BSI Journal - Online Archive


M. B. Foster, Editor, 718 Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Florida.
Annual Dues: $3.50 a year (foreign $4.00) which includes subscription to the Bulletin.
Write for details to Miss Victoria Padilla, Secretary, 647 Saltair Ave., Los Angeles 49, California.


From Stuttgart, Germany, the publisher (H. R. Engelmann) of BROMELIACEAE by Carl Mez has sent a grateful letter to the editorial office in acknowledgment of our notice of this book in our May-June 1956 issue, p. 34. In that announcement we called your attention to the reprint of the great monograph and that it would, eventually, be available. To our pleasant surprise it is now published and in circulation; those, who having ordered early, have already received their copy.

It is well worth the rather steep price ($34.98). To illustrate: In 1938 we passed up the opportunity of buying a copy at $32.00 because we thought it too expensive for our purse. But our studies in bromeliads increased to such a point that we urgently needed a copy of Mez "Bromeliaceae" at any price! So, meanwhile we had to use microfilm reproductions (which, if we had not processed them ourselves, would have been prohibitive in price), until twelve years later when we finally obtained a rare copy (at $60.00)!

A copy of this great work will not only give you a wealth of nomenclature information, but also, much on the horticultural hybrids. As a student of the bromeliads you cannot afford to miss this opportunity. Send order and check to:

Wheldon & Wesley
83/84 Berwick St.
London, W. 1-England
Stechert-Hafner, Inc.
31 East 10th St.
New York 3, N. Y.
Price $34.98

An interesting footnote to Puya raimondii, (see p. 69) came this summer from Mr. Brian Connelly, artist from Wilton, Conn., while he was in Brussels, Belgium. (see his painting of bromeliads on cover of our Bulletin, Nov.-Dec. 1954, Vol. IV-No. 6.)

"Last night I went to the opera at the Theatre de la Monnaie (the old mint). It was a charming presentation of Offenbach's La Perichole which is set in Peru. What was my astonishment to see that the drop curtain was an enormous painting of Puya raimondii taken right from Mulford Foster's photograph in the National Geographic Magazine! It was fairly well painted and unmistakably P. raimondii. The Offenbach opera was delightfully performed."

COVER: A close-up of Tillandsia prodigiosa the fabulous and fancy Tillandsia of Chiapas, Mexico. (see p. 70 this issue; also, Vol. IV, No. 6, Nov.-Dec. 1956, "Tillandsia Fiesta in Mexico".)

Photo by T. MacDougall

Photo by author
Germination of seed of Puya berteroniana that received 8 hours of Mazda light for 17 days at 70°F. (right). Nongerminated seeds kept in complete darkness (left).


R. J. Downs

Mr. M. H. Hobbs recently pointed out that the most practical way to increase the number of species of ornamental bromeliads in this country is to import seeds rather than plants (Bromel. Soc. Bull. 5 : 76-77, 1955). Mr. Hobbs then described methods by which the seeds could be germinated and the subsequent seedlings transplanted.

If we are to grow bromeliads from seed, it seems of the utmost importance to understand the factors that influence their germination. Only by such understanding can we simplify our methods and increase the number of seeds that germinate. The germination procedures outlined by Mr. Hobbs raise two immediate questions: (1) Why are most seeds of bromeliads planted "ON", not "IN the planting medium and (2) Why must we use a transparent dish? The most obvious answer was that seeds of some bromeliads, like seeds of some varieties of lettuce and peppergrass, need light for germination. For instance, none of the seeds of peppergrass and only about 25 percent of those of certain lots of Grand Rapids lettuce will germinate in the dark. However, 90 percent or so of both kinds of seeds will germinate in the light.

After I had discussed my ideas with Dr. Lyman Smith, he obtained seeds of Puya berteroniana from Mr. Mulford Foster. The seeds were placed on blotters that had been soaked in tap water and put in covered glass dishes (Petri dishes).

The dishes were then set in a north-facing window at ordinary room temperatures. One dish was covered with two thicknesses of black cloth and the other was left uncovered. After 15 days, practically all the seeds in the light had germinated. The dish that had been kept in the dark was uncovered at this time, but no germination had occurred. Most of these seeds were viable, however, because when left in the light they subsequently germinated. Other experiments with the seeds under controlled temperature and light conditions verified these results, showing conclusively that seeds of Puya berteroniana require light for germination. The accompanying photograph illustrates the results. After 17 days at 70° F seeds in the dark had not germinated, whereas 75 percent of those receiving 8 hours of Mazda light daily had germinated.

After the seeds had germinated on the blotters it was a simple matter to transfer the seedlings to pots containing a well-drained mixture of soil and peat. However, any steps in the procedures that might result in the loss of some of the plants are undesirable; so another method was tried out. A potting mixture of soil and peat was placed in 4-inch clay pots and thoroughly wetted with tap water. One hundred seeds of Puya berteroniana were put on the soil surface and a glass plate was placed over the pot to keep the atmosphere around the seeds as humid as possible. Other pots were prepared in the same way except that the seeds were put in the dark by covering them with a layer of soil. A glass plate was also placed over each of these pots to keep the temperatures of the two types of plantings as nearly alike as possible. So as not to disturb the positions of the seeds, all pots were watered from the bottom. After 48 hours some of the pots that contained covered seeds were cultivated; that is, the soil surface was disturbed by scratching it with a stick. Seeds planted on the surface germinated readily, whereas those covered with soil, and consequently in the dark, did not germinate. Disturbing the soil surface brought some of the seeds to the surface, where they germinated in the presence of light.

These findings do not mean that all species of bromeliads, or even all the species of Puya, are light-sensitive in their germination. However, they do show that light-controlled germination exists in the family and therefore that due consideration should be given to this fact when trying to obtain maximum germination in the shortest possible time.

Plant physiologist, U.S. Dept. of Agri., Agricultural
Research Service, Hort. Crops Research Branch,
Plant Industry Station, Beltsville, Maryland


Lyman B. Smith.
Reprinted from the Chicago Natural History Museum Bulletin for August 1956

The latest mural prepared for Martin A. and Carrie Ryerson Hall (Hall 29-Plant Life), [at the Chicago Natural History Museum] by Museum Staff Artist E. John Pfiffner, shows the giant bromeliad Puya raimondii in its home high in the Bolivian Andes. This member of the pineapple family bears slight resemblance to a pineapple plant beyond its coarse spiny leaves, and it is very difficult to believe that it is also related to the Spanish Moss.

However, Puya raimondii is a sort of dinosaur among plants, its thirty-foot members fighting a losing battle against extinction while more adaptable bromeliads are conquering new territory. Its three remaining areas, two in Peru and one in Bolivia, are now widely separated but indicate a once continuous range of a thousand miles. Incredible as it may seem, this highly conspicuous species was unknown except to a few Indians until the Peruvian botanist, Raimondi, discovered it in 1867. Only a handful of people have seen it since then, and the first color-photographs of it were taken as recently as 1948 by Mulford Foster. His pictures, published in the October, 1950, number of The National Geographic Magazine, have been the inspiration of the new mural.

It is easy to understand the perilous situation of Puya raimondii when we consider its life history. The span of a generation from seed to flowering has been estimated at 150 years, which certainly is an extremely long time for a plant that must be classified as an herb and that dies after a single flowering. This has been balanced by the plant's ability to withstand the cold and aridity of the mountain tops and its astronomical production of seed, some six and a half million each. However, it has earned the enmity of Indian herders by entangling their sheep with its spiny leaves and thus has sealed its doom unless prompt measures for protection are taken.

The above notes are largely drawn from Professor Hans Kinzl's excellent article "Die Puya Raimondii–ein Wahzeichen der tropischen Anden" in Jahrbuch des Oesterreichischen Alpenvereins, Volume 74, No. 5, pp. 59-66, 1949.

Curator, Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

  Photos by author
(Left) This is the native home of T. prodigiosa, a cloud forested mountain of the Sierra Madre Oriental in northern Chiapas, Mexico. (Right) T. prodigiosa on a tree in a forest opening.


Clarence Kl. Horich

After spending four months in Chiapas for the sake of collecting some animals for our Stanley Park Zoo in Vancouver, B.C. (Canada), I had seen more of this part of southern Mexico than ever before. Outside of chasing Caymans, snakes, Kinkajous and the like, I kept on the lookout for the more amiable children of Mother Nature which neither bite, nor run, crawl, fly or swim away and which seem only to be waiting for someone who has still the eyes for sparing them a glimpse of admiration, namely, the gorgeous flowers of the tropics, particularly, orchids and bromeliads.

Of the latter kind one species in particular drew my attention, the truly magnificent Tillandsia prodigiosa! This relatively huge epiphyte is an outsider among its numerous cousins, in that it lowers its impressive, pink-purple flower spikes vertically downward to a length of up to and even exceeding three feet, in which pendent state they remain flowering for weeks.

Tillandsia prodigiosa is by far one of the most conspicuous and showiest epiphytes of Chiapas, rivaling even the best orchids of this state in beauty. For this reason it is, at times, transplanted by the natives who usually pay no respect at all to the parāsitos, from its haunt in the wilds to a spot in their gardens. As a matter of fact, they even found it worthy to be given the name of Tecolumāte rather than the generalized term of parāsito or vejuco, usually applied to epiphytes without closer classification. The nomification Tecolumāte apparently roots in a Chamula dialect if we go by the tribal grouping of those Indians which inhabit the mountains of its native home.

This eye-catching plant jewel, – easily discovered in even the darkest forests because of its relatively phenomenal size (for a Tillandsia, anyhow), appears to be confined to the humid and cool cloud forests of the Sierra Madre Oriental where I found it distributed at an altitude of between 1000 and 1500 meters above sea level. (1 meter = 3 feet). This fact may be of importance to people in southern California which – if they succeed in establishing Cymbidium orchids outdoors – should also try to cultivate Tillandsia prodigiosa in their gardens. I came across my first specimen quite incidentally while joining a friend of mine, Mr. Lorenzo Allan, of the New World Archaeological Foundation, on a cave exploring trip to the region of Solistahuacān (Pueblo Nuevo) in northern Chiapas.

The species seems to commence some 100 kilometers after leaving Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital town of Chiapas, in the near-vicinity of the primitive villages of Bochil and Jitotol de Saragosa, which zone is characterized by vast pine-oak forests that abound in both orchids and bromeliads. Unfortunately, lacking even the most basic means for the identification of bromeliads, I have to restrict myself to mentioning that there are several dozens of quite beautiful other species native to these forests, too, the majority of which are Tillandsias. While pines are usually avoided as host trees by orchids, of which we find interesting and partly rare species here, they are rather much frequented by bromeliads. Tillandsia prodigiosa, however, appears to share the orchids' dislike for the above pines and other conifers and almost exclusively thrives on dicotyledonous trees – oaks in particular.

The epiphytic companions of this species which never occurs in groups or masses, but always solitary and often widely separated from other specimens of its own kind, are Lycopodiums, Anthuriums, Peperomias, Spanish Moss several Begonias, fern genera, many orchids, and, of course, a varied range of other bromeliads.

Tillandsia prodigiosa usually occurs in the brighter sections of the forest, including spots which receive a great amount of direct sun. In fact, here it grows into the finest and sturdiest specimens! Our plant is by no means too frequent and is certainly a difficult customer to transport, especially, since its bulk prohibits carrying away great numbers of them, and what counts even more, because of the terrible shape of those roads which penetrate this remote wilderness of forests and ragged mountains. There are potholes filled with two feet of water every forty feet and a speed of five miles per hour in the only vehicle which will eventually make it, the four-wheel drive, double traction jeep or Landrover, can be considered a good average.

The temperature around Solistahuacān during the month of August 1956 never reads more than 65°F., and the nights were definitely cold and chilly. The dry season lasts from November to April inclusive, after which period almost steady rains dominate the weather for the following six months.

Upon the event of another excursion, to the Guatemalan border, I discovered a few plants of Tillandsia prodigiosa in the possibly even colder forests which stretch uninterruptedly between San Cristobal de Las Casas and Comitān de las Flores along the Inter American Highway.

Due to the fact that the vegetation south of the Isthmo de Tehuāntepec is predominantly Central American, it seems almost certain that Tillandsia prodigiosa also occurs in similar mountain regions of adjacent Guatemala and, possibly, north-western Honduras, too.

May I finally add that such an ornamental plant merits the undivided attention of anyone addicted to bromeliads?

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, Mexico


Bibliography F. Miranda, "La Vegetacion de Chiapas", parts 1 and 2, 1952-53.


Victoria Padilla

One of the questions that often finds its way to the secretary's desk is "Where can I obtain bromeliads? I never see them in the nursery where I trade." Although some of the more common bromeliads may be found in a good number of the nurseries in Florida and Southern California, they are a rare item in horticultural establishments in other parts of the United States.

However, the fact that bromeliads are difficult to obtain should prove to be a challenge rather than a deterrent to the bromeliad enthusiast. There are several outstanding American growers who feature bromeliads in their catalogues and who sell plants of only the very highest quality. In all, these growers list around 200 different species, and the serious collector can be put on their lists to obtain hard-to-get plants. Oakhurst Gardens in Arcadia, California, list 11 genera, 36 species; Fantastic Gardens in Miami, Florida, 10 genera, 46 species; Alberts & Merkel in Jacksonville, Florida, 6 genera and 19 species; California Jungle Gardens in Los Angeles, 17 genera, 93 species; and Julius Roehrs in Rutherford, New Jersey, 21 genera, 121 species. Also two of the largest seedsmen in the United States list a few bromeliads for those who desire to raise bromels from seed. Every bromeliad grower should have the catalogues of these nurserymen, for they contain a wealth of valuable information and make fascinating reading.

After the collector has exhausted all the available sources in his own country, he will find that obtaining bromeliads from the American tropics or Europe is a real thrill – although it is sometimes a heartbreaking experience.

In Europe there are a number of fine horticultural establishments in Belgium, France, Germany, and Holland that can supply wonderful bromeliads. References have been made to them in past issues of the Bulletin. There are also available sources of supply in Brazil, where much of the material is collected right from the jungle. One can also get a plant collector to bring back bromeliads from his trips into the wilds. There are several outstanding collectors in Panama.

The first step, after the would-be importer has determined where he is going to purchase the plants, is to obtain a permit to import them. This is very easily done by writing to the United States Department of Agriculture, Plant Quarantine Branch, 209 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey, and giving the following information: (1) the names of the plants or plant groups to be imported, (2) country of origin, (3) if importation is by water or air express, the probable port of entry, (4) if importation is by mail whether by parcel post or air parcel post.

If plants are shipped by air parcel post, no arrangements need to be made with a customs broker, as the plants will be delivered immediately after fumigation to the consignee. While at first it would appear that having the plants sent by air to be very expensive, this is not true. In the first place, it is the only safe and quick way to get plants. Secondly, plants purchased out of the country are generally less expensive than those bought here, so in the long run, the total cost of the plants will not run any higher than if obtained in the United States.

The great problem that confronts the bromeliad enthusiast who wishes to import plants is that of fumigation. Vriesias, Guzmanias, and many of the tenderer bromeliads succumb almost immediately to fumigation. However, heartening news comes from Mr. George Becker in charge of the Import and Permit Unit. He writes concerning orchids and bromeliads:

"All orchids from South American, Indian, and other sources from the wild, are inspected and fumigated as a condition of entry. Greenhouse-grown orchids, such as we get mostly from European sources, are not fumigated if we find only certain common pests widely occurring in our own greenhouses. We have no reason to believe that the dosages used are harmful.

Bromeliads, especially choice material in limited quantity, are carefully inspected and passed without fumigation if no pests are found. Material from the wilds and quantity could not be handled in this manner. We have fumigated a lot of bromeliads without apparently any injury but there is evidence that some species are subject to injury."

That the Quarantine Department is allowing some bromeliads to enter the country without fumigation is indeed heartening news. However, one must remember that there are two sides to every question, and in order to appreciate the problems that confront the Plant Quarantine Branch, one must understand all the problems. In a letter written to a member, Mr. Becker states further:

"It goes without saying that our purpose is to prevent the entry of plant pests. With bromeliads we have intercepted in the past any number of insects new to science. Importers of bromeliads can be helpful to us in the following ways

1. Giving information in advance of a shipment concerning any factors which in the growing or handling of plants to be imported are likely to eliminate pest risk. Where a number of plants of a species are involved and the value of the material is such as to permit – authorize us to try alternative treatments at their risk.

2. Advise us of the condition of all bromeliads on arrival giving species name. We would wish this information whether the material is in good condition or bad.

3. Where the importer thinks there are symptoms of fumigation injury, describe them.

4. Supply us with lists of species or genera received in the past and of plants which they may receive in the future in which injury or losses occur which are attributed to fumigation.

5. Give us the benefit of their experiences with any treatments given bromeliads for pest control. We would be interested in learning the efficacy of treatment as well as the effect on the plants."

For the novice and for the person who does not like to send away for plants, the most satisfactory way of obtaining bromeliads would be for them to join his local bromeliad society – or if there is not one in his area, to find a half-dozen other enthusiasts and form such a group. In this way, he can exchange off-shoots and eventually build a good-sized collection at very little expense and with a great deal of pleasure.

647 S. Saltair Ave., Los Angeles 49, Calif.


Dear Miss Padilla:

I have your letter and am very pleased with your suggestion to write you about our bromeliads. I shall gladly tell you what I have observed during the past eight years since my husband and I came to live in Teresopolis, Brazil. I took a fancy to our gravatas (bromeliads) or "Cistern" plants long ago and started collecting in rather an amateurish way as soon as we got settled.

Interest lingered, however, when I found out that I could not locate my specimen's names. Literature on the subject seems to be scarce, for I received only one reply to my inquiries, and that came from Dr. Hoehne in Sao Paulo. He told me about Dr. Lyman B. Smith, who has sent me his book, but, alas, I have not sufficient knowledge to use it satisfactorily.

I know my bromeliads well by sight. I gave each a name, using what names I have found in miscellaneous publications, with an added descriptive word of my own imagination. I hope that with some guidance I shall find their correct names. Dr. Smith has kindly offered to help me. Since I got in touch with him I have photographed the plants in bloom and dried a few of their flowers. When I get the names I will start writing to you about them.

To the average Brazilian it seems odd to hear anyone going to the trouble of planting gravatas in a greenhouse and giving them special care. They are considered weeds that grow on trees and must be scraped off, along with orchids, cacti and begonias before a trunk can be dropped into firewood. Thousands of plants perish in this way every day. It's heart-rending.

We arrived in Teresopolis in summer when many of these "cistern" plants are in bloom, and I was fascinated by the beauty of the flowers. Now, knowing the plants better, I am also touched by their hardiness and ability to survive if conditions are not too hostile, and I am awed at the role they play in the life cycle of the rain forest. Even though not all have extra showy flowers, I love and admire every one of them.

Sincerely yours,

Mrs. A. Abendroth


Nidularium fulgens

Mrs. A. Abendroth

This is a "cistern" plant which grows on branches of high trees in the jungle around Teresopolis, Brazil, where it is fairly common in the fast vanishing rain forests. Looking up from the ground into the trees, only someone familiar with its habitat will notice it, but seen from the vantage point above the branch it is quite conspicuous with its bright green, dotted rosettes holding little blue flowers in flashy red nests. The first time they caught my attention was when I saw some on the forest floor where a tree had been felled.

   Photo by author
Nidularium fulgens with the orchid Lanium aviculare
The joy of seeing these curious and delightful plants in the forest around us is magnified when we can bring them to our private home-garden where they provoke the envy of our admiring guests. In our garden I keep Nidularium fulgens planted in the forest floor soil either in patio pots or in garden wall niches; however, the ones planted on the ground look more luscious, as they are planted within a rim of Ophiopogon japonicum, which is a heavy dark green color, making, by contrast the fresh, light green of the Nidularium fulgens look very well.

Visitors to our garden are not only people. In the spring (September) of 1953 one of our Nidulariums became the temporary day-home of a gray tree frog (a Phyllomedusa) . For hours it could be seen nearly submerged in one of the leaf axils, motionless, with only its head out of water.

Our climate around Teresopolis being vastly irregular, but damp most of the time, is a contributing factor to the health of bromeliads and other epiphytes. We are in the mountains at 1100 meters above sea level. Our spring, being from the end of August to December is first dry, then rainy; dampness pervades everything and one feels chilly all the time although the temperature does not go below 12°C, (54°F.). Our summer, which runs from January to the middle of March, generally means a bright sunny morning with thunderstorms every afternoon. Our autumn, from March to April, contains fine weather, but chilly mornings and evenings; while the winter, May to August, has clear dry air with a few rainy days, making the nights cold, but frost is rare.

How can words really describe a charming plant? One must resort to facts.

This Nidularium fulgens is a medium-size rosette, about 40 × 25 cm. when in bloom; it contains about twenty-five leaves; its short stem is hidden in the old, dry leaves between which are produced the new shoots.

Leaf-blades are lanceolate, tapering toward tip, ending in a soft, bent-down spine, ground color yellowish green, dark-green blots, unmargined, about 5 mm diam., almost flat. Leaf-spines are broad based, 2 mm long, curving towards the tip of leaf-blade; they are green with reddish-chestnut point; 5-10 mm between spines.

About ten bracts resembling leaves in shape but much shorter form the small red, center "nest". Outer bracts are spiny-edged while the inner ones are almost entire (smooth). Between these bracts three to five flowers appear in succession, and sometimes two simultaneously.

The flowers are bluish, remain closed, and are less than 10 mm across. The lower two-thirds of the corolla is white, while the lobes are purplish, dark blue with white edge. The flowers bloom only one day and they do not open; they become brownish and decay quickly. Only about half the flowers bear fruit. The flowering period is from November to February, our rainy season.

The fruit is a whitish berry crowned by persistent, stiff sepals, somewhat angular in shape owing to compression by its neighboring berry; they are approximately 16 mm high. The seeds are small; triangular, rusty-orange color, enveloped in jelly.

Rua Carmela Dutra 181, Teresopolis, R.J. Brasil

(Lodd.) Lindl.

var. rubra M. B. Foster, var. nov.

Photo by author   
Billbergia amoena var. rubra
M. B. Foster
A var. amoena foliis rubris differt. Collected in Brazil, growing among rocks near the sea on the mainland near Victoria in the state of Espirito Santo, July 13, 1939 by M. B. and B. Foster No. 2903; Type U.S. Nat'l. Herbarium.

This plant did not flower until after it reached our garden in Florida.

This new variety is a very large plant and grows to be from two to three times as large as any of the several varieties of B. amoena. The leaves are of a rich red color and contain many white and yellow spots on them; they may attain a length of from twenty-four to thirty-six inches, with wider leaves than other varieties of this species.

Billbergia amoena is possibly the most variable species in the genus. Each locality in Brazil where this species is native, and it has quite an extensive range, seems to produce a different variety, although but few of them have been named. The writer has collected at least six different varieties and it would be quite easy to believe them to be different species until the flowers have appeared.

In sizes they range from eight inches to thirty-six inches in height and in leaf colors of plain, light or dark green, red-bronze, or maroon, to vividly spotted or blotched. But always the same flower with green ridged ovary and blue-green sepals and petals with blue tips. One exception, however, is B. amoena var. viridis which has the plain green petals and sepals minus the blue tips. This last variety has, possibly, the most colorful leaves of them all.

B. amoena with all of its varieties makes very interesting material for hybrids and, invariably, show its many definite varietal characters in any cross in which it is used.


var. tigrina Hort.

Mulford B. Foster

   Photo by Lad Cutak
Billbergia horrida var. tigrina
This interesting variety of Billbergia is by no means horrid but it does have leaf margin spines which are certainly very prominent. Actually it is a very interesting and showy plant.

Billbergia horrida was first introduced into cultivation by Riedel to the St. Petersburg Garden (Russia) where it first flowered in 1856 and was described by Regel and was first published in 1858 in the Berlin Gartenzeitung in 1858. Morren then published a fine colored plate of the species in La Belgique Horticole, 1876, p. 336, Vol. 22. Morren also made a drawing of B. horrida var. tigrina which is in the Morren collection at Kew and was listed by Baker as a variety in his Handbook in 1889.

The original description and plate show the plant to be green with rather indistinct grey bands but Baker published the var. tigrina in 1889 based on an unpublished drawing by Morren.

This striking plant described by Baker as "Leaves brown, copiously banded with white on the back" has been considered simply as a synonym by Mez and Smith.

In 1939 and 1940, while collecting in Brazil, we took both the green phase and the deep maroon-brown phase in Espirito Santo. I had always considered them distinct color varieties. In fact one would be inclined to pass by the green variety, as var. tigrina is so superior in every way.

We find that this B. horrida var. tigrina is quite a free bloomer and while the flowers are interesting they could hardly be called beautiful. Almost transparent green with a fleck of blue, they are fragrant at night which is possibly an unique attribute among the Billbergias.

A large cluster plant of this variety growing on the trunk of a tree in full light is a very stunning sight with its silver grey bands on maroon-brown leaves.

718 Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Fla.


A Collection of Cultural Ideas from Members of the
Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society, St. Petersburg, Florida

To increase Billbergias, Aechmeas, etc. plant them in osmundine, gravel or other porous material at a slight angle to the vertical. Remove the shoots when they have leaves as tall as the top of the rosette of the old plant and more will follow.

Large terrestrials, such as Puya, Pitcairnia, and especially Bromelia balansae look attractive and grow well in large raised urns – standing in the sun in a warm climate as is done with Aloes, Agaves, Yuccas, etc.

The several types of miniature greenhouses or wardian cases on the market today are not only good for raising bromels in the home or office but are also ideal for raising seedlings or for experiments in flower induction by chemicals or day length.

Surgical plasma bottles with tubing can be filled with water and hung over a plant. It is easy to maintain a steady, slow supply of water where it is needed, by adjusting the height and the pinchcock valve.

When plants are first moved under fiber glass do not fertilize for several weeks and reduce watering a bit as they will grow softer at first.

The shade cloth for lathe houses produced by many different companies is approximately the same in quality. It is the best all-round shade material obtainable; however, the percentage of shading listed on the grades is far greater than the actual amount. Outside light, in Florida, is more intense than in the northern states (by half again or more) and is also higher than in the misty tropical forests.

In preparing any soluble fertilizers that are so popular, a dash of vinegar or a small amount of sphagnum or peat should be added to the water before the fertilizer; this will acidify the water and increase its ability to dissolve the fertilizer.

A little trace of peat added to the water in bromel cups will benefit them.

Always use the "black" osmunda instead of the softer yellowish type because the dark, coarse grade drains better. Save the yellow for aroids, etc.

Never pot bromels, or other plants, in common soil without sterilizing it.

Use crock from broken pots or broken up red bricks for drainage; never use lumps of concrete or mortar (neither gravel) which is often limestone.

In planting bromels in beds, unless the ground is exceptionally well drained, prepare the surface so that it is an inch to several inches above the surrounding level. It is also wise to dig down a foot or more and make a layer of broken crock or brick, replacing the soil over it with a sterilized layer of prepared growing mixture.

Greenhouses, lathhouses, etc. should be shaded the most overhead and the least on the sides. There is an optimum light intensity for each plant and best growth comes from twelve to sixteen hours per day of light at this optimum plus the remaining hours in uninterrupted complete darkness.

An electric fan which keeps a steady three to six mph wind on plants in a greenhouse will increase their growth.

The cup or vase of a bromeliad must always contain water.

Growth may be stimulated by using weak manure tea, at regular intervals, instead of plain water in bromeliad cups.

Bromeliads will be encouraged to reproduce if each side shoot or sucker is removed as soon as it has formed several leaves and has a strong base. Always arrange for good drainage when repotting a bromeliad.

Unsightly, dead, outer leaves may be removed from a bromel.

Never place a scale infected plant among your collection until it has been sprayed with malathion.

Mechanical injury or dry brown areas on leaf tips or edges may be removed by scissors:

All bromeliads will respond well to repotting if potting medium, such as sphagnum, disintegrates and becomes spongy.

Copper wire or staples are injurious to bromeliad tissue. Never use oil spray on bromeliads.

It is wise to make several experiments in order to determine the condition best suitable for each plant.

SUGGESTION to Branch Societies for what to do at meetings – a competition on bromeliad flower arrangements in the dry and/or live class; let someone photograph all of them and then let the judges explain the various points of criteria of why and why not a winner, for publication in our Bulletin.

Many members of the Bromeliad Society have at times found it difficult or impossible to buy or sell certain bromeliads, so we have decided to include a space for classified ads in our Bulletin. The space will be restricted to offers to buy, sell or exchange bromeliads, bromeliad seeds, or bromeliad literature. There will be a charge of 20c per two and half inch line; minimum charge, $1.00 per issue.

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