BSI Journal - Online Archive


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
TreasurerJack Roth 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
Nat. J. De Leon, President, South Florida 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
Nat. J. De Leon
Julian Nally
Frank Overton
Eric Knoblock
Fritz Kubisch
Victoria Padilla
Jack Roth

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

THE COVER — Four specimens of Catopsis nutans on a live oak branch. This little plant is nicely shaped and always fresh cool green, slightly dusted with the typical cretaceous powder. The inflorescence is not outstanding, but the petals are a nice bright yellow.


From all interested members. Send in notices, articles, odd items about bromeliads so they might be shared in the pages of the Bulletin. The editor or secretary will be pleased, to receive the articles.

"All Rights Reserved for republications–excepting by special permission."

At Los Angeles State and County Arboretum

by The Editor

Courtesy of the Arboretum   

A giant tree, realistically covered with live bromeliads, growing most naturally, as though in their own native land, is one of the outstanding exhibits enjoyed by the constant flow of visitors at the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens in Arcadia, California.

This sizeable tree "Special Display of Bromeliads" is set up at the base and rising up through the circular ramp leading from the Arboretum turnstiles to the Administration Building and is quite a feature.

Mr. Elmer J. Lorenz, who arranged it, foresaw how people could enjoy the easy way these plants "adopt" a tree, (and even telephone wires,) so as to disport their various forms of bromeliads.

Visitors on walking up and down the ramp can see many kinds and forms of these epiphytes, which however are not parasitic but derive much of their moisture and possibly food from the air aided by animal and bird droppings, which in tropical regions of high humidity, combine to give all the elements these plants require to live, bloom and propagate. Their aerial roots have a notable tenacity but we do not know how much sustenance they also gather from the flowing air and moisture. The fact remains, they do remarkably well perched on tree trunks and branches and equally well, if not better, when grown in containers or planters as house plants.

They are definitely very photogenic, especially in color, for they display a remarkable range of brilliant coral reds and pinks as well as rose to true blues of various values, greens over yellows, purples and lapis-lazuli, chartreuse and whites combined with unusually interesting forms of inflorescence. These members of the pineapple family are collector's items and yet are very easy of culture.

Other bromeliad displays are to be seen atop Tallac Knoll, within the Tropical Garden and also in the Orchid Houses of the Arboretum.

The Arboretum Gardens are open daily including Sunday, from 9 a.m. until dusk through the year. The Director, Dr. Wm. S. Stewart, invites you to visit the Gardens at 301 No. Baldwin Ave., Arcadia, Calif. Phone: Hillcrest 6-8252 or Murray 1-5277.


Round the world, responsible for writing notes about the Flower Shows or any displays that feature bromeliads.

Send photos and clippings to the Editor.


Victoria Padilla

A Bromeliad Miscellany.

Besides those bromeliads already listed in past issues, there are several others belonging to various genera which the beginner will want to include in his collection. All are interesting, some of them are extremely beautiful, and most of them are fairly easy to grow.

Probably the most unusual of the lot is Acanthostachys strobilacea, a true epiphyte. It is difficult to believe at first that this unusual plant is a member of the pineapple family, for its thin, drooping, terete leaves give it the appearance of a rhipsalis rather than a bromeliad. The only visible clue to its real identity lies in the pineapple appearance of its fruits which emerge near the tips of the leaves. The red bracts (one to one and a half inches in length) which encase yellow flowers seem to be always in color. When grown in a hanging basket, this plant can be made into a handsome specimen, its leaves attaining a length of about eighteen inches, forming a veritable cascade. The writer has found it hardy in Southern California, where it can also be grown attached to trees or placed in a rockery. It likes moisture, but apparently does not need too much care. It is interesting to note that it has been in horticulture since 1841, a long time so far as bromeliads are concerned.

Orthophytum navioides (formerly published in Cryptanthopsis) is one of the unique gems of the bromeliad family. It was discovered by Mulford Foster in one of his collecting trips in Brazil and although the genus Orthophytum had been found some years previous, this particular species proved to be a new one. This delightful plant with its radiant whorl of shiny leaves, which turn red when coming into flower is comparatively tiny, so would fit well in any collection. Its white flowers which form in its heart smell like Ivory soap! A colored illustration of this bromeliad is to be found in Foster's Brazil, Orchid of the Topics.

To see Quesnelia arvensis in bloom is to fall in love with it. A robust plant, it is not for the person who has a tiny, crowded greenhouse. In Southern California it grows happily outdoors in filtered light and will stand several degrees of frost. Its large cone-shaped flower head of watermelon pink stays in brilliant color for many months. A smaller Quesnelia with an equally stunning bloom is Quesnelia testudo. The leaves of this plant are of a soft green, whereas those of Quesnelia arvensis are heavier in texture and more prominently spined. Both plants are a little slow to flower, but once they have been established, their offshoots seem to flower at regular intervals. Both will take much abuse and do not seem to mind a little sun and even a light drought for they have received both in the writer's garden.

Another very beautiful bromeliad which always creates a sensation when in bloom is Portea petropolitana var. extensa. A large showy plant, endemic to Brazil, it is easily grown outdoors in the warmer areas of the South, where it is happy in a pot, on a tree, or attached to a piece of fir bark hung on a wall. It is a plant of upward growth, its pale green leaves being heavily spined. Although the plant is decorative whether or not in bloom, it is spectacular when in flower. It has a large loosely branched inflorescence of tubular flowers in pink, green, and lavender which lasts in color for months. It is definitely a "must" in every collection. It is not a fussy plant and will respond to whatever treatment is given it.

For those who have the room, Hohenbergia stellata is another plant that definitely should be considered. Its many broad light-green leaves form a large imposing rosette from which emerges an inflorescence that is truly exotic. According to Mulford Foster, "Its large scape bracts are scarlet red on a red stem which is covered with a white fuzzy substance. At intervals along the stem are the flower clusters made up of several brilliant red bracts that have a pineapple-like form . Delightful, French blue petals emerge from these red bracts, a contrast that makes the entire group sparkle and twinkle like stars for which it was named." This plant does not take too kindly to cold weather, and in Southern California we find that we must grow it indoors. Otherwise, it is not a finicky plant.


Mention has been made in the Bulletin of the development, on certain species of bromeliads, of quite small seedling-like offsets. I have seen such on Tillandsia grandis, Nidularium procerum kermesianum, Nidularium fulgens, Aechmea coelestis.

A plant of Vriesea X kitteliana, which although it has not bloomed, has been forming a series of sturdy offsets between and below the leaves, has recently produced in addition several of the tiny seedling-like ones farther down on the plant. I wonder: whereas the larger offsets come from axillary buds at the leaf-bases, may it not be that the less common small ones develop from adventitious buds on the rootstock, and that among the varieties the tendencies to form such buds differ?

Occasionally, among the plants having the habit of Vriesea splendens of forming only one new growth, near the center, after blooming, one or more additional offshoots will form from the base of the plant. It would be of interest to know whether or not the plants from these will in turn show an increased tendency toward forming multiple offshoots. Anyone having enough plants of such species to make it worth while could segregate those that multiply, and perhaps develop a strain retaining this characteristic. For the commercial grower who raises a large number of plants from seed, vegetative propagation would have little or no appeal; but the amateur with only a few plants would welcome such a feature, as it would remove him from the vulnerable position of having any loss of a plant of this type irretrievably deplete his collection. He would perhaps be willing to pay a premium for such.

Further observations on water culture. In the Bulletin (Vol. VIII. No. 5, Sept.-Oct. 1958) there was described the effect of growing Neoregelia spectabilis in pebbles and water. Now, in the sixth year after planting, the plant has come into bloom, having remained dwarf and attractive in form and color all this time. It may be of interest but perhaps of no significance, that the companion plant illustrated, grown in the usual fashion, also took this long to bloom. Other Neoregelias have not been nearly this slow.

Results of trying several Aechmeas (miniata discolor, hybrids xFoster's Favorite, xRoyal Wine) in water culture have been less gratifying. The plants remained more nearly tubular in form than usual; the leaves were quite narrow, and the pigmentation was blotched and irregular. Offsets formed, but were no more attractive than the parent plant. Transferred to the usual potting medium, these plants appear to be regaining normal appearance.

Isn't it about time to stop perpetuating an error? The popular Vriesea carinata hybrid widely known as xMarie is incorrectly designated ! it was named Mariae.

We apparently have another case of misnaming in "Cryptanthus hyb. G. H. Pring"; it seems that the blue-green in the flowers must come from another genus. It much resembles in all respects one of the "Cryptbergias" from Cr. beuckerii, and may be identical with it.

Is there any plant more prone to develop blemishes on the foliage than Nidularium Innocentii var. Innocentii previously known as N. amazonicum? What care does it need to keep it presentable?

Roger K. Taylor, 3122 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 18, Md.


Maria Wilkes

A feature of a great many flower lovers' homes used to be the CONSERVATORY. Often it was part of a parlor, or a dining-room or den. Later it became smart to have a plant-room off a bedroom, but all of them had the same idea in mind, to be able to enjoy the beauty of the plants all the time. The plant-room was usually closed off with folding doors, preferably of glass to aid constant enjoyment of the plants and to maintain the natural moisture and heat that is necessary for tender plants.

Today we find many designs of greenhouses which are part of the home but not as many as one would expect of the millions of people who love and work with flowers. Few are able to arrange an individual plan to suit a specific spot so ideally as Mr. Benjamin O. Rees, past Treasurer of our Society.

Mr. and Mrs. Rees had a delightfully livable contemporary home in Pasadena, Calif., with a concrete patio opening off a ten-foot square wall of glass to the North of their living-room. They needed a greenhouse for their fast growing collection of Bromeliads with a few other plants. Having an Engineer's mind Mr. Rees was not long in designing an entirely individualistic and interesting feature to the living-room that draws everyone immediately to it's threshold. The house has recently changed ownership.

photo by William Aplin
Outside view of the gable-end of Rees Greenhouse in Pasadena, California

The splayed floor plan with a folded roof at the far end of the one-time patio created a gable-end wall supported with only one post in the center of that wall. The high-centered folded roof affords more floor space without overlapping ten feet or the living-room and gives the greenhouse a most interesting internal pattern through the use of structural aluminum for its frame. The glass covering it on the east and south walls is painted white, as is the roof, but the gable end is clear glass. The part of the floor space beyond the old cement patio is covered with gravel for a clean appearance and better drainage.

The temperature is controlled automatically, therefore the sliding doors between living-room and greenhouse are kept closed when not in use. The cooler turns on at 83 and the heater at 60 The humidity is checked by feel, however generally speaking Mr. Rees depends on the evaporative cooler to provide sufficient humidity. The heating unit was devised so as to do its ordinary work plus by using a twenty-gallon hot-water heater with a fan to circulate the air over the copper coils conducting the hot water, also, it provides unlimited amounts of warm water, which Mr. Rees prefers to use for the plants.

Since the greenhouse faces north, there is a space of about five feet wherein only deep shade plants can be happy; most orchids and Bromeliads require more light to produce blooms. However, the whole house has a light and airy effect aided by the aluminum framed benches with pipe supports angled so as to get maximum circulation. For central interest there is a handsome driftwood bromeliad tree. For constant study and enjoyment of plants this is an ideal arrangement.

It will be interesting to see what design Mr. Rees will invent for his next greenhouse.

752 26th St., Santa Monica. Calif.

photo by William Aplin
View from living room looking into attractive display of Bromeliads and other greenhouse plants.
Home of Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin O. Rees, Pasadena. California


(Continued from July-August 1960 issue)
Racine Foster

"Les Bromeliacées Epiphytes Considérées Comme Milieu Biologique", (doctorate thesis), Paris, 1913; a La Faculte Des Sciences de Paris; 144 pages, 20 plates.
RICHTER, Walter:
"Seltsame Blüten Aus Urwald und Steppe" is a very small book in size (4¼x6 in.) but in fine color photos of bromeliads, it is very large; indeed the photos are superb artistry; published in 1958.

"Bromeliads of El Salvador" in "Die Farinosae in der Vegetation von El Salvador", Hamburg, 1956; 197 pages of bromeliads with 36 plates. Costs about $8.40; Obtainable from: Cram, de Gruyter & Co., Hamburg, Germany.
SMITH, Lyman B.:
(1). "The Bromeliaceae of Brazil" (Vol. 126-No. 1, Pub. No. 4184); 290 pages, 128 illus. pub. in Sept. 1955; price $3.50. from: Distribution Section, Ed. & Pub. Division, Smithsonian Institution, Wash. D. C.
(2). "The Bromeliaceae of Colombia", Vol. No. 33, 1957; 311 pages, 88 illus. obtained from same source, the Smithsonian.
(3). "Notes on Bromeliaceae", the series continued from number IV (1954) through the latest XIV (1960), in PHYTOLOGIA. Separate numbers obtained from: Dr. H. N. Moldenke, 15 Glenbrook Ave., Yonkers, 5, N. Y. at $1.00.
(4). "Bromeliaceae", reprint from "FLORA of SURINAME", Vol. 1, part 2 pub. 1957, pp. 94-148; Write: Botanical Museum, 106 Lange Nieuwstraat, Utrecht, Netherlands.
(5). "Bromeliaceae of Guatemala" from the "FLORA OF GUATEMALA" (Ed. Standley & Steyermark); In: FIELDIANA, Botany Vol. 24, Part 1; 95 pages; Write: Publications Office, Chicago Nat. Hist. Museum, Chicago, Ill. $1.50; 1958.
WITTMACK, L.: "Bromeliaceae"
in "Natürlichen Pflanzenfamilien" II, No. 4, p. 32 to 59, 1888; Band 15a, scarce.
WAWRA, H.: (Dr. H. R. Wawra von Fernsee)
(1). "Les Broméliacées Brésiliennes" (discovered in 1879); in the Bulletin de la Federation des Soc. d' Hort de Belgique; Liège, 1881; probably unavailable.
(2). "Bromeliaceae" in: "ITINERA PRINCIPUM S. COBURGI", Vol. I, from page 134 to 174; 20 plates; (in a 2 vol. set, 11 x 14 in.) Vienna, 1883; quite rare, costs about $100.00.
WERKLÉ, Carlos:
"La Subregion Fitogeografica Costarricense" in:
Sociedad National de Agricultura de Costa Rica;
Tip. National, S. Jose, Costa Rica, 1909; probably unavailable; bromeliads of Costa Rica are especially emphasized in relationship to their habitats.

These titles are, mainly, the important works which Mrs. Nolan did not list, or are works published since her list of 1954. There are literally dozens of other titles, somewhat less significant, and probably unavailable, mostly in articles and specialized papers such as on the fiber plants, the pineapples or isolated papers on one or two new species; these may be listed at a later date if enough people are interested and if there is enough time to search the files.

Other sources of descriptions or pertinent information about bromeliads should be mentioned. Dozens of horticultural-botanical magazines during the last hundred years (mostly in Europe) have carried many accounts of bromeliads, many times being the original description of a new species, sometimes it was the collector's account and often the horticulturist's proud first-flowering or first public display.

If you are seriously interested in bromeliads you should read these accounts (in several languages) and allow yourself about fifteen years of steady reading to cover the vast extent of the literature on bromeliads!

These old periodic publications are now famous sets of books which often contain a wealth of colored plates as well as a wealth of writings about plants. Most of these sets (listed below) are extremely scarce, and, if found, are very expensive from rare book dealers, some of who are listed below.

Sets of Periodicals:


FLORE DES SERRES, Van Houtte, Editor
L'ILLUSTRATION, Lemaire, Editor

GARTENFLORA, L. Wittmack, Editor

Lindley & Paxton's FLOWER GARDEN

Book Dealers:

11 Grafton St.
New Bond Street, London, W. 1

41 Thames St.
Windsor, Berks.

Broad St.

Lytton Lodge, Codicote,
Nr. Hitchin, Herts.

12, Rue de Tournon
Paris VI

12 Rue Jacob
Paris VI

United States
Eric Lundberg
Laurel, Florida

Stechert-Hafner, Inc.
31 East 10th St.,
New York, 3, N. Y.

As a concluding thought it may be helpful to say that microfilms of any of these books, or of individual pages, can be obtained from the government agricultural library (for a fee). But of course, unless you make photographic prints of them, they are not readable, or unless you project them on a special microfilm reading apparatus which some public libraries include in their modern equipment.

In order to secure microfilms of botanical or horticultural books write: Biblio-film Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture Library, South Building, Washington, 25, D.C. and request information on the Photocopying Service. The rates on microfilms were, at one time, 50c for each five pages of any single volume.

Searching for literature about bromeliads is a long-time diligent effort; it is also an educative effort and can be a source of rewarding satisfaction — if you are a bromeliophile and a bibliophile.

R1. 3. Box 658, Orlando Fla.

MARIA WILKES extends her grateful thanks to all who have cooperated so well while she edited The Bromeliad Bulletin's first five issues of Vol. X.


I have had a few bromeliads for nearly ten years, but it was only about three years ago that I first became interested in them as a family. At the end of my first year I had about ten species. At the end of my second year I had about two dozen, and now my collection contains over a hundred species and hybrids. Outside of the botanical gardens, there are only about a half-dozen collections with more than several dozen bromeliads.

I have been very much interested in raising bromeliads from seed but have had great difficulty in obtaining seeds of certain species. With regards to seed raising I have tried all three sub-families of the Bromeliaceae with the following results:

Pitcairnioideae (Dyckias almost exclusively) good germination when grown in seeds pans in ordinary sandy soil.

Bromelioideae (Billbergias, Aechmeas, Neoregelias, Quesnelias). Good results with all. I usually sow the seed in pots which have a leaf-mold soil under a one-half inch topping of finely sifted fern fiber or similar material. If I keep the seeds moist and warm (I have an unheated glasshouse in which I keep my seeds), I find they usually germinate in ten days or less depending on the season.

The only seeds I have any difficulty with are the Tillandsioideae. These I have tried on fiber, on tissue paper in petri dishes, and at present am using a fiber-vermiculite mixture in petri dishes. I find that the seeds germinate well in a saturated atmosphere almost irrespective of the medium used but my difficulties have been in getting them up to about one-quarter inch in height. Once the seeds reach this size I find they do all right, but many of them just go mouldy and disappear between these two sizes. My difficulties may be due mainly to humidity problems.

I grow most of the Dyckias, Puyas, hardy Billbergias, Aechmeas, etc., in the ground in a sunny bed, and the rest, excluding Vrieseas, Guzmanias, and Tillandsias, in a leaf-mold soil high in organic content. I feed them all with a diluted complete fertilizer. The Vrieseas, etc., I grow in fiber with periodic fertilizing.

All the above I suppose is not of much value if the climate is not mentioned. My latitude is about 32°, about four miles from the sea coast, and about two hundred yards from a large lake. The elevation is about one hundred feet. It is a strange comment to make after reading about the big freezes they get in Florida, but we have had one frost in four years and I have never seen a freeze or a temperature under 35° F. Our average minimum temperature is about 42° F. The climate is really subtropical, although we can't grow such trees as Poinciana regia or Cassia fistula.

I have used acetylene on a number of plants to make them flower. I put a small quantity of carbide (1 - 2 grams) in about a liter of water, and when the reaction has ceased and the sludge mainly settled, I pour the solution into the cups of the bromeliads. Some Billbergias, such as B. thyrsoides and B. pyramidalis, flower in four to five weeks, while others, such as B. nutans and B. vittata. take from eight to ten weeks longer. Neoregelias, such as N. carolinae and N. spectabilis, and Nidularium, such as N. fulgens, N. innocentii and N. innocentii lineatum. take about three to four months. There were a few plants here which had been growing for a year but which had never flowered although they were quite mature. They have flowered this season, following the acetylene treatment.

I have been very much interested in hybridization but so far have only worked with Billbergias and Neoregelias. I hope to raise second-generation hybrids. I think too many people fail to get the most out of their plants, as they are satisfied with their primary crosses.

20 Mills Street, Warners Bay, N.S.W., Australia


by Luis Ariza-Julia

It is astonishing to note how quickly and well some of our Tillandsias have adapted themselves to civilization. Almost since the first electric wires were strung from pole to pole in the city of Santiago de los Caballeros early in this century, T. recurvata took to this ideal support and germinating on the insulation, grew luxuriantly, exposed to sun, wind and rain, well out of harm's way.

Photos by the Author

Other species were not so forward and it is only since last year that I have been observing on the power lines by the roadside inland a good many T. balbisiana, accompanied by a very few timid seedlings of T. fasciculata. One wonders if technological changes through the years have made the insulation more to the liking of these species and that now their seed, too germinate on the high wires! They are now growing where they never grew before. Ideal conditions will allow bromeliads to multiply fantastically and so, the wires covered by T, recurvata in the city have to be cleared periodically. The wires by the roadside, however, are of a high voltage and it is going to be quite a stunt to rid them of T. balbisiana and particularly, the tough T. fasciculata!

Another part of our country favored by optimum conditions for growth of a species are the grazing lands on the eastern end, where virtually all trees have large clumps of Aechmea nudicaulis on them, and some support the heavy weight of many hundreds and possibly thousands of plants. After a heavy rain, the weight on the tree branches must be almost unbearable and you see many a tree which has given up the struggle, fallen on its side with half dead clumps of Aechmea littering the ground and the grass hastening to cover all with an emerald mantle. One cannot attempt to guess at the quantity of plants visible from the road! Anyway, their tremendous number on the contorted branches of the few-leaved host trees seen against the blue of a tropical sky, makes seeking them out a very worthwhile experience.

Puerto Plata, Republica Dominicana.


Nat De Leon and Ralph Davis, our intrepid collectors and explorers who never fail to bring 'em back alive. Both have recently returned with many rare and handsome species from a bromeliad safari in Colombia. Ralph is elated over his Aechmea zebrina — very, very rare and very, very handsome.

Oather Van Hyning for his discovery of a Vriesea new to horticulture. He found this new species in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico. A full description appears in Phytologia for May, 1960.

H. J. Eipper for his fine little illustrated brochure "Bromeliads." This twelve-page booklet with its fifty beautifully executed line drawings and four colored illustrations of bromeliads indigenous to Brazil will be of great value to bromeliad, enthusiasts.

Elmer Lorenz for the beautiful 15-foot bromeliad tree which he created at the Los Angeles State and County Arboretum. See article and picture this issue.


We welcome letters from our members, for we truly believe that much benefit can be obtained by learning of the experiences of others. Here is an interesting letter telling "of the woes of a lost bromeliad infant."

"Our interest in bromeliads started about a year ago when we visited Roehrs in New Jersey and purchased Graf's Exotica. Unfortunately, bromeliads were hard to come by in the Washington, D. C., area. Most greenhousemen or florists considered us "nuts" when we asked about such plants. Here then has been the manner of theoretical and practical knowledge accumulation.

"On frequent visits to the National Botanical Garden, we headed directly for the Bromeliad Room. We "borrowed" seed from blooming plants—the result being a series of unidentified bromeliads growing in every pot available. This, of course, is the slow method. However, seedlings which are over a year old are now young plants with leaves over six inches long. When these particular seedlings were growing, they grew best on the north side of the apartment on a ledge in the bathroom. Apparently the humidity in the room enhanced their growth. We read that when seedlings are approximately one inch high, they can be transplanted to large pots. Question—In transplanting should only the root be covered or is it not better to bury the seedling to just below the leaf spread? We find when we do the latter, our plants take shape more quickly. We have found also that seeds will germinate quickly in sphagnum moss in a clay tray, with a pot base and covered with plastic. We water seedlings almost daily (tap water) and cut off dying leaves quickly. Young leaves when touching the sides of the pot or any obstacles will brown and wilt. Young seedlings (in our meager experience) offer a challenge and are discouraging at the same time because they appear so scrawny. When left alone and not mothered, they do well. They can be transplanted often. However, when they attain a height of three or four inches and are planted close together, they cannot be readily separated because they seem to cross-root.

"Next, how does an amateur identify the family types? Except for catalogs (and Alberts & Merkle's is the best because it shows colored shots) one must guess. This is great because each new change in a mature plant is a surprise package. But it is also rough since one cannot run to reference book and read descriptions. In our travels from hot house to hot house, this is what we found.

"1. One person had a Bird of Paradise plant and what we believe to be Billbergia nutans dying in his greenhouse because the bromeliad (which he thought was a member of the cactus family) threw off a weird flower which "scared" him so much he cut it off. He gave us the poor plants. The bromeliad was pot-bound. (Who said they don't root!) We repotted it and now have three suckers growing. The Bird of Paradise has two new leaves.

"2. Another person had two large pots of Neoregelia marmorata hybrids. Had them for three years but they had never flowered. We bought both pots six plants, one sucker. All flowered, all are suckering. We replanted all in one large architectural pottery container and now have a magnificent four-foot spread of plants. By the way, one plant developed brown spot. We sprayed with Malathion which cleaned up the diseases.

"3. Then the circus hit town! At the flower show this year the City of Miami Beach showed up with a beautiful display, in which were flashing bromeliads galore. Unfortunately, we could look from a distance but not touch. Then on the last night of the show the bargaining began (Like a Macy's sale.) We ended up with an Aechmea x Foster's Favorite, a "Finger-nail" plant, a Billbergia x Fantasia, a Cryptanthus zonatus zebrinus, a couple of Neoregelias and something which looks like Aechmea x Bert, and Lord knows what else. Oh, yes, and an Aechmea which has a basic green leaf with salmon dots and a hanging red berry. These are all planted into a modernistic pot and are very striking all in one cluster.

"But we are running out of words and "scientific facts." Given time we may accidentally uncover some fruitful information. Believe us, each visit to a greenhouse uncovers a wealth of "fiction-type experiences."

Betty and Mike Ingrisano, 4200 Rupert Street, McLean, Virginia


I just became interested in bromeliads (known here as 'broms') when I saw some of them growing happily in the trunk of a tree-fern which I had given to a friend. I live on a mountain at 3000 feet A.S.L. considered too cool for many broms.

I built a small hot-house and started collecting by seeking far and wide, even in Queensland and Victoria for plants. Then I 'Joined-up' with the Society and wrote to U.S.A. Nurserymen for catalogues. These were wonderful in giving descriptions, for I found few people here could name a brom and many I knew were wrongly named.

My business is supplying tree-fern fibre to nurserymen and I was not long in discovering that the acid content of this fibre has an ideal pH for broms. I have cut pots out of the trunks of tree-ferns, drilled out the center and planted my broms in them. They look 'at home' permanently potted in these grey mottled bark containers.

Through my searching I now have a greater quantity of broms, with most varieties procurable here, than any grower in this State. Kind friends who have been interested in the same hobby for many years have given me some rarer plants, which, later on, I can pass on to others. Generally speaking, I have fifty-five varieties which are or have been procurable in small quantities. This will serve to illustrate how far Australia is behind in having anything like a reasonable assortment of broms. So there are ONE THOUSAND SIX HUNDRED species, are there?

We set forth with some hope to collect a few more the hard way . . . by importation of seed.

W. B. Charley, The Jungle Bromeliadium, Mt. Tomah. Bilpin, N. S. W. Australia.

P.S. The great need here is an illustrated book for the identifying of broms. Is there one procurable?

You might be interested in knowing that I had a "show" of broms at the biggest showroom in Sydney known as The Garden Centre. My daughter who is an artist, designed a nice description of broms and their culture with a painting of a Flaming Sword. This was displayed with the collection of broms with an invitation for anyone interested to join the Bromeliad Society. So far two new members have been obtained. So little is known about broms and The Society as yet. —W.B.C.

Question: The great need in Australia is an illustrated book for the identifying of Broms. Is there one procurable?

Answer: Obtain all the catalogues offered, also books such as EXOTICA II — and always, of course, The Bromeliad Society Bulletin. Note: H. J. Eipper Brochure this issue, and literature on Bromeliaceae.


If not, you definitely should have this plant, for it is one of the gems of the entire bromeliad family. As yet it is extremely rare and difficult to obtain but there is a way in which you can add it to your collection.

For the months of November and December only, the Bromeliad Society will send to every member who gets a friend to join the Society a fine specimen of this most sought-after Aechmea. The number is not limited—the member will receive as many plants as he gets new members for the Society.

Give a membership to a friend as a Christmas present and in turn receive a handsome present for yourself.

Send your check for $3.50 and your friend's name and address to the Secretary, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles 49, California; and your friend will receive an issue and a membership card and you will receive a handsome specimen of Aechmea fasciata var. purpurea!

ERRATA: The Billbergia callophylla — so named on the cover of The Bromeliad Bulletin for Nov.-Dec. 1959 should be changed to: B. vittata. Please make the change NOW to be sure you have the right name where it belongs.

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