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The Bromeliad Society Bulletin is the official publication of The Bromeliad Society, a non-profit corporation organized in 1950. The Bulletin is issued six times a year. Subscription to the Bulletin is included in the annual membership dues. There are five classes of membership: Annual, $3.50; Foreign, $4.00; Sustaining, $5.00; Fellowship, $10.00; Life $150.00. For further information, write to the secretary, 647 So. Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles 49, California. Please submit all manuscripts for publication to the editor, 752 - 26th Street, Santa Monica, California.

PresidentDavid Barry, Jr. SecretaryVictoria Padilla
Vice PresidentFrank Overton EditorMaria Wilkes
TreasurerBenjamin O. Rees Art EditorMorris Henry Hobbs

Honorary Vice-Presidents
Mrs. Sydney Lawrence, President, Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society
David Goebel, President, Louisiana Bromeliad Society
Fritz Kubisch, President, Southern California Bromeliad Society

Board of Directors
David Barry, Jr.
Dr. Russell Seibert
Ladislaus Cutak
Mulford B. Foster
Wilbur G. Wood
Wyndham Hayward
James N. Giridlian
E. W. Ensign
O. E. Van Hyning
Henry M. Hobbs
Benjamin O. Rees
Julian Nally
Frank Overton
Eric Knoblock
Fritz Kubisch
Victoria Padilla

Honorary Trustees
Dr. Alberto Castellanos
Fundacion Miguel Lillo
Aguero 2406
Buenos Aires, Argentina

Monsieur Charles Chevalier
(Honorary Dir. Liege Bot. Gard.)
Esneux, Belgium

Mr. Charles Hodgson
Heidelberg 23, Melbourne
Victoria, Australia

Mr. C. H. Lankester
Las Concavas
Cartago, Costa Rica

P. Raulino Reitz, Dir.
Herbario, "Barbosa Rodrigues"
Itajai, St. Catarina, Brasil

Mr. Walter Richter
Postfach 52
East Germany

Dr. Lyman B. Smith
Associate Curator
Smithsonian Institution
Washington. D. C.

Mr. Henry Teuscher, Dir.
Montreal Botanical Garden
Montreal, Canada

Mrs. Muriel Waterman
Milford, Auckland N2
New Zealand

PICTURE ON THE COVER— This is one of the best known and best loved of all bromeliads—Vriesea splendens, known sometimes as the "Flaming Torch." It is not a difficult Vriesea to grow and will thrive in almost any kind of potting mix. The little bird that found its way into the picture is one of a number that finds its way into the artist's garden each year.

The Journal of the Royal Horticultural Society for September, 1959, on page 436, gave almost a half page review of the Cultural Handbook. In everyway the reviewer (G. W. Robinson) seemed to be pleased with the book and hopes it has a British audience. He mentions the Bromeliad Society and the Bulletin, with favor. I think we can feel mighty pleased that our book and our Society has come to the attention of the horticulturally minded Britishers in this way.

Photo by Victoria Padilla
Tillandsia ionantha


Victoria Padilla

T Stands for Tillandsia.

Aside from comprising the largest group of bromeliads in the entire family, Tillandsias are also among the most fascinating. A collector could devote his efforts just to this one genus and find it a never-ending source of delight. Dr. Richard Oeser, of Kirchzarten, Germany, and Dr. Luigi Califano, of Naples, Italy, are two members who concentrate their interest on Tillandsias, and their collections are both exciting and beautiful.

Tillandsias are found growing natively from the southern tip of Virginia to five hundred miles south of Buenos Aires. This is the range of the ubiquitous Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides). Next in extent as to habitat is the moss ball (Tillandsia recurvata), which will grow on practically anything it happens to light upon.

Tillandsias vary in size from a few inches, as in T. recurvata and T. ionantha; to T. grandis, which produces a flower stalk eleven feet tall. Although there are many Tillandsias which have smooth pale green leaves, the more common ones have grey leaves, which are lepidote or fuzzy like the common Spanish moss. No Tillandsia has spines on its leaves. Unlike other bromeliads the leaves of most Tillandsias do not form a cup in which water and nutriments may collect. Instead they are completely covered with tiny sponges or peltate scales which retain water and absorb minerals from the air for food. The flowers are generally found in flattened spike formations and are either blue, lavender, pink, white, yellow or green. The bracts range in color from white and green to pink and red.

Tillandsias require little care, but they know what they want and will sulk unless given the conditions they need. They must have plenty of air—for naturally they grow high on trees—and so will not do well in the stuffy confines of a heated living room. As their roots are unimportant, they prefer being planted in osmunda, Hawaiian tree fern fiber, or similar material. They may be grown in pots, but if so, they must be firmly planted and have ample drainage. They will thrive attached to tree limbs (either living or dead), provided they are firmly fastened and the roots well wrapped in moss. They need a daily spraying of water and a monthly spraying of liquid fertilizer. Light, too, is a factor—for these bromeliads will often take the strongest sunlight in their native homes.

What Tillandsias should the beginner start with? His selection will depend, to a large extent, on his growing conditions, but no grower of bromeliads should be without Tillandsia lindenii. No other bromeliad ever introduced from the American tropics created the sensation as did this species when first shown in flower in Europe. None has been mentioned so often and praised so much, and none has been recommended so much for cultivation. This species is extremely variable. The most commonly seen variety, however, measures about fifteen inches in diameter with leaves penciled in dark reddish-purple lines. The spike stands above the rosette on a round, slender stem before it widens, flattens, and takes on a vivid watermelon color. The flowers, which are usually a lovely cobalt blue, last for several days, and when they wither other flowers come out of the bracts, and this goes on for weeks. Even long after the last flowers have disappeared, the bracts remain in their brilliant colors much longer. The flowers will often vary in color and form. T. lindenii var. regeliana is a larger growing plant and one of the finest. The flower-stalk rises about two feet above the rosette. The flowers are of a very brilliant blue and are conspicuous for their bright white eyes. The writer has seen T. lindenii with single pink flowers, with double pink flowers, with double deep purple flowers, and with very pale lavender flowers.

Photo by Victoria Padilla
Tillandsia cyanea
Photo by Mulford Foster
Tillandsia fasciculata. A Florida Native

Tillandsia cyanea is similar in many respects to T. lindenii, its chief difference being that it is a smaller, more compact plant with a chubbier bract and usually more brilliant flowers. It is a true little gem. Mr. David Barry has crossed this Tillandsia with T. lindenii, getting an offspring which appears to have captured the best traits of both parents. It is called T. x "Emilie."

Another gem among Tillandsias is; T. ionantha, a native of central Mexico and Yucatan. It is the elf of the genus, growing scarcely more than three or four inches in height. The leaves which are finely covered with gray scales are very short and pointed, forming a dense rosette. The flowers issue from the center of the leaves, peeping out very conspicuously and showing their bright blue-violet hue to every admirer. This little bromeliad is easily grown in pots and on the branches of trees. It appears to be quite hardy. As in the case of a number of Tillandsias this species turns a fire-red when it is about to bloom.

One of the most striking of all Tillandsias is T. streptophylla, also a native of Mexico. There are few species with leaves so twisted—in fact, it is almost octopus-like in form. The branched flower stalk, completely covered with gray scales, contains many lavender flowers which appear above the delicate pink bracts. This is an easy Tillandsia to grow and will thrive with little care.

Photo by W. Howe Sadler Courtesy Tropical Living
Tillandsia circinnata, a handsome Florida native, shown here growing on a piece of treefern fiber, on which it thrives.
Photo by Victoria Padilla
Tillandsia caput-medusae

A number of Tillandsias are found in their native habitat living on rocks. Such is Tillandsia capitata, a native to both Mexico and Cuba. Until its blooming time it resembles some of the common Tillandsias of Florida, such as T. fasciculata and T. utriculata, but when it begins to bloom, it is definitely unlike any other member of the genus. Its beautifully colored flower head is a combination of colors found in no other bromeliads—being a lovely symphony of pastels of gray, yellow, lavender, and brown.

Tillandsia flabellata is another outstanding beauty. Out of a dense rosette of leaves rises a two-foot inflorescence which branches out into spikes, numbering from four to eight, each long, narrowly-flat, and suffused with bright red.

There are so many Tillandsias for a beginner to try that it is difficult to list them; T. Butzii, T. brachycaulos, T. Andrieuxii, T. bulbosa, T. fasciculata are among those which are charming and easy to grow. Such beauties as T. imperialis and T. multicaulis, which have lately entered the trade, need an experienced hand. It is recommended that the beginner get a collection of Florida native Tillandsias, which are easy to grow and yet are very beautiful. There are a number of Florida nurserymen who specialize in the native flora of their state and who sell these Tillandsias very inexpensively.

"Tillandsia", Ft. Pierce, Florida

(Excerpts reprinted by permission)
Racine Foster

The former "Tropical Homes & Gardens" of Miami in December 1953 published a very interesting "thumbnail sketch" of TILLANDSIA, "the palm studded hammock estate of the Howard Hortons sloping to the black watered St. Lucie River west of Fort Pierce", Florida.

Further quotes from that magazine express what should be said:

"It is unique, for although the ranch house blends with its surroundings, it reflects the man (Franklind Tyler) who designed and built it with his own two hands just as the grounds are indicative of the deft execution of the garden-minded Hortons.

". . . . TILLANDSIA was fashioned with the loving care with which a modiste would design a trouseau . . . . "

Photo Coleman Studio
At left is Mr. Tyler who carved this sign and who built the unique home for Mr. and Mrs. Horton who stand center and right.
Photo Coleman Studio
A nest of Aechmea orlandiana happy in the oak hammock along the St. Lucie River, Fla.

"TILLANDSIA is perfectly named with its millions of air plants or Tillandsias clinging to every oak and palm. Numerous native orchids also show pert little faces among the trees" . . . .

"It is said that Mrs. Horton designed the grounds while Mr. Horton cleared the jungle and planted."

Mrs. Horton has a bromeliad garden which includes much native growth as well as philodendron, bananas and palms. Billbergia pyramidalis aglow with bloom in the summer, and Aechmea orlandiana which gives proud color in the winter, as well as assorted native Tillandsias, especially T. fasciculata var densispica, in the Spring, give brilliant ornament to the grey-festooned oaks.

One must walk around in the garden to get the feel of this unusual spot, a moist haven for bromeliads.

The house is such an individualistic creation of Franklind Tyler that it demands more photos and too much space for the limits of this Bulletin to discuss. But you can be sure home and garden have a master's touch, amazingly versatile.

We like the name TILLANDSIA which emphasizes the unique and individualistic flavor of the entire estate. It could not have been named Aechmea or Vriesea, nor for any other bromeliad. In the word Tillandsia is just enough softness and rhythm to convey the feeling of the moss in the oaks, and has just enough syllables to make one linger a little on the music of the word — or is this the swaying of the Tillandsias in the Oaks?

Rt. 3, Box 658, Orlando, Florida

ATTENTION PLEASE: A Cultural Handbook for Bromeliads — second printing now available. Price $2.00. Terrestrial Bromeliads, by Mulford B. Foster is still available at 60 cents. Send to the Secretary for your copies.

ABOUT THE INDEX: With this issue is being sent the Index for Volume I through V, inclusive, covering the first five years of publication of "The Bromeliad Society Bulletin". It will be evident from a glance that a tremendous amount of work went into its compilation. Again we are indebted to Mulford and Racine Foster for another valuable contribution to Bromeliads in Horticulture.

To members who have joined the Society recently, the index will serve to show the broad scope of the work of the Society. Information concerning the purchase of Volumes I to V is in the previous and present issues of the "Bulletin".

David Barry Jr.


The cover illustration for the Nov.-Dec. 1959 Bulletin was titled Billbergia callophylla, as it has been labeled for some time in a number of different collections. After a careful and extensive search we have been unable to find any authentic record of a Billbergia with that name either as species or a hybrid.

The plant illustrated is one of the several different clones of Billbergia vittata, as it is a very variable species. See the cover illustration on Brom. Soc. Bull. Vol. 2, No. 2, 1952.

Morris Henry Hobbs.

"Tillandsia", Ft. Pierce, Florida

Lyman B. Smith

For several years Mrs. Adda Abendroth has been sharing her bromeliad discoveries with Society members who are not so favorably situated and so the opportunity to dedicate this attractive new species to her is particularly pleasant and appropriate. Neoregelia Abendrothae comes from the famous Organ Mountains that have been a happy hunting ground for botanists for almost two centuries. Following the new road from Rio, Mrs. Abendroth found the plant in the rain forest that clings to the precipitous sides of the Dedo de Deus or literally "Finger of God." You can see from the photograph how the peak resembles a hand with the forefinger pointing heavenward. The second picture gives an idea of the wonderful bromeliad territory that surrounds Mrs. Abendroth's home town of Teresopolis.

Until last year when Mulford Foster described Neoregelia Wilsoniana in the pages of our Bulletin, all the species of the genus had strapshaped leaf blades with broad blunt points. Now in rapid succession we have two with long tapering whip-like blades. However, this is almost their only point in common. Neoregelia Abendrothae differs from N. Wilsoniana in almost every detail and is really closely related to N. ampullacea as she thought even before finding it in flower. The following notes will serve to place the species on scientific record:


A N. ampullacea (E. Morr.) L. B. Sm. et N. Hoehneana L. B. Sm., quibus affinis, foliis multo longioribus longe caudato-acuminatis differt.

Propagating by long slender stolons; leaves about 10 in a slenderly subcylindric rosette, the outer over 3 dm. long, the inner undoubtedly larger but with most of the blades lost by decay, covered with pale appressed brown-centered scales; sheaths elliptic, to 12 cm. long; blades very narrowly triangular, long-acuminate, 15 mm. wide at base, sparsely and minutely serrate; scape very short; inflorescence deeply sunk in the tube of the rosette, 10-flowered; floral bracts elliptic, about equaling the pedicels, white, membranaceous; pedicels very slender, to 20mm. long; sepals nearly free, asymmetric, broadly lanceolate, acute, 14 mm. long, pale green with broad white margins, glabrous; petal-blades unappendaged, ovate, acute, 7 mm. long, white with lavender tips; stamens deeply included; ovary slenderly obovoid, 6 mm. long, the epigynous tube broadly funnelform; placentae apical; ovules apiculate.

Type in the U. S. National Herbarium, collected in virgin forest at the foot of the Dedo de Deus Peak, Teresopolis, State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, December 3, 1959, by Mrs. A. Abendroth (No. 119). Sterile material collected on April 2, 1959, in the vicinity is No. 105.

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.


If you are interested in seeing colorprints included in the Bulletin, why not start a fund for sponsoring this luxury? Or better, give 600 prints of your choicest bromeliad in Kodacolor ready to be tipped on in a favorable spot in the Bulletin.

Our best example of this generosity was provided by Henry Hobbs for the cover of the Jan.-Feb. 1958 Bulletin, Vol. VIII, No. 1.

LISTEN for Helpful "TID-BITS" and share them with The Bulletin readers. Any cultural knack; propagation aid; successful soil mixture; pest control that will not be harmful to humans or beneficial animals and insects; gleanings from helpful speakers etc., etc. A note at the time will help the reporter to be correct.

Photo by author
Adda Abendroth and Vriesea regina in the garden of Headquarters of the Organ Mountain National Park.



February is both Carnival Time and the height of the Brazilian summer in Rio de Janeiro. The city is hot and humid; the streets noisy day and night with tom-toms and shuffling feet. It is a good time to go up into the nearby Organ Mountains and a temperate climate, especially for a lover of bromeliads, for the mountains are their home.

On the automobile trip up, we went by the famous Quintandinha Hotel near Petropolis, where the President has summer quarters. Petropolis is eighty miles from Rio de Janeiro. Our goal was Teresopolis, a town about three-quarters of an hour by a good paved road beyond Petropolis, and the home of our Society member, Mrs. Adda Abendroth.

Teresopolis is about 3700 feet above the sea, and is in a valley ringed by mountains that arise to 7500 feet. By a recently completed road it is only a drive of an hour and forty minutes from Rio. The town is crowded in summer with escapees from the heat of the sea coast. Busses are sold out for a week in advance. A boon is on, and several own-your-own apartments are now in Teresopolis.

Most of the Organ Mountains (Serra dos Orgâos) is in the Organ Mountains National Park which has an area of about 65 squares miles. The administration headquarters for the park is near Teresopolis. As in public parks generally the plants are protected. Most of the terrain is rough and inaccessible. Plant collectors must be strong and eager. There have been many in these mountains. The wealth of flora, and, perhaps the proximity to Rio, has drawn them there, beginning about 120 years ago. Among them, whose names have been memorialized in the names of plants, are Weddell, Wawra, Sellow, Schott, Martius, Karwinski, Glaziou, Hoehne, Gardner and Smith.

Photo by author
A typical Organ Mountain valley with many trees in summer flower, near Teresopolis.

The Abendroths live in Teresopolis in a home set in a small garden of many plants and hummingbirds. Mr. Abendroth is a retired banker. Mrs. Abendroth is an untired member of the Bromeliad Society, and accomplished natural scientist and linguist. High in the list of her interests is botany and ornithology. She has been of great assistance to several bromeliad scientists in the United States in supplying herbarium material to them.

The plants in the Abendroth garden are mostly those native to the region that could be readily brought home. Bromeliads are everywhere. With them are artistically arranged on and among the shrubs and trees of the garden a variety of epiphytes such as orchids and Rhipsalis.

Foto Lux - Brasil
Fig. 1 Dedo do Deus Peak at left center.

Foto Lux - Brasil
Fig. 2. Teresopolis with Organ Mountains beyond. Dedo de Deus at extreme left.

One eventful day we collected together. Adda Abendroth secured a special dispensation for our visit from the headquarters of the Parque Nacional. We go there by a rattling taxi. From the headquarters we conveniently walked up a road cut into the mountain side, and a collector's paradise. The trees were loaded with bromeliads. It was merely a question of selection and regard for the weight of the plants to be carried out. However, without the convenience of the road, and of the trees that had recently fallen, collecting would have been very strenuous, as the mountain was steep and the vegetation entangled.

The small undergrowth palm, Euterpe edulis was abundant. It is the source
of heart of palm that is the common-place salad vegetable in Brazil. An interesting orchid was a Zygopetalum never found except climbing on the trunk of a tree fern.

The lower valleys were bright with flowering trees. The orchid-pink of Chorisia speciosa, the purple of Tibouchina granulosa, and the yellow of a Cassia were the brightest.

We carried out the bromeliads that we could handle. Most of them were Vrieseas, were not in spike, and identification had to wait. The plants withstood very well the shipment to Los Angeles.

Photo by author
Aechmea fasciata var purpurea in the Abendroth garden.

Photo by Mrs. Abendroth
Fig 3. Neoregelia Abendrothae. Insert: Flower and unrolled sepal.

Photo by author
A spectacular plant, Vriesea philippocoburgii var philippocoburgii. The leaves are red-tipped. This plant was in extensive use in the Hotel Quintandinha near Petropolis.

In addition to her own energetic collecting in the field, Mrs. Abendroth has enlisted the services of one Antonio, a parasitiero by trade. Antonio is an expert at identifying many of the bromeliads, and is especially adept at recognizing them from the beautiful "Bulletin" cover drawings by our distinguished art editor, that Mrs. Abendroth shows to him from time to time.

The notion that all epiphytic plants are parasites is wide-spread. It may stem from the great profusion of epiphytic growth on plants in rain forests which is sometimes so thick and intermingled as to give the appearance of infestations along the branches. It is easy to make the inference that such growths are burdensomely preying upon the host plants, and hence must be doing them some harm.

About fifty species of bromeliads from the Organ Mountains have been identified. Many of them are those that have been common in horticulture for many years. Among them are Neoregelia carolinae, Aechmea fasciata and fasciata purpurea. Acanthostachys strobilacea, Billbergia pyramidalis, Nidularium fulgens and Innocentii and Quesnelia Liboniana. In addition, there are about twenty species of Vriesea, including carinata, erythrodactylon, imperialis, regina, petropolitana, simplex, Rodigasiana and guttata, Less well-known in horticulture are Vriesea bituminosa, brasiliana. Itatiaiae, Lubbersii, philippocoburgii and geniculata.

Photo by author
Along the highway near Petropolis many boys offer bromeliads to residents of Rio on their Sunday excursions. Here are a Vriesea and Neoregelia carolinae.

To know to what extent the conditions afforded your own bromeliads, compare with the climate of the Organ Mountains, (and if you are a grower you are sure to have some from there.) The rainfall at the Parque National headquarters, about the elevation of Teresopolis, is 125 inches, ranging from 3˝, inches in June to 18 inches in December; the humidity 78%-80%. The average mean temperature over an eight year period ran from a February high of 21.3° C, 70.3° F, to a July low of 14.5° C, 58.1° F. The extreme high was 29° C, 84.2° F, and the extreme low was 7.1° C, 44.7° F, in the same respective months.

Climatic and geographic data, and plant inventories have been taken from Arquivos do Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro, Volume XIII, 1953-54, in an article entitled Flora organensis, by Carlos Toledo Rizzini.

West Los Angeles, California


For those who have not renewed their membership for 1960 this will be the last issue that they will receive. Their names will be taken from the membership roll unless a check is received by the secretary within a month. All memberships start with the calendar year and end December 31.

The Editor gratefully thanks "The Voice Of Experience" for the following suggestions. It is desired that anyone with a good idea be kind enough to put it on paper and post it to help make this — YOUR Bulletin, increasingly better.


Racine Foster

There are many ways in which the Bromeliad Bulletin could be improved, mostly ways that are expensive, such as colored photos and added pages. But these improvements cost too much money of which the Society does not have enough. It will be a job well-done if the publication can be maintained in much the same way.

We wish that we could energize the bromeliad "line" now strung around the world. This could mean more people taking the responsibility of making observations, reading and writing about bromeliads. It could be an inter-communication system with higher voltage. If you don't know what to write about just take a long look at the back issues of the Bromeliad Bulletin. Itemize the subjects around which articles have been formed and find a point that has not been under discussion. Just setting down a title often gets an article started. Or perhaps you can find a new slant to subjects already discussed.

I remember a catchy phrase in HOUSE & GARDEN several years ago that said that bromeliads are "Plants That Have More Mileage". It was a provocative phrase and I began an appraisal of what could be interpreted as "more mileage" in the bromeliads. I found that I had a balance sheet of amazingly contradictory characteristics of the bromeliads:

  1. they can go long periods without water; but they can also take quite a bit of water, and survive.
  2. they can sit in the dark, but they can also stay in the light and thrive.
  3. they can go a long time without food, but they also can be fed regularly.
  4. they can be knocked around and mistreated without killing, but they can also be pampered and coddled up to a point without immediate damage.

Such varying adaptability is amazing and it is hard to find its equal. In other words you can get more "mileage" out of bromeliads than a host of other plants. Around these observations an article could be written if only someone would sit down and do it!

And, — why don't more of you take photos? We need pictures in a wide, wide range of settings.

If you would really like to help the editor here are a few concrete suggestions as to preparation of copy.

Please send in typewritten copy double spaced, with the author's name under title; your address or other pertinent information at end of article. The Latin names of plants must be underlined, so that the printer will italicize.

When you submit photos, please attach small paper on which is written title of picture, some description, as well as who snapped the shutter. And, if you wish the photos returned, your name and address on the back of each photo. All of this will help the editor greatly and facilitate production problems.

Here is hoping at least ten of you will have a creative urge and come up with something appropriate for the Bromeliad Bulletin.

Rt. 3. Box 658, Orlando. Florida


Members are please requested not to write inquiring where bromeliads may be purchased, as there are so many nurserymen offering bromeliads that she could not possibly send out an accurate list. All those who have bromeliads for sale or exchange should place a notice in the BUYER'S DIRECTORY. An insertion the equivalent of one-eighth page is $3.50 an issue, or $14.50 for a year or six issues. Special rates are also given on larger ads. For further information write the secretary.

THE SEED FUND has just been replenished with a large quantity of Billbergia zebrina. This came from Japan with the note that the "Flowers are very wonderful". Also available: Peruvian Tillandsia, for sun. Bears beautiful large rose-colored spike. Please send self-addressed envelope and 50c per packet to: Mrs. Goodloe, 2015 No. Bronson Ave., Hollywood 28, California.

Send comments, corrections and suggestions to:
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All images copyrighted BSI.