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 $10.00; Sustaining
$15.00; Fellowship $25.00; and Life $200.00. All memberships start with January
of the current year.
1977-1980: William Kirker, Leslie Walker, Eloise Beach, Fritz Kubisch, W.R. Paylen, Amy Jean Gilmartin, Edgar Smith, Thelma O'Reilly.
1978-1981: Jeanne Woodbury, Ervin Wurthmann, Victoria Padilla, David H. Benzing, Louis Wilson, Joseph F. Carrone, Jr., Timothy A. Calamari, Jr., Roger Vandermeer.
1980-1982: Doris Curry, Morris Dexter, Sue Gardner, Tim Lorman, Valerie Steckler, Harold W. Wiedman, Dale Williams.
Adda Abendroth, Brazil; Luis Ariza Julia, Dominican Republic; Olwen Ferris, Australia; Marcel Lecoufle, France; Harold Martin, New Zealand; Dr. W. Rauh, Germany; Raulino Reitz, Brazil; Walter Richter, Germany; L. B. Smith, USA; R. G. Wilson, Costa Rica; Robert W. Read, USA; W.W.G. Moir, Hawaii.
Published six times a year: January, March, May, July, September, November. Free to members.
Individual copies of the Journal $2.00
Copyright 1980 by the
Bromeliad Society. Inc.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Picture on the cover — Vriesea inflorescences. Photo by J. Padilla.
EDITOR — VICTORIA PADILLA
Office: 647 S. Saltair Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90049.
REV. DAVID R. KINISH, O.S.B.In my humble opinion the Endangered Species Act, as presently administered, defeats its own purpose, at least in so far as the developing countries of South America are concerned. Not only in Brazil, but in most of the countries of Latin America, large tracts of forest land are being cleared for farming and ranching. Whether this is or is not a wise procedure is another question, but it is a fact that the land is being cleared of forest. Some of the trees are cut for lumber, even when the land is not suitable for farming or for range land, but many trees are being cleared from the land and just piled up and burned to make way for range or for farming. Hardly any area in Brazil that has trees does not also have an abundance of epiphytes: orchids, bromeliads, ferns, peperomias, etc. In most cases no one collects these plants. They are simply left to burn up in the sun in the branches that are left behind or are piled up and burned. Millions of epiphytic plants perish almost daily. Yet obtaining an export permit from Brazil is virtually impossible for an amateur collector.
In the fall of 1978 I wrote to the Instituto Brasileiro de Desinvolvimento Florestal (IBDF) for a permit to export orchids and other epiphytic plants from Brazil and received a very courteous letter and a whole packet of material setting forth how I could obtain a permit. The gist of the material was that only two classes of collectors may obtain export permits: those who own a registered greenhouse (in Brazil) and who do a regular export business, and members of a scientific expedition approved by the IBDF.
Obviously I could not qualify under either heading, so I sent the packet of material to my confrere, Dom Eric Deitchman who, during the more than 15 years he has been in Mineiros has established a very good reputation as an agriculturist and has excellent relations with both the Federal Department of Agriculture and with that of the State of Goias. He met me at the airport in Brasilia and we went directly to the Department of Agriculture where we were given the red carpet treatment and an introduction to the national head of the IBDF where we were again given the red carpet treatment, and a recommendation to the IBDF in Goiania that they issue us an export permit. In Goiania it took quite a bit of running around and we spent nearly two days getting the permit.
Were it not for the U.S. requirement for an export permit from the country of origin an amateur collector could easily bring with him in his luggage any reasonable number of plants with no problem, even when the country of origin requires an export permit for shipping plants out of the country.
I cannot believe that allowing literally billions of plants to perish in the trees that are cut down and piled up to burn is conservation. This goes on daily on a very large scale in the Amazon basin and on a smaller scale in places such as the little city of Mineiros. Why could not allowance be made for plants collected from such areas as lumber camps? Because they could not be identified as coming from lumber camps? Perhaps. But it would be less wasteful to let some plants get through which were collected from standing trees than to let all these millions of plants perish in the cause of conservation.
My plants were packed in a duffle bag, quite a full duffle bag containing both orchid and bromeliad plants. I made a considerable effort to clean the plants before packing but in Miami the Agriculture Department people insisted that they would have to be fumigated because there were so many plants and because there was evidence of some insect life. To my dismay the fumigation was so thorough that I lost all of my T. pohliana plants, the other tillandsias were damaged somewhat, I lost all my many plants of Lanium avicola and Leaoa reedii and many of the other orchids were defoliated or partly defoliated. I had a few plants of Peperomia nummularifolia, attached to the bark where I had found it growing. I received only a small portion of the Peperomia with the explanation that they had to remove it from the bark because the bark had evidence of insect life. But, they sent the bark and kept the plants! I had about a dozen palm nuts in that bag and they were confiscated with the explanation that no fruit may enter the U.S. with pulp attached because it may harbor fruit flies, and the palm nuts had husks so hard that even after I had tried getting it off with a hammer it would not come off.
I am not making a wholesale indictment of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Inspection Stations. I am convinced that on the whole they do an excellent job and I must say that my dealings with the people at the Miami station have been good. I just think they ought to be a bit more careful about fumigating plants and by now they should know something about plants that will not tolerate the fumigants they use.
I have since that time had friends bring in plants of T. pohliana for me and I have a few now making good growth.
St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, Kansas
HARRY E. LUTHER
One of the showiest species of Aechmea subgenus Platyaechmea is a relative newcomer and is practically unknown to the majority of bromeliad hobbyists. Aechmea retusa L. B. Smith was introduced into the trade in the early 1960's by Lee Moore, formerly a plant collector in Iquitos, Peru. Dr. Lyman B. Smith described A. retusa in 1964 based on a plant flowered by the late Julian Nally of Gotha, Florida. Whether any of the early Peruvian material has persisted in cultivation is unknown but recent collections from eastern Ecuador are well established in choice collections in Florida and California.
Aechmea retusa resembles the popular A. chantinii (Carr.) Baker and has been confused with this species. Cultivated plants have also been misidentified as A. tessmannii Harms and A. tillandsioides (Mart. ex Schult. f.) Baker. Aechmea retusa is actually a very distinctive species and is easily recognized although one of the key characters of the type plant appears to be an artifact. The retuse apex of the floral bracts is found only on the type collection and may be the result of pressing and drying. Aechmea retusa can best be characterized by contrasting it with its nearest relatives.
Aechmea chantinii — Primary bracts abruptly smaller toward the apex of the inflorescence. Floral bracts broadly ovate, slightly exceeding the ovary. Sepals asymmetrical. Petals yellow.
Aechmea retusa — Primary bracts gradually smaller toward the apex of the inflorescence. Floral bracts elliptic, much exceeding the ovary. Sepals asymmetrical. Petals pale yellow.
Aechmea tessmannii — Primary bracts gradually smaller toward the apex of the inflorescence. Floral bracts ovate, much exceeding the ovary nearly equaling the sepals. Sepals nearly symmetrical. Petals bright orange.
An unusual habit of Aechmea retusa is the occasional production of very long branches of the inflorescence; individual spikes may continue to grow and flower for several months. This is particularly striking with cultivated plants, specimens collected in the field often have rather short spikes. Greenhouse grown plants rarely set seed unless hand pollinated and the potential for indeterminate growth of the branches may be a mechanism to prolong the blooming period if pollination has not occurred. In the wild this would enable plants of A. retusa to "wait" for their natural pollinators if they were delayed by unfavorable weather conditions.
Following is a brief description of Aechmea retusa which takes into account fresh material available from cultivation as well as field collections from eastern Ecuador and northern Peru.
AECHMEA RETUSA L. B. Smith. Phytologia 10:484. 1964
Flowering plant to 80 cm high. Leaves few in number (ca. 8), spreading, recurved, green or reddish. Leaf sheaths inconspicuous, ovate, entire, lepidote, dark purple above. Leaf blades to 60 cm long, 6 cm wide, ligulate, subacute, densely pale lepidote, armed with dark spreading 3 to 7 mm spines. Scape erect or decurved. Scape bracts imbricate but the upper reflexed, serrulate, lanceolate, red, pink or orange. Primary bracts like the upper scape bracts, gradually decreasing in size toward the apex of the inflorescence, much exceeding the naked bases of the branches. Inflorescence bipinnate, flocculose but nearly glabrous with age, branches erect or spreading. Rhachis broad, excavated and winged, dark green. Floral bracts distichous, imbricate but narrow and exposing most of the rhachis, elliptic with a rounded to acute apex (retuse in the type), 12 to 20 mm long, much exceeding the ovary, rather thin, pale yellow or yellow-green. Sepals asymmetrical with 1 broad and 1 narrow wing, 12 mm long, about 1/3 exserted beyond the floral bracts, pale yellow-green. Petals ca. 18 mm long, pale yellow. Ovary ca. 10 mm long, ripe berry blue or purple-blue.
The following specimens in herbaria have been examined:
TYPE: Peru: Without specific locality: Julian Nally s. n., 1963. US herb 24290402. (US)
Peru: Amazonas: Berlin 833, Jan. 4 1973. US herb. 2820422. (US); Ecuador: Napo-Pastaza: Harling 3797, Dec. 30 1958. US herb. 2521036. (US); Ecuador: Without specific locality: Flowered in cultivation, J. Kent. H.E. Luther s.n., Sept. 22 1979. SEL herb 028790. (SEL); Ecuador: Without specific locality: Flowered in cultivation, J. Kent. H.E. Luther s.n., Sept. 22 1979. SEL herb. 028791. (SEL)
To the curators of the U.S. National Herbarium I express appreciation for the opportunity to examine the type of Aechmea retusa and for the loan of additional specimens of Aechmea subgenus Platyaechmea. I would also like to thank Bunny and Gary Hendrix of Homestead, Florida for the use of their excellent slides of A. retusa and for their helpful comments concerning this species.
Director, Bromeliad Identification Center, Selby Botanical Gardens
A "special event" for the club was the visit of Ann Johnson and Grace Goode from Australia. A covered-dish supper was given in their honor in the Carroll's garden.
The Tejas Group has been invited to participate in the tour again next year — a unique way of bringing bromeliads to the attention of the public.
LOUIS F. WILSONPrologue
Routinely I pick up my mail at noon, and on November 1st, among the bills and junk mail, was a note from Mary Poetz, a good friend and avid plant collector from Missouri. "We're off to Surinam next week and thought you'd like to know," she wrote. "ONLY SURINAM", she appended. I knew there was a trip planned for Surinam with intermediate collecting in the West Indies — particularly Dominica and the adjacent islands of the windward group. But, I had collected Dominica and other islands only six months earlier and had little desire to return this soon, so I had passed up the trip as unattainable. But, Surinam only — that was another story, and it would be 10 days or more of daily collecting in all sorts of new habitats. Mary noted that six had signed on so far — Janet Howe, Ed Marks, Bill Janetos, Muriel Tannaci, Neil Firetog, and herself. Except for Neil who had never collected before, the rest were seasoned, almost fanatic plant collectors. I just had to go along! A quick call to Janet verified Mary's information and 20 minutes later I was booked to Surinam on the 9th and only needed confirmation of my hotel reservation. That, however, was no problem because I'd stay in a hut if I had to.
The next week was a busy one as much had to be done. I assembled the necessary supplies and checked them off my list. Clippers, knife, brushes, tape, string — one by one I had them all assembled and packed in my one suitcase. I learned long ago it really pays to pack everything in a single carry-on bag. Bags get lost on junkets and collecting poles disappear too. I purchased ten boxes — it's easier to carry boxes along than try to find them in the jungle!
Finally the 9th arrived and off to the Detroit airport, and then on to Miami. Muriel met me in Miami and we both met the other five at Port of Spain in Trinidad for the last short leg of our trip to Paramaribo, the capitol of Surinam, or Republic of Suriname as it is officially known. After a jubilant greeting, Janet dubbed us the "Magnificent Seven". Certainly such a title and lucky number would be a good omen for the collecting days to come.
The first day. Light came at 6 am, and even though we had not bedded down 'til after 2 am, I had to see beautiful Paramaribo by daylight from my window in the Torarica Hotel. From the third floor I could see the courtyard and street beyond. Trees were laden with epiphytes and seemed to say "come and see me". I restrained myself until after breakfast, as we had no special plans for the first day, anyway. The next day we would contact Rudy Reteig, a member of the Suriname Orchid Society, but today was free to adapt, acclimatize, and just explore the city. I had left 30° F weather in Michigan and here just a few degrees above the Equator, upper 90's were daily expectancies.
At breakfast we pooled our knowledge of this strange new land called the Republic of Suriname — the old Dutch Guiana. Used to Spanish speaking countries such as Guatemala and Ecuador, Surinam was going to be different. We soon learned it was mostly a land of wilderness just slightly smaller than the state of Michigan. Of the less than one-half million people, about one quarter live in Paramaribo and the rest along the ocean. We knew the official language was Dutch but most people spoke two or more languages including a hybrid of French, English, Dutch and other tongues called Taki Taki. The latter is also used by the bush negroes — descendents of runaway slaves, who today are only barely civilized. The Dutch have long been associated with Indonesian trade and thus Surinam has strong Javanese and far eastern influences. Hindu and Muslim temples would vie equally with Christian churches along our routes.
Breakfast over, I just had to go "hunting" around the hotel to see what I could find. After all, an avid collector gets itchy to collect! The trees in front of the hotel had at least 3 kinds of bromeliads — Tillandsia fasciculata, T. flexuosa and a large plant resembling a Streptocalyx. I picked up a few tillandsias that had fallen to the ground and studied them on my way back to the hotel lobby. "Are you interested in epiphytes?" came a voice from over my right shoulder. "What?" I reacted. "I see you have a tillandsia there" returned the voice. There, at the bus stop was a portly gentleman, who obviously knew something about bromeliads. "Are you interested in bromeliads," I asked? "Indeed", he replied, "I have a fine epiphyte collection in my yard." He introduced himself as Mr. Anthony Favery, a retired school teacher and now an artist and teacher of the classical guitar. He was off to the market to sketch for the morning, but quickly aborted his plans to be our guide for the day. Within minutes I assembled the magnificent seven and like seven dwarfs we eagerly followed our "Snow White" wherever he would lead us. Tony, as we soon began to call him, spirited us over to the city park in order to share its beauty and his knowledge of the native orchids and bromeliads growing there. His expertise soon showed itself as he named one plant after another and we dutifully recorded the names in our notebooks. The park was a beautiful palm forest amidst the bustle of the city. Suddenly wild, it closed out the traffic nearby and amplified the chatter of the monkeys and birds on the foliage above. Large mats of a small orchid, Lanio microphyllum decorated numerous palms and blushed red from its small flowers. By noon, the temperature had hit the high 90's and people began to vanish for the afternoon Surinam-version of the siesta. We bought a cool beer in the pavilion in the park just before it closed for the afternoon.
In the early evening we explored Tony's garden and found he had many native epiphytes besides those he had purchased or received from friends over the years. "Come back on the last day before you leave and I'll give you some" he said, as we parted that night. "Indeed we would", we thought. Indeed we would, and did.
The second day. Rudy Reteig arranged our collecting for the day, but was unable to come along with us. We asked Tony to come along, and he was delighted and immediately took charge. The minibus Rudy hired arrived promptly at 7 am and all of us were off to the wilds. All except Ed, that is. Poor Ed was feeling ill and decided to stay behind. He had injured his toe a week earlier and it was bothering him. After seeing him comfortable, we promised to get him some plants and the "staunch six" bade him goodbye for the day.
This day we were going west about an hour's drive to a citrus grove. We had a letter from Rudy to the owner asking for access to the grove. We had permission to collect any and all plants we wanted and were sent to the rear groves which had not been cleaned recently. Epiphytes are periodically stripped from citrus trees anyway, and the groves we collected in were soon to be cleared. We didn't hesitate to strip the trees — giving them all the "help" we could, of course.
There were hundreds of trees to choose from, and I know I climbed or picked from at least 200 of them and filled three sacks with plants. Some of the bromeliads were old friends I'd seen and collected in other countries. Aechmea mertensii was showing off its inflorescence, and as usual was highly variable in its size and shape. I picked a few choice specimens — when the ants would permit me. They all seemed to have the meanest ants I've encountered anywhere. Clusters of Tillandsia bulbosa dangled from the lower sides of limbs. They too had their share of ants, a small but equally vicious species. Twisting skyward were individuals and pairs of T. flexuosa, some of the largest I'd ever seen. Several were just in spike. I carefully collected several large specimens, remembering that their funnels are favorite retreats for scorpions. Catopsis sessiliflora beckoned for attention within easy reach. Many small tillandsias perched on branches, some alone and some in small clusters. Growing with T. fasciculata, I thought they were just younger specimens until I spied one in flower. Small plants 2-3 inches tall, they had bright red crab claw-like inflorescences. It was a species I had never encountered before. Later I identified it as T. kegeliana. Another species I had never collected before also appeared at the top of an occasional tree. Light yellow-green, it seemed to thrive in bright light. Its arching forms and inflorescence betrayed it as T. tenuifolia var surinamensis. Then, another new species — small compact, covered with gray scales, could it be T. paraensis? Or, was it something unknown from Surinam? I'd have to wait until it flowered. Orchids were also numerous — mostly Rodreguesia secunda and Ionopsis — both were showing colorful flowers.
Our lunch was simple fare. We had purchased some bananas at the river crossing, and since we were in a citrus grove, oranges and grapefruit supplemented our diet and kept our body fluids up. Surinam has few bridges over its rivers as yet so if you go east or west you soon are ferrying across the river. There is usually a short wait there and thus an ideal location for food vendors and small markets.
|Collecting in cleared area|
We were told to leave the grove by noon as it would be closed during the siesta. We had enough plants and sufficient collecting by noon anyway as the heat soared somewhere above 100 °F.
On our return trip to town we collected along the road — well almost. Even though Surinam is mostly untamed land, most land along the main roads is privately owned and mostly by small land owners. We decided to purchase plants along our route, if we spied something unusual, and Tony negotiated for us so we'd get the best price. The Javanese, who love their flowers, wouldn't sell plants from their trees, but others would and soon we had purchased several plants, especially the lovely orchid Oncidium lanceanum which was just beginning to spike. We found one small wild area along the route and spent a short period collecting there. I pulled on a vine to retrieve a bromeliad and as the vine broke it loosed a nest of bees. I scurried back to the bus unscathed and satisfied that I had enough collecting for the day. A good day, I had been bit only by several ants that I had irritated while collecting bromeliads.
A cool shower knocked the temperature back to the tolerable 80's as we approached our return-river crossing. On the ferry we met a young woman with a pet spider monkey, and soon we were acting like typical tourists snapping our cameras and people-watching.
We had bushels of plants between us and decided we'd better clean them quickly or we'd get behind by the next day. I found a quaint wooded spot behind the hotel and there in a light drizzle I cleaned plants until dark. I reencountered some of the same ants I had irritated previously as I dumped the plants on the ground. I hadn't cleaned more than a few plants when I was surprised by a 3-inch tarantula that emerged from the cup of an A. mertensii. I had neglected to bring pyrethrum with me this trip and I soon was regretting it. I usually gas each bag of plants before cleaning to "inactivate" the plants' inhabitants. Cleaning continued in the room after dark, and by midnight all plants were laid out neatly in the corners of the room.
The third day. The Surinam Orchid Society invited us to the city park to buy some of their epiphytes. They sell plants there every second Sunday and this was an opportunity to purchase a few native plants we might not get collecting. There are about 350 orchid and at least 45 bromeliad species in Surinam and we obviously wouldn't get all of them during our short trip. We bought a few orchids but prices were higher than we expected. We were all used to buying at native markets where 25 cents is top price for an orchid plant and 10-15 cents for a bromeliad. Nevertheless we met several members of the Society and the income they received from the plant sale was for their club. We finished by noon and returned to the hotel for a siesta and lunch.
Rudy arrived with his landrover in mid-afternoon as the heat was waning and took us south to collect in a spoils area owned by Suralco's bauxite mining operation. Rudy worked for the mine and he was our permit to collect in this area of lowland jungle. Rudy dropped us off at the edge of the jungle in a cleared area and said he'd pick us up in an hour. "Don't climb on the brush piles," he called as he parted. "This area is the home of the deadly bushmaster and Fer-de-Lance." We stared after him as he drove off. Mary had brought a snake-bite kit along and assured us she had it in her bag. Surinam has several deadly snakes — rattlers, cottonmouths, copperheads, coral snakes as well as the bushmaster and Fer-de-Lance. It was comforting to know the snake-bite kit was specific for Surinam and would be useful for all bites except the coral snake, that is if one was not allergic to the antivenom!
The wall of jungle stood in front of us, just beyond the large bush piles. We carefully climbed around the brush and fought our way into the thicket. I tried to keep on trails wherever possible, but the best plants were always on the trees in the thicket. Wandering back and forth, I tried to keep my direction straight and as I crossed the trail a second time a bee stung me on the hand. I had disturbed a hive nearby and one of its warriors had let me know about it. My entomological curiosity caused me to retrace my steps in order to see the nest, but I miscalculated and backed into the nest instead. Suddenly my back and arms were peppered with bees each injecting their painful venom. I ran down the path as fast as I could, swatting bees and tripping over fallen logs, and then jumped headfirst into a large pile of brush. In the brush all I could think of was, "I'm not alone in here!" Rather than stay and see if there were any snakes, I decided to fight it out with the bees. There were still several bees parading up and down my back as I crawled out of the jungle and removed my shirt. Exhausted, hot, and sore all over, I sat down on a boulder. Bill, who had been in the jungle nearby and scooted away when I began yelling from the bites, now came to my aid. Together we counted more than 50 stings on my back and arms. I felt a little high for the next half hour, but I was eager to collect again when Rudy returned.
We drove a few miles further into the spoils area where collecting would be much easier. We learned that the mining overburden is liquefied as slurry and pumped to and dumped in a low area in the jungle to get at the bauxite beneath. As the slurry refuse builds up and dries, the underbrush is covered, and the large trees die and eventually decay and collapse. We were going to collect in an older spoils area — one that was nearly dry. We found this an ideal spot to collect. The ground was nearly free of obstructions — just a few decaying logs and grasses. Some of the trees were falling over from termites and decay that hastened their demise. The trees still contained many epiphytes, though some were excessively "suntanned". Some trees had rotted and were literally a pushover, others had to be sawed down. We had two collecting poles among us and seven extensions so we could reach about 35 feet. Still, many plants were just 1-2 feet beyond reach. Happily, we collected until the sun set, and then drove home to clean our plants again.
|Boatman and Mavis at Moengo|
The fourth day. It was time to call our third contact in Paramaribo, Gladys Calor, an orchid collector and sculptor. Janet had met her brother Murray de la Fuente at the Orchid Show in New York and learned he was from Surinam. He volunteered his sister Gladys as a guide for us. Murray had contacted her, and anticipating our call, she came over to the hotel as soon as she had finished her art lesson. She was delightful and as charming as she was beautiful. Almost immediately she took us to a friend of hers, another epiphyte collector, and then to her parent's house. Her mother and father were equally charming people and shared Gladys' enthusiasm for plants. Their garden was full of potted and planted plants of all kinds. Gladys' mother was full Chinese and her dad was "half-Jewish and half red Indian" as he says it to distinguish his background from the India Indians also common in the country. This curious ethnic mixture gave Gladys her exceptionally beautiful features. "Want to see my paint shop" ventured her father. He had just painted a sign for a liquor ad. I soon found out he taught violin lessons and was associated with the TV station. He invited us to collect at his weekend cottage, "up in Indian Territory." Gladys volunteered to take us up there in a few days.
After inspecting all the plants in their yard we decided to go collecting down river, but not before Gladys' mother gave us some of her plants. She told us to come back, there would be more for us later. In the late afternoon Gladys escorted us to her housekeeper's property across the river. A gondola-like boat awaited us at the river bank and for 20 cents a head it would depart when filled. We soon learned, however, the boatman could be enticed to depart early if we paid 35 cents each. We had only a short time to collect so we eagerly paid the small difference. Across the river we walked down the road and into a citrus grove among tall trees.
We hadn't collected for five minutes when Janet slipped as she tried to navigate a drainage ditch. She badly sprained her knee and later we learned she also broke two ribs. When she was comfortable we collected for awhile. Our heart wasn't fully into it, until she told us to quit worrying and just be sure she got some plants. After that I began climbing trees to collect and the second tree I climbed onto a limb and found myself face to face with a large hornet nest. One hornet stung me on the forehead just as I jumped out. Undaunted, I rubbed my head and kept on collecting, thinking that one sting was better than 50 any day. At dusk we recrossed the river while the sun painted streaks of red, orange, and purple across the western sky, a backdrop that silhouetted the passengers of our tiny craft. We leaned back, enjoyed the balmy breeze and sucked on thirst-quenching citrus.
The fifth day. "If this is Tuesday it must be Moengo," we joked. "Expect a 6 am pickup" read the note under my door the night before. Rudy had arranged a 2-day collecting excursion to Moengo to the east not far from the French Guiana border. We were to be gathered up by the Moengo bus at 6, but at 6:15 it had not arrived and Plan B was to take the mail bus at 7:30 if all else failed. But a passenger car arrived at 6:20 and we soon learned it substituted for the bus. The driver hustled us in and we were off to catch the 6:30 ferry. If we missed it we'd lose an hour at the river. The gate was closing as we ascended the ferry ramp, but it was reopened and they let us on.
We were now a collecting group of five — our two invalids Janet and Ed remained at the hotel nursing their legs. The "fortuitous five" would bring them some plants.
We crossed two rivers to get to Moengo, both on barge-and-tug boat ferries. We had to leave before breakfast so we bought bananas and cookies at the ferry boat stands. By 9:30 we reached Moengo. Moengo is a mining town owned and operated by Suralco, and has American-style houses. We had to locate Mavis Boetius the chairperson of the Moengo branch of the Surinam Orchid Society. In minutes we had located her home, and she was greeting us excitedly. Before the dust settled from our exciting surrogate bus, she had us settled in and off to Ricanaw Creek where she had rented a large dugout for the day. We met our boatman at his home along the river, a tall handsome black man in a French beret. He paddled slowly down the river. We didn't have to search much for plants — epiphytes were everywhere. We soon were selecting prize specimens for ourselves and for our invalids back in Paramaribo.
Guzmania lingulata was the most plentiful bromeliad and seemed to be on every limb and branch hanging over the river. Bright red-leaved plants towered above us on higher branches. They were T. monadelpha richly reddened by the sun. Large clusters of T. bulbosa beckoned us to take them. High in full sunlight was A. mertensii, and nearby T. tenuifolia hung down as an occasional tuft. Orchids were plentiful and we had no difficulty getting many species.
In late morning Mavis offered us a snack she had brought along. She had melting ice to drink, a bag of spicy shrimp, sandwiches, oranges and a fat ripe watermelon.
Shortly after our lunch enroute, Bill climbed on an overhanging tree limb and immediately found himself in the water except for his head and his everpresent brown hat. As he pulled himself out he hung by his hands and feet and resembled a drowning sloth. He soon rescued himself while we reminded him the river had caiman that reach 15 feet long and it was their lunch time too...
"Corianthes," Mavis shouted. "Here's your chance to collect this peculiar orchid." I soon learned why this orchid is called the ant-orchid and it lived up to its name. Thousands of ants live in its ball of roots that may measure almost a foot across. And, as luck would have it, the plant was in a difficult location and had to be sawed off its branch. At the first touch of the saw, hundreds of ants appeared and each thrust of the saw thereafter showered the boat, and us, with unhappy insects. It took almost 20 minutes before we dislodged the orchid and had it in the river, drowning its few remaining inhabitants. The ants in the boat only became more aggravated than before and breached our pant legs and bit every available bare area. By the time I had exceeded 200 bites I decided I had sacrificed enough of myself for their lunch and crushed them as fast as they climbed abroad. Finally we all settled down wondering if all the effort was worth "one" orchid.
Farther down the river we spotted our first boa coiled on a branch hanging over the river. We tried to get a closer look at it but our boatman was afraid of it and paddled us away.
By mid afternoon the boat was so full of plants we could hardly move around. We decided to return so we'd have some time to clean plants. Mavis had us parceled out with three different friends — all members of the orchid society. I was odd man and stayed at the home of Herman Jatin, an engineer. That evening I supped on scrumptious Indonesian delights I had never tasted before.
The sixth day. At 5:30 am I awoke to the cacophony of roosters. It was still dark but they played their tune until the sun poked its rim above the trees. Breakfast was ready by 6:15 am when hot sweet coffee, homemade bread and liverwurst was the fare. School in Moengo starts at 7:00 am and closes by 1 pm because of the heat of the afternoon.
|Suralco Spoil area collecting|
Mavis had me gathered up by 6:30 and the rest of the group shortly after. Down the red-tinted, bauxite-covered road we went and by 7:00 am we were at another creek and ready to shove off. Two small dugouts awaited us and together they looked like they wouldn't hold the six of us. We got in and sat on the 2½ inch cross-board "seats" and began learning to balance these unsteady craft made for one or two. Going down the river we immediately got hung up on a submerged log because the river had dropped 20 inches at the start of the dry season. A tree across the river finally halted our journey so we went back to the bridge where we started. There we tied the boats in tandem for stability and paddled upstream which was clean of debris for the most part. Plants were less attainable there compared to Ricanaw Creek because of moco-coco plants, spiny arums that became a wall of emergent stems along the stream banks. The stream was beautiful, however, and filled with birds and other wildlife. Small caiman appeared here and there; bats sailed out from under fallen limbs as we passed beneath them. Native huts came and went as we glided upstream. We took turns paddling and bailing as one dugout had a large crack near the top. Mavis spotted most of the plants as we moved along. We found it difficult to see green epiphytes against the green jungle backdrop, but somehow her eyes were better tuned to the subtle differences. She got excited every time she saw a new species. Mary and I were paddling side by side in front when suddenly we felt we weren't making any headway — in fact we seemed to be moving in reverse. Looking around, we saw Mavis back-paddling — her powerful arms controlling our movements. She had spotted a plant and was moving back to retrieve it. We soon began filling up both dugouts, so we decided to clean them as we collected to save space. I began to tally up the species of bromeliads. We were getting the same species encountered on the other creek until we hit upon Araeococcus micranthus, a peculiar tubular reed-like plant. Bill was cleaning plants and suddenly bolted and flung his arm to release some noxious creature that had appeared on his hand. "Scorpion" he said, his voice shuddering. "He didn't get me." Bill was usually quiet and always wore his wrinkled, wide brimmed, floppy, brown chapeau. Mavis, soon nicknamed him "Brown-hot-mon", her accented version of brown-hat-man.
Mrs. Jatin had packed a lunch for me and by sharing our fare together we had warm sweet coffee in a jar, banana fritters, eggs, oranges, liverwurst and peanut butter sandwiches.
We had to return to the bridge by 1:30 in order to pack our plants and get back to Moengo. Mavis had ordered a minibus for our return trip because we had over 10 bags of plants among us. On our return I commented that I hadn't been bitten that day, but soon I found myself scratching, and lifting my shirt I saw that chiggers were using me for lunch.
The seventh day. Muriel became our third foot casualty. She had been bitten so much on the feet and ankles from the day before and was so swollen, she almost stayed behind this day, but she felt she could stay in the car if the swelling remained. Gladys was taking us to the Arawak Indian Village, her father's tribe. Speaking of Indians we were beginning to feel like those in the story of the Ten Little Indians because we too were dropping out one by one.
Gladys and her mother picked us up in her van for the trek to the village and their nearby weekend cottage. This area was savannah, mostly flat with white sands. Low brush covered most of the savannah but there were some islands or hammocks of taller trees and shrubs. Bromeliads were mostly in the dense clumps of brush. T. bulbosa was the most common one which I thought was peculiar because the savannah was fairly dry. T. pulchella, T. flexuosa, and T. kegeliana dotted branches occasionally but were not so common. Catopsis sessiliflora and A. mertensii were there too, and wild pineapple plants grew between the shrubs. Gladys said this species had inedible fruit so we thought it might be Ananas ananassoides. Searching under a tree I saw an aechmea on the ground, a spike just poking its head up through the center. It was A. bromeliifolia. We later found a pitcairnia.
We ate lunch at the cottage and rested until the cooler late afternoon breezes appeared.
The eighth day. Again we returned to a portion of the savannah further south of Paramaribo, and this was the farthest we went inland — relatively a short distance considering the vast untapped area that spread south and into the Matto Grasso of Brazil. A heavy downpour caught us while collecting, but as it cooled the temperature and we already were soaked, we kept on collecting. Our only mishap was that the minibus got caught in the sand. That night we dined elegantly under the stars at Gladys' sister's home where we had typical Indonesian barbecued food.
The ninth day. We were invited to the Suriname Orchid Society International Orchid Show and were admitted an hour before the general public. Mavis had her own booth which specialized in local orchids and typically she began giving or promising more plants. Mary Jean was our casualty this morning. Having stayed up to clean plants all night she was literally "dead on her feet", our fourth "foot" victim.
With all our casualties, Gladys took only Bill, Neil, and myself collecting in the afternoon. She chose a stream downriver from Paramaribo. We finally arrived after bouncing around in the rain on a third-class road that changed shape after every rain. Ervin our boatman rented us his broken-down dugout and another equally disreputable one from a friend. After bailing them out I could see rain hadn't filled them — at least not by itself. Since there were five of us with Ervin and the boats were barely seaworthy with only one person, I decided to stay ashore and search the bank for plants. Sure enough as they pushed the boats back into the water, they went within a half inch of the top and water rushed in through cracks in the bottom. My last memory of my comrades before they returned was one paddling and one bailing in each canoe.
Poking through the wet vines and brush I noted many orchids and a few bromeliads. The only new find, however, was Tillandsia anceps. I filled a small bag of plants by the time the boats returned with their soaking wet occupants. They looked like drowned ducks, but their spirits were high and they were laughing at themselves.
The tenth day. Only Muriel and I went out the last day to collect. We were permitted to go to the Agricultural Experiment Station to collect where they were clearing jungle for new citrus plantings. Trees had been felled three weeks before and the tangle was almost impenetrable and it looked like a good home for snakes. After searching for a while I then decided to hunt for more plants on the citrus trees nearby. This was easier collecting but no new plants were discovered. Besides, the area was overrun with Brahma cattle and I tried to keep my eyes on the bulls, just in case they took a dislike to me.
|Aechmea in Spoils area at Suralco|
That afternoon we returned. I nursed a sore hand all the way home wishing I had an aloe plant to soothe the pain I got from a large vicious ant. By the time we got back it felt better and I cleaned my last plants beneath the trees behind the motel. I made a quick count of plants and found I had collected about one third of the 45 species and varieties.
It was time to pack up and head for home again.
As collecting goes, we had a reasonably bountiful trip to beautiful Surinam. Generally our injuries and bites were minor though more numerous than usual. Our pains, however, were eclipsed by the Jamestown incident which occurred during our third to last day in Guyana only a few hundred miles to the west. But, we heal fast and already we are planning to return to collect the untapped forests inland that are accessible only by bush plane or river.
East Lansing, Michigan
I was interested to read about Dyckia marnier-lapostollei in a recent copy of the Journal. There is also one in New Zealand!
When I attended the World Conference in Los Angeles I saw a beautiful plant in one of the nurseries. I had never seen it before and fell in love with it. I asked if they had a small one for sale but the answer was no. I was sorry as I would really have liked one — it was so different and I like different plants.
On our second visit to pick up plants to bring home I was told if I still wanted a plant there was a small one available which they had found. Did I want it! I jumped at the chance and I think it was one of the real 'specials' I brought home. I planted and watched it but it didn't seem to be too happy. Bringing plants from hot summers to our cold winters is not always a good idea when one has no heated place to put them.
Time passed and I tried the plant in many different kinds of mix and in different places in the greenhouse. I also talked lovingly to it and said how beautiful it would be if it only GREW. Whether it was those kind words or the mix at last being to its liking I know not but at last it really started to grow. It is now a lovely plant — still not large as it is very slow growing with me. It is always greatly admired when I have folks come to see my plants. I really treasure it and now I have read that there are not too many about, I only hope nothing happens to it. It was a lucky day for me when I decided to attend that Conference!
Mrs. F. B. Hanson, New Zealand
LOUIS F. WILSON
|Streptocalyx subnuda L.B. Smith|
For sheer beauty, the grower can find no bromeliad surpassing the Streptocalyx. It is a conspicuous epiphyte along the upper reaches of the Amazon in Peru and in French Guiana, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Colombia, where it grows on hot, humid forests high in the trees. Unfortunately its size often bans its use in the average greenhouse, and it can be grown outside only where conditions similar to those of its native habitat can be simulated.
In course of the past few years Alexander HIRTZ, Quito, has collected in Ecuador a number of remarkable, new bromeliads. This was possible, for there are today many new roads, leading down to the eastern slopes of the Andes. One of Hirtz's discoveries is an interesting dwarf Guzmania, which he found along the Puyo-road (Central Ecuador) and which therefore is called G. puyoensis. Surely it belongs into the relationship of G. angustifolia (BACK.) WITTMACK, but the leaves are much longer and narrower, and it never forms clumps of long stemmed plants, but grows always singular, producing only 1-2 offshoots after flowering: Plant stemless, flowering up to 50 cm high; leaves few, forming a narrow rosette; sheathes conspicuous, long-ovate, 4,5 cm long and 2,3 cm wide, greenish-brown; blades narrow-lineal, long attenuate, up to 50 cm long, dark-green, sparsely lepidote; scape very short, only up to 14 cm long, white, glabrous; scape bracts subfoliate, imbricate, with red-brown striped sheath and a dark-green blade; inflorescence simple, cylindric, up to 10 cm long and 2 cm wide, with 7-8 spirostichous flowers; floral bracts about 7 cm long, membranaceous, ecarinate, rose to bright red coloured, glabrous, much exceeding the sepals; these are only 2,2 cm long and nearly free; petals about 6,5 cm long, bright-yellow; stamens and style included.
The plant is cultivated in the Heidelberg Botanical Garden under the number B.G.H. 46505.
Institute for Systematic Botany the University of Heidelberg, West Germany
When I returned from Brazil in May 1979 I found that the only plant I had of Vriesea rodigasiana had rotted away from its base. The center leaves were all gone and only three outer leaves remained with just a small, thin portion of the base that held them together. After drying out the remaining leaves I left them on top of the potting medium and the only moisture they got was when I misted the plants. Now, a year later there is a good, strong pup coming out from between the leaves.
David R. Kinish O.S.B.
PETER R. PAROZI have been interested to see if the suggestions made in the B.S.I. Handbook on propagation could be applied to tillandsias. In general, the answer is yes; but some species are more difficult to handle than others. The usual advice is to allow the offsets to reach one third to one half the size of the parent before removal. This is sound and conservative and I believe is intended for the beginner where safe propagation is the most important factor. For many species it is possible to remove the offset earlier and exchange quantity for size without detriment to the subsequent growth of the offset. If the offset is removed too soon, growth is arrested and the offset may sit for an extended period of time before resuming growth. Often, such offsets just slowly deteriorate and dry out.
The comment in the Handbook that offsets can be removed when the attachment is firm and fibrous is applicable to tillandsias, but for many species this is hard to determine. I have not been able to discover any other way to ascertain when offsets can be removed and have resorted to "trial and error" for the more desirable plants.
I have found a few general rules which help to decide whether plants are likely to respond. Those which offset high on the plant or low on the scape are doubtful because of the difficulty of removing the offset without damaging it or the mother plant. Plants which offset low on the old stem are easiest to handle. Other features which favor offset production are —
- Plants with a stem of reasonable diameter (greater than 15 mm)
- Plants which retain a large number of functioning leaves.
- Plants with thick fleshy leaves.
Tillandsia streptophylla has responded well to this procedure, giving seven offsets as has T. seleriana with five, T. tricolor var. melanocrater with six and T. bulbosa with five offsets. My most successful result to date has been with T. capitata 'Rubra', which has produced twelve offsets in three rounds and looks healthy enough to produce at least one more harvest.
Boondall, Qld., Australia
|Neoregelia concentrica var. plutonis|
Neoregelias — plants of a painted dream. They pay homage to the sky and present their flowers as an offering. Tears from the rain forest fill their tanks and they become aquatic pools of delight for toads and frogs, who call with bloated throats to their friends by the river. Kissed by the soft pink blush of dawn and decked with dew drops which hang like fairy crystals from their leaves, they are a wonder to behold.
They offer shelter to the creatures of the forest. Spiders, who take up residence in the cups, escape from the outside world behind a woven door of silken thread. Lizards scamper in and out annoying the frogs and toads who like to nestle in the lower leaves. When a white kneed cricket moves in, the leaves take on a deckled edge effect. There are no humming birds to attend our regal queens, to sip the nectar and cross pollinate, or pull the sweet capsules from the plant and therefore distributing the seeds. Instead, ants are in attendance and carry out this work of pollination, often assisted by the tiny black bush bee, who has a battle to survive the onslaught of the bee eaters (rainbow birds) whose bell like notes are clearly heard above the murmurs of the forest.
Butterflies of brilliant hues, a challenge in artistry, add the final touch to this Neo Fantasy!
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
JOSEPH F. CARRONE, JR.The Bromeliad Society, Inc. will register bromeliad hybrids with a collective epithet representing an entire seedling population resulting from the union of two individual parent plants. (A collective epithet is variously referred to as a grex name, a collective name, a cross name, etc.)
No attempt will be made to register individual selections, or cultivar names, from seedling populations; however, the use of cultivar designations for all parent plants used in the making of crosses is encouraged on the registration application.
Rules governing the eligibility for registration of a bromeliad cross or hybrid, and the proposed name for same, will always conform to The International Code of Nomenclature of Cultivated Plants at the time of applying for registration. For registry purposes a hybrid is here defined as:
- The progeny of two different species of the same genus or of different genera.
- The progeny of a species and a hybrid of the same genus or of different genera.
- The progeny of two hybrids of the same genus or of different genera.
The following will be ineligible for registration since they do not constitute a new cross:
- Progeny from a selfing of one parent plant.
- Progeny resulting from reciprocal crossings of a valid hybrid or of an ineligible hybrid.
- Progeny from repeats of a valid hybrid or of an ineligible hybrid where varieties or cultivars different from the original ones are used as parents.
- No hybrid name may be changed after it has been accepted by the Registration Committee.
- Corrections in the spelling of names of registered hybrids will be permitted.
- Registration may be cancelled by the Registration Committee if it is later found that such hybrid or name is invalid or ineligible.
Mr. Joseph F. Carrone, Jr.|
Registrar of Bromeliad Hybrids
305 No. Woodlawn Ave.
Metairie, LA 70001
JOSEPH F. CARRONE, JR.At the last meeting of the Board of Directors of The Bromeliad Society, Inc. in Orlando, Florida, it was approved that the following increases in membership dues be implemented as of January 1, 1981; Annual dues to $15.00; Contributing to $20.00; Fellowship to $30.00 and Life Memberships to $750.00.
These increases are necessary to offset inflationary costs in the printing of the Journal and to keep the quality of paper and color pictures at an acceptable level.
We would like to encourage more members of any of the bromeliad affiliates to join The Bromeliad Society, Inc. If the treasurer of an affiliate will notify The Bromeliad Society membership chairman in writing that 80% of their members are members of The Bromeliad Society, Inc., then that affiliate will receive 20% discount on its membership dues.
Effective date of the 1981 dues increase is May 4, 1980.
All memberships are for the calendar year. If the last two numbers of the first line of your address label read "80", it will be necessary for you to renew at this time to continue receiving the Journal. If the last numbers read "81" 82, etc., you will not need to renew at this time.
If the last two letters of the first line read LH your membership will be brought forward automatically each year.
Please renew! Your support is needed. Envelope is enclosed with this issue.
NANCY B. GREENFIELDI have earned the title of "The Old Timer of the Pelican World" having lived in Collier County in southwest Florida for many years and having seen a lot of changes in the flora and fauna of the terrain.
I have flown over really enchanting areas such as the Big Cypress Swamp, The Fakahatchee Strand and the Corkscrew Swamp and made many observations of this tropical paradise — especially bromeliads and orchids. The Big Cypress Swamp, particularly the Fakahatchee Strand, contains many species of epiphytes and it has been described by many as the only spot in the United States where so many rare plants can be found growing in a truly tropical jungle.
On my travels over this country I've heard bromeliads, notably tillandsias, referred to as "Wild Pine" because of their similarity to the pineapple. I have noticed that our bromeliad friends adjust to store moisture during our long dry season with their leaves collecting and storing rain in a convenient reservoir. They are living in bright sun light, less light in the hammocks, and some pop their heads up out of the ground. I have seen them surrounded by beautiful lacy ferns and wild orchids — happily living together in the magnificent environment. This scene, I am sure, is not your typical image of Florida, but the nostalgic background of our Indian ancestors who inhabited this land.
One day a group of friends joined me for a longer trip east toward Homestead, Florida, and we spotted Guzmania monostachia and several varieties of Catopsis — berteroniana, floribunda, and nutans — they were not too familiar to us, from this part of the state.
I have counted as many as twelve tillandsias in my territory, T. usneoides, our common Spanish Moss, and T. recurvata, our Ball Moss. All but one, T. simulata are in the southern part of the state. T. balbisiana is very abundant flourishing on many of our pine trees, the twisted T. circinnata is located on shrub branches and trees growing right out in the open spaces all over south Florida. The highly colored bloom of T. fasciculata, second largest species in Florida, has been easily spotted from the air nestled high in the pine and cypress trees.
Widely distributed, but not very abundant is T. flexuosa and on trees in the full sun we discovered T. polystachia. I have not seen T. pruinosa too often in Collier County but did notice that it rather resembled a large spider perched in the tree with the silvery scale resembling a winter's frost. Yesterday we flew over T. setacea clumped together in units of twenty to thirty-five individuals with the needle leaves closely resembling pine needles. It is abundant and extends into northern Georgia. It almost covers the branches of trees making them look like a giant fuzz ball with no particular shape. The coppery red leaves reflect in the sunlight giving them a magnificent color.
T. simulata has been sighted in Central Florida but I have not seen it in my area growing on cypress trees or in the hammocks.
T. utriculata is really our largest plant — having a spread up to approximately 48 inches. It is growing throughout this whole area and always found as a single plant — not producing pups. Also abundant is T. valenzuelana with its silvery grey form growing low in shaded areas.
Since my flight is coming to a close I hope that you will join me some day in researching this lovely tropical area. It is hard for me — a typical bird brain — to remember and correctly spell these difficult names, so I had to make extra time during flights to wing into the library. Much of my technical information and spelling can be found in Frank C. Craighead's book "Orchids and Other Air Plants" of the Everglades National Park, published in 1963.
SPENCER STEINIt has been just three years since I purchased my first bromeliad, a Neoregelia carolinae I found in a Cincinnati supermarket. Thus began an ever-growing love of these fantastic plants, that made me feel as if I were bringing home an adopted child each time a new variety was purchased.
With the addition of an Aechmea fasciata (of course), also found in the same supermarket, I wanted to find any book on cultivation of bromeliads that might have been printed and learn more about my large collection of two.
At last I found Dr. Louis Wilson's Bromeliads For Modern Living and Bill Seaborn's Bromeliads at a local house plant store, that, by the way, did not carry any bromeliads.
By the time I finished reading these two interesting publications, I was hooked and joined the Society. This was the best move I have made, as the Journal and additional books one could send away for expanded my knowledge and gave me the information I was in need of for proper cultivation.
I began ordering additional plants from California, where I buy all of my broms now, growing them on the windowsills of our apartment. With only about twenty plants at that time, I was not pressed for space. Well...the Cincinnati sunshine leaves a lot to be desired when you are trying to achieve the true color and marking of leaves produced by proper lighting, and the winter season here is a lost cause. Something had to be done.
The only answer was growing under lights, which produced another problem, as the stands I saw advertised in publications seemed to have all shelves and light fixtures set in a fixed position. I was not looking forward to hands and knees servicing of my smaller plants, as it appeared the lowest height shelf on some models was the bottom shelf of the stand and with fixed heights, I could just see the tall inflorescences pushing their flowers into the fixtures.
After checking brochures on as many stands as I could locate, I found, what I considered, the best stand for Broms. This was produced by Shop Lite Co., Inc. of East Rutherford, New Jersey, and I now have three equipped with four 40-watt fixtures over each of their three shelves. These are of aluminum and redwood construction and all the shelves and fixtures are adjustable. I chose Duro Test's Vita-Lite Power Twist tubes which did the trick, and the colors began to appear within a short time after the plants were placed under the lights.
With three such stands, I have about 45 square feet of pot space and have converted a spare bedroom into my Brom room, allowing me to control the climate quite well. Ventilation is produced by an open window and/or fan, and two small humidifiers maintain a 50% plus average except in the summer when our Cincinnati humidity stays between 60% and 80%. I do have to watch the temperature at this time.
I use distilled water only when feeding, which I do twice a month, and watering, which alternates weeks with my feeding schedule. I use Peter's Orchid Blossom Booster fertilizer, 10-30-20, at a ration of ¼ teaspoon per gallon. This seems to help maintain good leaf color with the low nitrogen, and does not keep the plants from putting up new growth at a normal rate.
I operate my lights on a 15½ hour schedule in all seasons but winter when I shorten the "day" to 14 hours. I don't know if this is a major factor in promoting blooms, but, as they say, it doesn't hurt.
I now have 130 bromeliads in my collection and have had many bloom for me since I started growing them under lights. At present I have six plants in bloom: an Aechmea mertensii, two Guzmanias, Zahnii, Var. and musaica, a Neoregelia melanodonta, and two Tillandsia ionanthas, which seem to bloom each time there is a season change. These, along with my other grey leaved tillandsias are mounted on cork oak bark and hang in the windows of my brom room where they receive natural light. The grey leaved tillandsias do not seem to adapt to artificial light, but the green leaf varieties have really taken to this type of culture.
I have "loved to death" my share of broms since I began my association with these beauties, and all from excess misting. I have replaced all of the plants I have lost and have found that if a plant is a true xerophyte, direct misting is a no-no. This is a sure way to place them in that great garden in the sky. I allow them to receive moisture from the air only and watch so I do not over water.
I have tried to represent as many genera as I could in my collection, and have 21 different sub families at present. However, growing under lights does produce a space problem and a genus such as Bromelia has to be passed up.
I have also collected as many books on bromeliads as I could find and read them over and over, as it seems that I always find some fact that did not stick in my mind the first or second time and is important to remember.
The Journal is the most interesting society publication and is a joy to read. I love to read of fellow members' collecting trips and hope to go on one myself one of these days. All of the articles in the Journal are quite interesting, and I re-read them from time to time adding more to my memory bank.
I still have room for more plants with my present set up and believe I can get over 200 without crowding in the stands. That means I can add at least 70 new plants at this time...Aren't I the lucky one!
GLENNA SIMMONSBromeliad hobbyists are usually discouraged from trying to grow Tillandsias by seed as they take so many years to mature. However it is so fascinating to watch them grow that it is worth trying even if they never reach bloom stage. They are so cute, they come in so many forms and their colors range from bright green to fuzzy light grey. A tiny glistening silver Tillandsia pruinosa or a teenier dark green Tillandsia araujei are little gems. A mat of any Tillandsias is picturesque.
Fresh seeds are needed. Rub them on any rough barked tree or log outdoors, or press onto a piece of tree fernwood to hang inside or out or use a square of fiberglass screen which might be cut into a fanciful shape. The silky seed hairs will cling easily if wet. Thread can be wound around to attach them until their own roots take hold. Or a bit of white glue may be used on the hairs, not on the seed. Spray with water at least once daily, then allow to dry out between waterings. Do not keep wet! I do not fertilize so some of my old seedlings stay small a long time but I like them that way.
Depending on the weather, it takes several weeks or months for Tillandsias to sprout — much longer than other bromeliads. Here in Florida where many natives grow, it is possible to shortcut the process by a trip to a damp forest where masses of tiny ones may be found clinging to old seed stalks or matted on the leaves of the mother plant. Move these little plants en masse to a piece of wood and watch them grow. They will give lots of pleasure.
Mount Dora, Florida
Charles A. Wiley
1905 - 1980The botanical world lost one of its champions on May 30, 1980, and each of us lost a very special friend. Charles A. Wiley was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 20, 1905. He attended Cal-Tech and graduated from UCLA with a degree in mathematics. His career included banking, escrow, and during the war years, finance in the Government. Charles and Frances moved from Cleveland, Ohio, to California, where he was employed as an Electronic Engineer for Hughes Aircraft in Culver City until he retired.
Charles purchased his first bromeliad from Victoria Padilla in 1961. Eventually a household move was required to find space enough to contain his growing bromeliad collection. The beauty of his garden, which contains two greenhouses, shade and open area is a tribute to his enthusiastic gardening efforts. Orchids, vrieseas, guzmanias, and tillandsias, plus other assorted treasurers are also part of Charles' collection. Several times each year Charles and Frances opened their garden to various club visitors. His most recent venture was attending bonsai classes. One of his bonsai was on display at the 1979 Los Angeles Council Show.
Charles' fascination with bromeliads seemed to act as a springboard in establishing a goal to present the cultivation of bromeliads to the public. He wrote articles for the Journal of the Bromeliad Society and served as director and president of the Bromeliad Society, Inc. He was also president of the L.A. Bromeliad Council. In 1967 he and a group of friends formed the South Bay Bromeliad Associates. He was president of this group through 1971 and again in 1975 and 1976. He was the catalyst that caused the South Bay Club to donate a glasshouse and shade cloth for a shade area to the South Coast Botanic Garden. These specific sites were used for permanent bromeliad displays. Charles took the responsibility of maintaining the bromeliads in these areas so that they were always beautiful for public viewing. He worked on many projects with various garden groups devoted to improving the South Coast Botanic Garden.
Charles was active as a lecturer on the care and cultivation of bromels. He was guest speaker at the 1978 World Bromeliad Conference and a judge at the 1980 conference. This year he taught a Bromeliad Study Group sponsored by the Harbor Junior College. For five years he helped guide a Bromeliad Taxonomy Group and he conducted classes on bromeliad show judging. Charles enjoyed his participation in writing articles with Dr. David H. Benzing and his association with Dr. Lyman B. Smith in the field of plant identification.
Charles thought a bromeliad show was one of the greatest ways to present bromeliads to the public. He was coordinator of the 1976 Bicentennial Council Show and also the 1978 and 1979 Council Shows. When there was a flower show where bromeliads could be displayed, you can be sure Charles would be there with a station wagon full of plants. He was persistent in his goal to encourage clubs to work together and participate in shows and share their knowledge and plants with each other and the public. The South Bay Bromeliad Associates Show, August 2 and 3, 1980 was dedicated to the memory of Charles A. Wiley.
Because of his generous nature in sharing plants, many of us in Southern California will always have a 'Charles' inflorescence in our garden.
CHARLES A. WILEY MEMORIAL FUND
A memorial fund has been established, the proceeds of which to be used for creation of a spot of beauty at the South Coast Botanic Garden. All contributions are welcome. Donations should be sent to Cindy Peters, Trustee, Charles A. Wiley Memorial Fund, South Coast Botanic Garden, 26300 South Crenshaw Blvd., Palos Verdes Peninsula, California 90274.