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.
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.
1973-1976: Robert G. Burstrom, Leonard Kent, Eric Knobloch, Elmer Lorenz, Patrick Mitchell, Edward McWilliams, Harold W. Wiedman, Kelsey Williams.
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 — MAY, JUNE, 1974
Canistrum aurantiacum — Photo by W. W. G. Moir
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 — $1.50
A BROMELIAD SHOW IN GERMANY
|Third Bromeliad Show at the Palmengarten, Frankfurt/Main|
Every two years the Palmengarten in Frankfurt/Main stages a bromeliad show. The third such show, held in September '73, was one of the finest. Exhibits were arranged by the nurseries of Gulz, Link, Seidel, and Prinsler & Werner and by the botanic gardens of Heidelberg and the Palmengarten. Outstanding was the tillandsia display of Alfred Blass of Munich. The show lasted for one week.
At the weekend there was a meeting of the German Bromeliad Society, a young group of 120 members. Prof. Rauh, who is the head of the German Society, was not there as he was on a collecting trip in South America. Mr. Blass showed slides of his tillandsias and talked about cultivating tillandsias in Germany.
|Hanz Gulz exhibit|
|Nidularium billbergioides variegated|
|Neoregelia carolinae var. meyendorffii|
|Vriesea tessellata 'Nova'|
A NEW BOOK ON BROMELIADS
VICTORIA PADILLABromelien fur Zimmer und Gewachshaus. Band 2: Pictairnioideen und Bromelioideen by Dr. Werner of the University of Heidelberg, assisted by H. Lehmann, Head Inspector of the Botanic Garden at Heidelberg, and J. Marnier-Lapostolle of Les Cedres, France. Publisher: Eugen Ulmer, 7000 Stuttgart 1, Postfach 1032, Germany. Price—80 German Marks.
It is always a great day for bromeliad buffs when a new book on their favorite plant appears in print (there being so few), and the publication of Werner Rauh's Bromelien II was indeed a time to rejoice.
This splendid volume carries on the excellent work covered in Book I, dealing as it does with the two familes—Bromelioideae and Pitcairnioideae — Tillandsioideae being described in Book I. The format is the same as that of the first volume and the same plan of plant description is carried on. If the book contains fewer pages than does the first, it is due to the fact that the introductory chapters concerning homeland, general characteristics, and culture are not repeated. As in the case of the first book the illustrations are superb—there are 141 black and white photos, 71 in color, and 44 drawings, each so exquisitely executed as to be works of art.
The author makes no attempt to describe all the species seen in collections, as he evidently did with tillandsias in Book I, but he does cover 38 genera and the better known species. At the end are described a number of tillandsias and vrieseas omitted in the first volume.
Dr. Werner Rauh is one of those rare botanists who are not bogged down with studying dried specimens, but who enjoys each plant for itself. He is not only a scientist, collector, grower, teacher, and writer, but a plant lover and humanist as well, and his deep affection for bromeliads is evident in all he writes. H. Lehrman, who assisted Dr. Rauh, is in charge of the bromeliads at the Botanic Garden of the University at Heidelberg. J. Marnier-Lapostolle has probably the world's greatest collection of bromeliads at his estate "Les Cedres" on the French Riviera.
Those who have Bromelien I will surely want this book to complete this definitive work by one of the world's great bromeliad authorities. However, it will behoove most Americans to brush up on their German, for this book is written in that language. The price, too, is unfortunately high from American standards.
SHOWING OFF YOUR BROMELIADS
BILL HILLOne thing that many of us tend to overlook, particularly as our bromeliad collections grow larger, is effective presentations of our plants. This is important — not only if you are entering plants in a show — but also for use at home. In order for all to derive maximum enjoyment and appreciation of those unique plants, they should be "shown off' properly.
I am sure that most of us have been disappointed at times, when showing guests who are not "plant people" through our crowded greenhouses, at a lack of enthusiasm. To someone who is unfamiliar with the plant kingdom, shelf upon shelf of potted plants can be quite uninspiring unless a bright and novel bloom happens to catch the eye. On the other hand, this same person may well exclaim at the beauty of an individual plant attractively displayed on a coffee table or a window sill. A great many bromeliads have beautiful and unusual foliage, even out of bloom, and can be quite striking when taken out of the massed greenhouse for display in a suitable jardinierre or an interesting setting. Grouping two or three plants together, if done thoughtfully, can also be of interest. Most bromels do not mind in the least spending a week or two out of the green-house and may even benefit from the change.
Another display factor which we often overlook is epiphytic culture. In addition to the tillandsia and vriesea families, most aechmeas, billbergias, neoregelias and many other bromeliads may be grown epiphytically, as they often grow in nature. These boarded plants are very dramatic and unusual and may be displayed in many effective and imaginative ways, either singly, in groups or in combination with other companion epiphytes, such as orchids or ferns. A nice Aechmea Orlandiana, for example, may be very attractive in a pot on a table. The same plant, however, can be absolutely breathtaking mounted on an interesting tree branch or piece of driftwood and hung on a wall, at a window or in the patio.
If no appropriate walls or windows are available, try mounting your epiphytes on driftwood, branches, cork, hapuu chunks or interesting lava rocks and displaying them on your coffee table, perhaps in a shallow dish filled with smooth river rocks and a little water to aid humidity.
In my office, I have a wall planting consisting of a very simple arrangement. A one by two foot slab of cork wall paneling is backed with masonite (to keep moisture off the wall and to stiffen the cork). A curved, forked tree branch is mounted against the cork, with sphagnum moss tied into the forks of the branch. Rooted in the moss, I am successfully growing Aechmea fasciata, Aechmea 'Foster's Favorite' and a small Neoregelia hybrid. There is also a small colony of Tillandsias usneoides draped from an upper branch. I keep a hand sprayer in my desk and the "living picture" gets sprayed a couple of times each day. This display never fails to draw attention and admiration.
It is also possible to board, or hang, plants which are terrestrial in nature. One method is to select a branch with a fair sized fork of two or more side branches. Construct a "pocket" of chicken wire, fit in into the space between the side branches and the main branch, and wire into place. Line the pocket with sphagnum moss, then fill with your regular potting mix and plant as in a pot. Plants may also be inserted through the moss on the sides of the pocket. I have planted a group of four Cryptanthus 'It' plants in this manner and the result is a most interesting ball of bright color attached to the hanging branch. As these plants grow larger and begin to pup, it should be quite spectacular. So, become a scavenger. Start collecting drift wood, tree branches, fire wood, old tea pots, kettles, cookie jars, etc. — anything that might make an interesting jardinierre or a home for an epiphyte. You will probably find that some bromel you have been neglecting due to a less that spectacular flower or rather plain foliage will adapt itself beautifully to epiphytic growth and take on new dimensions — or that a garden of cryptanthus species planted in pockets in a lava or feather rock will make an eye-stopping display on a dining table — or perhaps that a few tillandsias hanging in the bathroom (usually an excellent plant room due to extra humidity) will start your day off a little better.
—North Hollywood, California
A NOTE ON HYBRIDS
BERNARD STONERThe number of bromeliad hybrids now being grown must be considerable, but with so many of the plants unnamed or at least not registered, it would be impossible to estimate the total. Do we want any more? Many growers, no doubt, would welcome any number of new plants provided they were of a sufficiently high standard.
Not all such plants, unfortunately, are of outstanding merit; one would not expect them to be. Only a small proportion of any hybrids raised are likely to prove worth keeping; all too often the plants retain the features we wish to eliminate, or may resemble one or other of the parents in most respects. The lot of the hybridist is a hard one, with many disappointments, but the occasional success well repays the time and trouble spent in producing the new plants.
After a time, one finds that certain characteristics tend to appear in any cross, while others may be lost. If we wish to produce top-quality plants, some sort of methodical program is essential, with a knowledge of the features any plant is likely to transmit to its progeny. It is hoped that these notes will demonstrate this principle and provide anyone interested with some information on the behavior of the plants used to produce the hybrids described.
One plant which has proved very useful, hardy, and ornamental in my collection is Billbergia sanderiana. It must be admitted that the flowers are a little lacking in color, and so the first step in improving this defect was to choose a species with a colorful inflorescence to be crossed with a good clone of sanderiana. Billbergia vittata seemed a likely one to try, so the cross was made and a number of seedlings were raised. The plants resulting from this cross are generally tough, tubular plants suitable for growing in the open and able to stand up to a variety of weather conditions, from cold and wet to almost full sun in summer. The long, black spines of sanderiana appear in some degree in all the seedlings which were raised. The rather broad leaves are generally lightly cross banded, green at first, but turning purple in the older growths, and almost black on exposure to the sun. The inflorescence varied a lot in different clones; mostly it was not very imposing. One plant produced a very substantial inflorescence shaped rather like that of the sanderiana parent, long and trailing. The individual flowers were large and quite colorful, the bracts also showing plenty of color. From this and other crosses, it seems that B. sanderiana transmits the long, pendent inflorescence, with the branches at right angles to the axis, to its hybrids.
The next cross was made with sanderiana as one parent and the hybrid Billbergia 'Elvenia Slosson' as the other. Here, the plants resemble the 'Elvenia Slosson' parent, though with broader leaves. As we would expect, the flowers varied considerably, though the long trailing inflorescence with the branches standing out at right angles was evident in varying degree in all the seedlings.
My own feeling about B. 'Elvenia Slosson' is that the flowers are a little dark in color and are bunched together more than is desirable. In the hybrids, these defects are eliminated, the flowers being well spaced, larger than those of 'Elvenia Slosson,' and nicely colored. In one clone the inflorescence hangs to well below the bottom of the pot, with long flowers in a variety of colors, green and blue petals, pink sepals, light green ovary, and red floral bract. The scape bracts are a nice red and last for a reasonable time. There is a lot of color in the inflorescence for some time after the petals have died off. The plants are hardy and vigorous and produce offsets freely.
Another cross was made between B. ' Elvenia Slosson' and a small, red-leafed plant which appears to be a hybrid of B. euphemiae var. purpurea. With both parents of this cross being hybrids themselves, the seedlings varied considerably. Several were nicely colored with light crossbands. The inflorescence is erect in most cases, with red bracts, but the plants are of more interest for their colorful foliage. There appear to be a number of unnamed hybrids of this type in circulation. B. euphemiae var. purpurea seems to have a strong influence on the seedlings when used as one parent of a hybrid.
All too often the flowers of a hybrid do not show the improvement we hope for; it seems that both parents must have desirable features in the flowers to produce any satisfactory results.
—Margaret River, West Australia.
THE BRITISH BROMELIAD SOCIETY
A. E. PRIORThe British Bromeliad Society was started in March 1968 by a group of keen growers including Mr. Clive Innes, well-known nurseryman, and Mr. Bill Wall, who became the first chairman and secretary respectively. We have grown to a membership of approximately 200 and hold bi-monthly meetings in London at 33-35 Cannon Street.
May I offer an invitation to any member who may be coming over to England to attend any of our meetings. For exact time and place, please get in touch with me; my address is 26 Mayhurst Road, Hollywood, near Birmingham. I can assure them of a very warm welcome. Anyone wishing to see collections of bromeliads will find it worth while to visit Kew Botanical Gardens, where many varieties are planted on trees in a very natural way. The Parks Department at Liverpool also has a large and interesting collection. Of course, there are others, including quite a few private growers, such as myself, who would be only too pleased to welcome anyone who may be interested.
In England we must grow our bromeliads in glasshouses during most of the year. Recently some members have been experimenting with standing outside some of the tougher leaved varieties during our summer months. We grow quite a lot of our plants from seed, either distributed to members by the B. B. S. or purchased from the Continent, usually from Germany.
There is an increasing variety of plants offered for sale at the usual retail outlets, such as garden centers or florists. Once again, a large proportion are imported from growers in Belgium and Holland. As members of the British Bromeliad Society we are doing our best to promote interest in growing bromeliads by holding local exhibits and gaining publicity in the press.
To have a clean and fresh looking collection
- Keep roguing out old plants and failures.
- Keep propagation and plants for offsets separate from display areas.
- Keep new, small and difficult plants together where they get special attention.
- Keep a selection of offsets coming on each year especially flowering kinds.
- Keep up routines, regular watering, removing of dead leaves, re-spacing of plants, spraying if necessary.
- Don't try to grow too many plants for time and space available.
—William Rogers, New Zealand.
One of the aechmeas that the collector will most likely come across in the tropics is Aechmea nudicaulis. It is a ubiquitous species, its habitat extending from central Mexico to Panama and the West Indies to Brazil as far south as the state of Santa Catarina at elevations of 100 to 6,000 feet. It is probably the first highly colored bromeliad the American visitor to Mexico will see as he drives south on the Pan American Highway. As he comes to the end of the long dry stretch of land that comprises most of northern Mexico and enters the tropic zone with its lush growth, he may note this aechmea growing in trees not far from the road. When in bloom this species, with its bright red and yellow inflorescence, resembles for all the world the plumage of a tropical bird.
As can be noted in the watercolor on the opposite page, it was one of the earliest bromeliads collected, few bromeliads dating back into the eighteenth century. One wonders whether any other bromeliads were carried aboard Captain Cook's ship by the zealous plantsmen Sir J. Banks and D. Colander. This species had been collected in 1753 at which time it was given the name Bromelia nudicaulis. During the intervening years it has been shifted about into a number of genera: Billbergia, Pothuava, Hoploytum [sp], Hohenbergia, Tillandsia. To Grisebach, we owe the name of Aechmea nudicaulis, who named it in 1864.
There are a number of forms of this species, all of which will vary according to the conditions under which they are grown. When in Costa Rica this writer noted what she supposed to be a dwarf form growing on trees in Turrialba—it was a charming, chubby little plant. Attached to trees in her southern California garden, this species immediately outgrew its small size, and in no time became an average-sized nudicaulis with leaves about twelve inches in length.
Lyman B. Smith lists five varieties of this popular Aechmea: var. nudicaulis, var. cuspidata, var. aureo-rosea, var. capitata and var. plurifolia. Var. nudicaulis is probably the variety most often seen. The differences between these varieties are described in Phytologia, Vo. 24, No. 5, for December, 1972. There is also a variegated form which just recently has made its entrance into the trade.
Aechmea nudicaulis is a robust plant and will grow under all kinds of conditions—as an epiphyte on trees, as a terrestrial in the outdoor garden, in sun and in shade. It is generous with its offshoots so that in a short time it is easy to have a fair-sized clump.
A watercolor by Sydney Parkinson of Aechmea nudicaulis of a plant collected by Banks and Solander in Rio de Janeiro in 1768.
Aechmea nudicaulis growing at 2300 feet in swamp in full sun in Brazil.
PHOTO BY RALPH SPENCER
BROMELIADS UNDER THE TEA TREES
|Joy Pritchard amid her tea trees.|
Go about as far as you can go south in Australia, near where waters of the Indian Ocean commingle with the Pacific, and there you will find a town named Sorrento. In Sorrento there is a lady whose garden has many lovely bromeliads, a colorful reward to her gardening care, imagination and devotion. Nature has endowed the region where Mrs. Joy L. Pritchard and her husband Harold cleared their land for home and garden with what Australians call the "Coastal Tea Tree", and they preserved a grove of these trees with gardening ideas in mind, since they delight in landscaping. This beautiful tree with writhing deep-muscled stems is not the plant that produces the tea of commerce, but is a member of the same family as another characteristic group of Australian trees, the eucalyptus trees . . . . the myrtle family.
|Aechmea pineliana with its rosy pink foliage makes a handsome specimen, especially when grown with the grey grass Festuca 'Glauca.'|
They provide, Joy says, a canopy of light and shade, and the knotted and gnarled trunks and branches provide suitable points of anchorage for many bromeliads and native orchids. Occasionally storms uproot or knock down a tree, and then the trunk, left there purposefully, becomes a home for such kinds as Neoregelia concentrica and Neo. carolinae hybrids along with some ferns, giving rise to a mini-climate. Its botanical name is Leptospermum laevigatum. It is also known as Capt. Cook's Tea Tree, but actually it was from the related Leptospermum scoparium that he obtained the leaves to make his first "tea".
"We do not have any frost in our garden" writes Joy. "My canopy of trees has proved to be a boon, and bromeliads seem able to take a considerable amount of cold without ill effect."
As she wrote on June 19th: "It is winter here now, very wet, very cold." But even with the abnormally wet weather no harm has been done to the bromeliads.
Joy has a small glasshouse, only 12' by 12', but it is capable of housing her flowering plants for special occasions, and new plants for acclimatization. When plants are strong enough she plants them according to her ideas of landscaping.
"I find most bromeliads available here can be grown successfully, provided a little protection is given, such as choosing or creating draft-free positions and encouraging hardy growth by hanging potted plants in the trees, beginning in the warmer months of the year. Older plants seem to grow pups that are stronger and better colored when placed outside."
Consider the above simply an introduction to the lady herself, Mrs. Joy L. Pritchard, Hon. Sec. of the Bromeliad Society of Australia, Victoria Branch. Having read a couple of articles I had written for our Brooklyn Botanic Garden publication, Plants & Gardens and our local chapter of the Bromeliad Society, she dispatched a letter here to BBG. In correspondence came some photographs in color of her plants. One was a clump of Aechmea 'Foster's Favorite,' growing on a chunk of Tea Tree . . . . "I don't know how many suckers I have taken from it over the years. It grows in heavy shade and is almost black. The same plant grown in more light is several shades lighter. I often bring this clump inside for a spell on the coffee table." Other pictures show in gay color, Neoregelias, Nidulariums. These and Vrieseas are her favorites . . . . "I recently acquired a Nidularium billbergioides citrinus to add contrast to the flavums."
The following were in flower on June 19 (and winter!) Billbergias elegans, 'Henry Teuscher', 'Bob Tail', macrocalyx, 'Theodore Meade', × windii, vittata, 'Fantasia', amoena viridis, nutans, pyramidalis var. pyramidalis, leptopoda and saundersii hybrids — some of these in clumps in the garden, some growing on trees, others hanging in pots from the trees. Of Aechmeas in flower there were pineliana minuta, recurvata var. benrathii, fasciata, caudata, 'Foster's Favorite,' gamosepala, and especially coelestis albo-marginata ("my pride and joy which, however, grows under cover. When I will have a pup, I shall see about putting it out.")
|This tree leans over a garden bed enabling Mrs. Prichard to plant billbergias and nidulariums in the crevices caused by the rough bark.|
|Limbs from the tea trees make fine bromeliad trees. These are planted with vrieseas, cryptanthus, billbergias and nidulariums, and are grown outdoors.|
Other plants established and growing well in an open section of her garden are Neo. cruenta, Neo. carcharodon, (Gravisia) Aechmea fosteriana, A. 'Burgundy', Ananas bracteatus; Dyckia altissima, other hybrid Neoregelias, hardy Aechmeas and Hechtia texensis were coloring up beautifully. There are other plants not bromeliads within this part of the garden "but no ferns here—it becomes a little too dry in the summer. I find that Vrieseas and Nidulariums do quite well outside but require a protected spot such as given to begonias and maiden-hair ferns. They apparently enjoy fresh air."
"I haven't many Tillandsias as yet—they are expensive and not readily available here. What I do have are growing well — usneoides, ionantha, schiedeana, albida and stricta, but I am awaiting my first Tillandsia flower."
"Our Branch President, Maurice Kellett, has a large Tillandsia collection, which is interesting to see at any time . . . . Meetings of late are drawing better attendances. I have formed a small but active group here at Sorrento, and we meet every two weeks and visit each other's gardens in turn" It is sixty miles to Melbourne and too inconvenient for some of the members to get to the bi-monthly meetings of that branch. So at Sorrento the bromeliophiles there are doing their thing, thanks to Joy Pritchard. ("Our society had a field day recently.") Incidentally the other Sorrento members favor tree culture.
When Mrs. Pritchard wrote on May 3rd ("It is now late autumn") Sorrento had been suffering the worst drought in many years, but the dry spell had been broken and rain was in surplus. Then came cold and more rain and unusual dreariness, but under the tea trees there was no sulking, no halting, but beauty and life keeps surging vibrantly onward among the bromeliads transplanted over the many years from a far-away land.
With time and devotion come the many rewards of keen intimacy with the best of God's world. Says Joy: "I so much enjoy growing bromeliads — they have proved to be amazingly hardy and full of surprises, like the beautiful orange and navy blue spike of Quesnelia liboniana, or the completely red Ae. recurvata with its purple flowers nestling in the collar — growing happily on a rock."
You are seeing Joy Pritchard's garden second and third-hand, its character and usefulness enhanced by the unusual tea trees. I am sure that if you can find your way to Sorrento you would be made most welcome to see the garden first hand and see what others of her group have to show in their gardens.
—Brooklyn, N. Y.
VICTORIA PADILLAOne of the most charming of the small vrieseas and one that definitely should be in every collection is Vriesea carinata Wawra.
Its soft-textured light green leaves—15 to 12 in number which form a dainty rosette—belie the fact that it is a robust little individual, thriving outdoors in coastal southern California gardens and never failing to flower. It comes from the rain forests of southern Brazil, growing on bushes or low on trees in shady and humid places, generally at an elevation of 4,000 feet.
No plant is gayer when in bloom. The flattened spike, varying in size from 1½ to 3 inches in length, seems to have borrowed its coloring from the foliage of the tropical parrots which inhabit the forests. The bracts are bright crimson at their base, becoming yellow and green at their tips. From each bract a bright yellow flower, about 1 inch long, emerges.
This vriesea is variable in size—some clones seem to produce inflorescences almost the size of those found in V. 'Mariae', one of its progeny, whereas others are not half the size. This dwarf form rarely exceeds 6 inches in diameter. No planting is more attractive than a pot of these miniatures that have been left to multiply and so produce a half-dozen to a dozen brightly colored flower spikes.
The form most often seen in cultivation has an erect spike, but there is a form that tends to have a spike that prefers to bend. Mrs. Adda Abendroth describes this plant as it grows in the mountains around Teresopolis.
"Our Vriesea carinata looks different from most of its foreign pictures, at least the kind that grows around Teresopolis. It is the smallest, the most elegant, the most appealing, the most common, and the hardiest of the small species. But it never holds its spike up. The spike protrudes sideways in two graceful curves, a thin stalk waving the square of colors like a flag. Perhaps that is why, aside from being red and yellow, it enjoys the popular name "bandeirinha espanhola" (little Spanish flag) in Brazil. The rosette is soft, pale green, often running into almost lavender pink, or light grey."
Another form of this popular bromeliad is the variety known as aurea. As can be seen from the illustration the inflorescence is pure yellow, but it is so glistening a yellow as to be almost equally as charming of its more colorful counterpart.
Vriesea carinata was introduced into cultivation about 1865 by a German collector. Since that time it has undergone a number of name changes. It was called V. brachystachys Regel in 1866, V. psittacina var. brachystachys E. Morren in 1870, V. psittacina var. carinata by E. Morren, and V. erythodactylis by Platz. It appeared as Vriesea carinata in Baker's handbook in 1889.
|Vriesea carinata var. aurea|
|Vriesea carinata — the form most often seen|
THE ROLE OF THE U.S.D.A. IN HORTICULTURE
GUY WRINKLEThe United States Department of Agriculture is often cited as one of the plant collector's worst enemies. Stories are often told of how all or large parts of shipments of plants entering the U.S. have been killed because of fumigation by the U.S.D.A. Often times the remark is made, "So what if a few bugs come in on the plants, a bug on a bromeliad isn't going to attack a citrus crop or an avocado crop." I have also heard more than one person telling how he brought plants into the country without the U.S.D.A. intercepting them and then laughing about how they really put one over on the U.S.D.A. Nothing could be further from the truth. As I am strongly interested in both horticulture and entomology, I think I can see both sides of the story better than the average horticulturist. The following is not only intended to show the tremendous amount of good the U.S.D.A. does but also to show that fumigation doesn't have to be nearly so bad as it is often made out to be.
Except for the possible exception of himself, insects are easily man's worst enemies. They cause losses of billions of dollars annually to crops and stored products and untold suffering and death to man and animal due to the disease they transmit. Of all the insect pests in the U.S. today, 75% of them have been introduced from other countries. The records of the U.S.D.A. inspection station at Terminal Island, California, show the following insects intercepted on bromeliad plants alone: Various types of cockroaches, crickets, grasshoppers, scale insects, leafhoppers, assassin bugs, cutworms, many types of flies, ants, wasps, moths, fleas, and members of about a dozen families of beetles. Now to answer the question of what harm can an insect on a bromeliad do to a commercial crop. Although it is true that an insect feeding on a bromeliad would not very likely feed on some commercial crop, the possibility does exist. Some insects are very general in their feeding habits and some will change them in a new environment. I am sure no one will argue the fact that bromeliads will harbor pests that will attack bromeliads. Plant collectors today are plagued with many scale and other insects that were introduced. However, most important of all is the fact that an insect doesn't have to feed on a bromeliad to be on a bromeliad and thus enter the country on it. To illustrate this fact, four orders of non plant feeding beetles and one species of flea were taken from bromeliads at Terminal Island. Insects often pass through dry periods in the shelter of bromeliad leaf bases. Many insects that are not plant feeders breed in the water held in the bromeliad cup. Mosquitoes which can transmit Malaria, Yellow fever, Encephalitis, Dengue fever, and Filariasis can breed in this manner. Insects not only transmit diseases to man but also to plants. Most virus diseases are transmitted by leafhoppers and aphids, of which many species have been intercepted on bromeliads. When insect pests are introduced they have to be combated. This job is made more difficult by the fact that the introduced insect now is free of its natural predators and multiplies very rapidly. One of the main ways of combating insects is through the use of insecticides to which many people object. If we in the U.S. want to keep our country relative disease free and keep our high standard of living, we must protect what we have. Because of the efforts of the U.S.D.A. you can pick up a piece of raw fruit in a store and eat it without worry. You wouldn't dare do this in many other countries. The collector who tries to get his plants into the country without inspection has an extremely selfish attitude. In doing so he is running the risk of introducing a pest which could cause all kinds of problems.
Agricultural inspectors are much more sensitive to the feelings of the plant collectors than most people think. I think the main problem is that the importer or collector who is bringing collected plants back doesn't really understand inspection procedures. If you are bringing plants into the U.S., call the inspection station and discuss this with them. Now the inspector will often dip small shipments in insecticide instead of subjecting them to methyl bromide gas. This treatment is much easier on the plants. To a large extent treatment is determined by the kind of infestation. Purchasing plants from nurseries with clean healthy stock results in your getting plants that are treated less severely. When collecting plants, collect healthy, disease-free plants and clean the insects you can see off them. If you go to collect plants don't put them in a plastic bag and then in the trunk of a car. The extreme heat and humidity results in plants that are so weak that they may die even without fumigation.
Some species take fumigation better than others. Hard leaf Tillandsias tolerate fumigation much better than many Vriesias. One person who imports large numbers of bromeliads has the plants dipped in insecticide before they are shipped to him. Often this results in plants that are inspected and passed without treatment of any kind. Again it is important to call or write the inspection station and discuss your plants with them. They can often be of tremendous help to you. Cooperation between the U.S.D.A. and the plant collector will result in a better situation for everybody.
—North Hollywood, California.
MAINTAINING AND DEVELOPING VARIEGATED BROMELIADS
WILLIAM ROGERSSome of the most desired bromeliads are those with variegated foliage because of the increase of color they can give both a plant and a collection. Keeping variegation distinctive depends first on maintaining a high proportion of variegation and secondly on providing good growing conditions.
Variegation is caused by a lack of chlorophyll in part of a plant's foliage tissues. As chlorophyll is vital to sugar-making, the plant's way of making energy, it is necessary for the plant's health that a reasonable quantity of chlorophyll be maintained. If the plant loses all of its chlorophyll, it dies of starvation; if it loses most of it, it will be weak and slow growing. Of course, the more variegation, the more striking the plant's color. Where the patterning is variable it is wise to maintain a balance of about 40% variegation and 60% green. A friend has a plant of Aechmea fasciata var. variegata with an all-white shoot; he is leaving it on the parent plant and feeds it occasionally a dilute sugar solution. It will probably start rotting at the tips, but he is enjoying it while it survives.
I have a number of Billbergia pyramidalis var. striata in my collection. They throw yellow-looking offsets quite regularly; however these seem to survive all right. I presume that the variegation is in the surface cells, but that there are still layers of green cells underneath. Another plant to do this is B. 'Santa Barbara.' I have yet to get a good clump of it, but it looks promising.
A plant that has gone out of fashion in New Zealand is Nidularium innocentii var. striatum. This plant needs just the right amount of light and humidity to develop properly. If the light intensity is too low, the offsets are very leggy and pale green, without good contrast. If the light is too bright and humidity low, it burns easily. The N. innocentii group as a whole needs careful management, but the weakness is exaggerated in the variegated forms because they haven't as much vigor.
Aechmea caudata var. variegata, the broad leaf form, is another plant growers sometimes find difficult. The variegation pattern is very unstable, and many members have lost the good form of this plant. The taking of offsets is very important. The plant has a bad tendency to revert to green or show just a few streaks of yellow. Any offsets which have lost all or much of their variegation should be removed promptly. Such offsets discourage the parent plant from producing more and better quality shoots. If you have a good form, make sure it is grown in bright light to keep the leaves compact and the variegation distinctive.
The variegation of spotted billbergias seems to have a different origin from the above. Is it hereditary? Is it some fairly benign form of virus or physiological disorder? The white markings of such plants as B. 'Fantasia' usually don't become obvious till the plant is nearly mature. In some, such as B. leitzii, the white patches develop into dead areas as the plant grows older. I still haven't solved that one. Again for growing conditions, give the plants the maximum light they will take and see that winter temperatures are adequate. My plants seem to go back when the temperature gets below 40°F.
Developing and propagating variegated plants can be interesting and profitable to people with large collections. I have worked with various large assemblages of plants, and roughly 1 - 20,000 will variegate or do something unusual. Variegation seldom turns up in a perfectly usable form. It often occurs just as one or two streaks up one side of a plant. What has happened, the variegation has formed in a few cells on one side of the growing tip and it sheds them into the stem and foliage tissue developing from that area. To get further and better variegation one needs to get offsets from that section of the stem. All offsets should be removed as soon as possible to encourage the plant to form more. It may take 2 - 5 generations of partly variegated offsets to get a suitably patterned form.
The best known variegated broms occur in those genera that produce offsets freely — Billbergia, Aechmea, Neoregelia. A variegated Vriesea hieroglyphica is illustrated in Exotica. A friend has a variegated V. gigantea. As these usually produce only one central offset, they are not likely to be on the market, though we could take the risk of removing the center and hoping others would develop. It would be as well to practice on ordinary plants first. A form of variegation seems to occur in V. splendens quite regularly, but the plants I have had of this never seem to grow well, but remain stunted.
Other changes sometimes occur in vegetative portions, such as purple or bronze coloration. I have only come across one — an Aechmea fasciata that had a mixture of green and brown vertical stripes — in this case not exceptional as brown forms already occur. Nevertheless, such a variation could arise in a plant where it hasn't appeared before.
GARDEN OF EDEN
Eden Garden started life as a quarry. It was purchased from the company who owned it in 1928, but except for the planting of a few trees the purchaser did nothing further. Later his home and land were offered to the government for Government House, but the Prime Minister was not interested in the quarry itself. Several societies, plus the Horticultural Council, were approached to see if they would be willing to do something about the quarry, but interest was still not high. Eventually in July, 1964, the Eden Garden Society was formed with 15 members led by Mr. Jack Clark who was very keen to see something done. They arranged to lease the land from the Commissioner of Crown Lands.
The area was covered with dense undergrowth of the worst type. The volunteers, mostly folk over sixty, slowly cut and burnt their way into the area. All rocks were carried from the quarry bottom and the scoria replaced with soil. Jack Clark commenced planting, working six days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for over two and a half years. He also supplied and grew all the trees and shrubs that grace the garden today.
Recently the Bromeliad Society of New Zealand approached the Committee to see if there was a suitable place in which we could establish bromeliads to show the public that they could be grown outside even though they look so exotic. We were assigned a place named The Glade, which went up a slope and had a raised bed on one side backed by a huge outcrop of rock. On the other side were more rocks and several gardens on various levels. The whole set-up was covered with ivy which had run wild and had even grown up into the trees.
Our first working bee was one of solid toil. All ivy had to be cleared. We were pleased to find a number of attractive ferns still struggling under the ivy, and these soon showed their appreciation of light and air. Our next day was devoted to planting. Members donated many interesting and colorful plants, and before long it looked as if The Glade would one day look really good. It will be trial and error as far as the plants are concerned, as some will surely have to be moved to more suitable places. We have tried to give sun lovers the sunniest spots, but there are not many of these because of the many trees.
We put Neoregelia pineliana on a pine tree, and as it was in flower it provided a happy splash of color. On the rocks toward the back are planted a number of vrieseas which are looking particularly fine. At the top is a robust specimen of Tillandsia lindenii about to flower. Many other plants are in color and all look as if they have been there for some time.
Knowing the public we realize we will probably lose some plants. Already one Aechmea fasciata has gone, but we will have to resign ourselves to losses. In front of the largest bed we have put dyckias and Aechmea recurvata var. benrathii hoping they may be a little too prickly for people to take, but I doubt it. In some of the trees we are hoping to establish tillandsias and already we have several plus a few other bromeliads. These will no doubt remain untouched, as they would be too difficult to reach — we hope!
We have a "Watering Roster" and members go each week and water when necessary. If it has rained, then they have a look around to see how things are and do any necessary maintenance.
—Auckland, N. Z.
AECHMEA FASCIATA IN THE JAPANESE AIRPORT
EDITH MEYERA totally unexpected pleasure on a recent brief visit to Japan was the sight of sixty to seventy blossoming plants of Aechmea fasciata in the Japanese airport. They were lined up on the floor in front of several groups of large floor-length glass windows along the broad passageway leading from the maintenance and ticket offices to the departure areas. All were large healthy plants with their characteristic silver and green stripes on long broad leaves. From the heart of each rosette arose a beautiful inflorescence with dusty pink bracts and sky-blue flowers. All were in the same stage of development and appeared to have been grown to this stage of perfection for the sole purpose of entrancing world travelers with their loveliness.
It is the only airport in which I remember seeing any form of horticultural decoration, but it does seem that if the authorities realized what a lift such beauty might give to the flagging spirits of departing passengers, many more indoor plantings would be used. I am wondering now what replaced the aechmeas when the bracts lost their color and the blue blossoms faded and disappeared. Could another variety, in such large numbers, be in such a state of perfection?
—Fort Myers, Florida.
When it was first observed it was thought to be a form of T. prodigiosa, but with a shorter inflorescence. However, the scape is curved, and the spikes are very thickly set at the end which makes it appear capitated.
Mexico has a number of species of tillandsias with long erect ascending scapes, among them T. bourgaei, T. violacea, T. dugesii, T. ponderosa, and T. intumescens, but only one species with a long descending scape has been reported, i.e. T. prodigiosa, whose inflorescence is two to three feet or more.
This new species has been seen in several localities in Oaxaca, but always in the cloud forest growing on oaks or pines at altitudes between 6,000 and 7,000 feet.
—From Cactaceas, the Journal of the Mexican Succulent Society.
There are two forms of this attractive species: var. kienastii, a smallish plant and probably the one most often seen, and var. tillandsioides, pictured above.
This particular species is indigenous to the Amazon region where it enjoys hot, humid conditions — so for most growers requires greenhouse conditions. It is a graceful plant with its firmly textured, broad, gray-green leaves that are about 15 to 20 inches long and 2 inches wide that are edged with straight, brown spines. The bright red inflorescence is branched and lasts in color for a long period. The plant resembles Ae. dactylina.