THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETINM. 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.
EDITOR'S NOTES:It is with much pride we learn that bromeliads won over 20 blue ribbons and a number of red ones shown in the notable bromeliad exhibit as an invited part of the Orchid Show of St. Petersburg, Florida, January 26-27, 1957. Hats off to The Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society. We regret that no photo of this exhibit has been submitted, so that we could share their accomplishments with you.
Miss Dorothy Evans, former president of the group, won the coveted Silver Trophy for the third time on her outstanding Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor.
An interesting book on plants has been received from Amsterdam, Holland, named, "Tuinboek voor de Tropen" by L. Bruggeman, written in Dutch. While the emphasis is on many different kinds of tropical plants in cultivation, in the text and in the 292 colored plates, a dozen interesting bromeliad plates deserve our attention. (Can be purchased from Ed. A. Menninger, Stuart, Florida, $7.93).
Recently brought to our attention is a bulletin, No. 85, April 1954, put out by the Department of Agriculture, Tallahassee, Florida, which is a symposium on Spanish Moss; some of the articles, unfortunately, are fairly well out-dated, but nonetheless, have interest in the commercial use of the Spanish Moss. At least two of the writers still use the long outdated name, of Dendropogon usneoides instead of Tillandsia usneoides.
Bromeliads have been the subject of a series of articles appearing during the past year in the new Mexican publication, "Cactaceas y Suculentas Mexicanas". The articles are by Prof. Eizi Matuda, under the heading "Iconografia de las Bromeliaceas Mexicanas" and describe some of the most outstanding bromeliads native to Mexico, such as Tillandsia bulbosa, T. prodigiosa, T. imperialis, T Bourgaei, T. Benthamiana. Prof. Matuda is director of the Herbario Matuda, Apdo. Num. 29864, Administration 18, Mexico, D.F.
|PLANT LIFE – First Bromeliaceae Edition – Profusely illustrated, 105 pages, articles by Dr. L. B. Smith; M. B. and Racine Foster; David Barry, Ladislaus Cutak, and Wyndham Hayward. Vol. 1, 1945 – $2.50 postpaid|
Dr. Thomas W. Whitaker, Executive Secretary|
The American Plant Life Society
Box 150, La Jolla, California
Advertising rates in The Bromeliad Bulletin:
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COVER: Guzmania musaica (Photo M. B. Foster) See p. 12.
BROMELIACEAE OF SOUTHERN BRAZIL
P. Raulino Reitz
From 1949 to 1953, large and very interesting studies were conducted on the environment of the Bromeliaceae in the south of Brazil. These studies were directed by the ecologist Henrique Pimenta Veloso and supported by the Servico Nacional de Malŕria. With his staff led by Roberto Klein he studied in great detail the habitats in which bromeliads live, investigating more than 300,000 trees and shrubs. Of the bromeliads themselves they studied 120,000 individuals in 200 localities in the states of Paranŕ, Santa Catarina, and Rio Grande do Sul, encountering 42 species and 12 varieties (the whole Santa Catarina State has 82 species and 19 varieties of Bromeliads).
THE COMMUNITY OF AZAMBUJA: Let us take a concrete example to show how the bromeliads live in their environment, namely the forest of Azambuja. This forest (see the diagrammatic profile) is located next to the city of Brusque, Santa Catarina, and has an area of 130,000 square meters. There for the space of a year 6,308 individuals of 17 species of bromeliads were observed.
The community of Azambuja lies in a narrow closed valley where there is a special microclimate at the foot of the slope, another half way up, and a third near the crest. For better observation the community was divided into three zones: A, at the foot, B, midway, and C, near the top.
ZONE A. This is the most humid part situated at the foot of the slope where
the ground is covered with moisture-loving plants and the trees are very high (up to 30 meters or 100 feet). There are no bromeliads on the ground but on the trees they occur from the trunk to the crown, those of the trunk being species with high moisture requirements such as Nidularium innocentii Lem. var paxianum L. B. Smith, Vriesia incurvata Gaud., Vriesia carinata Wawra, Billbergia amoena Lindl. and Aechmea blumenavii Reitz.
In the treetops live thousands of individuals belonging to many species that are accustomed to drought and bright sunlight, as for example Vriesia jonghii (Libon ex Koch) E. Morn, Vriesia rodigasiana E. Morr., Vriesia gigantea Gaud., Vriesia philippocoburgii Wawra var. vagans L. B. Smith, Vriesia flammea L. B. Smith, Aechmea nudicaulis (L.) Griseb. var. cuspidate Baker, and Tillandsia triticea Burchell ex Baker.
ZONE B: Located midway on the slope, this zone has a microclimate that is intermediate between the humid base and the dry crest and is characterized by trees up to 20 meters high (about 65 feet). In spite of a large part of the ground being covered, low plants are to be found there as well as a few bromeliads that are terrestrial or grow on tree roots. Once again the tree trunks bear species needing a high humidity. In the treetops there is a repetition of Zone A.
ZONE C: This is the vegetation of the crest of the slope with the special edaphic conditions of bare soil and rapid drainage. The distinctly smaller trees (12 to 15 meters or 40 to 50 feet) admit a more intense sunlight thus giving a drier microclimate, which is also intensified by the greater access of the wind to the hilltops and the longer hours of daylight. At this height the ground is literally covered by a carpet of Nidularium innocentii Lem. var. paxianum (Mez) L. B. Smith, which is almost a complete dominant here. The species, which in other zones live half way up the tree trunks, are the rarest here, while the treetops are like those of Zones A and B. About 35 per cent of the bromeliads inhabit the trees and 65 the soil. This zone and that of the edge of the coastal forest present the greatest number of bromeliads per unit area, that is an average of 13.5 per square meter (about a square yard).
|Photo L. B. Smith|
|In the restinga of Guaratuba (Parana State) the Vriesia erythrodactylon covers, literally, the ground forming a solid carpet.|
OTHER FORMATIONS: The distribution of bromeliads in rain forest throughout southern Brazil is rather similar to what we have seen in the community of Azambuja.
In the restinga formation, which is the formation along the coast, the vegetation is distinctly lower (1-5 meters or 3-17 feet) and the shrubs are usually more widely separated from each other. Here the species of bromeliads and aroids that are accustomed to living in the treetops and on the trunks elsewhere because of their adaptation to strong light and low humidity, in the restinga literally cover the ground forming a solid carpet as in Zone C of the community of Azambuja. The principal species we note here are Vriesia friburgensis Mez var. paludosa (L. B. Smith) L. B. Smith, V. erythrodactylon E. Morr. ex Mez, V. philippocoburgii Wawra var. philippocoburgii and var. vagans L. B. Smith, Nidularium innocentii Lem. var. paxianum (Mez) L. B. Smith, Aechmea gamosepala Wittm., and Ae. kertesziae Reitz. The number of bromeliads per square meter attains an average of 13.5.
INFLUENCE OF LIGHT AND HUMIDITY IN RELATION TO THE CLIMATE: According to MacLean (Studies on the Ecology of tropical rain forest. Journ. Ecol. 7: 5-171. 1919), the distribution of light in natural forests is very unequal. The species and varieties of bromeliads do not show much diversity, preferring either shade or sunlight. Henrique P. Veloso in his research (Anais Botanicos HBR 4: 199. 1952) arrived at the conclusion that of 54 species and 12 varieties, 21 preferred the shade (ciophile), 13 were indifferent to light and shade, and 20 preferred direct sunlight.
In the same investigation Veloso's results were quite different in the distribution of species in relation to the humidity of the climate. Some 23 have low moisture requirements and inhabit the branches of the trees where there is little humidity, 21 are moisture-loving and grow on the treetrunks where the humidity is higher, and 10 are strongly moisture-loving and grow on the roots of trees or on the ground where the humidity is greatest.
Fig. 2 – Reaction of the bromeliad species to the shade. |
(H. P. Veloso, "Anais Bot." HBR 4:200, 1952)
|Fig. 3 – Reaction of the bromeliad species to the humidity of the climate. (H. P. Veloso, "Anais Bot." HBR 4:201, 1952)|
VOLUME OF WATER RETAINED BETWEEN THE LEAVES: Among the entire 82 species of Santa Catarina examined, 15 belonging to the genera Dyckia and Tillandsia have no capacity whatever to retain water, 60 species contain from 1 to 1,000 cubic centimeters (about a quart) of water, and 7 contain from 1,000 to 5,000. Vriesia gigantea Gaud. has the greatest capacity with somewhat over 5,000 cubic centimeters or well over a gallon. The quantity of water in the bromeliads has a close relation to the development of the characteristic flora and fauna which finds a favorable habitat in these tiny lakes. In the state of Santa Catarina this relation is of great importance to public health because of the development of larvae of the mosquitoes (Anopheles subgenus Kerteszia) which carry malaria, a phenomenon first studied by Adolpho Lutz (Mosquitos silvestres e Malaria silvestre: Zentralblatt f. Bakteriologie 33. Abt. 1: 282. 1903).
EXPLANATION of Fig. No. 1, page 3
Diagrammatic profile of the community of Azambuja (Santa Catarina, Brazil) where Euterpe edulis Mart. (Palmae) and Sloanea guianensis (Aubl.) Berg. are the dominants and Alchornea triplinervia (Spreng.) Muell. Arg. and Inga sessilis Mart. the subdominants in Zone A. In Zone B, the dominants are Alchornea triplinervia (Spreng.) Muell. Arg., Euterpe edulis Mart. and Tapirira guianensis Aubl. and the subdominants Cryptocarya moschata Mart. and Torrubia olfersiana (Lk., Kl. & Otto) Standl. In Zone C, the dominants are Tapirira guianensis Aubl., Ocotea aciphylla (Nees) Mez, Alchornea triplinervia (Spreng.) Muell. Arg. and Sloanea guianensis (Aubl.) Berg and the subdominants Ocotea preciosa (Nees) Mez, Xylopia brasiliensis Spreng., Vantanea contracta Urb., and Byrsonima ligustrifolia Juss.
In Zone A there are no terrestrial bromeliads, in Zone B they are rare, and in Zone C very abundant averaging 13.5 individuals per square meter.
Herbario "Barbosa Rodrigues", Itajai, S. Catarina, Brazil
|Photo Elmer Lorenz|
|The solid wall of redwood bark on which are mounted splendid specimens of all kinds of plants.|
Frank H. Overton
A stranger, newly arrived in Los Angeles, if told that he would find at the home of our fellow-member, Elmer Lorenz, 5110 Monte Bonito Drive, in Eagle Rock, one of the most beautiful and charming gardens in this area, might easily believe, upon approaching this address, that he had been misled, because the scarred and rocky hillsides that line the Colorado Freeway, over which he would probably travel, and the surrounding chapparal-covered San Rafael Hills would give no hint of the lush beauty to be found so close at hand.
Our hypothetical stranger, after climbing the short flight of steps from the hillside street, and noting as he walked up the path to the front entrance of this attractive home, the many fine trees and shrubs, the splendid specimens of dracaenas and New Zealand flax, the palms and philodendrons, the clumps of bamboo and ferns and strelitzias, and the well-kept beds bordered by bromeliads and succulents, would certainly say to himself, "Here lives one who loves plants and knows how to grow them." And how right he would be! And as he strolled on around and through the garden he would surely be impressed by the tremendous variety of plants, the quality of the individual specimens and the air of restfulness and naturalness that pervades it all.
A peep around the north side of the house would reveal camellias and fuchsias seven feet, or more, in height, growing luxuriantly against the house, and, three feet away, on the other side of the path, a built-up sloping bank of red volcanic rock, which must be all of a hundred feet long, thickly planted with succulents, cacti, agaves, dyckias, puyas, interspersed with petunias and other flowering plants, all growing together in complete harmony.
However, it is when one goes through the front entrance to the living room and looks out of either of two large picture windows that he beholds a vista truly breath-taking in its beauty.
Canopied by approximately 3500 square feet of lath roof, and beginning at the very door-step of the rear entrance as though it were an extension of the living-room itself, is a lovely shade garden which is indeed "a thing of beauty and a joy forever".
In the immediate foreground, mirroring large clumps of bananas, heliconias and palms, is a lovely pool, bordered by thick plantings of ferns and bromeliads. Extending for a considerable distance beyond the pool, a gentle slope rises to a level area beyond, dotted with mossy rocks and logs peeping through the ground cover amongst a riot of growing things far beyond the powers of this writer to identify.
Along the entire north side is a solid wall of slabs of redwood bark, eight or ten feet high, on which are mounted splendid specimens of staghorn ferns and huge baskets of billbergias. From the supporting beams overhead hang other baskets and pieces of driftwood, fairly dripping with long streamers and festoons of epiphyllums, rhypsalis and ceropegias, while clambering up the posts are tangles of Hoya carnosa and other flowering vines. Effective use has been made of the Japanese Rice Paper Tree, Tetrapanax, many specimens of which are scattered over the entire garden, some of them poking their heads through the lath roof and far above it.
Not to be overlooked amongst all this beauty is the glass-house, approximately 9' × 18' in size, sheltered by the lath roof, and fairly bulging with a huge collection of bromeliads and other choice tropicals.
There is a bit of irony concealed in this beautiful garden which must be revealed. Elmer selected this particular spot because of its size, accessibility and desirability, and because of the apparent remoteness of any possibility of its being threatened by the ever-expanding system of free-ways which have uprooted so many other homes in and around Los Angeles. No sooner was his house built and permission granted to construct his very extensive lathhouse than the Colorado Freeway began to worm its way towards him, threatening to engulf his entire property, and it was only by a miracle that he escaped with only one prodigious bite being taken out of the rear end of it. But he who laughs last laughs best, and Elmer can afford to smile indulgently at the stream of traffic that roars by only a stones throw away from his leafy retreat for, in every sense of the word, they are worlds apart.
1348 Winchester Ave., Glendale, Calif.
The Bromeliad Society has in the United States three active affiliated groups which hold periodic meetings. They are the Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society in St. Petersburg, the Louisiana Bromeliad Society in New Orleans, and the Southern California Bromeliad Society in Los Angeles.
Any member of the Society who should be visiting in any one of these cities is cordially invited to attend one of these meetings. He should get in touch with one of the following local officers for details:
- Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society
John Beckner, President, 736 Myrtle Way So., St. Petersburg
Mrs. Sidney Lawrence, Secretary, 445 Eleventh Ave., N. E., St. Petersburg
Meetings–fourth Thursday of each month at 8 p. m.
Gulf Cities Gas Corp. Assembly Hall
600 Sixteenth St., N., St. Petersburg
- Louisiana Bromeliad Society
Eric Knobloch, President, Mary Plantation House, Dalcour
Miss Frances Dymond, Secretary, 1227 Burgundy, New Orleans
Meetings–fourth Wednesday evening of each month at homes of members
- Southern California Bromeliad Society
Ben Rees, President, 560 Laguna Road, Pasadena
Elmer Lorenz, Secretary, 5110 Monte Bonito Dr., Los Angeles
Meetings–third Sunday afternoons-alternate months beginning in January at homes of members
|Photo of Painting by M. B. Foster|
Clarence Kl. Horich
Costa Rica is a country well-named as Central America's "Little Gem"; it easily ranks among the friendliest and cleanest countries of Latin America. I had been here before, in January 1955, and, when I returned in November 1956, I felt right at home again.
According to Dr. P. C. Standley's "Flora of Costa Rica", there are some 163 species of bromeliads native to the country and if I wanted to learn at least a fraction about them, I was bound to rely on the help of people who were familiar with the native flora. Thus, I visited Mr. Charles Lankester, famed authority on orchids, bromels, aroids, cacti, shrubs and what-have-you, and after spending two days of strolling through my host's vast collections, I had gained a lot of desirable knowledge.
Mr. Lankester is the owner of two properties which partly encircle natural forests into which he has planted thousands of imported orchids and bromeliads from different countries; these imports thrive at their best with native Costa Rican plants, many of which grow wild here.
The section of "Las Concavas" (name of Mr. Lankester's estate), north-east of Cartago, bore particularly interesting plants, one of the showiest of which I learned was Guzmania monostachia. This plant describes a rosette of saber-pointed, grass-green and soft leaves, rarely attaining a greater size than some 10-12 inches in diameter; it occurs quite commonly either solitarily or in large numbered colonies everywhere on trees around Cartago, at an altitude of more or less 1500m above sea level. From this mossy, cool and rainy section of the Meseta Central it spreads over most of the higher mountain chains of Costa Rica with the emphasis of distributional density on the Cordillera Central and on the Cordillera de Talamanca.
The inflorescence of Guzmania monostachia is an erect, cylinder-shaped spike of great beauty; the numerous short, oval bracts of the entire lower stem portion are whitish, striped heavily with a dark chocolate brown; the candle-shaped, rather short (1-2 inches) floral part carries bracts of vividly scarlet-red bracts from the apex of which small, snowy white flowers arise by the dozens, providing a most extraordinarily colorful display.
At home in the cloud forests, or along the grand pastures of Cartago, G. monostachia is accompanied by many other showy bromels such as Vriesias, Tillandsias, and other Guzmanias, as well as some huge, if none too showy Catopsis, to mention the greater bulk of species here.
I am convinced that this delicate and quite desirable plant can be cultivated successfully in northern greenhouses if only kept sufficiently cool, moist and well ventilated.
San José, Costa Rica__________
P. C. Standley: "Flora of Costa Rica" Pt. I, 1937
V. Padilla: "Costa Rica-Plant Paradise" in Brom. Soc. Bull. Vol. 4, No. 5, 1954
Mulford B. Foster
Our first, personal introduction to a Guzmania species growing in its native habitat was in 1938 when Racine and I found G. monostachia growing in the trees down in Cuba. High up on Loma del Gato, (the cat's back), in the Province of Oriente, we found this beautiful species. Reaction to the excitement in finding such a fine bromeliad was released in my painting its portrait in oil.
Soon after returning to the States, we were surprised to learn that this Guzmania was also a native of Florida, growing in the Cypress trees in the southern tip of our state. Since that time we have found this species growing throughout Colombia, and soon realized that it has the greatest range of any species in the genus since it is native from Florida throughout the West Indies and Central America to Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, down to Bolivia and the northwestern part of Brazil.
Guzmania monostachia was first named by Linden as Renealmia monostachia in 1753, over two hundred years ago. Then in 1802 Ruiz and Pavon, in Fl. Peruv. 3: 38, pl 261, called it Guzmania tricolor but Rusby gave it its present name, G. monostachia in 1896. Although it is still listed in European horticulture, as G. tricolor, and was purchased by some of our members this past year under this name, it remains invalid.
In the Bromeliad Bulletin, Vol. 3, No. 4, p. 30, July-Aug. 1953, the writer described the new striped-leaf variety, G. monostachia var. variegata. In Vol. V, No. 5 of the Brom. Bull. several species of the Guzmania were treated and on p. 75 of the same issue drawings are shown which describe some of the structural features of the petal formation which differentiate this genus from its close relatives, Vriesia, Tillandsia and Catopsis.
This G. monostachia species, having such a great range of several thousand miles, shows surprisingly little variation even though it grows equally well just a few feet above sea level in Florida as well as at 3,000 feet elevations (where I have taken it) in Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Ecuador and other countries.
|Photo Wm. A, Kyburz, Cali, Colombia|
|Guzmania musaica in dense jungle habitat.|
The subject of our cover this month, Guzmania musaica with its strikingly beautiful flower head and its strongly marked leaves with bands of fine wavy lines of red-brown on a purple tinted green background, has been in great favor ever since it was discovered by Wallis in 1867. He found it in the Province of Ocana of Colombia at an altitude of 3,000 ft.
It must have created a real sensation when in the possession of nurserymen such as Mr. William Bull of London and M. J. Linden. It was exhibited first without flower, then when the plants showed flowers it was illustrated in color in Belgique Horticole, 1887; in Gartenflora, 1874; Illustration Horticole 1877; Gardener's Chronicle 1874; it was first published as Tillandsia musaica Lind et Andre, later as Billbergia musaica Regel, then Vriesia musaica Cogn, et March, and later, Caraguata musaica Andre and Massangea musaica Morr. and finally, Guzmania musaica Mez in D.C. Monogr. Phaner. IX (1896) 898.
It seems that all the principal botanists of the time wanted their chance to name it. It took Europe by storm, and remains one of the most glorious of the Guzmanias.
Racine and I made it a collecting goal when we spent six months in Colombia in 1946. We looked far and wide for a favorable spot around Ocana, where Wallis had found it and where he had lost his life, in search of this Guzmania musaica, but the mountains, once a lush jungle were now nude and dry. From one section to another we went by horseback, by truck and on foot. For days we searched and finally gave up. To add to the difficulties involved, a precious book of Traveler's Checks joggled out of my pocket while wrestling with the horse over a steep trail. Or they may have been lost when I climbed up into a tree using the horse's back to reach the first limb where lodged a bromeliad. My horse did not seem to approve of this effort and sauntered off just as I was dangling in mid-air. Finally, I was able to take a specimen of Aechmea pubescens from high up in the tree and then spent five frantic minutes beating off hundreds of frantic, disturbed ants which literally covered me; possibly it was there that I lost our very much needed Traveler's Checks whose absence was discovered only much later. In disappointment that day we gave up hopes of finding the coveted G. musaica.
Two weeks later, however, on our way to the oil fields, we spied a tree trunk covered with just what we were looking for, G. musaica, but it was at dusk and we dared not linger, then, along the way as the fierce Motolone Indians haunted this area making it unsafe to be out even in the day time, not to mention after dark. All windows and doors in the cabins were covered with hardware cloth to prevent arrows from entering. All night I dreamed of those plants; at six in the morning I rushed out into the jungle and found the tree I had seen the day before. There, like a feast awaiting the hungry, were ten beautiful plants of G. musaica encircling the tree trunk in a spiral vine-like rhythm on their long stolons . . . and they were in flower! It was a rewarding sight, well worth all the discomforts and disappointments of the miles of dangerous searching.
718 Magnolia Ave., Orlando, Florida
Wilbur G. Downs
Early in August, 1956, I was in Grenada, making a health survey, and since it was my first visit to this island, I was very anxious to see how it compared with Trinidad. The first and continuing impression for the entire stay was one of nearly complete destruction wrought by Hurricane Janet in September 1955. Not only were some 80% of the nutmeg groves and cacao groves covering the lower slopes of the mountains destroyed, but on the upper slopes of Mount Catherine and South East Mountain, the very forest trees themselves were completely stripped of leaves. Now, a year later, it is evident that many of them could not withstand this, since they are still standing as gaunt, gnarled poles, hundreds of acres of them, with no leaves at all. The government is busy reforesting, and the planters are busy replanting, but it will be decades before Grenada fully recovers.
While working in the lowland areas, I was impressed with the paucity of bromeliads as compared to Trinidad. A Pitcairnia species with bright red flowers on long lax spikes, was common on the roadside banks on the road between St. George's and Gouyave. And in the dry southeast portion of the island, there were a few Tillandsias, probably fasciculata, although I saw no spikes to help in identifying. An occasional Tillandsia flexuosa was seen. Also fairly common in the lowlands in all areas visited was a large Tillandsia resembling T. elongata var. subimbricata of Trinidad. But it was in the higher areas, above 1400 feet, and stated to get from 150-200 inches of rainfall a year, that the differences were greatest. In Trinidad, a valley in the northern range getting 150 inches of rainfall has an abundance of bromeliads of a half a dozen genera, in all trees, large and small. Indeed, the overhead 'lake' produced by the large, so-called 'tank' bromeliads constitutes the big malaria control problem. In Grenada, there are only scattered bromeliads to be seen, even where the rainfall is evidently very high. At Belvidere Estate, in the hills back of Gouyave, I picked up a single fine Guzmania in flower, the flower closely resembling that of G. lingulata in Trinidad, with a considerable quantity of jelly-like or mucinous material covering the bracts and the small blossoms in the flowering head. Also, I picked up a few plants of another large species, probably a Vriesia, with no flowering stalks. Again, in the forest near Grand Etang, a fairly large Vriesia was common, and several plants were obtained with inflorescences, both new and old. Another most interesting plant was obtained with red leaves, but no inflorescence. Plants have been brought back to Trinidad, and as suitable flowering material is obtained, this will be sent to Lyman B. Smith for identification.
Summarizing differences between Grenada and Trinidad, there is not nearly the overall abundance of bromeliads in Grenada as exists in Trinidad, and it would appear that there are but few more than a dozen species as compared to Trinidad's 58 native species. Particularly noticeable by their absence are the large spiny leaved epiphytes, so common in Trinidad, in the genera Gravisia, Aechmea and Hohenbergia. Not a single such plant was seen.
Director, Trinidad Regional Virus Laboratory|
P. O. Box 164, Port of Spain, Trinidad
Dear Mr. Foster and The Bromeliad Society:
A year with bromeliads has been a great pleasure as they respond so well with only a little care. I have had Billbergias for the last twelve years, but I did not know they belonged to the pineapple family. One, I am very fond of, as it has bloomed every fall for the last five years. After reading The Bromeliad Bulletin I find that it is Billbergia pyramidalis. I now have six large plants. I use them for arranging flowers in their leaf pockets and show them at the Garden Club.
In this past year I have been growing many bromeliads from seed, especially Puyas – I have about thirty plants. They have five leaves now and have been transplanted three times. I also have small seedlings of Aechmea fasciata and several others trying to come through. I use the fern block method until I see real green sprouts. Then I lift them into plastic refrigerator containers with lids. Into these containers I first put a layer of crock for drainage, then peat and good soil with a layer of sphagnum. In this way the little seedlings do not dampen off. In due time the bromeliads can be put into pots. I just love to raise anything from seed; it is such a delight to watch the little plants grow.
I have a twenty foot greenhouse and a 20 × 15 foot glass porch. They are both full of all kinds of begonias, orchids, tropical vines and plants, and, of course, bromeliads. The plants even overflow into the house, as raising plants has been a great hobby of mine all my life. Last summer I took all plants out-of-doors. I have a rock patio on the east side of our home where only filtered sun comes through and where, between cool stones, I put my plants. But the bromeliads and orchids I hung up in the trees in baskets, homemade out of coat hangers, chicken wire and moss. Good friends in Florida sent me a half bushel of Spanish Moss which was hung through three large trees. Many pieces grew. My tropical plants felt at home and I thought the South could not be far away. It was an enchanting sight. The orchids set sheath and the bromeliads bloomed – also the Begonias grew like trees. It was an experience which I intend to repeat each summer. It means a lot of work, as we cannot put a house plant outside until June; then, shortly, the first part of September we have to take them back into the greenhouse. But they looked so happy outside that I feel it was all worth while.
Anyone starting to grow all types of bromeliads will get real pleasure out of them. Last summer when I read in The Bromeliad Society Bulletin about pineapples being used for house plants, I had a big time. On each grocery shopping trip I looked for a nice pineapple with a different colored top. I froze the fruit and planted the tops. Twenty-five were growing at one time. I started them in water on my window sill where the growing roots could be watched. Then they were transplanted into peat moss and good soil. I gave many away, but I still have five large plants. Incidentally, we ate this fruit all winter.
I would enjoy adding several other bromeliads this year. It may be that some member would like to exchange plants or seedlings with me, as we do get a large surplus of any one plant. I have five Aechmeas, and five Billbergias, two Cryptanthus and some Puya alpestris seedlings and two Quesnelias, besides one each of Till. ionantha, Fasc. bicolor, a Neoregelia hybrid and the Acanthostachys.
As a beginner in the first year I am proud of my bromeliads. I would enjoy showing my plants to anyone who lives nearby.
It would be grand if one could travel to faraway places and see these curious plants growing in their own part of the world, and this fancy is especially gratifying since we have very cold weather at present with snow and ice over all greenery, but I can dream can't I?
A bromeliad and plant friend,|
Lottie M. Hardy, 123 Johns Ave., McDonald, Penn.
In Daytona Beach, Florida, the Council of Garden Clubs of the Halifax District sponsors a Horticulture Hobby Show, such as an exhibit of Day Lilies, or African Violets or aroids, on the last Sunday afternoon of each month. This is offered as an educational feature for the public. In the September 1956 show, Miss B. L. Horner was invited to present her hobby, that of bromeliads.
Miss Horner has been acquiring and growing bromeliads for the past ten years; she is not sure how many she now has, because after reaching fifty different varieties, she stopped counting. She grows her bromeliads out-of-doors under oaks, palms and hibiscus trees, among a ground cover of ferns and cycads. Her aim to preserve a naturalistic jungle effect has been well achieved by using old oak logs among the epiphytes, ferns, cycads and other plant growth. This private jungle creation is called "Jack's Jungle" Jackie being Miss Horner's nickname.
On the east coast of Florida Miss Horner has made quite a reputation for herself for giving talks on the principles of plant arrangements, and for demonstrating the decorative versatility of bromeliads in numerous outstanding arrangements. She not only praises the use of bromeliad plants but also favors dried floral arrangements, using the dried inflorescence from the bromeliads; it is surprising what can be accomplished! In numerous Flower Shows and Exhibits (see Nov.-Dec. 1956 issue, p. 88) she has made arrangements of bromeliads, which to everyone's surprise are still presentable eight to ten months later.
Among other activities in spreading the "gospel" about our favorite plant family, Miss Horner has given talks with her living bromeliad illustrations to the Seabreeze High School Home Economics Department and the Educational Section of the Y.W.C.A. both of which featured this year special courses in flower and plant arrangement. She placed the emphasis in the talks on the easiness of the care of bromeliads as house plants, and their versatile forms and colors in relationship to modem home decor. At the close of her talks she presented some of the most easily grown plants to the groups as incentives to start growing more.
For five years plants from Miss Horner's "jungle" were used in decorating the window of the Sunshine Room of the Power & Light Co. of Daytona Beach. Bromeliads were usually the chief feature and aroused much admiration and interest, especially when they were shown with their spectacular, long-lasting and colorful inflorescences.
Hats off to Miss Horner who has done so much in bringing bromeliads to the attention of large receptive audiences in numerous clubs and educational groups not only in Daytona Beach but also in New Smyrna, Port Orange, DeLand as well as in Miami.
Although ferns, palms and a
few other foliage plants have been used as a contrast, bromeliads everywhere
predominate. Studying the photo closely from right to left we see directly in
front of Miss Horner a fine old Florida Cypress "knee" which holds a
Billbergia vittata, and a sprawling Cryptanthus bivittatus–a study
in horizontal bands. Glancing along the table, further, from right to left, we
find an Aechmea Orlandiana, Vriesia retroflexa, Bill. horrida, Aec. × "Royal
Wine", Aec. miniata var. discolor, Bill. zebrina, Bill × "Fantasia",
Till. ionantha, Neo. spectabilis and Aec. caudata. In the moon-shaped basket in front of the large table
proudly stands an Aec. × "Foster's Favorite" vying for display
rights with the Crypt. Fosterianus below. Featured on the little center
table is a light green container complimenting the pinkish tones of Bill. zebrina and a Cryptanthus hybrid. In front of this coffee table is a curious
container of slats which holds a dazzling Neo. carolinae all aflame.|
Throughout the exhibit the colors of the containers, which range from brown to various shades of green, play an important part in providing a complimentary counterpart to this colorful exhibit.