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.
Ralph Davis
Nat de Leon
Mulford B. Foster
James N. Giridlian
Morris H. Hobbs
Ed Hummel
Eric Knobloch
Fritz Kubisch
Marcel Lecoufle
J. G. Milstein
Julian Nally
Frank Overton
Victoria Padilla
E. H. Palmer
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
Bromeliad Society of Greater New York J. G. Milstein
Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay, Tampa, Florida Ervin J. Wurthmann
Bromeliad Society of La Ballona Valley, Culver City, California Warren Cottingham
The Bay Area Bromeliad Society, San Franciso, California Kurt Peters

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



J. Padilla

HIS HANDSOME BROMELIAD has been a favorite in southern California for a number of years. The plant was first discovered growing in the Ito Nursery in Leucadia, California, but it is not known who made the cross or even whether the name is correct. Suffice to say, that as a foliage plant it has few peers, and as a flowering specimen, it ranks among the most beautiful.

This bromeliad can become a very large plant, reaching over three feet in diameter. It is hardy here in southern California and does equally well grown outdoors in the open ground or indoors in a container. It is one of the most stunning of all the Canistrums, its luminous pale leaves being flecked with deep purple — the color varying with the light intensity. When in bloom its brilliant maroon compact flower head rises above its nest of leaves to become a thing of glory.

— V.P.


INCE THE PUBLICATION OF THE LAST BULLETIN, Three new affiliates have been granted charters, and the prospects are that there will be more branches forming in the near future. Ervin J. Wurthmann, of 5602 Theresa Road, Tampa, Florida, is the president of the newly organized Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay. This new group is a serious minded one, whose main purpose at this time is to learn more about bromeliads and their culture. Membership is open.

Also just affiliated is the Bromeliad Society of La Ballona Valley, an area in the southwestern part of Los Angeles County. Meetings are held on the fourth Wednesday evening of each month in the Veterans Memorial Building in Culver City. All interested persons are invited to the very interesting meetings. The president is Warren Cottingham; the Secretary-treasurer is Jimmy Freiden.

Kurt Peters, of 127 - 13th Avenue, San Mateo, California, is the president of the newest affiliate, which was organized to stimulate interest in bromeliads on the part of those living in the peninsula just south of San Francisco. Already an ambitious program has been planned, and the members are looking forward to exhibiting at the annual Floral Fiesta.

The Bromeliad Society of Greater New York is certainly flourishing under the enthusiastic leadership of its president, Dr. George Milstein, 8502 Ft. Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn. Already four issues of his fine little publication, "Bromeliana," have been circulated. For those who are desirous of adding to their bromeliad library subscriptions may be had for $1.75 a year. Meetings of the Greater New York chapter are held on the first Tuesday of each month at eight o'clock in the evening in the library of the New York Horticultural Society, 157 West 58th Street, New York City. All those interested are cordially invited.

The members of the Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society are busy preparing for their big bromeliad show to be held in Clearwater on April 10 and 11.

The Louisiana Bromeliad Society is planning a big time when the Bob Wilsons return for a short visit from their new home in Costa Rica.

From Robert Agnew of Sydney, Australia, comes this news of the Bromeliad Society of Australia:

"The society here is continually gaining strength, with over 100 members, plant meetings well launched and a good roll up at each meeting. Bromeliads are taking on with a vengeance now, and the 'dime' stores are now featuring them in well advertised columns in the daily newspapers. One rather luxuriant ad described them recently as 'the plants of tomorrow,' and from our viewpoint here, that is certainly true. I have thought all along that the society is rather like a snowball; as it rolls so it picks up more snow—and likening it to human beings, so we expect each new member to bring in a new member, and so it goes on."



ILLIAM DRYSDALE, OF RIVERSIDE, CALIFORNIA, has endeavored to force bloom in his bromeliads but with little success. This is what he writes: Directions for the use of Carbide state 8 grains per gallon of water. This reads out at about ¼ teaspoonful. The solution placed in the cup of a bromeliad for a period of 24 hours is reputed to induce the plant to initiate flower formation within weeks. The experience of several growers has been disappointing, and one wonders what is the cause of failure. Could someone having encountered successful results describe more fully the procedure?

With the apparent success of a new substance being in experimental use in Hawaii, the urgency of clarification on the use of carbide is minor, but for the record it is worth noting.

Any preparation bringing about the flowering of bromels more or less at will should increase their popularity tremendously, since the prospective customer could then see the plants in flower. Such notoriously shy bloomers as Quesnelia arvensis, with its appealing watermelon pink flower head, could be brought to bloom with out such excessively long waits after reaching maturity.

Jack Roth, of North Hollywood, California, writes of his results with a different chemical:

I have been interested in bromeliads for a period of six years. My collection is grown in the San Fernando Valley, where the climate differs considerably from that of other parts of Los Angeles. In the winter we experience a few nights of 30 degrees, and in the summer we have days well over 100.

I am growing plants both in the glass house and outside with a controlled humidity system. There are a number of extremely large plants that I have had ever since I have been collecting; and as these plants had never bloomed, I was determined to see whether I could force them to do so. Through the courtesy of Dr. Anton M. Kefranek, of the Department of Floriculture and Ornamental Horticulture at U. C. L. A., I was able to secure some beta hydroxyathyl hydrazine, which I believe is rocket fuel. This was diluted to 2500 parts per million and I proceeded to treat some of my plants.

All of the water was removed from the cups, and the cups were filled with two thirds of this mixture and no water was allowed to dilute it for about four days. I marked each plant treated, and in most cases I treated a plant that I had more than one of, so I could see if this treatment was effective or whether it was just the regular time for the plant to bloom. It is my opinion that this chemical is not 100 percent sure, but I do believe it induced some plants to flower that had been dormant for a long time. In no case was there any injury to the plant itself. I am going to repeat the treatment shortly and will keep records as to the results. It takes about three months for the plants to flower after they have been treated.

Following is the list of the plants treated and the results:

A large unknown Vriesea from South America. I had this plant for four years, and it is the same size now as it was when I acquired it. Treated plant bloomed.

Vriesea schwackeana. Treated plant bloomed, untreated did not, both grown outdoors.

Aechmea dealbata. Three plants in one pot—one treated and they all bloomed. Another pot untreated, and no bloom.

Aechmea pectinata. Two plants in one pot — one plant treated and it bloomed; untreated plant did not bloom.

Vriesea × crousseana. Treated plant bloomed; untreated did not bloom.

Vriesea flammea. Treated plant bloomed; three untreated plants did not bloom.

Large pink Tillandsia from Mexico. One treated plant bloomed; a similar plant did not.

The following treated plants did not bloom: Aechmea lueddemanniana, Vriesea regina, Vriesea poelmannii, and several unknown Aechmeas and Tillandsias.

The chemical may be obtained from Olin Mathieson Chemical Company, Chemical Division, Baltimore 3, Maryland.

— Box 4006, North Hollywood, California.

In his "Notes on Bromeliaceae, XX" published in the October, 1963 issue of Phytologia, Lyman B. Smith describes a number of new bromeliads brought into cultivation by J. J. Wurdack, Lee Moore, and others. He particularly describes those Neoregelias brought in from the upper Amazon Basin by J. J. Wurdack, which he believes fortify Ule's original concept of a subgeneric group. Eight such Neoregelias are described. Other recently found bromeliads in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru are described and illustrated. For those who wish to keep abreast in all matters pertaining to bromeliads, these issues of Phytologia are of great value. They may be obtained by sending one dollar to Harold N. Moldenke, 15 Glenbrook Avenue, Yonkers 5, New York, U. S. A.



N THE COURSE OF HIS COLLECTING IN EASTERN BRAZIL, Alvim Seidel has discovered a number of striking new bromeliads, and of these Aechmea bambusoides is particularly outstanding. Its very straight and slender form has no counterpart in the Bromeliaceae, but is a close imitation of some of the dwarf bamboos such as Chusquea, hence our choice of specific name.

No photograph was available and the plant was necessarily much folded for convenience in mailing, so we had Mrs. Martha Niepold prepare a line drawing reconstructing the flowering shoot and single leaf and magnifying the important details.

The scales on the base of its petals verify its membership in Aechmea, while the blunt spineless sepals and very deep epigynous tube provide additional distinctions from most of its fellow species.

In fact, what is most difficult is to decide what are the nearest affinities of Aechmea bambusoides. Its blunt sepals and branched inflorescence would place it in subgenus Lamprococcus, but its flowers are so few on each spike that it is not possible to say if they are more than 2-ranked as is also requisite. Rather it would seem that it must belong to subgenus Aechmea which has blunt sepals in a few species but always associated with 2-ranked flowers. In either case we can find nothing that shows much relationship to it. The technical description is as follows:

AECHMEA BAMBUSOIDES Smith & Reitz, sp. nov.

Ab omnibus speciebus adhuc cognitis inflorescentia gracillima stricta multiramosa, spicis 1-2 floris, sepalis omnino inermibus differt.

Leaves (only one known) presumably rosulate, about 6 dm long, covered on both sides with closely appressed whitish scales; sheaths (known only from the apex) ample, entire, very dark castaneous; blades ligulate, attenuate to a broadly acute cuspidate-acuminate apex, 8 cm. wide at base, coriaceous, densely spinose-serrate at base to laxly so at apex, spines spreading or ascending, flat, up to 9 mm. long; flowering shoot stiffly erect, very slender; nearly 2 meters high; scape straight, 5 mm. in diameter at base, glabrous; scape-bracts erect and closely enfolding the scape, elliptic, short-caudate, 11-16 cm. long, mostly shorter than the internodes, entire, densely and finely brown lepidote; inflorescence very narrow, lax with its primary divisions widely separated; axis very slender and graceful, slightly flexuous toward apex; primary bracts suberect, acuminate, to 15 cm long, exceeding the axillary branches, 12 mm wide, flat, entire rose-red, glabrous or nearly so; primary divisions of the inflorescence densely much branched; secondary bracts only slightly larger than the floral bracts; spikes 1-2-flowered, lax, finely white-arachnoid; rhachis slender, subterete; floral bracts ovate, acute and apiculate, exceeding the ovary but shorter than the sepals, thin, nerved, ecarinate, red; flowers sessile, wholly yellow (A. Seidel); sepals free, asymmetric, suboblong, obtuse. unarmed, 9 mm. long, cucullate; petals 15 mm. long, bearing 2 clavate serrate scales at base, the blades suborbicular; anthers ovoid; pollen grains ellipsoid, biporate, reticulate; ovary including the large epigynous tube 4 mm. high, obconical; placentae subapical; ovules obtuse.

Type in the U. S. National Herbarium, collected between Muriae and Ponte Nova, State of Minas Geraes, Brazil, in 1963, by Alvim Seidel (No. 526). Isotype in Herbàrio "Barbosa Rodrigues".

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Herbàrio "Barbosa Rodrigues", Itajai, Santa Catarina, Brasil.



T THE ANNUAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS of The Bromeliad Society held in November, 1963, it was decided that in keeping with one of the objects of the Society, "the awarding of medals for notable work done in hybridization and introduction of new varieties of bromeliads," that recognition be given to Mr. Lee Moore for his carrying on the work of the great plant collectors—Edouard Andre, Mulford B. Foster, and others —by venturing into the unknown wilds of South America to bring back rare and beautiful bromeliads. Accordingly, the certificate for outstanding work in bromeliads for 1963 has been awarded to Mr. Moore.

To Mr. Moore we are indebted for the introduction into cultivation of many new bromeliads, as well as the reintroduction of many species that had previously been lost. It was he who discovered the source of the legendary Aechmea chantinii and Guzmania lindenii. Although A. chantinii could be found on the Continent, it was a great rarity; and in other parts of the world, it was just a plant to be dreamed about until Lee Moore brought it back from Peru. Pictures of G. lindenii had found their way from South America, but the plant was not seen in general cultivation until introduced by Mr. Moore. Most of Mr. Moore's introductions have not been positively identified, but Dr. Lyman B. Smith has described Neoregelia mooreana, Neoregelia eleutheropetala var. bicolor, Greigia amazonica, and Tillandsia wagerniana.

Lee Moore, who is a young man still in his mid-twenties, moved from Georgia to Florida while in high school. He immediately became interested in the Everglades, particularly in the orchids and bromeliads which he found growing there. He attended the University of Florida Forest Ranger school, but later went into the contracting business with his father. In 1960, he and his wife rigged out their Volkswagen station wagon for camping and went to Mexico and Central America, where they collected orchids. Upon their return they were able to sell enough orchids to pay for the trip.

This transaction started Lee Moore thinking about going into the plant business. He became associated with a tropical fish company which flew to Iquitos, and he set up a small business there. It was at this time that he found the famed A. chantinii and its many variations. His work was interrupted by a sojourn in the Army, but during his basic training, he continued to make plans for his plant business in Iquitos. He borrowed $400 to get out a catalogue and to buy some plants from Colombia. His wife handled the first shipment, but the purchaser for the entire lot went bankrupt, and the Moores lost everything. He received an emergency leave and went home and secured another loan on his car to keep going. Eventually, he sold enough plants to pay his debts.

In 1962 Mr. Moore finally severed his relations with the Armed Services. On the day he arrived home, he immediately took a plane to Iquitos, to look for a place in which to settle. A friend of his, Ronald Wagner, who had opened a serpentarium for venoms, had already established himself in Iquitos, and he helped Moore in finding a site in which to set up business. Moore collected enough plants to pay his debts, to establish a good stock, and to make the move from Miami to Peru. The actual move, however, which was made by fish plane, was a disastrous one. The plane containing Moore, Wagner, the pilot, and Moore's dog Buck, crashed. Moore, the pilot, and the dog, escaped, but Wagner, who had done much to help Moore get started, lost his life. Gone also were all the supplies that Moore was bringing with him—the only thing he was able to salvage was a metal box containing his mailing list.

Again, Lee Moore had to start from the beginning. He lived in a broken-down house for over a year and a half, his only lights being kerosene lamps and his water being that which he collected in a cistern, which he himself built. The Indians would come at night to steal the water and everything else which they could lay their hands on so for the Moore's life was anything but easy.

But conditions have improved for the Lee Moores. They now own their own home and their nursery, which covers about two acres. They also own (along with Moore's father) 34,000 acres of rubber and timber land right off the Amazon. Lee Moore still has trouble with thieving natives, but all this trouble has not lessened his zeal for his chosen career—the collecting of rare and beautiful plants for the people of the world. Today he is making shipments to the farthermost corners of the earth, sending rare bromeliads to plant fanciers everywhere. He has opened a new horizon not only for himself but for all those interested in the unusual and the beautiful.



Iquitos, Peru — June 1 to June 22, 1963

UST RETURNED WITH BUCK (Lee's German shepherd dog) from Miami. Got the Volkswagen out of the shop, where it had been left for repairs. Made general preparations for trans-Andean collection trip— the same as I took last year. Shipped out 87 orders and then made plane reservations to Pucalpa, and then reservations for me to Lima on July 27, where I will meet Jack Holmes and Carl Cowgill (two nurserymen from Tampa.) Jeff Powell and Erik Olson, two boys in my Sunday school class in Miami, arrived to make trip across Andes with me. Ran around all week making arrangements for trip—there is a lot more to a trip like this than can be imagined. Trying to get something done here is most difficult. The people do everything to hinder and nothing to help; all they know is confusion.

June 22 — Saturday
Boarded Peruvian Air Force plane, early. Elroy (Lee's No. 1 jungle boy) had never been on a plane nor far out of Iquitos, but he took the flight like a pro. Coming into Pucalpa we saw the barge carrying my V. W., 20 miles down the river, right on schedule. Landed on the dirt strip at Pucalpa. Everywhere we go, we draw a crowd. Everyone was amazed to see a big dog get off the plane. No taxi, so have to walk to hotel and let kids handle the equipment on wheelbarrows. A lot of arguing over price. I hit the sack in the hotel and sent the others out to wait for the barge and to let me know if there was any red tape getting the car off the barge.

When barge arrived, everyone had knocked off—nobody is ever left in charge of anything. No company agent around—no nothing. The law is to pay stevedores for unloading, but they had knocked off too. I wasn't going to wait until Monday to get my car, because I can't sit and do nothing for a weekend like they can. I told the captain that I couldn't wait and that I didn't need any stevedores and paid my freight. He said that I could take the car off the barge myself, but he didn't think I could do it. There are no docks, just a sand beach lined with vendor stands and markets with everything from dried monkey meat to plastic doodads and ancient box cameras. Beach is 5 feet high and 12 feet from edge of barge. Happened to find some fresh cut mahogany lumber being sold. Borrowed some planks and built my own ramp and drove the V. W. off while dozens of people gathered to watch the crazy Gringos. Checked out of hotel after a good shower, rigged the car, and took off after buying food, gas, etc. First leg of journey is to Tournavista, an American settlement, to visit friends and get some good food.

Just this side of Tournavista, bridge has fallen, so camped on road for night to wait for morning to decide what to do. Mosquitoes were terrible, even with netting rigged on car windows—reminded me of the Everglades. Monkeys screamed all night, harmonizing with other calls and screams of night creatures.

June 23 — Sunday
Awakened by big parrots and red macaws flying overhead. Deer and tapir tracks all around. Jeff and Erik started walking. Elroy and I cut a palm tree and ate the heart for breakfast, then cut small saplings and made a ladder to be used latter on—this was put on the top of the car. The boys came back with someone we knew from last year and helped us get around the fallen bridge and past the gully. Went on to Tournavista, rested, and had a Bible study.

June 24 — Monday
Left early and proceeded to Aguatia over the worst road I have ever seen. Almost 200 trucks had been delayed here last week waiting for the road to dry. Today was the first day they could get through, so they really tore up the road with deep sun-hardened ruts, making it next to impossible for us to get through. It took all day to go 25 miles, straddled most of the ruts and some we went through with one side on the middle ground and the other down in the rut making the V. W. lean over almost to the point of rolling over. Sometimes took one hour to go only 50 feet.

June 25 — Tuesday
Proceed past Aguatia, which finished the really bad road, which is not saying much but at least we can go from 10 to 15 mph. Had breakfast in a grubby roadside shack with pigs running under the floor and chickens sitting on the tables. Had a greasy bowl of water with some rice, yucca and a chicken foot; lukewarm coffee and spoiled cream; toast fried in pig grease; and a greasy egg, burned around the edges and raw in the middle still floating in the grease. This is the way they like their food, and this is the way we have to eat when we do not take the time to cook.

Entered valley leading into mountains which opened into a fantastic sheer canyon with walls towering above us and walls dropping to meet the crystal water of the river below. The rocky bromeliad and fern studded facing rose above us, broken only by the many water falls crashing down into an array of rainbows arising from lush, tropical growth dripping with continual moisture—begonias, bromeliads, and hundreds of green flowered Phragmipediums. We will collect some of these plants on our way back. After a tunnel in the mountain, we found a place to get down to the river. Here we bathed and shot the rapids on my air mattresses. Proceeded to a tea plantation, where we spent the night.

June 26 — Wednesday
Drove into Tango Maria this morning and proceeded toward the cloud forest at 9,000 feet—passed millions of orchids covering hillsides. Six to ten-foot Sobralias and giant stem Epidendrums growing in the banks—unbelievable—Did not stop to hunt, will get all this on my way back. Millions of various kinds of Tillandsias adorn the mountain sides. Freezing cold—very uncomfortable.

Lee Moore holding a Guzmania lindenii

June 27 — Thursday
It was difficult to get up in the freezing temperature, quite an abrupt change from the steaming jungle. Elroy had never known what it was to be cold and became very sick with a high temperature. Proceeded on to 14,000 feet. Some hills are getting steep and hard to pull. Engine is losing power from the rare air. Stalled going up a hill. The V. W. is only 39 HP at sea level, so it is probably only about 20 HP now and we are fully loaded. Took off air filter and advanced the spark and put in a low grade of gas, which will make the engine burn hotter for more power. With this we pushed ahead on over to Cerro de Pasco, passing several Inca ruins and giant stone wheels. After we pushed over the top of this last ridge at 14,380 feet, we saw the gigantic jagged snow caps of the Central Cordillera of the Andes, which we were yet to cross at the end of the long plateau. We proceeded on to Junin and turned off on a side road which led to Tarma, where I had another flat tire. After supper went on down into a valley called Chanchamayo, entered into a steep canyon and passed through two long tunnels with the last one opening into the steepest and deepest canyon I have ever seen. It seemed to drop off to nowhere. We had no idea how deep it was, as it was night and we could not see the bottom. The narrow trail simply dropped off the side of the mountain and wound around back and forth crookedly until the bottom of this tremendous pit, at least one-half mile deep, was reached. This is the most dangerous road I have ever been over. Met a truck at a place only wide enough for one car. I was on the outside, so had to back up to the nearest place possible for a pass. My wheels were only 4 inches from the edge as the big truck rumbled by with only a hair between us. Then I noticed my steering wheel getting wobbly on turns and checked to find that the guy who had changed my tire at the filling station had not tightened the lugs on the tire and the wheel was almost off. Continued on, descending from 13,000 to 3,000 feet into the valley of Chanchamayo. Camped by the river at 1 A.M.

Jungle bromeliads

June 28 — Friday

Drove into La Merced, where we had the usual greasy breakfast. On the other side of town found many new plants, including very large plants of Ionopsis satyrioides. Made note to pick them up on the way back. Came to a swinging cable bridge hanging between two canyon walls. We wondered if it would hold us and debated whether we should make a dash for it or move slowly—we made the dash. The water below was crystal clear so we stopped for a welcome bath. Even Buck enjoyed swimming in the rapids. Found a hillside of beautiful dainty pink Epidendrum, an outstanding find which I shall list in my catalogue as No. 10. These were found growing at 3,000 feet, which is a perfect altitude to find warm growing plants. I found the same plant last year in another area, but at 5,000 feet. I also found today other Epidendrums, Ornithocephalus, a big Lycaste and a large-flowering Bletia. We advanced until the road became almost impossible, forded some streams and crossed rickety bridges, knocked the muffler off on a big rock, climbed to 8,500 feet. Just after dark we came to a stream crossing the road. The V. W. fell into a big hole in the stream which we could not see, and there we sat. About midnight we found a man with a Land Rover, who pulled us out with a rope that I had used through Central America. The rope broke twice, but we spliced it together. The pulling jerked my bumper half off and jammed the front door.

Finally we moved on and arrived at the town of Oxapampa, where we had a supper of rice, fried bananas, and chicken leg soup. Erik got sick from all the grease and peppers, but Elroy thought it was fine. The night was cold.

June 29 — Saturday

Elroy had a badly swollen hand. Found some new red leaved Tillandsias and many other interesting epiphytic plants, including the very rare Epidendrum sophronites, which is not known to exist in any collection. I did not collect many plants because of the high altitude, as I cannot grow these plants in Iquitos. I wish I had a special climate controlled greenhouse. I hope to be able to build such a greenhouse in the near future. I am interested in these cool plants, as there are many interesting ones. There is a lot of work which can be done with this type of plants.

On this trip I am taking a specimen of each interesting orchid and bromeliad I find in bloom which I can send in for identification. I am not spending much time with these plants, and I grit my teeth when leaving them behind, but I just do not have the time to collect all that I see. There is much work to be done with the plants of Peru and too much for me all at once. I need more time to go back to places and go through them several times very carefully. No doubt that in this bundle of dried samples are some outstanding new finds—and the trip has just begun.

Among my new finds are a cresting Oncidium, a new Odontoglossum, an outstanding miniature Tillandsia with curlycue leaves with red polka dots, and a striped Vriesea I was knocked out for a while when Jeff accidentally broke a limb off a tree which fell on my head. O. K. now. On the way out, we got stranded in the same hole in the same stream again. This time we got 15 men to pull on the rope to get us out.

On the way down the mountain to the lower valley, I found a giant bromel that looked like Guzmania lindenii, but it is epiphytic, whereas G. lindenii is terrestrial. After examining the plant, I found the leaves had a pubescence that G. lindenii; does not have, so perhaps this is a new bromeliad. The old inflorescence had seed. Returned to La Merced to trim and cull plants and get boxes to ship to my agent in Lima who will then forward them on to Iquitos.

June 30 — Sunday

Spent night in a crummy hotel and most of the day cleaning and packing plants. Went out to the hillsides for more plants. I grabbed a big Catasetum and a big hornet jumped on my eye and popped me a good one. Eye is swelling badly. On the way back we saw a Capybara, which is a large rodent, jumping down the road ahead of us. I turned Buck on him and he caught the animal and killed it skillfully. We took it to a restaurant and gave instructions on how to prepare it for lunch tomorrow.

July 1 — Monday

Eye swollen shut. Found many Cattleya luteola and some Epidendrums and several other interesting plants on trees overhanging the river. Some of the stem Epis were over 8 feet high. Went back to tree with hornets and one Catasetum—knocked down the nest with a rock. Tomorrow we will go back for the plant. Had a delicious lunch with the broiled rodent—excellent meat—Buck got his reward also.

July 2 — Tuesday

Collecting difficult—high in trees and very dangerous. Plants are eye level, but I had to climb down a 100-foot bank to reach the base of the tree and then climb out on the limbs that overhang the rushing water 100 to 150 feet below. While we collected, Buck enjoyed playing in the rushing water trying to catch sticks that rush by. One time I was worried when he could not get out and was swept over a half mile down the river. He is a good dog. Shot down three hornet nests with buckshot and finally got that Catasetum on the hornet tree. Found a stem type Epi and two different bulb type Epis. Also a new Maxillaria which grows in a fan shape.

July 3 — Wednesday

Face still swollen. Packed the last of the plants and started big climb fully loaded with over 3,000 plants and several giant bromeliads and stem Epidendrums. The canyon is fabulous in the daytime—1,100 feet straight down. It is an extremely dangerous trip with roads slippery from the moisture of the low hanging clouds. At 6,000 feet I found a beautiful terrestrial semi-bulb-stem Epidendrum with clusters of deep rose purple flowers. Tremendous Tillandsias with giant red inflorescences and giant Puyas covered the rocky headlands. The little V. W. made the climb surprisingly well with no problems. I passed many plants which were new to me, but I did not get them, as some were across the canyon—these will have to wait until next year.

We pushed on out of the jungle into the altitude again about dark. This time we were going over real mountains. Moved on up into the snow caps and ran into a blizzard. Ice covered everything including the windshield. Could hardly see the road or the thousand foot drops either. This is the first snow for Erik and Elroy, so we stopped and had an old fashioned snow ball fight. Elroy, however, stayed in the car bundled up in about 8 blankets. After the storm cleared, the giant snow-covered peaks rose above us in the moonlight as if it were the top of the world. Such a wondrous sight, I cannot describe. We pushed on over the top of these big rocks at 16,200 feet and began to drop toward Lima. Late that night we arrived on the outskirts of Lima and camped on the roadside.

July 4 — Thursday

Pulled into Lima this morning and proceeded to ship out the plants and to have the car gone over. Elroy had a great time, taking his first tub bath, using the toilet for the first time—which he thought he had broken when the water flushed—, seeing his first television, using the escalator, and getting caught in revolving doors. Actually the hotel did not know there were four people and a dog in the room. I rented the room and all of us went up and the other guys slept on the floor. That night we were awakened by violent movements of the room. Buck stood up and swayed back and forth. It took only a second to realize that this was a rather violent earthquake. People on the streets began to scream. The earthquake lasted only about 40 seconds—this was the worst recorded here in 20 years.

July 7 — Sunday

Left at 4 A.M. and proceeded on to Canta at 9,500 feet. As darkness fell we were in the midst of fantastic giant snow caps, moving on up to 16,450 feet—the highest yet. On this route we passed weird rock formations, which we clearly saw in the bright light of the full moon—they were like giants lined up as soldiers by the thousands. Pulled into Cerro de Pasco at 2 A.M. and found a hotel. It was so cold I could hardly stand to get out of the car. Our hotel room was crudely heated by an electric oil one burner stove. We slept on straw mattresses which hung all the way to the floor, but we stayed warm under five blankets each.


A drawing, approximately half life size, of Tillandsia × 'Emilie,' a cross between T. lindenii and T. cyanea, from the collection of David Barry, Jr. The pink scape is intermediate in size between the two parent plants, with large deep violet flowers.

— Morris H. Hobbs

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