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 four classes of membership: Annual, $4.00; Sustaining, $6.00; Fellowship, $12.00; and Life, $100.00. 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

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

W. B. Charley
Bilpin, N.S.W., Australia

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, E. Germany

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

Henry Teuscher
Montreal, Canada

Affiliated Societies and their Presidents
The Bromeliad Guild, Los Angeles, California Jack M. Roth
Louisiana Bromeliad Society, New Orleans, Louisiana Mrs. Nell Emery
Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society, St. Petersburg, Florida Mrs. B. E. Roberts
South Florida Bromeliad Society, Miami, Florida Ralph W. Davis
Bromeliad Society of New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand William Rogers
Bromeliad Society of Australia, Sydney, Australia J. S. Martin

A drawing of Vriesea Χ 'Gigant', approximately one half life size. This beautiful hybrid, made in Europe, is from the collection of Mr. David Barry, Jr. The imbricated scarlet inflorescence changes shape during the blooming period, each flower and its bract separating from its neighbor as it blooms. The flowers are bright yellow, with exserted stamens. The leaves are a rich, satiny green.

— Morris H. Hobbs

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


E CAN THINK OF NO BETTER WAY to extend the greetings of the season to our many members and friends than by printing this fine photograph taken by our former trustee, Mr. Charles Hodgson of Australia, who was one of the first to grow bromeliads in his country.

Aechmea racinae has been most aptly nicknamed "Christmas Jewels," for it has the delightful habit of coming into bloom at the holiday season. A pretty little soft green-leaved plant, A. racinae is distinguished for its pendent flower head which hangs from twelve to eighteen inches, ending in a cluster of red berry-like flowers having bright yellow and black flowers. This Aechmea was discovered by Mulford Foster in 1941 on one of his many collecting trips in Brazil. At first he thought he had found a new genus, but later learned that it was an Aechmea. He named it in honor of his wife, Racine.




LETTER FROM JULIAN NALLY is always an event with me as the following excerpt will show:

"I'm about to whip out the inflorescence and mail it to you for I don't think that any seed materialized. It flowered about the same time as my gall bladder and the latter took precedence so the bloom was never pollinated. One thing I will say proudly for my namesake: the bracts hold color longer than most Aechmeas, particularly those that are of any size: twice as long as Aechmea chantinii, for example. I hope, in a year or two that I can bloom a better plant so that you can have a fairer representation of the living plant for your records. As I think I wrote, I have a feeling that a well-grown specimen is a truly large affair, perhaps with a spread of two and a half feet and equal height. Whether the other plants I have my eye on are the same thing, time will tell."

While I am waiting the "year or two" for a nobler specimen, I will take this opportunity to commemorate one of our members who has contributed much to our Society without most of us being aware of it. The new species is perhaps appropriate because its unusual character is not immediately apparent without close inspection. Off-hand, it looks much like Aechmea servitensis, although without the long-based divided lower spikes of that species. However, examination of the spike with a hand lens shows not the usual flat scales but cylindrical crisped hair-like growths such as are found in the Bromeliaceae only in a few other species of Aechmea such as Ae. sprucei and Ae. matudae, and quite different from the fine stellate scales of Puya and Pitcairnia.

For the record the species is as follows:

AECHMEA NALLYI L. B. Smith, sp. nov.

A Aechmea servitensis Andrι, cujus habitum valde simulans, inflorescentia bipinnata, spicis breviter stipitatis et lepidibus cylindricis subpiliformibus vestitis differt.

Leaves about 10 in a funnelform rosette, ca. 45 cm. long; sheath elliptic, to 12 cm. long, entire except near apex, suffused with dark purple above (inside), subdensely lepidote with pale brown-centered appressed scales; blade ligulate, acute and pungent-apiculate, 7 cm. wide, nearly flat, obscurely pale-lepidote, laxly serrate with straight subspreading spines 1.5 mm. long; scape straight, slender, distinctly exceeding the leaves; scape-bracts dense, reflexed, lance-oblong, acute, 17 cm. long, serrulate, pink, obscurely pale-lepidote; inflorescence pyramidal, laxly bipinnate, ca. 2 dm. long, obscurely vestite with cylindric crisped trichomes; lowest primary bracts like the scape-bracts, the others abruptly reduced; spikes divergent, ca 10 cm. long, lax, short-stipitate, distichous-flowered; rhachis slender, geniculate; floral bracts ovate, acute, about equaling the ovary, entire; flowers sessile; sepals free, strongly asymmetric with the broad wing overtopping the apex, 9 mm. long, pale green; petals 20 mm. long, bearing 2 long-fimbriate scales at base; epigynous tube shallowly crateriform; placentae apical.

Type in the U. S. National Herbarium, collected in northern Peru by Lee Moore and flowered by Julian Nally in August 1962 in Gotha, Florida.

— Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.



O EVERYONE WHO WANTS TO PRESERVE HIS BROMELIADS in natural color, there is now available an inexpensive, fool-proof camera for this purpose producing films of professional quality. I am referring to the Startech, made by Eastman Kodak, (approximately $34) which will photograph objects indoors or out at a distance of 4 to 16 inches, on Ektachrome film, with built-in flash bulb. No focusing or complicated maneuvers. Just sight object and press exposure trigger. You get what you see. There is great depth of focus and latitude of exposure. The mounted transparencies fit any standard 35mm projector. Kodacolor can also be used.

For storage and ready inspection of transparencies, I have found the loose leaf album — VPD with slide show pages to be most satisfactory. It is made by Joshua Meier Co., Inc., 601 West 26th Street, New York, N.Y.



HE BREEDING OF NEOREGELIAS is relatively easy, at least as far as the germination of the seeds and the cultivation afterwards are concerned. It is a little more difficult, however, to get viable seeds. Unlike many other bromeliads, Neoregelias in the greenhouse as a rule do not form seeds without artificial fertilization. Since plants vegetatively derived from the same parent fail to be fertilized by one another in most cases, to reproduce Neoregelias we need a sufficient number of plants of the same or of different species, so that there is a fair chance of at least two plants flowering at the same time.

In our latitudes the flowering season is from April to June. During this period one or two flowers a day emerge from the water in the funnels of the mature plants. This blossoming goes on for some weeks, so that there is generally an overlapping of the flower periods of the earlier and later plants so that fertilization can take place.

If we have a handsome collection of different Neoregelias, we can hardly resist the temptation of playing the artist and trying to use the characteristic features of the species for creating something new. For example, one plant is especially showy with its intensely red heart. N. sarmentosa var. chlorosticta has reddish dots, contrasting handsomely with the otherwise green color of the leaves; N. morreniana is quite a large plant, whereas N. ampullaceae with its brown-black marked leaves is a real dwarf. Like the painter, we take up a very small brush or some other slender pointed instrument (a split match or the leaf tip of a nearby Tillandsia will do) and daily we use it to penetrate into the interior of the mature flowers, transferring the pollen from one to the other or even mixing the hereditary material of more than two individuals. Of course, our conscience as an amateur botanist is not the very best while doing this; but if there were a humming bird in our greenhouse, it would also hurry from flower to flower and would not care about systematic botany either. Our crime, in the first place, is to have brought together in one location plants which in the wild are prevented from producing hybrids by mere spatial separation.

After pollenization, we now have to wait until the fruits ripen deep under the water in the funnels. I have the impression that plants with developing fruits keep the splendor of their flowering stage longer than unfertilized ones, but they often seem to form fewer offshoots.

As a rule, the Neoregelia fruits ripen about one to two months before the beginning of the next flowering season. If we want to know how far the maturing process has gone, we can cautiously pull out some of the fruits, grasping them by the husks, until we find one containing a thick, white berry. After having ascertained that there is a ripe brown seed within, we can carefully but firmly tear out the whole fruiting aggregate, breaking it loose at its base with two fingers. We then harvest the seeds by squeezing them out of the berries, like tooth paste, into a glass of water. We then stir the water and add the rest of the pulp. This washing is repeated one or two days later, and the seeds are then dried on a sieve or on blotting paper. They can be sown immediately or stored for some months.

For sowing the seeds, most of the methods described in this Bulletin are adequate, provided that light, temperature, and humidity are favorable. But soon the really great difficulty facing the amateur breeder begins. As a rule, the plants take about three years to reach maturity, and during this time they need more and more room! Only at flowering time can we definitely tell whether our dream of combining valuable properties of two parent species in one offspring has come true. So we have to keep all the youngsters, transplanting them regularly as they grow larger. For lack of space I have often given away young plants that proved later to be the most beautiful of the whole lot!

There is a way, however, to circumvent part of this problem, which is made possible by the fact that Neoregelias are very robust plants, being able to survive with a minimum of food and water. So if we put most of the breed on small rations by not transplanting them, they stay very small and we can wait until their few luckier brothers under more favorable conditions have grown up and proved their worth. Now we can give our "undeveloped" reserve their chance to grow up to normal size by transplanting them into a fresh, nourishing compost. The best time for this new start is, of course, spring.

The production of hybrids is always comparable to gambling, but every breeder, amateur or professional, will try to reach, consciously or unconsciously, a certain ideal. My aim is to get forms combining small size with vivid colors and markings. I have partly succeeded in this, but up to now it has not been possible to combine the dark marks of N. ampullacea with the blushing hearts of other species. Plants with brown, red, or green spotted leaves are wonderful when grown in the greenhouse in full light and surrounded by green plants. But they often are somewhat disappointing as solitary plants in a living room with less light. Here bright red or rose colors are more effective.

Gambling with Neoregelias is an occupation requiring much patience, and, as with all gambling, is not without disappointments. But since our friend, William Morris from Warner's Bay, Australia, wrote me that some of the seedlings that I had sent him had grown up to be the most beautiful flowering Neoregelia hybrids that he had ever seen, I feel that the gamble is worth the effort.

— Kirchzarten, Brig., Hebelstrasse 5, West Germany.

From Roger K. Taylor, 311 North Calvert Street, Baltimore 18, Maryland, comes this interesting comment:

"Several of my friends who in the past have successfully grown bromeliads find that after moving to new houses they are no longer able to do so. The common factor that appears to be significant is that in each case copper piping is used for the water in the new location; and it seems likely that enough of this metal is taken into solution to be detrimental to the plants. Attention was called quite a while ago to the toxicity of heavy metals to this plant family. No doubt the extent to which copper is dissolved depends on such factors as pH and degree of oxygenation of the water, and it is not known whether or not copper piping invariably makes trouble — readers of the Bulletin could report their experiences. Any blue stain, though, where the water drips is definite indication of copper in solution. In such cases removal by iron-exchange resins would be possible; slow percolation through a bed of iron filings or turnings might also be effective."

J. N. Giridlian

Meeting of The Bromeliad Guild of Los Angeles

HE BROMELIAD GUILD OF LOS ANGELES, formerly the Bromeliad Society of Southern California, invites all members who are visiting in the area to get in touch with the secretary in case a meeting should be scheduled and they would like to attend. Meetings are held on the third Sunday afternoon of January, March, May, July, September, and November at the home of one of the members.

Because of the large attendance at this meeting, membership has had to be limited, with the result that a new group, known as the Bromeliad Society of East Los Angeles County, has been organized. These meetings are held in the evenings. There is a possibility that other groups will also be formed.

The photograph was taken at the annual pot-luck luncheon held in July under the beautiful oaks at Mr. Giridlian's Oakhurst Gardens in Arcadia. Needless to say, a good time was had by all.



WAS INTERESTED IN THE EDITORIAL of the May-June, 1963 issue of the Bulletin that there were other national bromeliad societies in process of formation. The New Zealand Society as the first formed overseas might be able to give a lead to others.

Two years ago broms as such had hardly been heard of here; a special interest in them was a sign of something wrong in the head. Nurserymen were not interested — the plants were too slow growing and there was no market for them. With a little publicity and by getting a dozen or so growers together, we seem to have started a new fashion.

Several heads are better than one. We have been fortunate in getting a number of members with both organizing skill and experience in growing plants. Our membership after nine months is nearly fifty. Displays at local flower shows have aroused considerable interest as have those at the local Parks Department glasshouses. The New Zealand Gardener has published a series of articles on broms written by one of our members. Nurserymen previously not interested have started importing them and raising them from seed. It would be nice to think of broms in a few years being as popular as succulents are now. "A bromeliad in every home" is our motto.

The matter that interests members most is acquiring a wider range of plants. By meeting we have increased the ease of swapping plants and have helped members with catalogues and over the difficulties of importing plants and seed. As plants are scarce we have a ballot for any offsets brought in, and an imported plant is raffled each evening, both transactions helping society funds.

We were a little worried about programmes, but find slides and short talks by members popular; something new is always turning up. Members also bring plants along and display them, and each bromeliad is discussed briefly during the evening. Among other activities we have a monthly newsletter for members out of town and have held a field day, which proved to be popular.

Among our problems is that we wish we had a better method of selecting plants for importing; so much is done by guesswork. There is no up-to-date reference work on bromeliads, though back numbers of the Bulletin which we have had bound should prove useful. We are looking forward to seeing the new books on the subject, but wish there were four times as many pictures in the publications. As over two hundred kinds of bromeliads are already grown here, many of which are not certainly identified, transactions are becoming increasingly difficult.

We would be pleased to get in touch with overseas members visiting our country who could write to my address.

— 901 Mt. Eden Road, Auckland, New Zealand.



OR THE NOVICE JUST STARTING his collection of bromeliads, Neoregelias will prove to be one of the most rewarding of the genera to grow. First of all, Neoregelias are highly decorative plants and are a delight to the eye whether in bloom or not. Then they are easy to care for, tolerating almost any condition under which they are forced to grow. They are relatively robust, too, withstanding temperatures that would kill most other bromeliads. In mild climates they will flourish outdoors planted in the ground in semi-shaded areas; in less temperate regions, as they are primarily foliage plants, they make perfect house specimens. In crowded greenhouses they seem perfectly happy in any situation and will do well under benches where it is dark and damp. They are not fussy as to soil (any well drained compost will do) and they seem to thrive regardless of the alkalinity of the water. Some species prefer dense shade, but others require the optimum amount of light (just short of direct sunlight) to bring out their best color — here the grower will have to do a little experimenting.

Neoregelias are largely natives of eastern Brazil with a few species found in eastern Colombia and Peru. They have been in cultivation in Europe for a comparatively long period of time. Growing for the most part on the ground or the lower limbs of trees, they were easily found by the early plant collectors who brought them back to the Continent, where they have been popular house plants ever since. Originally known as Karatas, Regelia, or Aregelia (after the botanist C. von Regel) these plants were all classified as Neoregelia by Dr. Lyman B. Smith in an attempt to clarify the confusion regarding their nomenclature which had existed for many years.

For the most part Neoregelias are medium-sized, compact-growing, but they do vary in size from the tiny N. ampullaceae — an inch in width by 5 inches in height to N. carcharodon, which will attain a diameter of four feet. No bromeliad offers a wider variety of leaf texture and coloration. Some species have stiff leaves, armed with spines and covered with peltate scales; others are softer leaved and are outstanding for their glossy smooth texture. Some are just soft green; others are a rich maroon; some are a single color; others may be banded, spotted or marbled and red tipped. All Neoregelias have their flowers in a compound head nestled in the heart of the plant. Flowers are usually blue or white, but these are barely discernible when the cup is filled with water. The most spectacular Neoregelias are those whose heart turns a vivid rose or red when blooming time approaches — a coloring which usually lasts for many months and which makes these plants highly desirable.

At present, much hybridizing is being done with Neoregelias, with the unfortunate consequence that perhaps in a short time this genus will be as mixed up as are the Billbergias. No systematic procedure is being followed regarding nomenclature except in a few isolated cases. Mr. Mulford B. Foster was among the first to work with Neoregelias, and his crosses are among the finest to be seen, as are also those made by Mr. Julian Nally, of Gotha, Florida. Among the species most often seen in American culture are the following:

J. G. Milstein
Neoregelia carolinae

N. ampullaceae — (1880) This is a true midget, measuring not more than an inch in diameter and five inches in height. Unlike most other members of the genus, this Neoregelia is stoloniferus, so it can be used effectively for covering hanging baskets, for climbing a pole, or for growing along a branch of a tree. There appears to be two forms of this plant in cultivation. Both have fleckings and cross bands of burgundy maroon with blue flowers, but the variety known as tigrina seems to be the more vividly marked and is by far the more attractive.

N. bahiana — (1935) This is another tubular-type Neoregelia, this species reaching about a foot in height. There are two forms: N. bahiana var. viridis, which is completely green, and N. bahiana var. bahiana, the leaves of which are red on the upper surface.

N. carcharodon — (1889) So far as this author knows, this species is one of the largest and most robust of the entire genus. It is best suited for outdoor planting, as its heavy appearance does not lend itself to being a houseplant. The leaves are gray, with maroon specks above and maroon blotching underneath.

N. carolinae — (1857) One of the showiest of the genus, this plant has long been one of the most popular bromeliads. It was named for Caroline Morren, wife of the editor of La Belgique Horticole. The soft green leaves form a good-sized spreading rosette, the center of which becomes a brilliant shade of cerise, vermillion red, or pomegranate purple when the plant is about to bloom. The colors of the blushing heart will vary in intensity and hue even from the same group of seedlings. The flowers are violet-blue. N. carolinae var. tricolor was first described by Mulford Foster in this bulletin in 1953. The plant is distinguished by its ivory-white, length-wise stripes of varying widths. When the plant begins to mature, it becomes lightly suffused with pink, which color deepens as it begins to flower, the heart becoming vividly hued. This plant makes an exceptionally fine subject for the home, for its color lasts the better part of the year. It suckers freely. N. carolinae var. marechalii is a selected European strain of N. carolinae. It is a little more compact in form and when grown in favorable light the entire plant will take on an attractive salmon-crimson shade.

N. concentrica — (first listed as T. concentrica in 1825) Known in Europe as Nidularium acanthocrater and Neoregelia proserpinae, this is a rather stocky plant with medium-sized pale green, thick hard leaves that are slightly flecked and that are bordered with black spines. The center turns a red-purple prior to blooming. Walter Richter has crossed this Neoregelia with N. johannis and has obtained a very attractive cross, which he has named N. Χ 'Vulcan.'

N. cruenta — (1828) Although this plant has been offered in American catalogues, it is not too often seen in private collections. It is described as being an attractive plant; the leaves of the upright compact rosette are broad and are of a light straw color which contrasts with "the painted finger nail" tips and the red spines on the margin. This will take full sun in some areas.

N. eleutheropetala — (1907) This species is to be found not only in Brazil, but in Colombia and Peru as well, where Mr. Lee Moore has collected it. It is described as being a well-formed green rosette, with a reddish tinge if grown in strong light. The center of the plant spreads open and turns a bright red when flowering time approaches.

N. farinosa — (1939) According to Mulford B. Foster this Neoregelia has long been known but only recently has it been introduced into horticulture. It is similar to N. carolinae but its leaves are darker hued and stubbier. This species has shiny, green, copper, and maroon eaves when grown in adequate light; indeed, it is one of the most attractive of the entire genus. When it approaches flowering, like N. carolinae, its whole heart becomes a vibrant "crimson cup," this magnificent display of color lasting for almost six months.

N. fosteriana — (1950) This Neoregelia discovered by Mr. Foster on one of his more recent trips to South America is a highly ornamental plant and is distinguishable by its lightly gray dusted bronze shaded leaves. The tips of the leaves are a burgundy red; the flowers are pale blue.

N. johannis — (1884) The leaves of this Neoregelia are broad and firm and rounded at the tips. The center is diffused a lavender-violet. A hardy species.

N. laevis — (1912) A smooth leaved, medium-sized plant. (See description given by Mrs. Adda Abendroth in this issue.)

N. marmorata hybrid — (1885) N. marmorata is seldom seen in cultivation; what passes for this species is a hybrid of N. marmorata and N. spectabilis. This plant has olive green leaves which are vividly blotched with maroon to give a most spectacular effect. Tips of the leaves are red; the flowers are lavender. To bring out its best coloring, this Neoregelia should be grown in strong light and in poor soil. This plant does not want coddling — it is a robust species.

N. mooreana — This delightful little plant is one of Lee Moore's recent introductions. It was originally known as N. ossifragi, but this name was changed by Dr. Smith. It is a unique Neoregelia in that its edges tend to curl, a feature which makes it most attractive. Leaves are light green, edged with brown spines. Flowers are white.

N. pauciflora — (1939) This plant is similar to N. ampullaceae, in size, shape, and habit of growth; but instead of having mahogany crossbands, it has mahogany freckles all over its little leaves. A rare and desirable little gem.

N. princeps var. princeps — (1884) "Princely" is a proper name for this attractive species. The leaves are a plain glaucous green and are broad and wide. When the plant reaches maturity, the inner leaves turn a vibrant orange-scarlet, which color remains for the better part of a year. The little flowers are a pretty violet-blue.

N. sarmentosa chlorosticta — (1870) is a small, brightly colored upright rosette. The olive-green leaves, splotched with maroon, are narrower than those of most Neoregelias and are very pointed. The leaves are silver banded beneath; the flowers are pale lavender.

N. spectabilis — (1873) This is another Neoregelia that is aptly named, for it is a remarkable, showy plant and is a favorite of all those who see it. It is the original "fingernail plant," its tips being a bright cerise-red. The leaves, which are spineless and leathery and straplike, are of a metallic green with faint transverse whitish bands on the underside. The flowers are blue. This is a very popular plant, because it is also a robust plant and multiplies freely. Some of the plants seem to take on a rose shading. The best known of these varieties is a plant that has been sold as "Pinkie."

N. tristis — (1857) There is nothing sad about this gay little plant with its lively brownish-red mottlings. The underleaves are a scaly gray with lighter gray cross-bars. The leaves are red tipped; the flowers are a light lavender.

N. zonata — (1950) This is a highly marked plant, being both banded and speckled. The leaves are olive green, markings are wine red, and the petals of the flowers are white, tipped with blue. It is a sturdy little plant, and like the others of its kind, the more light it is given, the brighter the coloration. This is a semi-dwarf species.



E. H. Palmer

Following a survey of the membership in 1961, our Secretary, Miss Victoria Padilla, reported (see Bulletin No. 4, Vol. XII, July-Aug., 1962) that "favorite bromeliads, as expected, are Aechmea fasciata, Vriesea splendens, and Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor." After a "hurried trip through Europe" (Bulletin No. 6, Vol. XII, Nov.-Dec. 1962) she further stated, that "Aechmea fasciata, Aechmea fulgens var. discolor, Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor, and Vriesea splendens were . . . most often seen."

In this connection the writer believes that Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor easily outranks the others. Some ten years or so ago a plant was obtained from Mulford Foster. The picture shown is of a plant that is a direct descendent of this one from Mr. Foster. We have had others. Some had broader leaves, some developed longer leaves, some were more scant with their leaves, evidently poor clonal types. Over the years two or three offshoots have been retained for personal enjoyment and several potting mediums and light and other conditions tested.

The plant pictured is, we feel, the finest we have produced. Look closely and you count about forty leaves. Actually, for some are not visible in this picture, there are forty-eight perfect, or near perfect, leaves. Measurement across is twenty inches. All leaves, midway, measure from one and a half to one and five-eighths inches wide. Coloration is perfect, though because the photograph was taken in full sun, there came a slight darkening of the green tints in the original. From an offshoot, the plant was grown in osmunda in good light in the center bed of the greenhouse.

One feels a great reward in developing such a plant, perhaps more, even, than obtaining some rare plant or a new cross. Who shall say?

— 10301 - 65th Avenue, Largo, Florida.



E HAVE SEEN COLLECTIONS of the rarest and most desirable bromeliads so carefully nursed that the shade given to them caused a sameness, or even drab look. On a general scanning of the glasshouses in which these plants are grown, one does not note any outstanding color or character. To enter such a sanctuary gives no exclamation of delight, and when one views the labels, he is inclined to be disappointed. One of the finest collections in Australia which had taken many years to get together and about which many glowing descriptions had been written, when viewed by the writer, left a distinct feeling of having been let down.

This writer decided then and there that it would be far better to walk the borderline of danger than to have the plants valuable and safe and perhaps not worth viewing. Are we prepared to bring out the highest possible color and character in our broms at the risk, and not a great risk at that, of injury to the plants? If such experimenting is carried out carefully and patience stretched out for a month or more, the results can be startling.

One of the commonest and most widely grown bromeliads in Australia, Billbergia nutans, can be seen in thousands of gardens, indoor and out. Except at flowering season, this bromeliad looks like a tuft of reed or grass, and no one thinks of looking at it a second time. But given a little treatment, this plant can turn into a Billbergia as lovely as B. Χ 'Fantasia,' with its thick tube, 12" high, reddish in color and covered with glowing yellow spots. Also given a little careful attention, Ananas comosus can be transformed from an otherwise dull plant into one having yellow spots on red and yellow leaves. Careful treatment can transform the foliage of Aechmea pineliana, from dull grey green to gold and red; Billbergia pyramidalis, from dull green to gold; Cryptanthus acaulis ruber, from metallic red to bright red; Aechmea Χ 'Foster's Favorite,' from red to nearly black, and so we could go on.

This enrichment of color and character can be achieved in several ways:

Planting in a compost with rich acid content, such as pure gristed treenfern fiber, which contains an acid content Ph 5 or even 4.5.;

Using trace elements as contained in some preparations now on the market;

Using water with an acid content, such as that which comes from springs in volcanic country;

Subjecting the plants to variations of heat and cold, such as watering with cold water on very hot days;

Moving the plants from shade to strong light or vice versa; etc.

If one has "Bromania," or gets really keen about his plants, it isn't much trouble to try at least some of these suggestions.

Your glasshouse has on a miniature scale three climates. Under the benches, but slightly raised for aeration, is the coolest, wettest, and shadiest climate. On the main bench, strewn with sawdust, fiber, or some similar material kept damp, makes for a moderate, humid, fairly light climate. On a shelf midway between the main bench and roof is the hottest, driest, brightest climate. Plants can vary tremendously if moved from one to the other. For instance, Aechmea Χ 'Foster's Favorite' if moved to the top shelf becomes pale and loses character, while under the bench it becomes rich in color.

The whole process opens a new world and interest for Brom growers. A year or two could be lost in these tests, but rarely a plant. So don't be satisfied with dull, colorless bromeliads; they may have a latent character and beauty that will surprise you. Few of us are privileged to see bromeliads growing in their native habitat; and if one could, he might see that the plants have much color and character, or perhaps, very little; but there is no reason why the best should not be brought out in all our plants. Think of your Broms being fed tasteless sand and insipid water; think of a pale, half-starved slum child being moved to the country, fed on cream, fruits, and fresh vegetables — results, a different looking child. And so it can be with your bromeliads.

These tests can be carried out in your particular locality only by you. The results might be different a hundred miles away.

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


One of the members of our Society is experimenting with bromeliads, growing them in Nutri-Foam, a synthetic or man-made soil designed to give the plant root development and physical support along with the thirteen nutrient chemical elements essential to plant growth. Water and proper environmental conditions must be supplied by the grower. Two forms of such man-made soils are (1) blocks which may or may not be predesigned to fit a pot or vessel, (2) shredded soil which can be contained in a pot, flat, or variety of vessels. Just exactly what the value of this type of growing medium is has yet to be determined. Also, not known at this time is the length of time the nutrients will last. Perhaps for apartment house growing — where soil is a problem — this type of medium might be found to be practical.



N OCTOBER, 1960, a friend living in Santa Catarina sent me a bromel offshoot that had thirteen yellowish grey-green leaves with faint darker blotches and some red at the tips. The blades were blunt and stood out straight. The longest measured 32 x 4 cm. My friend said that it was a Neoregelia laevis, common around where he lives. I planted it in the ground in half shade.

In Dr. Lyman B. Smith's book Bromeliaceae of Brazil, I found that the home of N. laevis is in Paranα and Santa Catarina, that is, Southern Brazil. In Bulletin Vol. I, p. 35, Miss Padilla advises that this plant cannot withstand frost. In Bulletin Vol. V, p. 46, Mr. Foster describes my new acquisition as being "plain green without any additional decoration."

By September, 1961, my plant had 15 leaves, a little broader than the first ones and not so long, with a faint rose-red hue all over them. Its heart held an assembly of small red spikes. A month later the first three flowers opened. The spreading petals were sparkling white and had a faint green line running half way up their middle. Sepals were red. The flowers, numbering approximately 60, measured 22 mm. across; the outer buds open first. Each flower lasted one day. The entire blooming period extended to a little over three weeks.

While the plant did not have an outstanding brilliance, I was nonetheless impressed by the harmonious combination of its contradictory details: the leaves are stiff and straight and radiate evenly, whereas the soft curves of the slender petals suggest flowing movement; the pale buff of the blades running into rose-red softens the stinging whiteness of the flowers and the deep red of the sepals. A violet shadow on the other sheaths was hardly perceptible. My friend in Santa Catarina wrote that his plants turned red when they grow in full sun and that the flowers are white.

About this time a pen-friend in U. S. A. sent me a slide showing a rather full 20-leaf rosette of the most dazzling bright red. The leaves are broad and curve slightly outward. Some black shows in the sheaths, and the cup holds a tiny white flower. My friend did not know the name. I wonder is it Neoregelia laevis?

An additional hint that my guess may be correct I now find in Mr. Richter's new book on bromeliads. Picture 3 on page 237 of a plant he calls N. laevis shows a somewhat stiff-leaved bromel with white flowers that have a green streak on each petal. The text stresses the green petal lines and mentions green leaves and blackish sheaths.

— Rua Carmela Dutra 181, Teresopolis, E. do Rio, Brazil.


J. G. Milstein

This photograph shows a small part of the bromeliad display that was held at the Rockefeller Channel Gardens in New York City this past summer. The bromeliads were planted by Julius Roehrs Company of New Jersey, but the majority of the plants were supplied by Julian Nally of Gotha, Florida, and Mulford B. Foster of Orlando, Florida. Mr. Foster sent some beautiful specimens of native Tillandsias growing on the original tree limbs. As bromeliads are still not well known in New York, the display created much attention.

Marcel Lecoufle

This photograph shows part of the bromeliad exhibit of M. Marcel Lecoufle, of Boissy-Saint-Leger, Paris, at the "Floralies de Nantes" held in the town of Nantes from April 27 to May 6, 1963.

M. Lecoufle won 12 first prizes and a number of second ones for his outstanding display. He won first prize for the most beautiful and important collection of bromeliads. The second prize was given to the Belgian Collectivity, who showed many commercial species and hybrids. The most remarkable were three big plants and Ananassa sativus variegatus and many plants of Aechmea fasciata.


This is the time of year when we pause to take stock of ourselves and to extend our thanks to all those who have so loyally supported us during the past twelve months. There can be no denying the fact that the past year was the best one ever! The Society is continuing to grow and has a membership of approximately 700, with representatives in 28 countries. The Bulletin, too, has been enlarged, and letters have been received praising the colored illustrations which occur frequently. For these illustrations, we thank the following: The Bromeliad Guild of Los Angeles, for the colored photos appearing in Issues Nos. 1 and 5; The Bromeliad Society of South Florida, for those in Issue No. 2; Mr. Ed Hummel of Carlsbad, California, for those in Issue No. 3; and Mr. E. H. Palmer, for those in Issue No. 6.

A bulletin of this kind is only as good as the articles which are contributed. For helping to make the editor's load a bit lighter, we thank Dr. Lyman B. Smith, William Drysdale, Lee Moore, Morris Henry Hobbs, Marcel Lecoufle, E. H. Palmer, W. B. Charley, Dr. J. G. Milstein, and others who have contributed regularly. We also appreciate the many advertisements placed in the various issues.

There are three main classes of membership: regular (now $4.00), Sustaining (now $6.00), and Fellowship (now $12.00). Room does not permit us to thank the many who took out sustaining memberships, but we do wish to express our appreciation to those who are Fellowship Members. They are Nat J. DeLeon, Dr. Frank W. Ellis, Robert C. Lyon, Mrs. William S. Milius, Ernest H. Palmer, Crawford T. Perks, Harold Wainer, R. E. Weidner, Charles A. Wiley, and Robert G. Wilson.

We sincerely hope that now that renewal time is here, each member will immediately send in his check (to Mrs. Jeanne Woodbury, 1811 Edgecliff Drive, Los Angeles 26, California) and if possible take out a sustaining or fellowship membership. This little extra goes a long way to help meet the expenses of the Bulletin.

And now for 1964! We promise you bulletins as good, if not better, than those issued in 1963. There will be plenty of colored illustrations, as well as many black and whites. Lee Moore will entertain us with more of his adventures along the Amazon; David Barry, Jr., has translated a fascinating account of the bromeliads to be found in Peru, Dr. Lyman B. Smith will continue with his fine articles, and Joseph Carrone, W. B. Charley, and William Drysdale will keep on with their very helpful series. The descriptions of the various genera to be found in cultivation will be continued. In the next issue, Nidulariums will be featured and illustrated with a number of fine photos.

— V. P.



WO AIDS IN WARDING OFF COLD in southern California plantings out of doors in areas of light frost include electric cables and orchard heaters. Electric cables, such as are used for bottom heat in rooting cuttings, have been laid on the ground in plantings of begonias, and have proved to give adequate protection to prevent frost damage. Such an arrangement could be adapted to plantings of bromeliads. Thermostats are available with such cables.

In a lath house or other semi-enclosed or covered area, the orchard heater, formerly called "smudge-pot," is to be considered. Very little pollution results from the improved return-stack burner. An even more desirable form is called "the nurseryman's special," having a metal cap on top of the stack which deflects the heat outward to some degree. Helpful where there is overhead cover, such as fiberglass or lath which otherwise might be damaged, is the suspending of a piece of sheet metal above the heater to disperse the heat further.

The standard sized heater costs in the neighborhood of seven dollars, while "the nurseryman's special" is several dollars more. The deisel-type heating fuel sells for 12 cents a gallon and one pays a deposit of $6 on a 50-gallon storage drum. This can be placed some distance from the street since the delivery trucks are equipped with hoses of considerable length, and pumps can raise the oil to fair heights should the lot be on a hillside and require such elevation.

The burners hold nine gallons, but not more than eight gallons should be put in at a time. This amount is more than adequate to last the night. The pot should be placed on blocks to keep it off the wet ground. With such care the burner should last a lifetime.

The portable electric heater and fan with operating costs of about five cents an hour is worthy of consideration in areas of occasional light frost. A discussion of this heater-fan combination is to be found in the annual Buyer's Guide of Consumer Reports, and while the article deals with the use of this type of heater in the home, it is helpful in planning application in the garden. The price for this heater starts at twenty dollars.

Gas nursery heaters about the size and shape of a sawed-off nail keg with extensive hose connections are also available. These are only practical, of course, where there is a nearby gas outlet.

— William Drysdale, 4300 Isabella Street, River-side, California.

SOME NEW BROMELIADS — In Phytologia for January, 1963, Dr. Lyman B. Smith describes a number of bromeliads new to horticulture. Described are 7 Tillandsias, 5 Vrieseas, 3 Puyas, 1 Billbergia, 1 Pitcairnia, 1 Aechmea, 1 Quesnelia, and 1 Fosterella. Copies of Phytologia may be obtained by sending $1 for each number to Harold N. Moldenke, 15 Glenbrook Avenue, Yonkers 5, New York, U.S.A.



The following bromeliads have proven their ability in Florida to withstand 20°F. for 6 to 8 hours with little or no damage. Data are based on observations of plantings in Daytona Beach, Gainesville, Ocala, Orlando, and Winter Park. All plants should receive some protection from branches overhead, eaves, etc. "Tank" types should be filled with water. No doubt further hybridizing and experimentation will expand the list.

bromeliifolia var. rubra
Χ 'Burgundy'
caudata var. variegata
Χ 'Covata'
distichantha forma albiflora
distichantha var. canalyculata
distichantha var. schlumbergeri
distichantha hybrids
recurvata var. benrathii
recurvata var. ortgiesii
recurvata hybrids

distachia var. maculata
pyramidalis (winter flowering)
pyramidalis var. elongata
pyramidalis var. striata
Χ 'Santa Barbara'

serra var. variegata


Χ 'Lad Cutak'
remotiflora var. angustior



concentrica laevis




— P. O. Box 567, Ocala, Florida



LANS ARE UNDER WAY for Florida's first all-Bromeliad Show scheduled to be held April 11 and 12, 1964, at the Bank of Clearwater, Clearwater, Florida. The show is being staged to honor Mulford B. Foster, of Orlando, Florida, dean of bromeliad growers.

Mrs. T. L. Watkins, 1241 Seminole Street, Clearwater, Florida, is the Chairman of the Show, and I am assistant Chairman.

This Show will be open for commercial and amateur exhibits and also for individual plants. It is hoped that many members of the Society, including those residing at some distance, will take part.

— P. O. Box 11207, St. Petersburg, Florida


All Americans who desire to import plants must first secure an import permit which is usually enclosed with the order. All you do to get an import permit is to write to:

U. S. Department of Agriculture, Permit Section
USDA Plant Quarantine Division
209 River Street
Hoboken, New Jersey

State that you wish to import bromeliads to clear through your nearest port of entry. It is advisable to have your plants shipped airmail, as the postal department acts as your bonded carrier. Should you request your plants shipped other than through the mails, you must have a bonded carrier handle them for you from the carrier to the plant quarantine department and back to your specified carrier. This makes the handling expensive and involved. There is no charge for import permits.

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