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. All memberships start with January of the current year. For membership information, write to Mrs. Jeanne Woodbury, 1811 Edgecliff Drive, Los Angeles 26, California. Please submit all manuscripts for publication to the editor, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles 49, California.

PresidentJames N. Giridlian Editorial SecretaryVictoria Padilla
Vice PresidentCharles A. Wiley Membership SecretaryJeanne Woodbury
TreasurerJack M. Roth Art EditorMorris Henry Hobbs

Honorary Vice-Presidents
Mrs. B. E. Roberts, President, Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society
Lawrence Hiscock, President, Louisiana Bromeliad Society
Jack M. Roth, President, The Bromeliad Guild of Los Angeles
Robert Wilson, President, South Florida Bromeliad Society

Board of Directors
David Barry, Jr.
Ladislaus Cutak
Ralph Davis
Nat de Leon
Mulford B. Foster
James N. Giridlian
Wyndham Hayward
Morris H. Hobbs
Eric Knoblock
Fritz Kubisch
Julian Nally
Frank Overton
Victoria Padilla
E. H. Palmer
Benjamin Rees
Jack M. Roth
Dr. Russell Seibert
O. E. Van Hyning
Charles A. Wiley
Wilbur G. Wood
Jeanne Woodbury

Honorary Trustees
Mrs. Adda Abendroth
Teresopolis, Brazil

Monsieur Charles Chevalier
Esneux, Belgium

Mulford B. Foster
Orlando, Florida

A. B. Graf
E. Rutherford, New Jersey

Charles H. Lankester
Cartago, Costa Rica

Harold Martin
Auckland, New Zealand

Richard Oeser, M. D.
Kirchzarten, Brsg, West Germany

P. Raulino Reitz
Itajai, Brasil

Walter Richter
Crimmitschau, East Germany

Dr. Lyman B. Smith
Washington. D. C.

Henry Teuscher
Montreal, Canada

A habit drawing of the rare variegated form of Guzmania monostachia, approximately one-half life size. It is found only in an almost inaccessible spot in the heart of the Fakahatchee swamp in the Florida Everglades. It was most recently collected by one of the Society members, Ralph W. Davis of Miami, whose exciting account of collecting this plant will appear in a future issue.

No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.




T THE MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS held in Los Angeles, California, in December, 1963, several changes were made in the roster of officers and trustees. Mr. David Barry, Jr., who had held the office of president for two terms (four years) declined to be renominated, and in his place Mr. James, N. Giridlian, of Arcadia, California, was elected. Mr. Giridlian is a horticulturist of long standing, having worked with rare bulbs, botanical orchids, and bromeliads for over thirty-five years. He is a hybridist of note, and his Oakhurst Gardens in beautiful Arcadia are a mecca for all plantsmen. Mr. Giridlian was one of the first to grow bromeliads in southern California and has started many hobbyists down the bromeliad path. Known affectionately as Jimmy to his many friends, he has been an active member in the Society since its very inception and has been a leader in the activities of the local group. Each summer he opens his gardens to the members of the Bromeliad Society who live in southern California for a picnic under his beautiful old oak trees. This has become the highlight of the year for the local members.

A newcomer, comparatively speaking, to the world of bromeliads is the new vice-president, Mr. Charles Wiley, of Palos Verdes Estates, California. What Mr. Wiley may lack in experience in growing bromeliads, he makes up for in enthusiasm; and his is one of the outstanding collections in this part of the country. Living in a temperate area not far from the ocean, he is able to grow his bromeliads outdoors or in an unheated shelter, raising many plants that come from high altitudes with great success. Being an engineer, Mr. Wiley has a scientific attitude towards his plants and is forever experimenting with regard to their cultural requirements. He is at present working on a monumental undertaking, drawing a series of maps correlating growing conditions with the many species and varieties of bromeliads. When completed, this will be an invaluable aid to the grower of these plants.

The new honorary trustee is Dr. Richard Oeser of Kirchzarten, a suburb of Freiburg in the Black Forest of West Germany. His interest in bromeliads developed from his hobby of raising tropical frogs. In order to give his pets their proper environment, he found that he had to grow the plants in which they lived in their native habitat, and these plants were bromeliads! Dr. Oeser still has his frogs, but he has in his greenhouse countless kinds of Tillandsias. In fact, he has one of the greatest collections of Tillandsias to be found anywhere in the world. He has been tireless in his efforts to bring rare Tillandsias into Germany, not only adding to his own collection but giving numbers to the botanic gardens of his country




Astelia menziesiana

OME TIME AGO ONE OF OUR MEMBERS called my attention to the report of bromeliads in Tahiti on page 34 of the July 1962 issue of the National Geographic Magazine. Certainly in the photograph there could be no doubt of what plant was meant for there on a tree was a very bromeliaceous appearing rosette.

However, no native bromeliads have yet been verified from the central or western Pacific in spite of reports such as this last one, although we do have specimens of true bromeliads from Juan Fernandez, the Galapagos, Cocos and the islands immediately west of Mexico. Why then this persistent rumor of epiphytic bromeliads? I believe the plant pictured here is the answer.

This plant is an epiphyte; it has a rosette of leaves and in some species the rosette even holds water. It has a woolly covering like many Puyas and its scape and inflorescence closely imitate those of dozens of species of bromeliads. Only when we look closely at the flower is the imitation unmasked. The sepals and petals are exactly alike and can be distinguished only by their position, while in all bromeliads the sepals and petals are very different from each other. There are other differences if we investigate the microscopic and chemical characters of the imitator, but this will suffice.

Our supposed bromeliad turns out to be a species of Astelia of the Liliaceae, a curious genus extending across the Southern Pacific from Chile to Tasmania, Australia and New Guinea, and as far north as Hawaii where the specimen in the picture was collected. This particular specimen is Astelia Menziesiana and is of further interest as one of the earliest acquisitions of the Smithsonian Institution. It came from the U. S. South Pacific Exploring Expedition, frequently called the Wilkes Expedition after its commander. The botanists of this expedition also collected a number of true bromeliads during their stay in Rio de Janeiro earlier on the voyage that lasted from 1838 to 1842.

—United States National Herbarium, Smithsonian Institution, Washington. D.C.



LONG THE FLORIDA COASTLINE plants are subject to salt drift in varying amounts dependent upon their location. Coconuts, yuccas, sea grapes, casuarinas, agaves, and a few other highly tolerant plants constitute our firstline growth upon the Atlantic dunes. Pines, cedars, oaks, hibiscus, pittosporum, and some other moderately tolerant plants fill in the tidewater lagoon areas. Bottlebrush, hollies. palmettoes, pandanus, and other low tolerant plants make up littoral growth along the Gulf of Mexico beaches.

Bromeliads may be used as permanent landscape materials from Daytona Beach south on the East Coast and from Crystal River on the West. References to salt tolerance in bromeliad literature seem few. Only Bromelia pinguin is reportedly highly salt tolerant Aechmea nudicaulis var. cuspidata, Cryptanthus maritimus, Dyckia maritima, D. microcalyx, Portea petropolitana and var. extensa, Quesnelia arvensis, Q. quesneliana, Q. testudo, and our native Tillandsias are given as moderately tolerant species.

In an effort to enlarge this list, I am introducing bromeliads (as I can afford to lose extras) at our weekend place on Schoolhouse Island in the Gulf of Mexico. Salt spray and drift there range from low to moderate — primarily dependent upon weather conditions. After three months Billbergia pyramidalis, Neoregelia marmorata, and N. spectabilis all show better color and form than inland here in Ocala. My major problem is washing out the sand which persists in filling their cups. I shall report again when I have added more plants of other species and after I see how well they withstand flooding from exceptionally high winter tides.

— P. O. Box 567, Ocala, Florida



ECAUSE BROMELIADS ARE EPIPHYTES and we are told that they live on the water in their tanks and that their root system is primarily to hold them to their host, some people quite forget that, like any other plant, they need food. Growing outdoors they do derive some food from the elements, dust, etc. But what of the bromeliads shut up for all time indoors and in glasshouses? These must be fed.

In the growing season they must be sprayed at least every two weeks or even less with a well-balanced fertilizer. This can be obtained at any store. If about half strength of the quantity that is recommended is used, no overdosing is likely. "A little and often" should be the rule to follow with regard to feeding bromeliads be-cause a too rich solution held for a long period of time in the tank of the plant can set up stagnation and do damage.

The simple principle of plant foods is as old as the hills, but a tip here would seem to be in order.

The big three essential foods are known as N., P., and K., and the relative food values of these are given below.

N. stands for nitrogen. This gives health and rapid growth to leaf and stem. Lack of N. will show up very soon in that the leaves will turn yellow or pale pink or just generally look sick. This lack will also result in stunted growth.

P. stands for phosphoric acid, commonly known as superphosphate. This encourages root growth, helps plant to reach maturity, and assists the plant to flower and fruit. Lack of P. will show in poor root growth. Instead of a healthy root system reaching out at all times, it will have a shriveled look and no clinging habits; also the plant will tend to give up flowering.

K. stands for potash. This helps the leaves to breathe carbon dioxide. This carbon dioxide turns carbon into sugars and starches, assisting the spike to appear and bear fruit. K. also helps to make a sturdy plant, better able to resist disease and pests.

Often we are asked why a bromeliad fails to produce a spike. Lack of N. P. K. could be the answer. Some brands of fertilizer on the market add minor elements other than the Big Three.

Let us not forget the importance of the acid content in bromeliads as part of their necessary diet. In Australia, a potential pineapple grower seeks land where the acid con-tent of the soil is not less than ph 5, and if possible ph 4.5. If the acid content is less than ph 5, wilt and other diseases will occur. As the commercial pineapple growing out in the fields needs all these things, so do the bromeliads shut up under a roof. These plants depend entirely upon the human hands that feed them. Pure tree fern fiber is ideal for the bromeliad pot, for the acid content contained in this fiber is ph 4.5, and as well, the drainage is excellent.

—The Jungle Bromeliadum., Mt. Tomah, Bilpin, N. S. W., Australia.



IO BAY (BAHIA DE GUANABARA) IS BORDERED to the northeast by the State of Rio de Janeiro (Estado do Rio de Janeiro) and its capital Niteroi; and to the southeast by the newly (1961) created State of Guanabara (Estado da Guanabara), former federal district (Distrito Federal), with its capital Rio de Janerio. Thus two different subjects - the state on the NE shore and the city on the SW border of Guanabara Bay - are both called Rio de Janeiro. Our Federal District was moved from the city of Rio de Janeiro to Brasilia in April 1961.

In Brazil, when we refer to the State of Rio de Janeiro, we say "Estado do Rio"; when we mean the city in Guanabara State, we use simply "Rio". In the old days the term "D.F" was often used to designate Rio city.

The inhabitants of the city of Rio de Janeiro, former Distrito Federal (D. F.), present State of Guanabara are called "cariocas". The name persists. The word "guanabarino", which would be the correct expression for "belonging to the State of Guanabara", is seldom used.

Inhabitants of the State of Rio de Janeiro are all "fluimenses". There is no extra word to designate inhabitants of the capital, such as "Carioca" for those living in Rio city.

At the quai in Rio Harbor one sees the Organ Mountains faintly on the horizon, rising over the far shores of the bay, a graded series of steep cliffs stepping up to a long chain of less conspicuous elevations, that declines towards the west. The chain is part of the Serra do Mar, the range along the Atlantic. The section of Serra do Mar visible in the distance splits up into several cross ranges that on some maps have separate names. These names, however, are seldom used and little known. Commonly the whole section is erroneously referred to as "Serra da Estrela". Only the Organ peaks are familiar and are always called "Serra dos Orgâos". They conceal Teresópolis from the eyes of the carioca. A triangular block in the chain, a little to the west, marks the direction of the town of Petrópolis, which also is not visible from Rio. It is situated in the Serra do Mar where 3 minor ranges join: Serra da Viuva, Serra das Araras, and Serra do Taquaral. Serra da Estrela extends from there to the west. East of Organ Mountains a close group of 3 outstanding peaks are the "Tres Marias" that hide the town of Nova Friburgo. All 3 towns are in the State of Rio de Janeiro.

Petrópolis is the largest and oldest. It used to be the summer residence of the court and wealthy cariocas. Big mansions in vast gardens still line some of the older avenues but are now being rebuilt for more profitable ends. The foremost schools of Rio have summer quarters here. Others maintain their whole organization in the cooler and healthier climate of the heights. Residential districts were added from time to time and can be easily dated by the styles of the buildings. Of late ten- and more story apartment houses have made their appearance, fortunately on a moderate scale. Summer houses in lovely gardens and fine country homes abound in the outskirts. Many small factories integrate the busy life of the charming town.

From the bromels seen here and there - in a garden, in a shop, in the hands of a peddler, it seems that quite a number must be native to the few remains of virgin forest secluded in nooks of the otherwise denuded or partly reforested (Eucalyptus) countryside. The various species of large Vrieseas in the old trees on the banks of the Piabanha river and its tributaries along which the town evolved, are probably spontaneous, as are also the many Tillandsias (stricta, geminiflora, recurvata, usneoides). Aechmea nudicaulis makes an occasional appearance; huge rock Vrieseas (geniculata and others) cling to naked slopes.

If Petrópolis recalls bygone times in many ways, Teresópolis mirrors the present in its rapid and uncontrolled growth. The new road to Rio reduced accessibility by one half - formerly the route was via Petrópolis and took 3 hours - thereby tempting many landowners to turn unproductive woodland into profitable housing plans. They cut down the forest, lay out streets and building lots, and start selling on the installment plan. General planning and consideration of public requirements have no part in the scheme. The mainstay of the town is exploiting cariocas and tourists in general.

The new road to Rio offers great scenic beauty. It winds around the sockets of the Organ Mountains and traverses much virgin forest. From the car a succession of bromeliad species characteristic of different altitudes can be appreciated in their natural way of life. The nature reserve Parque Nacional da Serra dos Orgâos contains alpine species on the highest levels. (7,500 ft). Teresópolis is the only one of the three towns that still has considerable areas covered with cloud forest in its immediate neighborhood. Virgin forest still clothes much of the slope of Organ Mountains and other elevations, especially on the ridges facing the Atlantic. On the other side the ridges merge into a hilly plateau covered with shrubbery interspersed with grassland. Some forest lingers along small waterways and in gulches. The country north of the Serra do Mar has a drier climate than the southern declines and the lowlands that extend towards the sea.

Teresópolis is situated at 3,170 ft., Petrópolis at a little less. Nova Friburgo is the highest of the three. The countryside there seems drier than in the other two towns. Today brush and grassland and Eucalyptus groves dominate. The forest on the Atlantic side is less luscious than in Teresópolis. Bromels are not so numerous. A few species, however, appear to be characteristic of the region and don't occur in the other two places. Nova Friburgo is older than Teresópolis. It lives by its own efforts on flori- and agriculture, small factories, schools and to some extent vacationists. It is a pleasant little town, about 3 hours by car from Rio through much diversified country.

—Teresópolis, R. J., Brazil

Note: Our thanks go to the South Florida Bromeliad Society for their generosity in making the colored illustrations possible.


NDER THE LEADERSHIP OF ROBERT AGNEW of Sydney, Australia, an affiliated organization known as the Bromeliad Society of Australia is in the process of formation. No details of this youngest member of the Bromeliad Society family have been received, but enthusiasm for our favorite plant runs high in that country, and no doubt the organization of the group is well under way. Also responsible for much of the interest in bromeliads in Australia is Mr. W. B. Charley, a regular contributor to this Bulletin. Mr. Charley has a collection of note.

Harry Martin of Auckland, New Zealand, who is responsible for the formation of the affiliate in his country, writes as follows: "We have had a lot of fun at our group meetings so far, and there is much interest being shown. A number of the members outside Auckland are joining as Country Members. The Round Robin is also circulating among some of them. Gradually we are sorting ourselves out. We are calling our group the Bromeliad Society of New Zealand, but we do not have any permanent set-up yet. An interim committee is running things until we hold our elections in March. In the meantime Bill Rogers and I are alternating as Chairman of our meetings. Mrs. Hanson, who is president of the Cactus and Succulent Society here, is a very able and useful secretary and seems to enjoy doing the work. One of the most important phases of our activities will be obtaining plants, as bromeliads are in short supply here and no one is growing them from seed here as yet. If we work together I am sure we will be able to build up some fine collections."

The Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society is one of the most active of the American affiliates. It meets monthly, usually at the home of Mr. and Mrs. H. A. Anderson. The president, Mrs. B. E. Roberts, heads a very enthusiastic group of some sixty members, who as a group and individually participate in many of the local flower shows. This group is largely responsible for the popularity of bromeliads in the St. Petersburg-Tampa area. The club maintains a fine bromeliad library and presents besides a speaker at each meeting a special bromeliad display.

The outstanding event of 1962 for the Bromeliad Guild of Los Angeles was the visit of Mr. Mulford B. Foster to southern California. A banquet was held in his honor in Hollywood to which all members of the Society residing in southern California were invited. Mr. Foster gave a highly entertaining talk and presented some of his superb slides to the large group present. On the following Sunday afternoon, Mr. Foster spoke to members of the Guild at the home of its president, Mr. Jack Roth. Interest in bromeliads is running so high in California that there is a possibility that a new affiliated organization will be formed. The Guild meets bi-monthly at the homes of the members.

Guzmania lingulata var. lingulata

Guzmania sanguinea



UZMANIAS (NAMED IN HONOR OF A. GUZMAN, Spanish naturalist) are to be found growing chiefly in the Andean rain forests, although their range extends from southern Florida, the West Indies, Central America to western Brazil. These bromeliads are predominantly epiphytes, though a few species appear to have acquired a terrestrial habit. Guzmanias are not so numerous as Tillandsias and Vrieseas to which they are closely related, and it is perhaps for this reason that comparatively few have entered horticulture. During the past few years, however, a number of splendid species have been introduced, thanks largely to plant collectors looking for new material.

To Edward André — French botanist, horticulturist, landscape architect, writer, and plant explorer — must go most of the credit for introducing this beautiful group of plants into horticulture. He went through the most arduous and hazardous experiences to bring back from Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela specimens of bromeliads about which he wrote so enthusiastically. In his great monograph Bromeliaceae Andreanae (1889) he indicated that he had collected 122 species and 14 varieties of bromeliads, of which 91 were described as new. About 25 of these were Guzmanias. In André's time, however, confusion existed over nomenclature, and Guzmanias then went by many names: Caraguata, Sodiroa, Schlumbergera, Thecophyllum, Massangea, and Devellia.

In the September-October 1955 and January-February 1957 issues of the Bromeliad Society Bulletin, Mulford B. Foster and others give an excellent resume of this genus, so a complete description is not necessary here. It is sufficient to say for the benefit of the uninitiated that all Guzmanias have smooth edged leaves; that the leaves are usually glossy and form a many-leafed rosette: and that in most species (those that are not horizontally barred) delicately penciled longitudinal lines in brown or maroon are discernible on the leaves, especially near the base. The flower head may be tall or may be sunken in the leaf rosette. Flowers are usually white or yellow; the scapes are often very brilliant, ranging from yellow to orange to flaming red and lasting in color for several months. Thus they make highly desirable decorative houseplants. For a complete key to this genus, the reader is referred to Bromeliaceae of Colombia, by Lyman B. Smith, Smithsonian Institution, Washington 25, D. C., 1957.

The cultural requirements of Guzmanias are similar to those of Vrieseas. As they come from the tropical rain forests, they need plenty of humidity and warm air. They do better in shaded areas. They multiply readily by offshoot and are reliable bloomers. In fact, they are very satisfactory plants to grow, responding gratefully to tender loving care and putting out blooms that are among the most beautiful and exciting in the entire family.

The following Guzmanias are those which the author has personally seen in collections or noted in American catalogues. There are many more varieties available to those who desire to seek them out, for in a listing just received from Marcel Lecoufle of France, several rare varieties were offered, as was also the case in the bromeliad catalogue of the Jungle Bromeliadium, of Bilpin, N. S. W., Australia.

G. angustifolia (narrow-leaved). This Guzmania, one of the smallest of the genus, was introduced by the collector Kalbrayer, who found it on the banks of the Rio Dagua at a 4000-foot elevation in the Andes of Colombia. It may also be found growing in the mountains of Costa Rica, Panama, and Ecuador. It has not yet been listed in commerical catalogues, being found chiefly in the greenhouses of those who import their plants directly from collectors. It is a dainty plant, its leaves measuring but 6 inches in length and Ľ inch in width. There are two forms of this Guzmania to be found: the red leaved and the green leaved. The red form, however, tends to turn green in cultivation. The yellow flowers are borne on a dense spike about 5 inches long; the bracts are an intense red. For many, this is not an easy Guzmania to grow, but it is truly a little gem and worth the effort of nurturing it along.

Guzmania berteroniana

G. berteroniana (Named after Carlo Bertero, who first collected it in 1818.) To see this bromeliad at its best, one should visit "El Yunque" in Puerto Rico, where at the height of its blooming season this handsome Guzmania may be found by the hundreds brightening the trees like so many lighted candles. It is to be found only on this island. From a medium-sized dense rosette of plain green leaves, arises a glowing vermillion poker-shaped inflorescence, about 9 inches in height, from which appears yellow flowers. It is not difficult to grow. (See Bromeliad Society Bulletin, Vol. V, No. 6, p. 70).

G. danielii Found in the rain forests of Colombia growing at an elevation of 5000 feet. This great Guzmania had long been a legend among bromeliad collectors until one intrepid member of the Society decided to go and look for it in 1960. It is really to Mr. Ralph Davis of Miami Beach that we, in the United States, owe the introduction of this glorious plant into cultivation. G. danielii is one of the giants of the genus, its reddish green leaves measuring almost 36 inches in length and its flower spike, 20 inches in height. Mulford Foster has described it as follows: "It was breath-taking, and unless one could actually see G. danielii growing high up in a tree in a mountain rain forest, it would be almost impossible to believe that it could live in such a location. Its giant quarter-inch thick roots clung so tenaciously and securely to the tree that it could only be wrested from its lofty perch even by the use of a good sharp machete."

Guzmania dissitiflora

G. dissitiflora (remotely or loosely flowered). This is another charming pigmy which has found its way into the greenhouses of those who order plants from their source. It was listed by André as Sodiroa dissitiflora, who found it in the southwestern mountains of Colombia at an elevation of about 3000 feet. It is also found in the mountains of Central America. Its leaves are pale green, measuring about 6 inches in length and about Ľ inch in width. The inflorescence reaches about 9 inches. The bracts are red; flowers are yellow. (See illustration). Easy to grow and flower.

G. fuerstenbergiana. This plant from the Andes of Ecuador is attractive whether in bloom or not, as its 12-inch leaves are vividly striped with deep maroon, which makes it highly decorative. Whitish flowers appear from a bright red cylindrical spike about 3 inches long. Rare.

G. gloriosa. This Guzmania, so aptly named, was first described by André who found it growing in the dry, sandy regions of the Andes in Ecuador at an altitude of approximately 6000 feet. Definitely not a plant for the small greenhouse, it is comparable in size to G. danielii. Usually it measures approximately three feet in height and in diameter, although Mulford Foster describes seeing this species just under five feet. When in bloom, this Guzmania is nothing short of breath-taking, its vivid bracts arising from a thick rosette of glabrous green leaves making it exceedingly ornamental. Unfortunately, the plant is rare and has not been listed in the trade. (See Bromeliad Society Bulletin, Vol. V, p. 67, and Vol. XI, p. 20.)

Guzmania lindenii

G. lindenii. Although this handsome Guzmania was collected in northern Peru in 1878, it has only recently been introduced into the American trade, thanks largely to the efforts of Mr. Lee Moore. As shown by the illustration, it is of great size, although unlike the other giants (G. danielii and G. gloriora) it is found growing on the ground. Its leaves, measuring over two feet in length and 3 inches in width, are bizarrely marked with transverse, wavy lines, green above, red beneath. The flowers are whitish on a many-flowered, tall narrow panicle. Though the inflorescence is not outstanding, the foliage is so beautiful as to make this plant one of the most sought-after bromeliads.

Two plants of Guzmania lingulata var. lingulata showing variation in size

G. lingulata (tongue-shaped). When one thinks of a Guzmania, he probably envisions this particular species, for it or one of its many varieties is most often seen in cultivation and is also one of the common bromeliads to be found in the forests of the West Indies to Guiana, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia. Dr. Lyman B. Smith also lists it as growing in Brazil. This would appear to be a variable plant. The writer has three that are labeled G. lingulata: one has a vivid red inflorescence with long leaves; one has a rose inflorescence and tends to be stocky; and one has an orange inflorescence with many medium - sized leaves. In 1960 Dr. Smith, in order to make some order out of the confusion that existed with regard to this bromeliad, gave it five varietal names: G. lingulata var. lingulata, G. lingulata var. splendens, G. lingulata var. cardinalis. G. lingulata var. minor and G. lingulata var. flammea.

G. lingulata var. lingulata, the type plant, is medium sized with smooth green leaves to 1˝ feet in length. From the cup emerges the stunning inflorescence which may reach a foot above the plant. This appears as a star-shaped head of brilliant crimson bracts that last for weeks though the small yellow-white flowers are of short duration.

G. lingulata var. splendens. This is the red-leaved form that was formerly known as G. peacockii. This handsome plant, measuring some two feet in diameter, has under leaves of bright purple-red and upper leaves of reddish green. From the rosette emerges the inflorescence that terminates in a funnel-shaped purple-red flower-head. The small bracts in the center of this cluster are yellowish and tipped with white. (Replaces G. splendens)

G. lingulata var. cardinalis. This is considered by most growers to be the handsomest of the varieties of this species. It is a native of the western Andes of Colombia where it was discovered by André, who brought back seeds with him to Europe flowering them in his greenhouse, where the brilliant inflorescence captivated all who saw the plants. It is definitely a larger, more brilliant plant than G. lingulata var. lingulata, although it would appear to resemble it in every other way. It stays in color for many months. (Replaces G. cardinalis)

G. lingulata var. minor found from Nicaragua to Bahia is a relatively small plant, measuring not over 12 inches in diameter. The pale apple-green leaves finely penciled with purple lines form a small formal rosette. The inflorescence which appears at the end of a short, stout little stem appears as a raised cup of scarlet bracts and whitish-yellow flowers. The bracts may vary in coloring, sometimes being yellow or orange. (Replaces G. minor)

G. lingulata var. flammea. The little Guzmania from Colombia is similar in every way to the type except that the red bracts of the inflorescence are white tipped. (Replaces G. minor var. flammea)

G. monostachia. This plant may be found growing in southern Florida all the way down to Brazil. From a medium-sized formal dense rosette of delicate, bright green leaves emerges one of the most fantastic of inflorescences. On a stiff poker-like spike white flowers emerge from green bracts that are stenciled with maroon lines until they reach the tip which appears to burst into flame, so brilliant is its coloring. When this writer visited the botanical gardens in Munich and Frankfurt, this was by far the most exciting bromeliad then in flower. The Europeans who call this plant, G. tricolor, probably have a superior clone of this Guzmania, for it would appear to be far better than any of those collected in the tropics. Unfortunately, the coloring of this bromeliad is variable, for the tip of the inflorescence instead of being a fiery crimson may be a soft orange or even white. In the Everglades of Florida a handsome variegated variety of this Guzmania has been discovered. The inflorescence of this plant lasts but a short time hence its lack of popularity. André found it growing in the warm regions of Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador at an elevation of 3000 feet.

Guzmania musaica

G. musaica (variegated). This is truly one of the most elegant and beautiful of all bromeliads. It was discovered in 1867 near Ocana, Colombia, at a 3000-foot elevation by Gustav Wallis, who sent it on to the chief editor of the French journal L'Illustration Horticole for identification. He and his co-worker, André described the plant as a Tillandsia, but in the next few years it was transferred into Billbergia, Caraguata, Massangea, and Vriesea. Finally, in 1896, Mez placed it in Guzmania where it has rightfully remained. According to Albert Bruchmueller, who collected the plant in 1873, the old plant produces "below the stem a stolon 10 to 12 inches long on which the roots and leaves form, the roots taking hold of the first tree they can reach. The flower spike is 12 to 15 inches tall, of a flesh color, changing to a brilliant scarlet as it reaches maturity. The flowers are close together, white and thick, like wax, from an inch to an inch and a half long, about 20 to 25 flowers forming a bullet-shaped inflorescence which stands upright on the spike. In places where this plant grows moisture is abundant during the whole year, but I observed that they grow more vigorously where well aired than in the thick forests. It is only found in one small district at an elevation of 5000 feet, and as it is a scrambling plant, the trees and plants are covered with it from top to bottom. Some of the plants, when not within reach of a tree to climb upon, have five or six shoots or branches, forming quite a clump, and I noticed that they do quite as well this way, growing in a kind of leaf-mold to an enormous size, the leaves being four inches broad and 18 to 24 inches long." As a foliage plant this Guzmania is incomparable, and when well grown (which is a difficult feat) it can assume noble proportions.

The bright green leaves are transversely banded very irregularly with dark green wavy lines much like illegible writing. This Guzmania apparently is variable in its coloring, as Bruchmuller noted that some of the plants were light green and darkly variegated while others were of a brownish color. A form of this Guzmania was found in Panama in 1946 by Paul H. Allen, collector for Missouri Botanical Garden. This is similar in appearance to Vriesea splendens in its zebra-like markings and so has been called G. musaica var. zebrina.

G. nicaraguensis. Found in Guatemala, and Nicaragua. This is a medium-sized plant with thin, longitudinal red stripes against the smooth green leaves. A red cone of bracts forms first in the heart of the rosette from which the spike breaks. Rare and lovely.

G. sanguinea (blood-red). This handsome, unique bromeliad was discovered by André in the western Cordilleras of the Andes in Colombia in 1876. He was able to bring back living plants with him to Europe, this Guzmania blooming for the first time in his home in 1883. André describes the foliage as a "tender green tinted with red, gradually becoming in the earlier stages of growth spotted with violet-red, which, changing later on to blood-red, increases in intensity as the flowering time approaches. The coloration varies in different plants to the extent that some are entirely purple while others are more or less spotted." The plant is of moderate size, rarely exceeding 15 inches in diameter; the leaves measure about an inch at their base and are of a firm texture. The flowers are not showy, being of a pale straw color. There are two varieties of this species: one, in which the flowers remain deep in the heart, and the other, G. sanguinea var. erecta, in which the flower head rises above the leaves. Most certainly this is a Guzmania which should be in everyone's collection, for when the plant starts to color, just prior to blooming, it is a sight to behold. Another distinguishing characteristic of this Guzmania is that the offshoots appear in the center, as in the case of V. splendens. Also found growing in dense forests on trees on Cocos Island of Costa Rica, Trinidad, and Ecuador.

G. vittata (striped). Although the discovery of this Guzmania dates from 1830, it has only recently been introduced into the United States. It was found growing in Colombia and along the Amazon by Lee Moore, who has been successful in sending back live specimens. It is a smallish plant with narrow leaves with pointed ends that are of a soft green bizarrely barred with purple banding on the undersides. The inflorescence is lacking in interest, being a tall, green spike, terminating in a small, round head of greenish bracts, edged with deep purple. Flowers are white. This little plant is highly decorative, for its soft feather-like foliage resembles the plumage of a tropical bird.

Guzmania zahnii

G. zahnii. This exquisite bromeliad, discovered by the explorer Zahn in the Chiriqui Mountains of Central America, has long been popular with collectors. It is certainly one of the daintiest of all bromeliads, for its slender leaves, although attaining a length of 20 inches, have a semi-transparent, delicate grace not to be found in other members of this plant family. It is a plant of very brilliant coloring, and as a foliage plant alone occupies a high rank. The numerous soft green leaves are conspicuously striped vertically with red-brown or crimson on both sides. Sometimes, if given enough light, the leaves will become coppery in tone with tinges of pink at the ends of the leaves. Just prior to blooming, the whole heart assumes a roseate hue. The flower-spike is almost as long as the leaves; the bracts are bright red and the flowers are yellow. Remains in color for many months.

Although attempts have been made in crossing Guzmanias, only two hybrids are known and well worth a description. Both are the results of crossings made by Walter Richter of Crimmitschau, Saxony. In 1945 his hybrid, G. lingulata var. cardinalis × G. lingulata var. minor flowered for the first time. It was such an outstanding plant that he called it G. × magnifica. The influence of G. lingulata var. minor resulted in a considerable dwarfing of these plants. They reach a diameter of one-half to two feet; the leaves are a little over an inch wide, bright green, sometimes showing a reddish tint. The floral assembly rises above the rosette and shows an exceptional brilliance; the inner bract leaves are white-tipped, the flowers remaining closed.

Another of Richter's showy hybrids, one that grows very large, flowered for the first time in 1946; this was G. × intermedia, a cross between G. lingulata var. cardinalis and G. lingulata var. splendens. This plant shows the influence of both parents and is a brilliant, imposing plant.



N ORDER THAT ONE may have a greater appreciation of the environment in which the following garden practices are employed, it is worth recording some of the unusual aspects of a climate such as this in Riverside, California. The classic definition of a Mediterranean climate is one that has hot, dry summers and cool, moist winters. With more than 30 days above 100 degrees and a total rain-fall for the past three years of less than 15 inches, assuredly the first part of the definition applies; but hardly the latter, for not only is the weather not moist but it gets cold with over 30 nights of freezing. One of the startling climatic features of this area is that not infrequently during winter the daytime temperature may be in the 80's and during that evening freezing temperatures be recorded. This is characteristic of a desert climate and makes us realize that Southern California has a semi-desert and not a semi-tropical climate. My garden is located about 60 miles from the coast so that marine influences are minimized; and, as compared with the maritime region, we experience greater extremes of heat and cold.

Humidity, as expected, is low with summer readings of 10-15 per cent, and while it is usually higher in winter it may for several days at a time approach nil when strong north winds blow out from the desert toward the ocean. Storm clouds are not uncommon during winter, and these increase humidity even though no rain may fall.

Such conditions are hardly ideal for the growing of air plants; nevertheless, in the outdoor garden a number of them may be accommodated in the more salubrious microclimates that exist in all gardens. New acquisitions are solicitously cared for until suckers are formed and experimentation in placement can be undertaken without complete loss of the variety. Very likely many more bromeliads than those now growing outdoors will be discovered to be amenable. As one's garden ages and trees increase in size and sheltered areas are formed, more plants can be safeguarded. One should carefully consider a potential location, since an ideal location in summer may be too exposed in the winter because the clearer atmosphere and slanting angle of the sun's rays can cause severe burning in a few hours time. Both spring and fall exposures need careful watching. Plants left in pots can readily be moved and quickly taken from a sunny area if one is pressed for time. For permanent planting, evergreen trees form not only an umbrella of shade from the sun but also one from the frost of winter. Some trees, such as avocado, produce too heavy a shade and while cypress will do in a pinch, a litter is dropped which, is difficult to clean out from among the leaves of the spiny bromeliads. A strong stream of water from the hose and a slender stick will serve one quite well, but the cleanup soon requires repetition. Evergreen trees such as orchid trees (Bauhinia) and Jacaranda dropping their foliage for spring bloom are not the most desirable for our needs, but if there is undershubbery, one may plant to the north of these which in turn may offer protection from the slanting rays of spring-time sun if the plants are high enough.

Nearly ideal, if not too tall, is the Canary Island palm, which also offers wonderful frost protection. If it is tall, one can use this tree to supply protection overhead, and an attractive shield from the south may be made by using reed or bamboo screens. The red-flowering eucalyptus (E. ficifolius) has proved desirable as a "sheltering wing."

Deciduous fruit trees serve excellently as a perch for bromeliads in summer, particularly if one uses wire pot holders so the plants can be suspended among the branches of the trees. Such trees need to be of some size to offer the requisite protection, but they admit an abundance of light so that those plants with brightly colored or spotted foliage keep in good hue. One can spray the entire tree to increase humidity. This does not harm the tree and will reduce the red spider population.

Such sunlovers as Puyas and Dyckias can take full sun with a temperature above 100; and, while Bromelias may also take sun, the beauty of their red flushing at flowering time is quickly sapped by such exposure. They are best planted in an area of complete shade with good light. Puya berteroniana (alpestris) can take more than 25° cold without injury. P. coerulea frequently burns at 27° and at present would not appear to be a conspicuous success here, though some plants with age may become more frost tolerant. Possibly California plants are better conditioned to frost than Florida's because of our chill nights in spring and fall and even our nights in mid-summer are cool. Bromeliads are planted outside only after a surplus has developed so that failures are not drastic losses. Many experiments remain to be made as plants now coddled develop offsets. Numerous Billbergias, once prized for their beauty, have now been relegated to the sheltered areas of the garden where they thrive, multiply, and flower. Larger growing plants have greater landscape value, but the smaller ones may be massed for effect. Plants permanently planted out include Aechmeas caudata variegata and weilbachii, Quesnelia arvensis, Neoregelias marmorata and spectabilis; these have been grown under trees for periods up to ten years as have numerous Billbergias.

Growing bromeliads in a Mediterranean climate showing use of spent inflorescent tubes.

Views of the garden of William Drysdale

My house is situated ten feet from the north property boundary. The house and garage are connected by a walled patio forming a straight line which parallels a cinderblock wall seven feet high. The far end of this corridor was closed off by cinderblocks laid on their side to form an open fretwork creating a feeling of semi-privacy, but allowing free circulation of air. It was obvious this area was a "natural" for shade plants, once it was covered. With a star drill, holes were eventually chipped through the bricks. While a bit tedious, this was not a difficult task and no bricks were split. Holes were drilled through 2x6's corresponding to those in the wall to which the planks were attached flush by means of expansion bolts. For the egg-crating, 2x4's proved adequate, as likely they would have for the wall railing; but greater leeway was provided and proved fortunate since there was a slight pitch from the house roof to the wall. Small metal angle braces were used under the 2x4 connection on the 2x6's. Screws were used to avoid hammering on boards supported by the wall. The corridor extends 56 feet, but originally only half of this was egg-crated and covered with fiber glass, which at 75 cents a foot proved fairly expensive but most satisfactory.

The whole area of the corridor was dressed with a layer of sand of several inches depth. This has been proven a fortuitous foresight and has kept mud from getting into the mixes and making the path a quagmire. Between the path and the wall, fairly large stones to create cervices, an irregular surface, and interesting texture contrast were carefully placed. Among these stones were spilled several bales of peat together with a large bag of sponge or pumice rock.

A sufficient number of wheelbarrow loads of sand were added to make, when mixed, a gritty composition in which the sand was readily observable. The purpose of this was to prevent the peat from packing when dry into an impermeable slab and also to prevent excessive moisture retention. This mixture was finished off with a top dressing of a rather stringy peat which kept the pumice rock from being brought to the surface by watering. This mix was mounded around the rocks and piled up against the wall to create an uneven planting area. New and rare acquisitions were kept in their pots and plunged in the mix. Of those planted directly in the mix Billbergias and Aechmeas particularly throve, and when lifted several years later were found to have formed great pads of roots radiating out a foot or more and to which larger quantities of the mix adhered.

After the passage of several years the peat had broken down somewhat near the wall, where it was several feet thick and had begun to settle. Although the peat could have well served a longer period, it was apparent that eventually renovation would have to be done. The situation could have been rectified by a thin mix over a thicker assemblage of rock and sand which would have been relatively permanent.

Meanwhile one thousand spent fluorescent light tubes had been acquired and part of these were used to cover the remainder of the corridor area. This created a very different shadow than that made by the fiber glass and is readily observable to the eye. Since there is an air space between the top and bottom surfaces of these tubes, they possess considerable insulating qualities. It is appreciably cooler under these, about 5 degrees in summer, and warmer about the same degree in winter. The shade, while heavier, is, with the high light intensity of this region, satisfactory for many of the Vrieseas, Neoregelias, Nidulariums and green-leaved Tillandsias, which do well there during the summer.

During this past year, 25 yards of crushed volcanic cinder were piled in undulating mounds to form an interesting run of ridges. Under the fluorescent tubes section this layer may be several feet thick and only a few plants are planted directly in it. Most are plunged in their pots into the cinder, and since bromeliads are usually under-potted and hence top-heavy, this is a great convenience in preventing their tipping over. But even more important, the deep rich red of the cinder is an exciting contrast to the green or gray leaved forms and compliments the red, dramatically. The rough, coarse texture is a magnificent foil for these elegantly finished plants. Other than bromeliad trees this is incomparably the most effective setting for "our plants."

Under the fiber glass the cinder has been applied heavily enough to discourage the peat of the original bed from coming to the surface but not so deep but that Aechmea fasciata; Vriesea hieroglyphica. Ae. mariae-regina, and other strong rooted forms may not have their roots in the old peat-sand mix.

Humidity requirements have been reasonably well met. The cinder block wall holds a remarkable amount of water if one directs the course of the water to the top of the wall and moves it slowly back and forth allowing the water to flow slowly down. Gallons of water are trapped and held so that the wall remains damp all day, and a portion will still be damp 24 hours later on even the hottest day. The sand on the walk is moistened as is the crushed volcanic cinder.

The rocks outlining the beds, as well as those used in the beds themselves, were selected for their moisture retention. In decomposed granite one can often find fair sized rocks which are not too far gone but are more "open" and absorptive than solid granite. From nurseries one can purchase tufa, a volcanic rock, which is light because of its porosity (As an added bonus it is of a wonderfully rich color). Feather rock is phenomenally light for its size and absorbs considerable amounts of water. It comes in grey and charcoal and can be readily worked with a chisel and hammer to form pockets. Those bromels having dark brown or blackish markings are effective on such a rock, placed in openings and drainage provided. This is no task, as the rock is easily "worked." An occasional oversized rock is placed in the edging and slightly protruding into the path to break the hardness of the regular line of bordering stones. These also serve as sitting stones and obviate the necessity for the introduction of garden furniture, which at best would be a jarring intrusion.

On the house side of the walk, peat moss covers a bed of miscellaneous shade plants: alocasia, costus, colocasia, haemanthus. This bed contributes its share to the humidity. On occasion the air itself is sprayed with a mist fogger.

Since the corridor has the pierced screen effect at both ends (with a moon gate entry at the east end) there is a fair movement of air, but an unexpected bonus of the recent construction of an outdoor living room at the east end traps the mild southern breezes (from the Pacific) and forces a strong current through the corridor. This livingroom backs up to a continuation of the same wall that serves the corridor and opens at right angles to it so that the opening faces south, from whence severe winds rarely come. Since the roof is pitched and is appreciably higher at the opening, this tends to trap more air than otherwise, and the lowering of the roof at the back squeezes a strong air current through the corridor. Though, in this case, it was an accident, one could intentionally create such a "wind tunnel" effect either opening the structure straight out or, as in this instance, at right angles. Sitting in the outdoor livingroom, one can view the planting as an invitingly cool retreat.

Plants of which a single specimen is represented are removed to a heated glass-house in the winter to avoid possible loss due to cold,

—43 Isabella, Riverside, Calif.

Send comments, corrections and suggestions to:
© 1951-2012 Bromeliad Society International, All Rights Reserved.
All images copyrighted BSI.