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.
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.
1974-1977: Eloise Beach, Kathy Dorr, George Kalmbacher, Fritz Kubisch, W. R. Paylen, Amy Jean Gilmartin, Robert Read, Edgar Smith.
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 — September-October, 1974
Vriesea patula Photo by Werner Rauh
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 Collecting Trip into the Chanchamayo Valley of Central Peru
Fig. 1. Tillandsia purpurea on the coastal desert near Lima.|
Whenever we are in Peru, we undertake a botanical trip from Lima into the lovely valley of Chanchamayo up to Oxapampa, situated on the eastern side of the Cordillera. Within a distance of about 300 km and within a few hours we can make a complete cross-section and vegetation-profile through the whole chain of the Andes. We pass not only many different types of landscapes but see also many kinds of vegetation. From the coastal desert we go over a cactus semi-desert to the high mountainous region with its alpine vegetation; we cross the highland plains, which extend between the western and the eastern Cordillera, a periodical dry grassland, called in Peru "puna", and then we go quickly down on the eastern side of the Andes through a cloud or mist forest to the tropical rainforest of the Amazon basin. Therefore this trip is one of the most interesting that the tourist or the botanist can undertake in Peru in a relatively short time.
Everywhere we go in Oxapampa, we discover new species, especially of the families of orchids and bromeliads. For example we found the beautiful Guzmania lindenii; we discovered the very curious new Tillandsia undulato-bracteata (see later); we collected many bromeliads which are new for Peru; we also found several new orchids.
One of the most exciting discoveries on our last trip was a new fern species of the rare South American genus Solanopteris, which I described as S. bismarckii, named after my friend Klaus Von Bismarck, a keen orchid and bromeliad collector. Up to 1971 only three species were known, and now we found a fourth one. Solanopteris is characterized by forming hollow, potato-like rhizome bulbs in which ants live. If you are interested only in bromeliads, however, you can collect on this trip more than a dozen species, all valuable for cultivation.
It is late in the year, in October, just at the beginning of the rainy season when we leave Lima in the early morning. It is cold and misty as it is still the time of the dreaded "garuas," from which Lima suffers for nearly six months. All is gray. It is true that it is not raining—it seldom rains in Lima and in the coastal region—but the air is so humid that we have to use the windshield wipers on our car. This high air humidity is sufficient to enable many plants to live without a drop of rain.
A special type of vegetation develops under the influence of the garuas, called "lomas" by the Peruvians. It is mostly a vegetation of annuals. Within the perennials the bulbous plants are predominant, especially Amaryllidaceae. Famous is Ismene amancaes, a yellow-flowering narcissus, which appears in such quantities that the desert plains become a sheet of yellow when it is in full flower. Also with the perennials of the coastal desert we find cacti and the famous desert tillandsias.
The extended sand plains around the capital are covered for miles and miles with Tillandsia purpurea (Fig. 1) and the most variable T. latifolia, which grows here in three different forms. The normal form, (var. major) forms large rosettes, growing singly in pure sand (Fig 2). The root system is poorly developed and the plants can be removed easily. A second form is the var. minor. It forms rosettes which are no bigger than 10 cm in diameter and is appears in extended patches (Fig. 3). From both varieties we get viviparous forms, which means that the ends of the spikes remain vegetative and grow out (as in the pineapple, Ananas comosus) into a vegetative shoot (Fig. 4). Because of its weight the scape of the inflorescence bends toward the earth; the bud comes into contact with the substratum and forms a new plant while the scape is dying off. Therefore T. latifolia grows often in rows.
||Fig. 2. Tillandsia latifolia var. latifolia near Lima.|
|Fig. 3. T. latifolia var. minor||
Fig. 4. Tillandsia latifolia var. latifolia growing on a roof. Viviparous form.
|Fig. 5. Tillandsia paleacea|
The most remarkable species of the desert, unfortunately not easy to cultivate, is Tillandsia paleacea, which grows near the small village Cajamarquilla, known for its pre-Colombian ruins. T. paleacea forms long strands in which the living heads are arranged all in one direction (Fig. 5), namely in the direction of the sea from which the wind brings the highest humidity.
All these desert tillandsias belong to the biological group of the gray atmospheric species, which live exclusively on the humidity of the air and which do not need any roots. All the parts of the strands of T. paleacea which come into the shadow of the wind die off. From the distance a population of this plant resembles the waves of a moving sea.
|Fig. 6. Rock desert without vegetation.|
On the broad and paved "carretera central" we quickly reach the small town of Chaclacayo (about 500 m above sea level), and here we have an exciting adventure. In one moment we push through the upper limit of the garuas. Behind us is a wall of gray mist; before us is a landscape in full sunshine and above us a dark blue, cloudless sky. We enter a region which represents a complete rock desert without any vegetation at all. (Fig. 6). Plants are restricted to the bottom of the valley of the Rio Rimac. It is a landscape that resembles an oasis in northern Africa. It is a land of nearly eternal blue sky without any drop of rain, for it is reached neither by the garuas nor by the summer rains which fall in the higher Andes.
Fig. 7. Tillandsia paleacea growing amid rocks and cacti.
Close up of plant.
Fig. 8. Tillandsia tectorum growing amid rocks and cactus.
Closeup of foliage.
Above the town of Chosica (800 m) another type of landscape takes over. This we call the cactus desert of the western slopes of the Andes. It extends vertically up to 2000 m. The vegetation is characterized by the abundance of cacti. We will mention only the big Neoraimondia, an endemic genus for Peru, Armatocereus, Haageocereus, Espostoa, Melocactus, and many others. In this region we note only a few tillandsias, growing as epiphytes on cacti or on steep rock cliffs. These are all those species which we have already seen in the coastal desert. Above all we note T. paleacea, but here it does not form long strands, but big cushions, growing with cacti on rocks (Fig. 7). In contrast to the specimens of the coastal desert which flower very seldom, the plants here are in full flower (Fig. 7a).
If we go some miles northwards, into the valleys of the Rio Chancay and the Rio Huaura (Churin), we will find growing at the same altitude (800-2,000 m) in great quantities one of the most beautiful atmospheric tillandsias of Peru, namely Tillandsia tectorum (Fig. 8). It appears to be almost pure white, for the leaves are covered with a thick cloth of long, eccentric and asymmetric scales, the so called dew-tongues. T. tectorum grows in such big patches, that the rocks look pure white from the distance. (Fig. 8) On our last trip we stated that the Ecuadorian T. tectorum, growing on the way from Giron to Pasaje, is even more attractive, for the leaf scales are much longer (up to 4 mm!).
At an altitude of about 2,000 in, near the small town of Matucana, the vegetation changes again. We are just now in the region which is reached by the summer rains, which fall from November to April. The rocky slopes of the Rimac River become greener because of grasses and a green-leafed bromeliad, the small Puya roezlii, whose rosettes cover the rock walls in masses. (Fig. 9) The extreme xerophytic cacti, such as Espostoa and Melocactus, have disappeared. Only green cacti, Armatocereus and Trichocereus, are to be seen. Also the gray atmospheric tillandsias have become rare, but Puya roezlii, together with P. ferruginea, is so widespread that we can speak of a special Puya roezlii belt.
|Fig. 9. Puya roezlii at 2400 m.|
Between Matucana and San Mateo the Rimac Valley becomes very narrow and canyonlike. It is truly the most dangerous, but at the same time, the most grandiose part of the valley, and is most aptly called the "infernillo grande," the great hell. We have to keep our eyes on the road, for there is not only much traffic because of the big trucks which transport tropical fruits and vegetables from Chanchamayo to Lima, but also because of the many falling stones. We sigh with relief when we have passed safely this part of the carretera central.
Above the infernillo we make a short stop for collecting the attractive Tillandsia aureobrunnea (Fig. 10), a gray, lepidote species, growing on rocks, only in a restricted area. The flowers when open are yellow, a color which changes to brown after anthesis. All the flowers emit a fine carnation scent.
|Fig. 10. Tillandsia aureobrunnea|
|Fig. 11 Abra Anticona The highest pass in Peru.|
According to the Flora of Peru, T. aurea must also grow in this region, but we have never found it.1 Instead, we collected a curious tillandsia (unfortunately without flowers) with very long, thin stems and short triangular leaves. We think that it is a small form of the variable T. latifolia.
Now the road starts to climb quickly; we pass the villages of San Mateo, Chicla, and the iron mine Casapalca. We now leave the Puya roezlii zone and enter another vegetation type area, the Lupinus belt, a zone in which white-leaf Lupinus species are predominant. The slopes are pure blue when the plants are in full bloom — a magnificent sight!
Now it becomes colder and colder; the road brings us up in steep curves to the highest pass of central Peru, to the Ticlio or Abra Anticona. It has exactly the same altitude (4,843 m, Fig. 11) as Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe. We stop and leave the car for a few minutes to take pictures of the colorful landscape. The red and ferrugineous iron-containing mountains are in sharp contrast to the white glaciers and the dark blue sky. But the altitude, the cold, the thin air and the lack of oxygen have an adverse effect on us and we become dizzy. Many persons who come to the Ticlio for the first time become very sick; their illness is the so-called "soroche." We quickly leave the pass and drive downwards to the dirty and unfriendly cold mining town Oroya (4000 m), a very important center of the Cerro de Pasco Corporation. On the way there we have to pass the monotonic puna, a grass-steppe with large bunch-grasses. Only here and there the brown color of the grasses is interrupted by the white color of the big cushions of the "wool cactus," Tephrocactus floccosus. From the distance the plants look like recumbent sheep.
Fig. 12. Steep limestone cliffs above Tarma.|
In the foreground Tillandsia oroyensis.
In Oroya the paved road ends, and a terribly dusty and "calamina" (corrugated) road brings us down to Tarma. The way is tiring, for the road goes up and down through the endless puna. At last we cross the last ridge of the eastern Cordillera and enter the lovely valley of Tarma. Above the town (3000 m), steep cliffs of limestone arise (Fig. 12), and here we note a rich vegetation of gray and xerophytic bromeliads, partly associated with cacti.
The upper limit of the Tillandsia is formed by Tillandsia oroyensis, which is named after the town Oroya. It is not a very attractive species, growing in big tuffs. Much more interesting is Tillandsia cauligera; its long stems, covered with silver-gray leaves, hang down from the rocks like snakes (Fig. 13). But the most exciting species, restricted in its distribution to a limited area, a vertical limestone cliff, is Tillandsia nana, which also forms long stems. It is a very tiny species with silver-gray leaves and blue-violet flowers, arranged in a headlike inflorescence (Fig. 14). The plant is much smaller than the related Tillandsia calocephala, wide spread in the same localities in southern Peru and Bolivia (Fig. 15).2
|Fig. 14. Tillandsia nana|
|Fig. 15. Tillandsia calocephala|
The deep secluded valley of Tarma is protected against cold winds and frost and therefore it resembles a big garden (Fig. 16). This region is the main producer of vegetables and garden flowers for the capital. At the moment the gilly-flowers are in full bloom, and the soft slopes of the valley bottom gleam in all colors—white, rose, pink, violet, and blue—and a beautiful fragrance fills the air.
We spend the night in the clean and the beautifully situated tourist hotel in Tarma and rise early in the morning for we must reach Oxapampa this same day. The road leads down into the Chanchamayo Valley.
Just below Tarma the steep rocks are crowded with lots of bromeliads. Some of them, T. cauligera and T. oroyensis, we have already seen above the town. But there appears other species, such as T. straminea, which forms dense tuffs (Fig. 17)3 and T. walteri, which grows as an epiphyte on small bushes. It forms narrow funnel-shaped rosettes with light green, waxy leaves. It is just in bloom. The inflorescences are simple, swordlike, and the big ecarinate floral bracts are of a carmine-red, the flowers of a pale-violet color. (Fig. 18) In nature T. walteri is a very attractive species, but it is difficult in cultivation, at least in Europe.
|Fig. 16. Valley of Tarma just below the town.|
Above — Fig. 17.
Left — Fig. 18. Tillandsia walteri
Left — Fig. 19. Rock walls with Vriesea patula.
Below — Fig. 20. Tillandsia capillaris
In some places the rocks are populated by masses of Vriesea patula (Fig. 19), also just now in full bloom. The hanging inflorescences are simple or subdigitate branches; the complanate spikes are of a bright carmine-red and the long flowers of a green color (See cover). This beautiful species is easy in cultivation.
The cacti growing on the slopes, Trichocereus and Opuntia imbricata, are enveloped in thick mantles of Tillandsia capillaris (Fig. 20). This species grows also on telephone wires. Also the wide spread Tillandsia usneoides is abundant. All in all, the vegetation above and below Tarma, in an altitude between 2000 and 3000 m, shows a xerophytic character, a sign that the valley is relatively dry.
(To be concluded in the next issue.)
1) Last year (1973) we collected T. aurea in Ecuador near Ona. As it is not listed in the book of A. Gillmartin, T. aurea must be new to Ecuador!
2) According to L. B. Smith (Phytologia Vol. 21, March, 1971) T. calocephala is synonymous with T. nana. In general, we agree with L. B. Smith, but the southern Peruvian T. calocephala is quite different. It is much larger than the Tarma plant and the "involucrum" beneath the flower head is more distinct.
3) The differences between T. straminea H.B.K. (1815) and T. purpurea R. et P. (1802) are very insignificant. In T. straminea the sepals are shorter than the floral bracts and in T. purpurea the sepals are more or less exserted. One can observe in nature all transitions from sepals that are shorter or longer than the floral bracts in one population. L. B. Smith has, following field observations, united both species to one—T. purpurea (1802).
W. C. FRASEFor eradication of scale on bromeliads (or other plants) try CYGON 2E*. Far better than oil emulsion is the use of a combination of CYGON 2E and IVORY (dishwashing) detergent as a dipping solution. By using the method of immersing the whole plant and allowing it to drain upside down afterward, it is possible now to get 100% scale kill. CYGON 2E is a systemic poison, that is, a substance which enters the system of the bromeliad plant through the surface directly and destroys the scale insect not merely by contact alone, but by toxification of the plant juices upon which the insects feed. CYGON 2E is entirely harmless to all bromeliads when used in the correct dilution, which is:
1 tablespoon CYGON 2E to 1 gallon of water
To help the CYGON 2E spread better, thus making it more effective, use 1 teaspoon IVORY detergent per gallon of water.
When a group of bromeliads have been dipped and cleaned of pests in this manner, spraying this same solution over the plants monthly, will thereafter keep the plants clean of further infestation. Spraying is best accomplished by using a trombone bucket sprayer for smaller collections of bromeliads, or using a power sprayer for large plantings.
As CYGON 2E is considered only slightly toxic to mammals, one need not fear poisoning in normal usage, but it is always wise when using such materials to exercise caution. The use of rubber or plastic gloves and apron is suggested.
* CYGON 2E is a product of American Cyanamid Corp.
Slugs and snails are best controlled by the use of a slug spray containing Methaldehyde.* This substance both attracts and poisons the pests on contact. The slug or snail is destroyed as easily by crawling through the spray material as it is by eating it.
These pests are much easier to control if greenhouse floors are kept raked and clean, thus depriving the pests of their daytime hiding places.
*Methaldehyde is used in compounding ABORTOX No. 7 and liquid SLUGIT.
BERNARD STONORBromeliads, it has been said, will grow wherever one plants them. Now this means that they tend to be widely dispersed over the surface of the world and naturally their owners are equally widely dispersed. Each of us, quite rightly, considers his or her area to be the center of civilization.
I have friends living 45 miles away, buried in some remote spot off the beaten track. They, of course, consider that I am buried way out in the bush while both of us, to the inhabitants of Perth, some 180 miles away, live out in the never-never. The headquarters of our Australian Bromeliad Society is situated somewhere in the jungles of Sydney. Sydney people, or Sydneysiders as I believe they are called, sometimes find it hard to believe that dairy farmers in the wilds of the West can actually be growing Broms. One or two of them have even come over and paid me a visit, on the pretext of sightseeing, touring the West and so on, but really, I feel sure, to see if I actually do grow the things. And what a real pleasure it is to meet some of the other growers; it is a pity that such visits are so few and far between.
In default of visits, letters keep one in touch with some very interesting and pleasant folk, both in this country and in the far away corners of the earth such as America.
It is natural for us to wonder how other growers are getting on with their plants and to wish we could see them for ourselves. Does old Charlie, who writes in such glowing terms of his plants, really have a better collection than we have, or does he, like most of us, add just a pinch of salt to his descriptions? Pity we can't dash over and see for ourselves.
Bromeliad growing in Australia can be easy or difficult, according to the area in which the grower lives. The Eastern States, at any rate near the coast, receive a fair amount of rain during the summer with a comparatively dry winter. The West has a hot, dry summer with little or no rain as a rule and a cold, very wet winter. This long, dry summer with very low humidity and high temperatures determines which bromeliads can be grown successfully without the aid of glasshouses equipped with humidity and temperature control. In the coastal areas frosts are not usually a problem in winter, although inland areas experience a number of frosts each year, sometimes quite severe ones. In my garden there are sheltered spots in which frosts never occur, and a cold glasshouse provides sufficient protection for the majority of bromeliads. The principal trouble in winter is the lack of sun, but of course shade-loving plants are not seriously affected by this, perhaps they feel the lack rather less than their owners do.
My collection started, like a number of others, with Billbergia nutans, which was growing in a Perth garden at least 25 years ago, being known as "gypsy earrings." Not long after, an advertisement in a gardening periodical brought a parcel of plants my way—Aechmea lueddemanniana, A. fasciata, Neoregelia carolinae, etc. These took their place in a small "glasshouse" with a roof of polythene film, where they soon made themselves at home among a few foliage plants and orchids. At this stage it was obvious that more information was needed for success with these curious and fascinating plants, and so I joined the Australian Bromeliad Society and was caught in the toils. A fibre-glass roof replaced the thin plastic sheet over the glasshouse, a small kerosene heater kept the plants warm in winter while I froze. A larger glasshouse followed to absorb the overflow, then a partly enclosed verandah to house the overflow from the second glasshouse, a tale which will be familiar to many other addicts. This, of course, was not the end of the problem.
My garden is slowly being taken over by the surplus plants. There is now a bed 15 feet by 3 feet containing a mixture of species with many others in odd spots here and there. There is, in fact, a large variety of conditions available for accommodating a number of different types of plants, a suitable spot for almost anything, almost all, in fact, except for the subfamily Tillandsioideae. I have to admit, with shame, that I can't grow tillandsias. Just a few will grow and occasionally flower, but generally these lovely plants are clearly not at home in my garden. The hot dry summer is very hard on them for one thing. A few are improving when planted in coconut fibre with a little moss, but attempts to grow them on wood have not been successful. Vrieseas are a little difficult, too, but some species are coming along nicely, in their own time, of course. I have one which was grown from seed labeled "unidentified vriesea." The seed, manner of growth, and leaf scales are all much more like those of a tillandsia, but it has not yet flowered. It is a medium-sized plant, almost tubular rather than the usual rosette, with the lower leaf surface covered with a white powder, similar to that found on Aechmea fulgens, which forms a few cross-bands. The plant is seven years old, and every year I wonder if I can keep it going until it flowers.
Perhaps the most successful genus here is Billbergia. Most species seem quite at home either in a cold glasshouse, planted out in the flower beds, or tied to a tree. A horizontal branch of an apricot tree carries several species, all doing well and flowering regularly. Aechmeas grow better in a glasshouse, except for a few of the really tough ones, such as distichantha. A. chantinii manages quite well in a house kept at a minimum of about 50°F. in winter. A. bracteata was not a success in the garden, bleached and burnt by the sun and covered with spots after the winter hailstones; it can only be called a mess, but is still alive and I want to see what happens to its offsets. I have been trying for years to grow a nice tidy plant of A. fosteriana, and this one too has been put out in a sheltered spot in the garden among some rocks. This small, rocky patch, against the wall of the house, is gradually being taken over by Broms — Neoregelia carolinae hybrids, Quesnelia liboniana, Neoregelia concentrica, Dyckia remotiflora, Billbergia pallidiflora (which is a useful plant for this type of rockery even if the flowers are not all they might be). Billbergia amoena var. viridis has joined the party now and seems quite at home.
Dyckias grow quite well in the open, but I prefer them under shelter as some of them are a little susceptible to damage by hail. They flower just as well in the glasshouse in a well-lit position. Billbergia 'Fantasia' is sometimes regarded as a rather delicate plant, but it grows and flowers well in a sheltered position in my garden. Though looking a bit yellow in winter, Bromeliad balansae, too, is affected by the cold when grown in the open here, and Portea petropolitana var. extensa is also doing much better inside than it was in the open. Puyas, of course, are quite at home. The difficulty here is to get hold of plants. They are not exactly suitable subjects to send through the mail, so mine are grown from seed. P. alpestris should be large enough to flower now; the rest are still rather small.
Plants in the glasshouse include a number of interesting species which I have not yet been able to identify. Some of the neoregelias known by number only have produced very attractive plants with colorful mauve and mauve-pink centers. Acanthostachys has been growing well for years in a small wire basket filled with fiber and usually has a few flowers on it. Araeococcus grows well with a little heat in winter. Pitcairnia andreana produces its showy orange flowers in summer. There is always something of interest to show visitors. One or two pineapple plants are also grown, principally I must confess for their fruit. They can be grown quite successfully in a pot about 7-inch diameter, and I think they fruit a little sooner when grown in this manner even if the fruit is a bit small.
Many of my best plants have been grown from seed. Most of us have our own method of growing plants from seed, some complicated and some simple. My preference, after trying a number of methods and composts, is to sow all the seed on top of a mixture of leafmold and sand. I then cover the pot with a clear polythene bag until the seedlings are established. High temperatures may help, but generally have not proved necessary. This leaf mold and sand mixture forms the basis for all my composts with charcoal, old cow manure, etc., added where appropriate. One of the advantages of living on a farm is that I have all the ingredients for composts almost on the doorstep, except treefern fiber. Green moss grows on logs and rocks and in wet weather can be peeled off in sheets. A layer of this moss placed on top of the compost is much appreciated by the plants, especially neoregelias.
I like to give most varieties just a little fertilizer now and then, either organic or one of the proprietary inorganic mixtures. I have no wish to be mixed up in the argument as to which type is best; they can both give good results. Perhaps the most important factor is the manner in which they are applied. It is tempting to feed the plants well during the growing season; but if they are to stand up to cold conditions afterwards, I prefer to have them a little hardier even if they are smaller. And after all, not many plants are fertilized with all sorts of chemicals when growing wild.
There are many problems to investigate. Why do some species set abundant quantities of seed while others don't produce any? Aechmea nudicaulis flowers fairly well and sets seed freely while A. nudicaulis var. aureo-rosea has a better inflorescence but never sets any seed. Is it possible that the latter plant is some sort of natural hybrid? The form of Billbergia nutans I grow here never sets seed and is believed to be a cross between two varieties of this species, both of which produce seed.
—Margaret River, West Australia.
The city of Frankfurt on the Main River in the middle of Germany has a "Green Heart," the Palmengarten. When founded a little over a hundred years ago, the garden lay outside the city, but today the spreading metropolis has overgrown all surrounding areas and the garden is flanked by roads with roaring traffic. So you joyously regard peace and quiet under the big trees of this restful oasis all the more.
The visitor, entering by the main gate, sees in front of the "Gesellschafthaus" the so called parterre—a square lawn flanked by two avenues of clipped linden trees, long flower beds, and a fountain in the middle. The Gesellschafthaus contains a restaurant and wintergarten, several club rooms, and a large dance hall. Walking along the terrace the visitor reaches a flight of stairs which leads to the big Palm House, the biggest in Germany and still standing in its original form. There are over 120 different species of palms cultivated here Together with big banana trees that regularly flower and fruit and various other tropical plants, they create the beautiful atmosphere of warm southern lands, so beloved by people of northern countries.
The next big glass house on the right is the Exhibition Hall. Here changing exhibitions take place through the year, closing with the Christmas Show with its decorations from different countries. Since 1970 a bromeliad show is held every second year.
Opposite, a little to the right is a group of thirteen glasshouses arranged around one big middle hall, which at first seems to be another palm house, but which contains cycads, palms, and many tropical trees. The different surrounding houses are devoted to certain plant families grouped together and kept as collections, but as showily and decoratively arranged as possible for the visitors. There is a large orchid collection of 3,500 species. Cacti and succulents are grown to perfection in two houses and number more than 2,500 kinds. A begonia collection fills one house and in another are gathered tropical fruits, such as nutmeg, taro, coffee, cocoa, cola, and papaya. The large water lily house, with its spectacular Victoria amazonica, is a most beautiful sight indeed. A large number of evergreens grow in tubs and pots are kept in one house with many beauties from Australia, New Zealand, and the Mediterranean.
Fascinating is the house devoted to insectivorous plants. Three houses are at various times filled with potted conservatory plants from the nursery. Displays constantly change and a colorful view is always maintained for the joy of the visitor.
Last but not least is the bromeliad collection, today numbering about 650 species. As early as 1906 when the present show houses were opened, some Vrieseas and Ananas were grown here among the Anthuriums and palms. The number of species in those early days was about 50.
World War II brought about the biggest upheaval in the Palmengarten, resulting in much destruction and rebuilding and changes. In March, 1945, the American Forces occupied the Garden, and Sergeant Gunn, who was in charge, immediately helped to repair the greatest damage and to get some glass to restore some of the glass houses. Many valuable plants had been evacuated to the country areas during the war years and thus were saved for the building up of the collection. From those small and rather hard beginnings the bromeliad collection developed continuously to its present standard.
Werner Motschenbach in charge of the bromeliad collection.
Aechmea sphaerocephala in the show house.
Aechmea chantinii growing in show house.|
The start of the fifties saw some German industrialists moving to Central and South America. These first men, members of the big firms of Degussa, Bosch and Hoechst, were quite impressed by the wonders of the tropical vegetation, collected bromeliads and kept in contact with the Palmengarten. So the first consignments of plants arrived and were much cherished and cared for.
Dr. Richard Oeser, the first German collector of Tillandsias, lived in the vicinity of Frankfurt and was always ready to help in identifying the imported plants. He had long experience with bromeliads, especially Tillandsias, which he had been collecting long before the war. His love and interest in this plant family never ceased and he ought to be thanked profusely for his long lasting support of the Palmengarten collection. Hans Gulz, gardener and nurseryman, worked in the garten for some years after the war, growing bromeliads and becoming fascinated by them. He later founded his own bromeliad nursery, introduced a number of his own crosses, and continually imported new species.
Since 1954, Werner Motschenbach has been in charge of the bromeliad collection and in his quiet and modest way had done a lot of good work caring for these beautiful members of the New World tropics that ever fascinate us.
Men of science went to the Americas in those years. Some even stayed like Professor Muller, who has lived in Costa Rica ever since. He has kept in constant contact with the Palmengarten, and countless packages have arrived, adding much to the bromeliad collection.
During the sixties Professor Werner Rauh of the Botanical Garden of Heidelberg became the most important bromeliad specialist in our country. From his many journeys and big imports the Palmengarten received many bromeliads, and big improvements were made, mainly to the Tillandsia section.
The collection serves two purposes. The botanical standard is kept high; new species, hybrids, and varieties are constantly being added to it. On the other hand, the show in House Number 9 is artistically arranged; flowering bromeliads are constantly being displayed for the joy and interest of the general visitor. The regularly flowering and fruiting Ananas plants are a point of great interest especially to many school children who find in most amazing that a pineapple does not grow on a tree, but on a spiny herb on the ground. For the benefit of the general public the Palmengarten not only grows true botanical species but also showy hybrids for decorative purposes.
On the side beds of the bromeliad show house the plants are grown in loose organic material, leaf mold and needles mixed with a lot of peat. Different sections are devoted to the various families: Billbergia starting from the right, Neoregelia next, then follow a lot of Tillandsias mounted on branches of all shapes and sizes with Cryptanthus underneath, and the beautifully flowering Guzmania section in the corner. The other side starts with Aechmea in the sunniest corner, Nidularium next, and Vriesea (about 100 different species), then Quesnelia at the left end. Ananas and Pitcairnia fill the middle bed, together with some other plants like ferns and climbing cacti completing the natural look of the house and helping to display the plants to their best advantage.
Since 1966 there is a propagation house for bromeliads and also a joined glass house facing for Tillandsias. Many varieties bloomed there for the first time because the drier, cooler, well aired house suited them so much better. In the years before it always proved very difficult indeed to cultivate all the different bromeliads from the different regions in one single house.
Two kinds of propagation are exercised in the propagation house now, the vegetative one and the raising of seedlings, sometimes from imported seed. We also get seeds through the exchange of the botanical gardens of the world. Altogether, about 650 species of bromeliads are grown in the Palmengarten, and — well, that is all there is room for. We still hope to get new big show houses one day in order to get more space for our plants, also for the bromeliads.
June 1970 saw two big events in the history of bromeliad cultivation in the Palmengarten: The first Bromeliad Exhibition was opened with glorious displays of plants brought in by nurserymen and hobby gardeners of West Germany. Since then such an exhibition has taken place every two years, and each one has been more beautiful than the other!
Also in June 1970 the "Bromelien Gesellschaft" was founded. Thanks to the initiative of our present director, Dr. Schoser, the movement to form this society started in the Palmengarten. The "Bromelien Gesellschaft" has flourished ever since under the presidency of Prof. Rauh, and we hope it will grow further, spreading knowledge of and interest in bromeliads to many people in our country.
Beyond the show houses the park stretches with green lawns and big trees as far as you can see. Everywhere fountains give a lively touch to the scene. The rose garden, geometrically laid out is ablaze with glorious color from May to November. At left the alpine garden starts with a section devoted to many kinds of heather. The hilly landscape finally descends to the big lake on the west side of the garden. Every summer day people can row on this lake, and numerous ducks and swans enliven the picture. In the northwest corner of the Palmengarten lies the big nursery where all plants for the flower beds are grown and potted plants of the different seasons to meet the large demand of the show houses and the exhibition hall. The total production of this nursery ranges at about 150,000 plants a year.
The whole area of the Palmengarten covers over 54 acres. It is small indeed for a big city like Frankfurt and the ever growing numbers of visitors each year. But the space is intensely used to create a real people's garden in the broadest sense. It serves many needs and interests, giving recreation to the city folks, playing space for the children, music and entertainment to those who want it, and gardening and horticultural knowledge to amateurs and professionals and plant lovers of all kinds. To keep this inheritance of our forefathers as nice and lively as it was and to carry it even better into the future is our daily effort.
—Frankfurt, West Germany.
who drew the originals for the writing paper distributed by the Bromeliad Society, Inc.
in a limited edition of 450 of each print, inscribed and hand numbered by the artist.
The first 25 of each print will be tinted and numbered by the artist after the pattern of Currier and Ives with water colors. The plates are to be destroyed.
Size: 17½ × 22½ — may be trimmed to fit a 16 × 20 frame or matted for 18 × 24 framing.
$20 each; any 2 for $36, all three for $50. The first 25 of each hand water-colored $50 each. Prices post-paid in U.S. Add $1.00 for airmail. Texas residents add 5% sales tax.
Inquire about quantity discount
SUE GARDNER 33 Camden Place Corpus Christi, Texas 78412
The first study deals with new and little known species from central Peru. Seven tillandsias are described in detail (in German), accompanied by 27 photographs and 4 drawings, covering 32 pages.
For those growers who are eager to learn more about new species, this series is of great value, as there is no one who knows more about the bromeliads of this region than does Dr. Rauh.
Copies may be obtained from the publisher, Franz Steiner, Bahnhofstr. 39, Wiesbaden 61, West Germany, for 12 DM.
LYMAN B. SMITH
Dr. E. A. Mennega of Utrecht, Netherlands has brought to my attention the identity of a Billbergia name that has been neglected or misunderstood for over a century. On reading the admirably detailed description of Billbergia excellens it is embarrassingly puzzling as to how it could have been so long overlooked. Furthermore it distinctly notes the fine soft point of the sepal that is unique in the genus. Dr. Mennega believes that the plant illustrated here is probably a direct descendant of the original Billbergia excellens. Fortunately for us the name is antedated by Billbergia vittata and no change is involved in our nomenclature. The reference now becomes:
BILLBERGIA VITTATA Brongniart ex Morel in Portef. Hort. 2:353, fig. 1848. Billbergia excellens Miquel, Journ, Bot. Neerlandaise 1:34. 1861.
—Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.