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The Bromeliad Society Bulletin is the official publication of the Bromeliad Society, a non-profit corporation organized in 1950. The Bulletin is issued six times a year. Subscription to the Bulletin is included in the annual membership dues. There are 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
Treasurer           Jack M. Roth

Board of Directors
David Barry, Jr.
Ralph Davis
Nat de Leon
Mulford B. Foster
James N. Giridlian
Morris H. Hobbs
Ed Hummel
Fritz Kubisch
Marcel Lecoufle
J. G. Milstein
Julian Nally
Victoria Padilla
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, W. Germany

P. Raulino Reitz
Itajai, Brasil

Walter Richter
Crimmitschau, E. Germany

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

Henry Teuscher
Montreal, Canada

THE PICTURE ON THE COVER, taken in the American tropics, shows the trunk of a tree covered with epiphytes of all kinds: bromeliads, orchids, ferns, and aroids. Because of their exposure to the direct sunlight, the bromeliads have assumed a reddish hue. Although the epiphytes would appear to stifle the tree, they cause it no bodily injury, using the tree merely as a means of support.—(Photo by V. Padilla)

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

The Correct Name for a Well Known "Aechmea".


Racine Foster   

T may come as a surprise to many but not so to others that the lovely and unusual bromeliad with the oppositely arranged marbleized leaves and showy pink inflorescence bracts is not an Aechmea but rather a member of the diverse but technically united genus Quesnelia. Quesnelia marmorata, as the species should now be known, has frequently caused some suspicion on the part of some bromeliad growers. The idea that the species looks like some Billbergias soon passed but was not entirely forgotten. At my mention of a problem concerning this curious bromeliad several growers who know bromeliads in cultivation remarked that, "somehow it just doesn't look like an Aechmea"; it lacks that certain indefinable character that unites most Aechmeas as a group.

Prior to the construction of a key to the commonly cultivated bromeliads, (for teaching purposes), the identification of Quesnelia marmorata was no problem. The species is so distinct that it is recognized immediately as to species and then as a matter of course the full name (Aechmea) marmorata came to mind. This is identification in reverse because had anyone tried to key the plant out to the genus first, using any one of the several excellent generic keys available, it would have been found to be impossible to key it to the genus Aechmea.

The table on the next page is a comparison of the characters which technically separate Aechmea, Quesnelia and Billbergia.

Floral bracts usually pungent. Floral bracts never pungent.
Sepals mucronate or pungent,
or if blunt then small
Sepals unarmed or soft-apiculate.
Ovules long caudate. Ovules not long caudate.
Ovules numerous or few. Ovules numerous.
Petals regular, erect or suberect. Petals either zygomorphic or
recurved in a spiral.
Pollen grains with pores. Pollen grains usually with a single
longitudinal fold.
Fruit usually a smooth berry. Fruit a smooth berry. Fruit usually a ribbed or grooved berry.
Style equalling stamens. Style exceeding stamens.

Thus it may be seen that Quesnelia marmorata with soft blunt sepals, erect, regular petals, non-caudate ovules and pollen grains with pores, indeed does not belong with Aechmea, nor with Billbergia as I and others had formerly suspected.

In an attempt to completely verify the foregoing conclusion, anatomical materials were given to Dr. P. B. Tomlinson of the Fairchild Tropical Garden for study. His findings based on leaf scales and stomata indicate a closer alliance of Q. marmorata with Quesnelia and Billbergia types than with Aechmea from which it differs markedly.

It is thus based on this information and characters accepted by Dr. Lyman B. Smith, (1955-1959 and in correspondence), Carl Mez, (1934-35) and others that I formally transfer Aechmea marmorata (Lem.) Mez into the genus Quesnelia.

Quesnelia marmorata (Lem.) R. W. Read

synonymy; Billbergia Lem. Ill. Hort. 2:pl.48.1855.
Billbergia vittata sensu Baker not Brong, Handb. Bromel. 78.1889.
Quesnelia effusa Lindm. Svensk, Akad. Handl. 24:no.8:26 pl.4,figs. 1-6.1891
Billbergia speciosa sensu Wittm. Bot. Jahrb. 13, Beibl. 29:11. 1891.
Aechmea marmorata (Lem.) Mez in Mart. Fl. Bras. 3, pt.3:310,pl. 66. 1892
15 × in the ovary
100 × disected from the ovary
Photomicrographs of the ovules of Quesnelia marmorata

Quesnelia marmorata in an oak tree at the Fairchild Tropical Garden.

Quesnelia marmorata is a highly ornamental bromeliad either grown in a pot, or in a tree as illustrated on page 26. It is a slender plant 12-18 inches tall with decoratively mottled and distichously arranged leaves which are strongly recurved and often coiled at the apex. The 5-6 leaves form a slender but deep water retaining tank. The branched inflorescence with entire bright pink bracts scarcely exceeds the leaves, either remaining upright or becoming lax and hanging out from between the two rows of leaves. The flowers with blue petals, blue tipped sepals and glaucous ovary are in strong contrast with the bright pink rachillae and bracts. Quesnelia marmorata reproduces asexually by producing offshoots on short 3-6 inch rhizomes at the base of the mature plant, frequently even when the parent plant has not yet bloomed.

—Fairchild Tropical Garden, Coral Gables, Florida

Mez, Carl, 1934-35. Bromeliaceae in Engler, A. and L. Diels, Das Pflanzenreich IV(32):3.
Smith, Lyman B. 1955. The Bromeliaceae of Brazil, Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 126(1):40.
Foster, Mulford B. 1959. Bromeliads, A Cultural Handbook, 2nd printing.



(Being an account of a trip to the headwaters of the Amazon made by certain members of the Bromeliad Guild of Los Angeles.)

E WERE FLYING LOW NOW. The vicious storm, which had harassed us all the way from Belize, had turned around once we had crossed the Andes and left us seemingly motionless over what appeared to be a vast eternity of green forest. We had finally reached Amazonas.

Our emotions at this stage were mixed. We all heaved sighs of relief that the bad weather was past but became tense and excited now that our destination was in sight. Fritz Kubisch, who because of weight had been serving as ballast by lying in the aisle, arose to get the first glimpse of the mighty river. Cameras clicked away as the little plane glided smoothly over the great expanses of interminable jungle which were broken only by the brown snake-like coils of the streams that fed the "river-ocean" of the South American continent. At this point, words were beyond us. The immensity of the scene before us—suggesting both a "green hell" and a "holy, savage place"—filled us with awe. Although we had prepared ourselves for this moment, all the reading, all the flights of our imagination, all the travelogues had failed to give us any concept of what the Amazon is truly like. It has to be seen and felt to be believed. A river system that covers almost three million square miles, which is practically a twentieth of the total land area of the earth, is of such magnitude that even the most active of imaginations cannot conjure up what it really encompasses.

How did it happen that twenty-four members of the Bromeliad Society were experiencing such an adventure? Well, it all began about a year before. Being an avid reader of true adventure stories as well as a collector of tropical plants, I had always wanted to see the Amazon and the mysterious regions that surround it. Names like Huallaga, Tingo Maria, Ucayali, Maranon, Iquitos spelled sheer enchantment for me. These were just places in dreams, however, for I never expected to get any closer to them than on the pages of the books which I read. But the unexpected sometimes has a way of coming true, and such happened in my case. Purely by chance I learned of an animal collector who made periodic trips to Iquitos, a city situated 2,300 miles up the Amazon in Peru. He had at his disposal a sturdy DC3 and a fine pilot, who was willing to lease the plane to a group such as the Bromeliad Society. The cost was nominal; in fact, such transportation would be much less than on a regular commercial airline. What was more intriguing, the plane would be ours; we could come and go as we pleased.

After being sure that the plane would be available, I set about trying to get a party together. At first it was difficult, for no one would believe me. "You're going where?" I was asked. When I said, "The headwaters of the Amazon," the reply would always be "You're kidding" or "So you want to get your head shrunk!" But eventually I was able to convince twenty-three members of the Society that this would be the trip of their dreams, and definite plans were made. Full of excitement and anticipation, we left Long Beach Airport on a clear, beautiful night in August, 1964.

Belize, British Honduras, was our first port of call. Here we stayed for two days, some of us spending the time on the cays, others on the river, and some going into the back country to visit the Mayan ruins and to see what there was in the way of plants.

A limb covered by epiphytes at a river crossing in British Honduras

The first view of the Amazon

For the most part, this tiny country is flat and the vegetation sparse and scrubby until one gets some distance from the sea. But if one looks closely many gems of the plant world can be found. As for bromeliads, what appeared to be Aechmea mexicana, in all its rosy splendor, dominated the epiphytic domain. Tillandsias, aroids, orchids, and cactus also could be seen dripping from every tree and palm.

As much as we would have liked to linger in this friendly, pleasant land, we had to move on. Our next stop was to be Cali, Colombia, but storms prevented us from reaching this city, and we spent a night in Panama, an enjoyable stop nonetheless, the lush verdure surrounding the hotel foretelling us of what lay ahead. Bad weather continued, and as we crossed the Andes at an elevation of 16,000 feet (high for an unpressurized DC3) we were buffeted by strong winds; but our plane was of heroic build and our pilot experienced and skillful, so the turbulence had little if any effect on us. Then, seemingly all of a sudden, appeared before us the great jungle plains of the Amazon, and a short time later, we were flying over Iquitos.

"Iquitos has little to offer the average tourist," reads the traveler's guide to Peru, but we were not ordinary sightseers and we knew differently. It was not Iquitos itself that we had come to see but the country surrounding it. A city of 70,000 people, Iquitos has experienced both periods of prosperity and depression, depending upon the demands for its natural resources, chief of which are rubber and mahogany. Today the city appears to be near the bottom of one of its low cycles. The ship that comes up from the coast makes only one trip a month now. The Malecon, the avenue bordering the river and a spot for promenading, has fallen into disrepair, and in the early morning is a favorite gathering spot for buzzards. The once elegant tiled buildings have been defaced both by time and men. The plaza boasts of no well-kept lawns, and the paved streets are few. Over all, is an indefinable air of sadness, but the ragged barefooted urchins have their transistor radios which blast out raucous sounds and teenagers crowd the Cafe Venezia for banana splits. And, we were told later, there are those who have great hopes for this city whose only communication with the outside world is either by boat or by plane. Now that much of Africa is closed to the tourist, Peruvians would like to lure travelers to their region of the Amazon. Plans are being made for an air strip that will accommodate jets and for the erection of a new hotel. Once a taking-off place for nowhere, Iquitos may again become a bustling metropolis with a new resource—tourists.

If Iquitos wanted to have a flower for a civic emblem, nothing would be more appropriate than Aechmea chantinii, which can be seen everywhere—in the bank buildings, in the hotel, in vacant lots, and in gardens. It is hard to believe that this bromeliad was ever lost, that collectors did not know where to look for it, as it is certainly here in Iquitos. We even saw mounds of plants to be discarded. Fritz went up the river one day and brought back a canoe full of Aechmea chantinii, but even though he had selected these plants himself, they bore but a poor resemblance to the refined variety which is grown in Europe. Most of these specimens were too large for the average greenhouse and lacked the symmetry of form and boldness of marking which characterize Europeans plants. There appeared to be a number of varieties of this Aechmea, but whether it was just a difference in growing conditions that caused the variation in size, shape, markings, and color we could not tell. The Aechmea known as A. amazonica in the trade was also much in evidence.

The Amazon at Iquitos

A native home near Iquitos with A. chantinii decorating the fence.

There are few roads leading out of Iquitos, and what there are do not go far, for the jungle is too dense. If a person wants to go anywhere, he has to take a boat. But one day we hired a bus and drove to a nearby lake. Here we hiked back into the jungle areas, into an incredible land of overwhelmingly beautiful palms, ferns, aroids, marantas, gesneriads, orchids, bromeliads, and other plants which we try to grow in our greenhouses. "In your journeys into the forests, weren't you afraid of insects and animals?" I have been asked. To be perfectly frank, we were such a noisy group, plunging through the jungle paths like a herd of elephants and filling the air with an aroma of citronella and other lotions, that we frightened away any living thing that was in our path. Well, perhaps not everything, for there was always the ubiquitous ant. But let us turn to more pleasant memories.

We did little in the way of serious collecting in the region of the Amazon, although we were sorely tempted to do so, but we knew it would be hard to duplicate the hot, humid conditions in the desert-like climate of southern California, even in our well-regulated greenhouses. In our various treks back into the hinterland, we saw many bromeliads—Aechmeas, Tillandsias, and Streptocalyx for the most part. As most of these plants were not in flower, we had no way of identifying them. Usually the bromeliads were large handsome specimens, which would have been difficult to transport home. Streptocalyx seemed to be especially prevalent, or so it appeared to us, as many plants had fallen from the trees. An experience beyond compare was gliding down one of the smaller streams, the jungles crowding the bank, intriguing sounds emanating from the forest, and high overhead the tree tops crowned with epiphytes.

Our original plan had been to divide the major part of our time between Tingo Maria and Moyabamba, two small towns situated on the eastern slopes of the Andes where the forest is especially rich in epiphytes. We were obliged, however, to give up any idea of reaching Moyabamba because of the lack of accommodations and airplane fuel. But when we reached Tingo Maria, we were so captivated by the beauty of the place that we were glad that we did not have to shorten our stay. For a while, though, it seemed as if we would have to forego even this town, for the weather was bad, the mountains were covered with storm clouds, and visibility was limited. Tingo Maria, having a population of under 3,000, has only a grassy meadow for an air strip and no radio communication. Clear weather is absolutely necessary for a plane to cross the ridge of mountains that separates this valley from the Amazon basin and to locate the town and the landing field. It was with sighs of relief that we stepped off our plane onto the wet field, which is situated across the Huallaga River from the little town.

The tourist hotel just outside of Tingo Mario on the river is a charming rustic affair; although its plumbing is definitely primitive, its rooms are comfortable, its management courteous and kind, and its food superior to that found in Iquitos. As we looked from our rooms, we could see the untamed montaña on the other side of the river and at night could hear the calls of jungle birds. Tropical forests, for the most part, can boast of just one color—green, but in the mountains surrounding Tingo Maria, flaming Erythrinas were much in evidence, as also were blue Jacarandas. Orchids and bromeliads could be spotted everywhere growing happily in the high trees. Oncidiums could be found perched on hibiscus and rose bushes. The valley in which Tingo Maria is located is the site of an Agricultural Experimental Station, and every endeavor is being made to help the farmers who reside in this still backward spot. Present crops are fruits, cocoa, cacao, and tea.

Tingo Maria is a place of great beauty

Some of the best collecting was just off the highway.

During our stay in Tingo Maria, we had for our guide a young Peruvian, who had assisted botanists from the University of California in several of their plant safaris. An intelligent, eager worker, he proved to be a great boon to us, providing us with a Ford bus, several good machete boys, and a fine comprehensive program. He kept us busy every minute; our days were long but were so filled with excitement they could not have been called arduous. One day we left at 4:30 in the morning and arrived back at our hotel at 7:30. Another time we left at 8:30 and due to circumstances beyond anyone's control did not return until 5:30 the next morning. But we loved every moment of it, tired and haggard and bitten by chiggers as some of us were.

It was here that those of us who planned to do any collecting did so in earnest. Tingo Maria has an elevation of approximately 2,500 feet, and usually our forays into the jungle took us to much higher elevations, at one time to 10,000 feet, so the plants collected were hardier than those found along the Amazon. As Tingo Maria is still very much off the beaten track, we did not have to go very far off the road to be overwhelmed by the great variety of plant material. In fact, the poor bus diver had a hard time going any distance at all, for he would no sooner get up any speed than loud cries of "Stop!" or "Espere un instante" would force him to jam on his brakes and bring the bus to a grinding halt. Then all of us with our knives and clippers and bags would dash out to do our best to demolish the vegetation in the area. "Traiga mas machetes," was the cry that resounded through the jungle, as Jose our guide and our boys would start climbing trees or hurtling themselves into the thickets. I do not know whether some of us were overcome by the greed that overtakes the white man in the tropics—"the heart of darkness," Joseph Conrad called it—but we were certainly out to get everything we could lay our hands on. On our return to the hotel we would realize that much of the material could not withstand the rigors of a trip back to the States and would have to be discarded. But most of us had never seen such plants before—orchids of every description and bromeliads of such a brilliant red hue that the trees appeared to be on fire. Anthuriums, gesneriads, bomareas, amaryllids, fuchsias, ferns, begonias, heliconias, palms, philodendrons, and many wildings that we carefully cultivate in our gardens and greenhouses grew in such abundance that we were all but breathless. It was no wonder that at times we were possessed by a veritable frenzy when we realized that most of these treasures could never be ours.

The trip that none of us I am sure will ever forget was to the Boquerón, a narrow passageway through the mountains that leads to Pucallpa, a town which marks the end of the so-called highway from Lima. We left the hotel at eight, early enough we thought, as the trip would take only four hours each way. But, as usual, we spent so much time exploring the countryside that we did not reach our destination until mid-afternoon. Then we became so enraptured over the beauty of the place that none of us wanted to leave. The narrow, rocky road follows the river through a deep defile. The walls of the canyon, towering many hundreds of feet, constantly drip water and are covered with a fantastic display of all kinds of plants. Ferns, orchids, begonias, and dwarf palms grow from every crevice; Pitcairnias line the road. As the sun catches the churning water below the road, it forms innumerable rainbows. To us it was truly an enchanted spot.

Our machete boy with a clump of Billbergias

Bill Paylen collecting along the Huallaga River.

When we were finally able to tear ourselves away, it was almost five o'clock and getting dark. The bus started valiantly enough, but had gone only a few feet when it decided that it could not face the bumpy, winding road ahead and stopped, seemingly for good. After much peering under the hood, the driver, the guide, and the machete boys decided that nothing could be done except get another bus. Just at that moment a truck from Pucallpa tried to pass. While the passengers pushed the defunct bus to the side of the road, the driver and the guide managed to board the truck and leave in search of help. And there we sat, in the dark, miles from anywhere, hungry and weary.

An army is said to march on its stomach, and several of us realized that food was of the utmost importance to see us through the night, so we decided to walk two miles in the dark to a wayside inn that someone had noted. Two miles on a wet road in the darkness of a jungle night is two miles never to be forgotten, but we finally reached the poor little thatched hut and were able to procure warm beer, canned tuna, and canned peaches. We bought all the astounded native woman had to offer (it was probably her biggest sale in years) and trudged back over the wet black road, our arms laden with goodies. A bonfire greeted us on our return, and we were all thankful for our supper although it was not easy eating canned tuna with one's fingers. But after hours of waiting, help did come, and we boarded the new bus to arrive back at our hotel at five the next morning.

Another day saw us start at 4:30 in the morning, as Jose wanted to be sure that we would return at a reasonable hour. We followed the road to Lima and stopped at an elevation of approximately 10,000 feet. Here the plant life seemed to take on gigantic proportions. Epidendrums and Sobralias grew to eight feet, Oncidiums had sprays of over six feet, and fuchsias were veritable trees. Bomareas in a rainbow of colors hung from the slopes. Bromeliads grew on every bank and from every limb—always a brilliant red. The largest bromel, which appeared to be a Vriesea, had a spike of three feet. The boys called it "Rex," perhaps because of its kingly size. The only Vriesea known in horticulture by this name, however, is a European hybrid. We saw many Tillandsias, many being of the soft green-leaved variety similar in appearance to T. viridiflora. There were many interesting banded bromeliads, but as they were not in bloom, we could not tell whether they were Aechmeas or Vrieseas. We could recognize the Guzmanias, however, by the fine pencilling on their leaves. These were particularly beautiful foliage plants, the leaves being of a delicate translucent texture with the black markings standing out in vivid contrast. Giant-sized Billbergias, resembling B. venezuelana in size and markings, clung to the trees.

This day was partially marred by an intense, cold rain, which prevented us from collecting as we had planned. Photography, too, was out of the question. We had, though, only one minor breakdown which was rectified in a short time, a feat no doubt due to the fact that the driver had lit a number of candles at a wayside shrine asking for our safe return.

J. Roth

J. N. Giridlian
Two bromeliads from the Amazon region

Above — Streptocalyx poeppegii

Left — Aechmea chantinii

But we did not have to travel the rocky road to Lima to see epiphytes growing in gay abandon. All we had to do was to go a half mile down the road from our hotel, through a thicket behind the so-called landing field to the banks of the Huallaga, and there find trees almost completely covered with every kind of epiphytic plant. The variety even in this comparatively small area seemed endless.

But all things must come to an end, and so it was with our trip. Rather sadly we cleaned and assorted our plants, most of us letting Jose do the packing and shipping. On our return home, we stopped in San Jose, Costa Rica, and spent several delightful days exploring the byways of Guatemala. There, bromeliads could be seen on almost every tree, but, according to Fritz who makes yearly trips to the south of Mexico, they were the same as to be found there.

Although our plants were well packed and the voyage to their new home took only four days in actual transit, delay (up to two weeks) at the plant quarantine station in San Pedro and an overly heavy dosage of methyl bromide tended to reap great damage, especially to the bromeliads. But now after six months, most of the orchids show good root action and husky offsets and many of the bromeliads have decided to try to make a go of it, although they have lost their roseate hue. Some of this coloring will no doubt return after the plants have become accustomed to the change in climatic conditions.

But more important than the bromeliads, orchids, amaryllids, and ferns which now grace our greenhouse benches are the memories of a trip truly wonderful in every way. None of us, I am sure, will ever forget the thrilling ride in the plane, the haunting beauty of the nights along the great river, the hikes through the jungle, the tall trees crowned with epiphytes of every description, or the peace which descended upon us when after a long, rewarding day we would relax with our Kokono punch or our Pisco sour. Ah! it was indeed an experience never to be forgotten.


A letter just received from Dr. Richard Oeser, author of "Southern Tillandsias," which appeared in the last issue, states that he has a number of sturdy four-year-old Tillandsia seedlings for sale—price $1.00 for twenty seedlings in lots of 100 or more. The species include those which he described in his article and many more. This is a rare opportunity to procure some very fine little Tillandsias. Import number is necessary. Dr. Oeser's address is 7801 Stegen b. Freiberg/Brsg., Schulweg 2a, West Germany.



(Continued from last issue)

HE MOST FREQUENT COMPLAINT on the part of the novice grower with regard to bromeliads (or that matter any plant) is their seeming refusal to flower. Bromeliads are no different from any other flowering plant in that most of them will bloom if they have reached sufficient maturity and are given the proper growing conditions. Just exactly what the right growing conditions are is sometimes difficult to ascertain, and when we have found out realize that they cannot be duplicated. Take the bromeliads that grow at high elevations or that need the vapors from a nearby volcano, for instance. No amount of coddling in a greenhouse can bring out the original beauty of these plants. The novice should content himself at the beginning with those bromeliads that he is sure are faithful bloomers. He should avoid such uncertain genera, such as Quesnelias, which seem to prefer certain coastal conditions.

How can the beginner make his plants flower? Experimenting is necessary, for their failure to bloom may be due to any number of causes. Shocking the plant, such as changing its environment and the temperature, sometimes is successful in promoting the formation of a flower stalk. All bromeliads need plenty of air motion—the air at all times should be both humid and buoyant. Although many bromeliads do not seem to mind extremes of temperature in their native habitat, they are often less tolerant of a wide variation under cultivation; this is especially true of hybrids. One western grower found that bromeliads subjected to a temperature under 45 degrees F. for any length of time failed to bloom the following year.

As in the case of orchids, bromeliads require light to flower although most of them will not tolerate direct sunlight. The length of day has been found to be a factor in getting certain plants to flower; experimentation with bromeliads along this line might be revealing. If a grower has several bromeliads of one kind, he might find it helpful to grow the plants in different situations and discover under which conditions the plants do the best.

Although most of the bromeliads that we grow in pots are epiphytes, they do respond to fertilizing in the rapidity of their growth, in the size and texture of their foliage, and in their tendency to flower. Bromeliads like plenty of potash and phosphorous. If these chemicals do not seem to effect blooming, then nitrogen should be tried. Many growers have success with regular orchid fertilizers or fish emulsions, using a mild solution at regular intervals.

When should offshoots be removed from the mother plant? Do offshoots affect the flowering of the mother plant? These are questions often asked by the beginner. Again there is no definite answer. Some growers have found that leaving a few of the offshoots on the mother plant will induce it to flower; others have had better luck by removing the offshoots as soon as they were of a size to be on their own. The following are a few suggestions offered by a veteran bromeliad grower with regard to offshoots:

  1. In California and allied climates, grow your bromeliads low in the soil; this will give you more offshoots.

  2. Do not remove the offshoot from the plant unless you are sure that its base is hard. If you are not certain that the shoot is mature enough to remove, wait a bit longer.

  3. There are several ways to remove an offshoot from the mother plant. With the large Aechmeas it may be necessary to use a small saw. With smaller plants, a sharp knife is generally found to be satisfactory.

  4. If you have trouble removing the offshoots or having them rot after they are removed, wrap sphagnum around the base and make just a little cut where the shoot is attached to the mother plant. Wait until the shoot has formed a few roots before severing completely.

  5. If you are afraid of losing the offshoot, dip the end in powdered charcoal; this will prevent rotting.

  6. Apply root tone to the end of the shoot to promote root growth.

  7. Plant the offshoot in a small pot in regular potting mixture. A special mix is not necessary.

  8. Do not let the young offshoot dry out after it is on its own, but do not over-water.



Take an Aechmea fasciata with the spike just emerging and place the plant in hot dry conditions. The spike could last two months and dry off but still remain pink. Take another of the same into cool, shady, damp conditions, and it will last twelve months in full color after which it will brown off and then lose all color.

This applies to all bromeliad spikes. The life of the inflorescence is in your hands. Give the plant plenty of heat, humidity, water and food for producing the first sign of the spike; then slow down maturity by cooling off.

A. fasciata and A. bracteata will stay in full head for a year. A. mexicana and A. lueddemanniana for half that time. T. flabellata and Portea petropolitana var. extensa can last in color for six months, or their color can be reduced to a brief few weeks.

The spike of a healthy, well-nourished plant, of course, will last much longer than a sickly one because Nature can work longer to mature the fruit or seed and in so doing the seed is more likely to be fertile.

—Bilpin, N.S.W., Australia.


This column will be a regular feature of the Bulletin. In the past we have received news from a number of the member Societies, but not regularly from all of them. We want to launch this column by encouraging the affiliated Societies to regard it as their own. Let us know how much space you would like reserved in each issue for you to "Sound Off."

We have received encouragement and suggestions from such a column from many readers. Some of the comments that may be of interest are reproduced here.

E. H. Palmer, of the Bromeliad Society of Tampa Bay, Florida: "News of and about bromeliads and information about various groups and individuals interested in bromeliads is, I think, very worthwhile. There should be much interest . . . there appears to be a strange reluctance by many to just sit down and write a SHORT item of interest . . . I believe each group should have a corresponding secretary. The secretary should send a copy of the minutes to headquarters, and might well drop a line whenever a noteworthy item comes to his or her attention. Judging simply by the interest in the "Round Robin," there IS an interest in the growing of Bromeliads . . . I believe it safe to say that any periodical of any group interested in the culture of a single family could not long endure if there were an over-emphasis on the purely botanical phase with classical terminology (to an amateur's bewilderment). Miss Padilla has done an excellent job and has made a good start in wider appeal."

Ralph W. Davis, from the Bromeliad Society of South Florida, Miami, Florida: "Yes, I think a column dedicated to the affiliates is a wonderful idea. It would be a contribution to the "Bulletin" in my way of thinking. I can remember 'way back," when Victoria did her A-B-C's; believe it or not, at times, I still go back to them. An approach to all affiliated Societies to take part—man! that's good! It will create the impression—this is mine—just as a new car salesman, his first step to the sale is to get you under the wheel, you look over the hood, drive around the block. Yes, beginning to think—it's mine—a sale is made. What we need is more activity by our affiliates and this will certainly be a major step . . . you may count on us to cooperate in every way possible."

Dr. George Milstein, president of the Bromeliad Society of Greater New York: "I would like to report on the Christmas party held on Saturday, December 12, by the Greater New York Chapter. We began the evening at 7:30 at New York's most luxurious Chinese restaurant, "Sheila Chang's Shanghai-East." We had a private room and 45 members and guests attended. A sumptuous 12-course authentic Chinese meal was served, and then there was a drawing for door prizes donated by Mrs. Milstein—a pearl tie-toe for the gentlemen and a pair of pearl and diamond earrings for the ladies. Then we had an entertainment. Dr. Milstein, who was emcee, introduced himself first, and he did a magic show based entirely on bromeliads, including the magical production of a bromeliad, a cut and restored bromeliad, a floating bromeliad, and other tricks. Mrs. Ellen Northan gave us a series of songs excellently performed on the harmonica, and Gerde zu Klampen did a sleight-of-hand act. It was a marvelous evening, and everyone wants us to repeat it a few times a year. We also signed up two brand new members that night."

John M. Riley, president of the Bay Area Bromeliad Society, San Mateo, California: "Our Christmas party was a big success. Kurt Peters, the outgoing president was given a nice Ae. chantinii and I was sworn in. We plan to enter the flower show next summer, as our last show was such a great success."

William Rogers, from the Bromeliad Society of New Zealand: "Our Society has recently started a "popular vote" competition to encourage people to bring along their best plants to meeting. This is not judging by show rules. Each member is given a slip of paper on which he is invited to vote for the plant he finds most interesting (each plant is numbered). Points are given the winners and at the end of the year the person with the most points wins a prize. We are also organizing two competitions for several months ahead. A Brom plant grown on a driftwood and a Brom grown in the most unusual container. Rules for these competitions are not yet finalized. It would be interesting to know what other members do at their meetings. It might help us to add more interest to ours."

The following are the active affiliates at this time:

THE BROMELIAD GUILD, Los Angeles, California
Meetings: Third Sunday afternoon on alternate months starting January
President: Charles Wiley, 4036 Via Solano, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.

California Meetings: Fourth Wednesday evening on alternate months
President: Warren Cottingham, 10717 Oregon Way, Culver City, Calif.

President: Ervin J. Wurthmann, 5602 Theresa Road, Tampa, Florida

Meetings: First Tuesday of each month at eight o'clock
President: Dr. J. G. Milstein, Telephone: Shore Rd. 5-4228

Meetings: Wednesday evening, every other month
President: Richard McCarthy, 436 Betz Place, Metairie, Louisiana

President: Ralph W. Davis, 15500 N.E. 9th Avenue, North Miami Beach

BAY AREA BROMELIAD SOCIETY, San Mateo County, California
President: John M. Riley, 3370 Princeton Ct., Santa Clara, Calif.

President: William Rogers, 901 Mt. Eden Rd., Mt. Eden, Auckland, N.Z.
Please send anything you want to "Sound Off" on, including items of interest reports of meetings, or accounts of Bromeliad Shows to:
Charles Wiley, 4036 Via Solano, Palos Verdes Estates, California, 90275.

V. Padilla


One of the most conspicuous bromeliads for the average tourist (aside from Spanish moss) is without a doubt Aechmea mexicana. Whereas one might miss more gem-like bromeliads, this Aechmea, because of its size and usually brilliant coloring always attracts attention. As one leaves the United States it first can be seen growing high on the trees along the Pan-American Highway at the start of the tropical zone, a few hundred miles south of EI Paso, Texas. And from then on, it is a familiar sight all the way to Ecuador.

Aechmea mexicana is a sturdy bromeliad, often measuring three feet across and becoming a bright rose-red in the full sun. It is found in dense, dark forests, but obviously is not fussy as to growing conditions. In British Honduras it may be seen growing in the coastal plains clinging to the occasional high palm or tree, or as in the case of the picture above, on a wall.

The inflorescence is attractive: it is covered with white fuzz and has tiny rose-colored flowers which eventually become pearl-like berries that last for many months. This Aechmea is of easy culture and is highly desirable, although it should not be grown unless it can be placed outdoors or in a large, light greenhouse.

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