires some warmth and as it was mid-winter moved it smartly into the hothouse where it sulked for months. This plant is now outside again and looking much happier.
Three Aechmea hybrids are grown in the hothouse, mainly because everyone tells us they are tender, A. × 'Royal Wine', A. × 'Red Vase' and A. × 'Red Wing'. The inner leaves of Royal Wine rotted when we were holding the temperature at 80°F, but since then has flowered and pupped. Red Wing has established itself on a ponga stump but looks a bit soft and floppy, and Red Vase thrives! A. fosteriana we fixed to a rock outdoors under cover, but with the onset of winter the leaves have started to die-back so it has been moved, rock and all, into the hothouse.
We have about a dozen different clumps of Billbergias growing in the open in trees or on ponga stumps but I'm really not at all happy about the names on most of them. Species grown outside under cover include B. vittata on a ponga stump, B. × 'Fantasia', B. pyramidalis var. striata, B. amoena, B. × 'Muriel Waterman', B. porteana, B. pyramidalis. B. pyramidalis var. concolor grows on a log over the pond and in the bright light has become a rather washed-out yellow color — grown out in the open this variety is quite happy but gets very tatty. B. × 'Santa Barbara' is a problem child; grown in the hot house it looked miserable, and in its present spot on a ponga by the pond looks just as bad. B. × 'Fennel' is the only one grown in the hothouse.
We first started growing Cryptanthus outside under cover, but met with a succession of disasters. Now we just stick them in the growing sphagnum in the hothouse where they seem happy. Plants grown include C. bromelioides var. tricolor, C. bivittatus, C. zonatus var. zebrina, and C. beuckerii. Afraid I don't have much time for "earth stars" — probably because we are not very good at growing them. Or perhaps they don't thrive because we don't like them?
D. rariflora, D. brevifolia, D. fosteriana, and D. altissima grow outdoors in full sun, and our other hybrid D. × 'Lad Cutak' is grown outdoors under cover because folks up in Auckland say they can't keep this plant alive for long, so we haven't dared give it full exposure to the elements yet.
All our Guzmanias are grown in the hothouse and we have G. musaica, G. × 'Trinidad Special', G. lingulata var. major, and G. tricolor. Musaica looks particularly happy, and although only 6" high already has one bonny offset.
N. ampullaceae and two other unnamed varieties are grown out in the open under the trees, and all the others are grown outdoors under cover. N. sarmentosa var. chlorosticta grows on a log over the pond and has turned a deep wine-red with small yellow-green dots sprinkled over the inner leaves. Alongside, N. sarmentosa × 'Belgian Hybrid' has glossy green and dark red marbled leaves. Others grown out here are N. concentrica, and var. plutonis, N. tristis, N. ampullaceae var. tigrina, N. microps, N. ampullaceae × N. zonatus, and numerous other hybrids. One other, N. carolinae var. tricolor is such a nice plant it has always lived in the kitchen. This and a Billbergia × 'Fantasia' are the only two plants living in the house.
N. innocentii var. striatum is the only Nidularium to cause us bother so far, and probably because it was a very young plant when we put it outside, in mid-winter, on a smooth dry piece of driftwood. It has since recovered in the hothouse. All Nidulariums are grown outdoors under cover and include N. regelioides, N. fulgens, N. innocentii and var. lineatum, N. billbergioides, and one labeled N. purpureum which we suspect may be another innocentii variety.
Tillandsias are becoming our favorites, and they are hanging all over the place. Unfortunately large numbers imported from Brazil and Mexico are unnamed, but we love 'em just the same! Nearly all grow outside under cover, named species are Spanish moss, Ball moss, T. stricta, T. × 'Emile' atop a ponga stump in the center of the pond, T. lindenii, T. flabellata. A T. caput-medusae purchased from California Jungle Gardens is just the most fantastic plant, T. viridifolia grows by the pond but in the light the leaves have turned purple on the tops as well as underneath making it less attractive. T. ionantha thrives on the dicksonia-fibre-filled nose of a sheep skull. T. bulbosa went through last winter outside, but during this autumn started dying back rapidly from the leaf tips. With a soft-leaved species from Brazil these two are the only Tillandsias grown in the hothouse—apart from seedlings.
T. gardneri is the one that has really defeated us—so far. Early last winter we received a plant from the Society in Auckland and placed it on a ponga stump outside under the cover, where it thrived. Some 5 weeks later we installed the pond and not long after the first filling we had a storm which blew gardneri into the icy water—full of caustic from the new concrete. We dried it out and replaced it on its perch where it again looked quite happy. Several weeks later we went away for the weekend and on our return found it again in the swim, this time proving fatal. Not long afterwards we received 5 clumps of T. gardneri from Brazil. One we gave to the local Botanic Gardens, two went into our hothouse, one outdoors on the first plant's perch, and one stayed in the kitchen. Today only one plant survives in the local Botanic Gardens. Perhaps they will give us a pup one day.
So far we have wintered three Vrieseas outside under cover, V. hieroglyphica, V. carinata, and a large plain green variety. All seem quite happy, particularly V. carinata which appears to be quite indestructible.
Vrieseas grown in the hothouse which we don't think would survive outdoors include V. barilletii, V. splendens, V. × magnifica, V. erythrodactylon, V. fenestralis, V. philipocoburgii, V. racinae, and V. saundersii. Others have grown V. platynema and var. variegata outdoors but we have them in the hothouse.
Included in the bromels growing outdoors in full sun are Puya alpestris, Fascicularia pitcairnifolia, Pitcairnia flammea, and Pitcairnia corallina. Hechtia marnier-lapostolle was outside but did not look at all happy and is now under cover outdoors. Quesnelia liboniana and Q. imbricata grow outdoors under cover, but the leaves on the latter suffer in the wind like Aechmea lubbersii. Portea petropolitana var. extensa was grown outdoors under trees but began to rot during the winter and is now under cover. Ananas comosus and Ananas bracteatus grow side by side on the edge of the pond. A. bracteatus is growing much better and this appears to be fairly general with growers around here. We also have Ananas rubrafolia imported from Brazil, which failed to recover outside and is in the hothouse. We had a Bromelia pumila from Brazil, planted it out in the garden, and killed it.
When we get new plants, if they are obviously tender or very hardy we put them in the hothouse or out in the garden either in the full sun or in or under trees. Otherwise they go outside under cover and then if they look too unhappy they are placed in the hothouse.
—Wellington, New Zealand.