THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETINEditorial Office: 718 Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Florida.
Annual Dues: $3.50 a year (foreign $4.00) which includes subscription to the Bulletin.
Write to Miss Victoria Padilla, 647 South Saltair Ave., Los Angeles 49, Calif.
FROM THE SECRETARY'S DESKAt the last meeting of the Board of Directors the question of whether it would be advisable to increase the size of the Bulletin was discussed at some length. It was finally decided it would not be expedient to do so at this time but to wait for a year and to publish instead just one special enlarged edition during 1954, the other five remaining the size they have always been.
It seemed most appropriate to the directors here on the West Coast that this first double-sized issue be dedicated to our eminent president and his charming wife as a little mark of appreciation for all the work they have done to further this society. Thus, for this one issue only, the editorial offices were moved from Florida to Southern California. We hope you will enjoy our efforts and gain something from them, although we are painfully aware that they are lacking the master's touch.
We, in Southern California, love our Society–after all, it is our baby and we are proud of the way it has grown. We realize, however, that The Bromeliad Society would still be in its swaddling clothes if it were not for the untiring efforts and great enthusiasm of Mr. and Mrs. Foster. So to them–we take this means of saying "Thank you!"
It is with great pleasure that we announce at this time the application of a new affiliated member–The Louisiana Bromeliad Society. Morris Henry Hobbs and Eric Knoblock, both of New Orleans, are responsible for the organization of this group, and to them we tender our thanks for their work on behalf of the Society. We wish The Louisiana Bromeliad Society the best of luck.
If any member is desirous of forming a branch, he is urged to write to the secretary for the procedures to follow. It is only by association with fellow enthusiasts that one can fully enjoy his hobby. In this way he can share the pleasure of his collection with others and enjoy the company of congenial people.
The Southern California Bromeliad Society is anticipating a busy year. Under the able leadership of their president, Wilbur Wood, and their secretary, Ben Rees, they are planning many interesting programs, visitations, and social get-to-gethers. At the last meeting, despite a heavy storm, over forty members met at the home of Victoria Padilla to discuss their plants and to listen to David Barry, Jr., tell of his trip abroad. As this issue goes to press, the members are engaged in erecting their Society exhibit at the International Flower Show. It will be a new departure in the way of displaying bromeliads. More about this will follow in the next issue.
Speaking of shows and branches, quoting from Ida Kaufhold's letter seems appropriate: "We bromeliad enthusiasts had a thrill second to none last week when Mulford Foster came over from Orlando to our Orchid Show, in St. Petersburg, to display some of his choicest plants. We soaked up information like so many sponges and just fell in love with the blessed fellow. I came home, re-read every bulletin, tried once again to assimilate the technical language of the handbook, and determined really to do something with my bromeliads. Mr. Foster brought over some magnificent specimens and created a wide interest. I think you'll soon be hearing of a St. Petersburg, or at least, a West Coast of Florida branch of the Bromeliad Society!"
Though we seem to hear of nothing but trouble from far-off Nairobi, that city still has its flower shows, at which our African representative, Dr. Frank Piers, won a certificate for a flowering plant of Neoregelia spectabilis. Our congratulations, Dr. Piers!
That Bromeliads are coming into their own is evidenced by the many references made to them in recent periodicals, several of which are:
- HOME GARDEN, "Free Comments," by Montague Free, November, 1953.
- THE ORCHID JOURNAL, "An Air-Garden Under Glass," by Myron Kimnach, Dec. 1953.
- FLOWER GROWER, "The Home Greenhouse," by Ernest Chabot, March, 1954.
- THE ORCHID JOURNAL, "An Air-Garden Under Glass," by Myron Kimnach, Dec. 1953.
|Photo by Jules Padilla|
How sharp and eager are his eyes in the field–capable of distinguishing at a hundred paces a Pitcairnia from a grass! This may explain his discovery of at least 175 species of bromeliads new to science and many others awaiting description and publication. This number of discoveries has never been approached, although many of them were made in the footsteps and along the trails used by such explorer-immortals as Humbolt, von Martius, Andre, and Glaziou.
Yes, Mulford, in the colloquial and admiring idiom of the day, we salute you as–Mr. Bromeliad!
In her quiet, unassuming way she has been the force which has led her husband on to achieving ever greater heights in his plant, art, and literary work. Although an accomplished musician and author in her own right, she has furthered her husband's career rather than her own.
As a loyal companion, she has followed Mulford Foster in his treks through the densest of jungles; as an indefatigable worker, she has burned the midnight oil in preparing his manuscripts; as a perfectionist, she has spurred him on in his search for the unique; and as an ardent plant lover and bromeliad enthusiast, she has been an inspiration not only to her husband but to all those with whom she has come into contact.
|Photo by M. B. Foster|
|Studio-office and residence of Mulford and Racine Foster nestling in a three and a half acre garden in the heart of the business section of Orlando. This lovely garden spot, formerly a lake called "Lewter's Hole," is now the home of the world's largest collection of bromeliads as well as a large collection of other tropical plants, palms and trees, many of which were first introduced into horticulture by the Fosters.|
David Barry, Jr.
|Photo by author|
|Four choice bromeliads to be found in the Foster collection. Reading from the upper left they are: Aec. chantinii; right, Neo. carolinae; lower left, Neo. farinosa hybrid; right, Neo. fosteriana hybrid.|
|Photo by author|
|Some of the handsome tropicals to be found at the Foster Bromelario.|
With this rich wealth of bromeliads are enchantingly beautiful plants of other families. In brief, and passing by comment on many kinds of cacti and succulents, are palms, cycads, and aroids. As a visiting palm lover and grower from California, I was overwhelmed by the beauty of rows of full-crowned Acrocomia totai palms from Paraguay, by a full-bodied, suckering Phoenix Roebelenii, and by an apparent hybrid between this dwarf from Cochin China and its South African relative, P. reclinata. As for cycads, those illustrated speak for themselves. Among the aroids is the finest existing collection of arborescent philodendrons, including Mulford B. Foster's several new hybrids, all captivating the eye.
Let us stay with bromeliads! I often call them bromels, but never without a slight sense of guilt, as I cannot push out of my mind the occasion, fourteen years ago, when Mulford took me to The Kampong, the home of the plant-explorer, David Fairchild, in South Miami. Mulford spoke of "bromels," and he was quickly taken to task by Dr. Fairchild, who said that lie did not like the use of the shorter word and saw no justification for it.
The Bromelarios contain thousands of bromeliads growing rapidly and thriftily in the warmth and humidity of Orlando. The number and the variety are too great to register more than general impressions. With species are their varieties and mutations. Add to these, countless hybrids in many genera. Notable are the hybrids of Cryptanthus, so aptly called "earth stars" by Mulford. Galaxies of color and form they are! His own species, Cryptanthus Fosterianus, [See The Bromeliad Society Bulletin, Vol. II, No. 6, Dec., 1952] contributes probably more than any other to the unique quality of these hybrids by reason of the length and heavy texture of its flat leaves. Many of the larger hybrids are in Aechmea and Neoregelia.
Our recent visit to Orlando in the summer of 1953 was a detour on the way to Europe. Our hosts insisted that I make a brief survey of their bromeliad library on which they had been working for so many years. As far as I could tell it was complete for the subject! My appreciation for the scope of this library really grew after I had visited book stores from London to Berlin, and cities between, trying to "pick up" a few volumes on Bromeliaceae, with negligible success.
Touched by genius and enveloped by unquenchable enthusiasm, this home with its Bromelarios is the mecca and shrine of not only bromeliad growers but also of all plant lovers. It is truly a happy place!
11977 San Vicente Boulevard, Los Angeles 49, California
|Photo by author|
|Two specimen plants brought from the American jungles, years ago, by the Fosters. Left: Dioon spinulosum, from Mexico and right, Philodendron Species No. I, from Brazil.|
|Photo by M. B. Foster|
|The Fosters decorate their home with bromels. On the east wall of their studio the famous Tillandsia Lindenii was the subject of an inspired painting by Mulford Foster expressing the family relationship to the pineapple. Tillandsia streptophylla in naturalistic setting over a Mexican barranca places well over the bookcase which holds the rare set of Belgique Horticole volumes that contain the 250 hand-colored plates of bromeliads by Edouard Morren. A living Vriesia retroflexa ties the two oils in a rhythmic trio.|
|Photo by author|
|M. B. Foster examining the first flower head on a Dioon edule plant, grown from seed, he collected in Mexico in 1935.|
When constructing such a wall, a person should consider first which side of the lath house he wishes to enclose. The north side is preferred, but either the west side or the east side may be used, particularly if the grower is bothered with strong winds from either of these directions. The wall also has the added duty of acting as a wind break. If possible, the south side of the lath house should not be considered. When the winter sun is low on the horizon, a wall on the south will cast a deep shadow and cut off much of the needed warmth from the sun.
The first step in making a moss wall is to board up solid with ¾-inch rough redwood the side of the lath house. Roofing paper should then be placed over the redwood to help protect the wood from the constant moisture of the damp moss. The roofing paper should be applied horizontally with the edges overlapping so that the water will run off and not come in contact with the wood. After the roofing paper has been applied, the edge of a medium meshed chicken wire should then be stapled along the bottom of the entire length of the wall. From this starting point the moss, which has been thoroughly soaked, is applied. A small portion of moss is placed against the roofing paper and the chicken wire is then drawn up over the moss and stapled. In this manner the wall is gradually "built up." The "tacking" should be done with staples about every six inches horizontally and vertically. This will hold the moss in place.
Be sure to use what is known as "green moss" which comes from Washington and Oregon. This moss is much more attractive than the sphagnum moss. The friendly green forms an attractive background for bromeliads. The moss should be kept constantly moist by sprinkling daily, except during rainy weather. By keeping the moss damp, the moss wall has the advantage of supplying much needed humidity for the bromeliads. The disadvantages of the moss will be the present high cost of the moss and the fact that every year or two the wall will have to be lightly resurfaced by adding new moss to the bare spots where the moss has deteriorated. Eventually the moss will have to be completely replaced if the wall is to be kept attractive.
A more permanent type of wall for bromeliads is one made of redwood bark. The bark can be purchased in slabs of four-, six-, and eight-foot lengths and approximately 18 to 24 inches wide. All that is needed is a substantial frame upon which to nail the redwood slabs. The red coloring of the bark forms a beautiful natural background for bromeliads. The bark has the advantage of lasting indefinitely and not needing periodical repair. However, the bark does not hold the moisture as long as the moss does, so the advantage of humidity is lost by use of redwood bark.
To those anticipating the construction of a glasshouse, it would be worth their while to consider making the north end of the house of solid construction and building a wall of moss, redwood bark, or slabs made from the trunks of tree ferns. Such a wall will give a tropical charm to the greenhouse and be a very attractive way of exhibiting bromeliads.
Wire baskets lined with green moss form attractive containers for bromeliads, and when featured on the moss wall have the look of growing there naturally. For the redwood wall use portions of tree branches upon which bromeliads have been mounted. The bromeliads can be artistically mounted by the use of a small piece of chicken wire, a little green moss, some soil mixture, and a little ingenuity.
The bromeliads which I use on the walls are confined mostly to Billbergias and Aechmeas and their many hybrids, Tillandsias, and some of the Neoregelias. These four genera of the bromeliad family are the ones most successfully grown out of doors in Southern California, particularly where the humidity is low, such as it is in my location. Of course, this does not include the many xerophytic types of bromeliads found growing in Southern California. There are probably other bromeliads that can successfully be grown on walls out of doors in this area, but I find that the more delicate ones do much better under the controlled conditions of the glasshouse. However, those persons living along the immediate coast line will probably be able to grow many others quite successfully.
5110 Monte Bonito Drive Los Angeles 41, California
Take Southern California, for example. After a year during which only a little over four inches of rain fell, it is indeed obvious that God meant this portion of the planet to be a desert. But, no, Southern Californians would have it otherwise, and so spend countless hours watering, spraying, mulching, and praying to the powers that be for just a little precipitation. Thus, bromeliads which prefer conditions opposite to those bestowed by Dame Nature upon California, are fast becoming garden favorites.
Mr. David Barry, Jr., gave a very excellent accounting of bromeliad culture in Southern California in the 1945 bromeliad issue of Plant Life. This article will attempt in no way to supersede that fine resume but instead act as a guide for any bromeliad enthusiast who might be visiting the Golden State.
Although a Billbergia was listed in the catalogue of a San Francisco nurseryman before the turn of the century, bromeliads were late in arriving on the horticultural scene in northern California. Most collections are to be found in the peninsula below San Francisco, where the climate tends to be mild. Mr. Maynard B. Lewis, in his nursery, Florinda Gardens, in Menlo Park, has bromels and is doing much to encourage interest in them. Though bromeliads would be difficult to raise in San Francisco, that city being too cool and foggy, it is interesting to note that experiments are being carried on at San Francisco City College to ascertain which bromels could be grown outdoors. As there are many greenhouse enthusiasts in the bay area, some raising particularly fine cymbidiums which require care similar to that given to many bromeliads, it is hoped that northern California will soon be bitten by the bromel bug. Some who have been already, are Otto Sokol of the Natural History Museum of Stanford University, Mrs. Decker McAllister of Burlingame, Gerald Jordan of Castro Valley, Myron Kimnach of Richmond, Mrs. Hugh Whittingham of Saratoga, and James R. Farrar of Sebastopol.
Coming south to Santa Barbara, one finds conditions more adaptable to the growing of subtropicals, the climate being moderated by the temperate ocean breezes. Bromeliads may be found growing in among small greenhouse and lath house plantings, but gone are the large collections of Mrs. Emmeline Carpentier, Pere Asch, and others.
|Photo by John Robinson|
Bromeliads live happily out of doors all year round in the
coastal areas in Southern California.|
Evans and Reeves, in Brentwood, have always had bromeliads, one of the notable sights in their fascinating lath house of rare subtropicals having been for many years Aechmea fasciata when in bloom. At present their stock is limited as to diversity of genera, but they have a particularly fine collection of Aechmea fasciata (Belgium stock), Tillandsia lindenii, and Vriesia splendens.
James Giridlian, in his beautiful Oakhurst Gardens in Arcadia, has long been associated with bromeliad culture. Under his handsome and venerable oaks he grows many varieties of the better Billbergias, while in the trees he grows the hardy Aechmeas. Up to now, his plants have all been raised out of doors and so are of husky stock, Arcadia being a locality where it may go as low as 25 degrees in winter and as high as 105 degrees in summer. Cecil Houdyshel in nearby La Verne also lists Billbergias in his catalogue.
California Jungle Gardens, in Brentwood, caters to the connoisseur, specializing in the rare and exotic. Here one may find such choice items as Aechmea Mariae Reginae, Aechmea X miniata x calyculata, Vriesia splendens, Vriesia magnifica, Tillandsia lindenii, Guzmania Zahnii, and others. Morris Schick, in Glendale, though a specialist in fine succulents, features bromels and has a greenhouse devoted to them. His plants are characterized by the meticulous care they receive.
The most notable collection of the xerophytic type of bromeliads to be found anywhere is that in the Huntington Gardens in San Marino. Growing in among the cacti and succulents, these hardy bromels are a sight to behold when in flower, and there are always a few Dyckias and Puyas in bloom every month of the year. The University of California at Los Angeles is awakening to the possibilities of this family of plants. Their small botanic garden boasts of a fine planting of Bromelia balansae, and their greenhouse on the Vavra Estate houses a growing collection of the epiphytic types.
The largest collection of bromeliads is still that of David Barry, Jr., our first vice president, who has been collecting them since the early 30's. His greenhouses and lath houses with their rare bromeliads, ferns, cycads, palms, and aroids, are a veritable "vision of delight." Other private growers with notable collections are Mrs. Dorothy Behrends (who fell heir to the plants of the late Charles Cass), Mr. Edmund Cooke and Mr. Elmer Lorenz of Eagle Rock, and Mr. Frank Overton of Glendale. There are doubtless many others who are going into serious collecting, but they are unknown to this writer.
Although Billbergias are found frequently in gardens in and around San Diego, Mr. Charles R. Price has the only collection of any note.
What bromeliads are the most popular in the California Southland? First place would doubtless have to go to the ubiquitous Billbergia nutans, which can be found in practically every garden in the area. It has become in recent years a favorite with flower arrangers, who find the flowers' drooping habit and exotic colorings most adaptable. Often seen, too, are Billbergia Saundersii, Billbergia speciosa, and Billbergia Mead hybrid. Second place would have to go to the all-time favorite, Aechmea fasciata, which seems to do out of doors as well as under glass for many growers. Almost as popular are Aechmea miniata discolor and Aechmea fulgens discolor. Tillandsia lindenii would come in third, especially as the plant is becoming more easily available. However, as it needs protection in winter, it is still considered a warm house item. Neoregelia marmorata and Neoregelia spectabilis are often seen, their hardiness and colorful leaves making them favorites. As interest in the great bromeliad family grows, more and more species are making their appearance in gardens, flower shows, garden club displays, and horticultural establishments. Like so many visitors from afar, the bromeliad seems to be settling down and adopting California as its home.
Part I. Why a Greenhouse
The majority of plants being grown in any locality are not native to that area. Even some of our most common plants come from half way around the world. If they come from an area with climate similar to that of their new location, they can usually be grown without any special conditions. Many desirable plants come from countries where the climate is so different that considerable effort must be expended in order to grow them with any degree of success.
In determining the proper conditions for growing any particular plant, the growing practices and experiences of local growers should be studied. Next, the climatic conditions of the plant's place of origin should be determined, and the growth habits and characteristics of the plant in its native habitat should be ascertained. A plant grown under cultivation may be superior or inferior to the same plant grown under its natural conditions. The comparison of the two conditions will be a guide to the type of climate desired.
Climatic conditions can be separated into factors, the principal ones being: temperature, humidity, light, precipitation, air movement and air contamination. For any location most factors have a daily cycle and a yearly cycle of variation. Sunlight and darkness is the daily cycle of light, and summer warmth and winter cold is the yearly cycle of temperature. In addition to the periodic variations, these factors will have chance or random variations, such as unseasonal frost or a violent wind storm. In making a study of climatic conditions, daily and seasonal variations should be considered. If possible, the normal cycle of variations should be determined separately from the occasional extremes. Such damage to the plants as may result from the occasional extremes will be an indication as to the tolerance of the plants to certain climatic factors.
Temperature control can be a big factor in the successful growing of many plants. Some plants do best with day and night temperatures about equal, while others prefer night temperatures considerably lower than that during the day. Most plants which have a period of particularly active growth will require an increase in temperature during that period. Almost without exception seedlings will grow more vigorously if a higher temperature is maintained than that preferred by the mature plant. Some plants may be more severely damaged by high temperature than by freezing. Other plants may produce inferior flowers or no flowers at all if subjected to high temperature. Still other plants will produce soft, poorly shaped, unattractive foliage when high temperature exists.
Plants from tropical regions usually prefer a climate which has little change during the year, while many plants from other regions may require quite large variations between summer and winter temperatures in order to produce proper growth or to produce flowers.
Humidity control is extremely important if success is to be achieved with a great number of plants. Some plants prefer high humidity at all times while others require low humidity at all times. Those plants that prefer high humidity will be stunted with shriveled leaves if grown in a dry atmosphere. Most of the plants from tropical jungles will do best if given a moist atmosphere all the year around. Plants from desert areas will generally require a dry atmosphere to remain healthy. Too high a humidity will make the plants soft, and rot will develop quickly. Some plants depend upon high humidity for moisture rather than rain. Many difficulties should be expected if these plants are given a dry atmosphere.
There are a number of desirable plants which have adapted themselves to a climate where high humidity exists for several months followed by months of very dry conditions. Such plants usually require the preservation of this moist-dry cycle in order that they may produce flowers. Seedlings of most plants will enjoy somewhat higher humidity than that preferred by the mature plants. In some cases seedlings can be brought to maturity faster by maintaining growing conditions continuously, rather than permitting the plants to become dormant as they would if given their natural climatic cycle.
Light control is an absolute necessity in the growing of plants. Light performs two functions: first, it supplies the energy for photosynthesis, the process whereby plants produce sugar which is necessary for life and growth; second, it controls many of the plants' growth and flowering habits. As a general rule, any plant will be benefited by as much light as it can withstand without damage. The most common form of damage is burn, but some plants will develop yellow foliage with too much light.
The amount of light that a plant receives depends upon the duration as well as the intensity of the light. Because damage is produced mainly by the intensity of the light, it is advisable to use a moderate intensity and extend the duration as much as possible. Artificial light has been used some to augment sunlight. The main drawback to this is the cost. Most plants do require some period of darkness each day and therefore the duration of light could be overdone. Light intensity controls to some extent the shape, leaf size, and color of most plants. Within the range of adaptability of the plant, a high light intensity will produce a compact symmetrical growth with small leaves, while low light intensity will result in larger leaves and a straggly growth with the plant reaching toward the light. Plants whose foliage is colored other than green will usually have the most brilliance with high light intensity.
The blooming time of late summer and fall flowering plants is usually controlled by the shortening of the period of daylight as summer progresses. The blooming time of such plants can be delayed by artificially lengthening the time of daylight. Seedlings should receive a lower light intensity than mature plants, but the duration should be longer if possible. Experiments with the use of artificial light indicate that for some plants seedlings may grow more rapidly with uniform light 24 hours a day.
The control of water supplied to plants being grown is of considerable concern. Plants grown for decorative purposes vary from water plants to desert plants. The amount and frequency of watering depend upon the type of plant, the type of growing medium, the type and size of container, and the atmospheric conditions. Plants which are not harmed by over-watering can be permitted to receive direct rainfall, with additional water supplied by some type of irrigation as required. Some plants, however, may be severely damaged by excessive water or water at certain periods of their yearly growth cycle. Such plants should have protection from rainfall and be given proper irrigation all the year even though rainwater is generally more beneficial than surface or well water. Where the water supply for irrigation is not satisfactory for certain plants, some treatment of the water may be necessary or it may be possible to collect and store rainwater.
The living quarters in an average home often provide acceptable conditions for many plants that would not thrive out doors in the same locality. Here only a minimum of regulating can be done. Certainly protection against freezing and the proper amount of water at the right time can be given, but the control of light and humidity is often a serious problem. A glass case can be used indoors as an aid in the control of humidity and temperature. However, the difficulties of light control with such a case become more difficult, and artificial light may be needed. At best only a few plants can be grown in a case, and the returns in the form of well grown plants and beautiful flowers will be relatively small for the effort or the money expended. Growing can be done using artificial light altogether. Here the ultimate in light control can be achieved along with good control of the other factors. The main disadvantages involved are the limited space usually available and the high cost of equipment and operation.
Usually more space will be available out of doors, and an area protected by lath will be suitable if the protection needed is principally that provided by light control. Only to a minor extent can temperature and humidity be controlled under lath. Protection from rain will also be lacking.
Where the control of all factors is desired for the growing of a considerable number of plants a greenhouse offers the maximum in opportunities and advantages. With a well-planned greenhouse and proper equipment each individual atmospheric factor can be independently controlled and varied. Any desired type of climate can he produced. Automatic devices for controlling almost every phase of greenhouse operation are available. Thus, plants may have constant attention, even though the grower finds it necessary to be away from the greenhouse most of the time.
Because growing conditions can be so readily controlled, a greenhouse offers the opportunity of enjoying many interesting and useful hobbies. Plants which do not ordinarily require protection can often he brought into bloom out of season in a greenhouse. Also plants for outdoor use may be flowered earlier by starting the seed or cuttings in a greenhouse. Tropical fruits can be grown and ripened under glass. House plants may be of primary interest. If blooming plants are desired, a greenhouse is the ideal place for them to be grown and brought into bloom. Foliage plants can be kept in perfect condition by rotating them between the house and the greenhouse.
The propagation of most plants can be facilitated by the use of a greenhouse. Whether the propagation is by cuttings, grafts or seed, the growth of small plants will be accelerated by additional warmth and moisture. Plant breeding, either hybridizing or cross breeding, is an interesting field. Here the greenhouse serves a double purpose. In addition to its usefulness for the growing of seedlings, it gives protection during the time of pollinizing and the growing of the seed. The investigation of the effect of various factors and conditions upon the growth of plants is a rich field for one interested in experimenting. For such investigations it is essential that but one factor be varied at a time. Here the greenhouse offers a convenient means of controlling each factor independently.
For those interested in the culture of bromeliads, some specific information may be of interest in addition to the above described factors relating to the growth of plants in general. All of the factors as described apply to bromeliads just as surely as to any other group of plants. When growing a selection of plants in a single greenhouse as varied as a usual collection of bromeliads, some compromises will need to be made as well as giving individual treatment to some of the plants. Certainly the epiphytic types will enjoy nearly the same conditions. Relative humidity should be about 60 percent for most of these plants. Extremely high humidity should be avoided if night temperatures are allowed to go below 60° F. A good circulation of air will be beneficial as long as the air is warm and humid.
Some variation in temperature and light can be given by selecting the location in the greenhouse. Plants requiring the most warmth and light may be suspended near the glass. Do not let the foliage touch the glass, as it will be chilled at night and will be wet by the condensation on the glass. Plants should be individually watered for best results. With a little observation the requirements for each plant can be ascertained. Plants which require frequent watering should not be placed over plants requiring less frequent watering. Many of the terrestrial types will grow well with the epiphytes. These should be kept down on the benches or even on the ground if sufficient light can be given. Even some of the nearly desert types do not seem to resent high humidity if plenty of light is available and the watering is carefully regulated.
1621 Irving Avenue Glendale, California
|Photo by Jules Padilla|
|Tillandsia dasyliriifolia enjoys its perch on a cactus at San Jose Purua.|
For the traveler who has but a brief time to spend south of the border and who wishes to see nature at her most eloquent best, a trip to the famous spa, San Jose Purua, is recommended. Situated in the luxuriant barranca of the Rio Tuxpan, 115 miles northwest of Mexico City, it offers the delighted visitor a jungle atmosphere not to be expected so near the capital. Here, too, the enthusiast can see bromeliads growing in happy profusion–chiefly Tillandsias, to be sure–but still bromeliads. For a person who comes from a colder climate to see his beloved bromeliads growing "en natural," this is indeed a taste of paradise.
One of the amazing things about Mexican plants is that they all grow so happily together. Cacti thrive in the same area as philodendrons and ferns–a situation not to be found here. So it comes as a surprise to the visitor at San Jose to see cacti in among the hibiscus and daturas, and on the cacti many kinds of Tillandsias!
The writer was particularly eager at the time of her visit to do a little exploring along the Rio Tuxpan, for she had been told by Lad Cutak, of the Missouri Botanical Garden, of an especially beautiful Hechtia with deep maroon stripes that grew at the bottom of the barranca. Mr. Cutak had visited this particular spot in March, during the dry season, while the writer was there in the rainiest month of the year. Hence, needless to say, it was impossible to make much headway along the turbulent river. However, though high grasses and thick mud prevented any searching, she was rewarded by seeing many handsome specimens of Tillandsia dasyliriifolia and other unknown species growing in profusion in the Royal Poincianas. As the picture on the cover indicates, Tillandsia dasyliriifolia is a regal plant, of beautiful form and coloring. A pale silver in color, it assumed an ethereal quality perched among the fern-like greenery of the flamboyant tree.
647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles 49, California
From New ZealandI think I will tell you about Quesnelia liboniana, which at the moment interests me tremendously. I am writing this in December, our midsummer. The plant grows in leaf mold in a garden which gets full sun from the time it rises until three or four o'clock. It is vase-shaped up to 6 inches, and the total length of leaves is 18 inches. The flower stem creeps up against the channel of the leaf. Last year I saw this and thought it was an unknown grass head with roots growing in the cup. About two weeks later I ripped it out, thinking the grass root might hurt the plant. As I ripped it out and felt the stem break off in the cup, I realized with horror that it was the Quesnelia's own flower stem! I could have kicked myself!
This year the same growth appeared in another plant, and I ceased blaming myself, as it did resemble a grass head. At last it grew out of the cup, bolt upright to a total height of 13 inches, later gracefully and slightly bending over. The buds–there were eight of these–were also erect or nearly so. The 1½-inch sepals enclosing the petals were more or less of a golden brick red–I had never seen that color before–changing later to rich salmon red, and finally purple petals protruded 1½ inches. These petals under the sepals are of a whitish color. They open but do not coil backwards, white stamens and a purple pistil showing above the petal tips. This plant with its coloring, so far as I am concerned, is unique and very striking. Flowers last much longer than those of any Billbergia and will grow in the blazing sun. Of course, I keep it watered and sprinkled.
–Muriel Waterman, 22 Otakau Road, Milford, Auckland NZ
From Costa RicaOne beginner wants to thank you for your delightful articles so suitable and helpful to a neophyte, who though he has seen bromels wild for many years is only at this date getting to know a little about them.
I enjoyed especially your remarks on Aechmea Mariae Reginae, as this is fairly abundant on my little farm here on the steep cliff dropping down to the Rio Agua Caliente, my southern boundary. You do not mention that it is dioecious, apparently the only species here with that distinction in the family. It is one of the finest of its genus, which has many other species. Two other very remarkable representatives, both from the southwest Pacific coastal plains, are Aechmea pittieri and Aechmea tonduzii, the first named looking like a Bromelia. The broad, soft ashen leaves of the latter set off very strikingly its jet black fruits when ripe. On my farm another handsome Aechmea is extremely abundant and is almost as large as Mariae Reginae. It is Aechmea Mexicana, which colors beautifully in the dry season and is at present very decorative with its heavily fruited panicles of pearl-like fruit. By the way, I never heard a vernacular name other than "Corpus" for Aechmea Mariae Reginae, which here flowers at about the time of that religious festival.
At the time of Charles Lindberg's goodwill mission through these countries in "The Spirit of St. Louis," we were invited by the American Minister, Roy T. Davis, to his box in the National Theatre and to the governmental reception to welcome the Colonel. It was a great event and at last he reached the box quite tired by all the hurrahs and the procession. In the course of chatting about the flight, he told us he saw lots of pink orchids in the trees. This, I ventured to doubt, suggesting what he probably saw were the brilliant spikes of bromeliads. I guess that really was the fact. Nowadays, planes fly higher, and it is doubtful if one could point out which of these ideas is the correct one. Forests are vanishing rapidly, but fortunately Costa Rica and Nicaragua have still vast untouched areas.
The size of our "Corpus" is much greater than under greenhouse conditions. I would say leaves up to six feet are normal at 1,000 foot or so elevation, lessening as they reach my altitude of 4,600 odd feet, which may well be about the limit of its upper zonal range. The fruits are rapidly eaten by birds as they reach maturity. In the garden that wretched tramp, the Mexican jay, soon finds them out and will soon pick off any paper bag defending them. They look indeed like slender small pineapples. At this elevation in sunny situations, the leaves, as do those of so many bromels, tint up rather prettily.
There is in Chiapas, near the town of Comitan, a marvelous bromel that might with some success dispute the title of queenship. It has a long, drooping huge inflorescence of luminous pink bracts of much the same type. It was used to decorate the trees in the little park of Comitan in May, 1943, at the visit of certain orchid enthusiasts. I could never discover its name, but it is a plant of the greatest floral merit.
You read about our visiting the Fosters–weren't we lucky? That was a stupendous week for us. Overburdened with unceasing kindness and an abundance of generosity, they are a very remarkable couple. And what a place to see–always a new surprise every day!
–Charles H. Lankester, Las Concavas, Cartago, Costa Rica
From GermanyMy favorite bromeliads are the epiphytic Tillandsias. Whereas fumigation makes import of many interesting species to the United States impossible, Tillandsia lindenii and Tillandsia cyanea are now on the market.
If cultivated epiphytically, the plants are liable to become too dry and do not grow satisfactorily. I recommend for the beginner an oblong pottery tray, 8x12x1½ inches, with a sufficient number of drainage holes for their use. The bottom should be covered with coarse sand, earthenware fragments or charcoal pieces. Then the tray is filled with strips of bark (of oak or other tree). They must be as long as the tray is wide (8 inches), and as wide as the tray is deep. They are packed into the tray vertically as tightly as possible and should not protrude above the rim of the tray. There will still remain gaps between the different strips of bark, which gaps should be filled with leaf mold or fern roots. Into the gaps young Tillandsia lindenii seedlings or offshoots can be planted. Then sift a little sand on the tray, not too much. Then splash again and again with rainwater.
What is the advantage of such an arrangement? All bromeliads like to cling with their roots to bark. The Tillandsias are especially inclined to this. The bark rots very slowly. It is possible to let such a pottery tray remain untouched for several years and the slowly growing plants do not have to be disturbed. On the other hand, the mixture of leaves and fern roots turns into humus within one to two years if watered plentifully and so prevent the roots from getting air. When such plants are taken from their trays, they show many firm roots, all clinging to the pieces of bark. When blooming, they can be planted into small pots and stuffed tight with moss. This method seems natural to me and saves a lot of work.
–Richard Oeser, M. D., Tiroler-Strasse 12b, Frankfurt (Main) Germany
Gladys C. Nolan
Information on a specific plant is seldom compiled in one volume to which one may turn at once, but it is scattered in botanical journals, encyclopedias, periodicals, catalogues and various other media which make the search for a description or the clarification of nomenclature an ever constant challenge. I have found it more than rewarding, however, and felt that other members of the Society might like to know of a few of the publications available at the present time which give much of value on Bromeliaceae.
I am sure it is needless to warn the true enthusiast never to underestimate the value of a nurseryman's catalogue, especially those who specialize in bromels. The catalogue issued by our Society President, Mr. Foster, some years back is a gold mine of descriptive material with fine photographs and a splendid list of publications, which may be obtained at small expense to add to our store of knowledge. Mr. Giridlian's annual publication is a much prized source of information, and I treasure all the back copies, as in the future they will be a reflection of the trend in plants for some particular year. The Julius Roehrs Company's recent fine publication, Exotic Plants, Illustrated, edited by Mr. Alfred B. Graf, is a source of fine photographs of actual plants and includes an impressive list of bromeliads.
The beautiful Orchids and Tropical Foliage Plants, issued by Alberts & Merkel Bros. Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida, is another "collector's item" with splendid photographs of plants grown in that area. These are but a few of the excellent sources of authentic, easy-to-obtain information compiled by specialists in the field. We should be appreciative of their efforts, supporting and commending them for these fine educational booklets. Such literature has a definite place in our reference library.
Authoritative references are obtainable, of course, from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture and Hortus II of Liberty H. Bailey. Many clear descriptions with fine etchings of our plant are to be found in the original edition of Geo. Nicholson's Dictionary of Gardening; also in the 1953 edition issued by the Royal Horticultural Society, edited by Mr. F. C. Chittenden. Any member able to read and translate German will find much of interest in Parey's Blumengartnerei by C. Bonstedt (2 vol.), which features an excellent section with fine photos and some elegant color prints of bromeliads, especially hybrids in the trade in Europe. These volumes are all available in most public libraries, since not all collectors would feel equal to the expense involved in the possession of these weighty tomes.
Brazil, Orchid of the Tropics, by Mulford and Racine Foster, is an exciting plant collector's adventure in South America with our Society President and his wife. This book is a joy to refer to, since it contains fine photographs and a wealth of stimulating information.
My Garden In Florida (2 vols.), by Dr. Henry Nehrling, has a most interesting chapter in Vol. II on epiphytes in Florida and contains descriptive material on bromeliads, which plants seemed to interest him greatly. (out of print)
One of the first known books in English devoted exclusively to bromeliads is the Handbook of Bromeliaceae by J. G. Baker, first assistant to the Herbarium of the Royal Gardens, Kew, and published in 1889 by Geo. Bell & Sons of London. Copies are still found occasionally in antiquarian book shops abroad. The author presented several copies of the work to Mr. F. C. Chittenden, then director of the R. H. S. Gardens at Wisley, for distribution to his friends. Six unopened copies were found in Mr. Chittenden's library after his death by the dealer who purchased the library, and one of our alert members acquired them. They are now in the possession of several Southern California members of the Bromeliad Society.
Floras, containing monographs of bromeliads endemic to a particular area, are available for the more serious student. The following may be obtained from the sources noted:
North American Flora, Bromeliaceae, Lyman B. Smith, Vol. XIX, Part II, New York Botanical Garden, Dec. 27, 1938, 228 pp. ($4.50 New York Botanical Garden)
Flora of the Panama Canal Zone, Paul C. Standley, 1928, Bromeliaceae–pp. 106-109, 2 photos, Contr. from U. S. Natl. Herb., Vol. XXVII (out of print)
Flora of Panama, Bromeliaceae section by L. B. Smith, from the Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden, Vol. XXXI, No. 1, Feb. 1944, pp. 73 to 137, 64 figures and plates ($2.50 Missouri Botanical Garden)
Flora of Costa Rica, Field Museum of Natural History, Botanical Series, Paul C. Standley, Vol. XVIII, Part 1, pp. 148 to 158 (out of print)
Flora of Venezuela–Fieldiana: Botany–J. A. Steyermark and collaborators, 1951, Vol. XXVIII, No. 1, Bromeliaceae section by L. B. Smith, pps. 135-151, 6 pl. ($4.00 Chicago Natural History Museum)
The following contributions from the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University may be obtained as follows:
Studies in the Bromeliaceae, Lyman B. Smith
Contribution #89, I, 86 pp, 5 pl., 1930 ($1.00)
- Notes preliminary to a Revision of the Bromeliaceae
- Synopsis of the Tribe Tillandsieae, Part I being revision of Tillandsia–Section Pseudo-Catopsis
- The Bromeliaceae of British Guiana
- No title, records of points of taxonomic significance in the course of further study of the Bromeliaceae.
Contribution #98, III, 36 pp., 6 P1. 1932, ($.50)
- Notes preliminary to a revision of the Bromeliaceae
- Provision key to the Genus Guzmania with notes on new or critical species.
Contribution #102, IV, reprinted from Proc. Am. Acad. 68, #5, 1933, 44 pp., 2 pl.
- No title–places on record novelties to be included in the publication of the Bromeliaceae of Trinidad.
- The Bromeliaceae of Trinidad and Tobago with W. E. Broadway. ($.50)
Contribution #104, V, pp. 71-82, 3 pl., 1934, ($1.00)
Contribution #106, VI, reprinted from Proc. Am. Acad. 70, #5, 1935, 74 pp., 4 pl. ($.75)
Contribution #114, VII, p. 3-11, 2 pl. 1936, ($.65)
Contribution #117, VIII, in part, pp. 3-33, 2 pl. 1937, ($.65)
Contribution #124, IX, in part, pp. 7-11, 2 p1. 1939, ($.65)
Contribution #127, X, in part, pp. 17-20, 1 pl. 1939, ($.85)
Contribution #129, XI, in part, pp. 31-35, 1 pl. 1940, ($.50)
Contribution #137, XII, reprinted from Lilloa, pp. 381-417, 3 pl. 1941, ($.50)
Contribution #154, XIII, in part, pp. 43-49, 2 pl. 1945, ($.50)
Contribution #161, XIV, in part. pp. 39-45, 1 pl. 1946, ($.50)
- Further studies have been published in the Contributions from States National Herbarium:
Vol. XXIX, Part 7-XV. (includes 14 new species)
Vol. XXIX, Part 10, XVI, 92 pp., 40 pl, 1950, and index. ($.50 Supt. of Documents U. S. Govt. Printing Office)
Also the following by L. B. Smith may be obtained from the sources noted:
"Notes on Bromeliaceae," I, Phytologia, Vol. IV, #4, $1.00)
"Notes on Bromeliaceae," II, Phytologia, Vol. IV, #5, ($.75)
"Notes on Bromeliaceae," III, Phytologia, Vol. IV, #6, ($.75) (May be obtained from Dr. Harold N. Moldenke, 15 Glenbrook Ave., Yonkers 5, New York)
"Bromeliaceas Notables de Colombia," IV, in Caldasia, Vol. V, #21, March 20, 1948, pp. 1-15, 11 line drawings. Boletin del Instituto de Ciencias Naturales de Colombia, Bogota, Colombia.
"Chaves para as Bromeliaceas de Santa Catarina," Anais Botanicos do Herbario "Barbosa Rodrigues," Ano II, June 22, 1950, pp. 17-33, See address next page.
"Notas sobre as Bromeliaceae de Santa Catarina" in same as directly above, pp. 13, 14, 15, 2 pp. of line drawings, 2 photographs.
Since the supply of these bulletins is usually very limited and there is seldom a reprint, it is advisable to obtain any available copies whenever possible if one is making a technical study. Often, such monographs may be found in used book shops, and it is a veritable thrill to discover some long-scarce item in an unexpected place. Monographs on Bromeliaceae are noted from 1857 to 1935 by such botanists as Beer, Ed Morren, Wittmack, Ed. Andre, Mez, Harms, and others, and many informative foreign publications may be obtained which reflect the interest abroad. I note the following which are easy to procure at the present time:
Anzucht and Kultur der Bromeliaceen (Raising and Culture of the Bromeliaceae) by Walter Richter, 88 pp., 35 pl., Index, paper bound, Eugen Ulmer, 142 Ludwigsburg, Kornerstrasse 16, Stuttgart, Germany. (about $1.50 with postage)
Epiphyten-Stamme by M. C. Finck, 53 pp., 21 photographs, in German, 1953, Donau Verlag, Gunszburg, Germany. (about $1.25 with postage)
Catalogue des Bromeliacees by Chas. Chevalier, 1942, 126 pp., describing the collection grown at the University of Liege. This is invaluable since it includes a splendid check list of pseudonyms under which each plant has been described and its source. Also contains an excellent Bibliographie of foreign monographs and periodicals which include descriptive material. ($1.50 and postage from author)
Las Bromeliaceae de Chiapas by Eizi Matuda, 68 pp., 18 pl., 1953, Sobretiro de los Anales del Institute de Biologia, Vol. XXIII, # 1 and 2. Covers new species endemic to that area in Mexico. I do not know if further copies of this monograph may be obtained, but contact with the Matudo Herbarium, Apdo. #29864, Administraction 18, Mexico, D. F., should yield the necessary information to those interested.
Bromeliaceas de Santa Catarina, II, by P. Raulino Reitz, in Anais Botanicos do Herbario, "Barbosa Rodrigues," Ano II, June 22, 1950, N. 2, Itajai, Santa Catarina, Brasil, pp. 39-55, brings further data on the species in that area.
Scattered items in periodicals and botanical magazines add to our knowledge. A fine series of ten articles with photographs, entitled "Les Bromeliacees" by L. Dutrie appeared in Le Bulletin Horticole, Liege, Belgium, August, 1946, through January, 1948. These give an excellent idea of the interest and wealth of bromels grown in Belgium. Further check of the publications of foreign botanical gardens will probably yield many more descriptive bits.
Patrick M. Synge, editor of the R. H. S. Journal; published some years ago a fascinating little book, Plants With Personality, and it is a pleasure to note in his chapter on the "Fierce Wonders of Chile," (pps. 143-148) considerable information on Puyas and a very fine etching of the inflorescence of Puya alpestris. Mr. Foster adds to this with his article, "Puya, the Pineapple's Andean Ancestor," (with 13 kodachromes and 3 photos) in the National Geographic Magazine, Vol. XCVIII, #4, pp. 463-480, October, 1950.
Mr. Ladislaw Cutak, of the Missouri Botanical Garden, is generous in sharing his knowledge of and experiences with our favored plant family, and his references in the Cactus and Succulent Society Journal, the Bulletin of the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Cactus Digest of October, 1951, add greatly to broadening the horizon for us.
Informative pamphlets include a fine "Bromeliaceae Edition" of Plant Life, the combined July and October, 1945, issues of the publication of the American Plant Life Society. These were dedicated to M. B. and Racine Foster and were combined into an attractive booklet with descriptions and photographs of the fine plants and collections known in this country and the personalities working to establish an interest in them. Also, I must include mention of the fine cultural handbook, Bromeliads–A Cultural Handbook, issued by the Society last year in which we take great pride. I feel that this splendid little volume deserves special mention in any bibliography of this nature.
It is inevitable that much excellent reference material is available at the present time of which the writer has no knowledge, and it would be to the advantage of all members of the Society if those who have such information would share it with all of us who are interested through the Bulletin from time to time. There is always room, I am sure, for a few lines of descriptive material which you may have noted in a periodical, some old volume, or even a new catalogue of interest. Send it to our Editor and share your find with your fellow enthusiasts.
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