THE BROMELIAD SOCIETY BULLETIN|
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
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all manuscripts for publication to the editor, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles 49,
W. B. Charley
Monsieur Charles Chevalier
Mulford B. Foster
Charles H. Lankester
Richard Oeser, M. D.
Dr. Lyman B. Smith
OFFICERS President James N. Giridlian Editorial Secretary Victoria Padilla Vice President Charles A. Wiley Membership Secretary Jeanne Woodbury Treasurer Jack M. Roth Board of Directors
David Barry, Jr.
Nat de Leon
Mulford B. Foster
James N. Giridlian
Morris H. Hobbs
J. G. Milstein
Jack M. Roth
Dr. Russell Seibert
O. E. Van Hyning
Charles A. Wiley
Wilbur G. Wood
Mrs. Adda Abendroth
Bilpin, N.S.W., Australia
A. B. Graf
E. Rutherford, New Jersey
Cartago, Costa Rica
Auckland, New Zealand
Kirchzarten, Brsg, W. Germany
P. Raulino Reitz
Crimmitschau, E. Germany
Washington. D. C.
W. B. Charley
Monsieur Charles Chevalier
Mulford B. Foster
Charles H. Lankester
Richard Oeser, M. D.
Dr. Lyman B. Smith
(No article appearing in this bulletin may be reproduced without the permission of the editor.)
A Giant of the Bromeliad Family
HE ABOVE PHOTOGRAPH shows Russell C. Mott, superintendent of the Cornell University Conservatory in Ithaca, New York, inspecting the buds of Tillandsia grandis. This plant was a gift of Mulford B. Foster, who brought it from his tropical garden in Orlando, Florida, in 1951. Originally, he had collected it at an elevation of 7,000 feet.
Although it was obviously a mature plant, it had never bloomed, so in November, 1963 Mott decided to see if he could make the plant flower and used a growth retardant on it that is used for year-round flowering of pineapples. By March 15, 1964, he detected the flower bud, but it was not known whether the formation of buds was due to the effect of the growth retardant or because the plant, being 25 years old, was at last ready to flower. By July, 1964, the plant had a flower spike six feet in height and ready to burst into bloom. The small greenish white flowers open at night and appear over a period of several months.
Tillandsia grandis is native to the mountains of Central Mexico and British Honduras. Even in its native habitat it may not flower until it is 20 to 25 years old and then produces a flower stalk that may reach a height of 15 feet. The specimen at Cornell University is about five feet high with leaves measuring three to five feet long and from four to five inches wide. It is definitely not a plant for the small home greenhouse, although it will make a handsome addition to the subtropical garden.
VICTORIA PADILLAROMELIADS CAN SERVE many uses other than gracing one's coffee table or becoming a fascinating hobby. Everyone is familiar with their edible fruits, their acting as reservoirs for water for thirsty men and beasts, and the fiber of the leaves which is used by natives for rope making and for weaving. In Plant Hunters of the Andes by T. Harper Goodspeed (University of California Press, 1961), the author gives two other practical uses of these versatile plants.
While traveling through the desert regions of Peru on a plant-collecting expedition, Goodspeed and his companions were often bogged down in the sands because of the poor condition of the road. In order to provide traction for the wheels of the car, the passengers collected the only available material they could find, which happened to be Tillandsia straminea, common to this arid region, and is to be found growing on the sands. In a land of practically no rainfall, the only moisture which this stalwart little bromeliad can obtain is from the fog which drifts in over this section. At noon, when the sun drives away the morning mist, the little reddish flower-like stalks droop, but as soon as dusk returns, the flower shoots become vigorous and erect.
As these Tillandsias have no roots to speak of, they are easily detached from the sand and have been used by the natives as living memorials for those who have met with disaster in this barren land, the friends spelling out the names of the dead in Tillandsias. Once, when a group of collectors were stalled and had to wait long for assistance to come, they whiled away their time by spelling out the word "Infiernillo," or "Little Hell" with T. straminea on the side of a low hill.
JOHN M. RILEYHIS NOTE IS WRITTEN with the intention of giving an overview of some of the climatological factors influencing the cultivation of bromeliads. Data regarding Miami, Florida; Pasadena, California; and Rio de Janeiro are presented for comparison. Rio de Janeiro was selected as a natural center of population for bromeliads, whereas Pasadena and Miami were chosen as areas in the United States with a substantial concentration of cultivated bromeliads.
Figure 1 shows the variation in the length of day which may be expected as the earth travels about the sun.* This variation is caused by the earth's axis being inclined about 23.5 degrees from the plane of its orbit. Since the orbit itself is elliptical and the earth rotates once in 24 hours, the variation of daylight is rather complex if examined in detail. For instance, although Miami is 240 miles farther from the equator than is Rio de Janeiro, it has shorter winter nights and only slightly longer summer days. It is well known that plants respond to the rate of change of daylight and darkness as much as to total energy received. On this basis you might expect some characteristic difference in blooming season between each location, depending on latitude and local rates.
In addition to the cyclic variation of light, plants are subjected to a complex variation in the light spectrum. In particular, water vapor and carbon dioxide absorb portions of the ultraviolet and infrared radiations. These components are greatly reduced or missing from the environment at sea level. Plants grown at altitudes of 5,000 feet are subject to about 10% more radiation in all parts of the spectrum. By contrast, greenhouse plants are not exposed to either infrared or ultraviolet radiation in any quantity because of the opaqueness of ordinary glass to these components of light. Perhaps this explains the loss of color observed when bromeliads are brought dawn from the mountain tops to be grown at sea level, or when greenhouse plants are grown with too much shade. It has been reported that long infrared radiation inhibits germination of seed whereas short infrared enhances it.** This sensitivity suggests that plants may be able to sense the variation of water vapor content in the atmosphere as well as to know the moisture content of the immediate soil. It also hints of other possible adjustments to the radiation environment.
The distribution of rainfall is a second dominant factor in the outdoor cultivation of bromeliads, although some control may be obtained by casual irrigation. Figure 2 shows a plot of rainfall versus season for the three areas under study.*** The data is plotted as the average number of inches of rain which falls during each month of the year. There is a marked similarity between the rainfall distribution in Miami and in Rio de Janeiro. The rate of change of rainfall occurs roughly in synchronism with the changing length of day for these two places. The winters are dry and the summers are wet. The high rainfall and high temperatures of summer contribute significantly to the rapid growth of plants here. California by contrast gets its rainfall in the winter months and is almost totally deficient in summer rainfall.
While irrigation provides the water needed for west coast gardening, it also provides an abundance of salts. In those areas using the Colorado River as a source of water, there is as much as 710 parts per million of dissolved mineral. A surprising accumulation of salt may result from the rapid evaporation of soil moisture in the warm and dry California climate. When once the alkali is deposited on the leaves of ornamental plants, it is hard to remove and frequently the plants become spotted and unsightly. To avoid this, some growers use chemically softened water for sprinkling and humidifying the air. However, this water is not recommended for general greenhouse irrigation as it trades calcium salts for more aggressive sodium salts. Over the years, considerable advice has been given regarding the effects of metal ion contaminants on the cultivation of bromeliads. Some of this advice is apparently contradictory.
Warnings have been given against so much as watering from galvanized containers. Yet many hobbyists have no choice but to water from the copper pipes installed when their homes are purchased. My plants have been subjected to this treatment both in Florida and California without damage which can be traced to the water supply. It seems that calcium and magnesium ions tend to reduce the toxicity of other metallic ions. In fact, concentrations of copper which would be lethal to plants if introduced in distilled water, may not be harmful at all in usual water supplies. At any rate, the Pasadena water department reports less than three parts per million of heavy metallic ions such as copper, lead, or chromium. Data was not obtained for water contaminants in the Miami area, but this location is in the limestone region of Florida where presumably the same buffering action of calcium is present. Of. course, epiphytes in the wild are never subject to a surplus of mineral and, in fact, require special adaptation to an environment where these are deficient. An excellent discussion of the role of calcium and magnesium in plant culture is given in the Cactus and Succulent Society Journal for March-April 1952.
Humidity is another vital cultural difference between Pasadena and Miami or Rio de Janeiro. Often the west coast air is dry enough to discourage moisture loving tropical plants even though there is an abundance of water in the soil. Here, the bromeliad enthusiast who has a green house must constantly struggle to provide adequate humidity without closing the greenhouse sufficiently to accumulate extremely high temperatures. Most tropical plants will endure high temperatures very well without burning as long as the humidity is maintained. In an attempt to maintain the relative humidity, there is a temptation to seal the greenhouse against the outside environment. If the air is not moving at all, a layer of stagnant, supersaturated air forms in the region immediately surrounding the leaf surfaces as a result of normal transpiration. While bromeliads resist such an environment quite well, many people claim superior growth if the air is kept circulating. The ideal combination is a fan driven humidifier which regulates humidity and provides the desirable air circulation at the same time.
The temperature extremes for five locations of interest are shown in Figure 3****. Also shown is the range of average temperatures during the year. This factor is heavily dependent on local geography and may vary widely over a few miles, even in Florida. It has been demonstrated that many bromeliads survive short periods of time with the temperature down into the 20's, and on this basis you might expect outdoor culture of bromeliads in both California and Florida for several years before really devastating cold weather occurs. The high temperature extremes are more serious in California since the humidity at this time drops to near zero and the sunlight is intense. Ground temperatures to nearly 120° may be encountered in unfavorable areas. By contrast, in Florida the hot weather is almost always moderated by the development of heavy showers or cloud cover arising from the temperature difference between the peninsula and the surrounding waters.
The winter storms which sweep in from the Pacific bring protracted periods of cool weather to California at times. This discourages continued survival of many tropic plants even though they are well able to tolerate occasional low temperatures.
The daily range of temperature is also a significant factor in successful growth of tropical plants. Many are distinctly unhappy with nighttime temperatures below about 50 degrees. By the way of illustration, tomatoes will not set fruit in California until the nights become warm even though daytime temperatures will approach 100° F for extended periods of time. On the other hand, bromeliads from the higher mountain slopes experience a sharp drop of temperature every night and may well prefer some-thing closer to the California weather than that of Florida. This is certainly apparent in the case of Epiphyllums in cultivation. They are distinctively unhappy with Florida summers.
By way of summary, bromeliads are almost always grown in a greenhouse on the west coast, even though environmental averages seem to favor outdoor cultivation. You may find that the bromeliads are a bit more consistent in their blooming habits because of the more pronounced seasonal variations in California. The alkaline water, aside from spotting plants, seems to be fairly tolerable for the average plant if care is taken in choosing a proper growing medium. On the other hand, an informal collection of bromeliads in a natural setting among the palms and oak trees in Florida is an exquisite representation of all the very best from the tropics.
—3370 Princeton Ct., Santa Clara, California.__________
* The Nautical Almanac for the Year 1963. U.S. Naval Observatory, Washington, D. C.
** "Some Germination Requirements of Saguaro Cactus Seed," Cactus and Succulent Society Journal, March-April 1962.
*** "Climate and Man", 1941 Yearbook of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.
MULFORD B. FOSTER
(A reprint by popular request of an article which appeared in the Cactus and Succulent Journal.)
F THE TERRESTRIAL types of bromeliads, Dyckias have been the best known among collectors. Horticulturally, they have been used, I believe, more than any other terrestrial bromeliad. In the book, "Succulents for the Amateur" there is but one page devoted to the
bromeliad family and on that page there are just three species mentioned, Dyckia sulphurea, D. rariflora and Hechtia Texensis. All three of these are worthwhile subjects and do very well in almost any succulent garden in the south of Florida or California and for indoor gardens, protected from severe freezing; they do well in pots.
Generally speaking, the Dyckias are not difficult subjects for the collector and do not require much pampering. Most of them enjoy a slightly acid or neutral soil and I have found that they are quite happy growing in a leaf-mold and sand mixture with pulverized dairy manure or any good organic fertilizer. They all enjoy full light conditions and while they are quite drought resistant they can take plenty of water when the drainage is good.
All of the Dyckias have stiff, spine-edged succulent leaves, most of the species having green leaves. The flowers range from sulphur yellow to brilliant orange and generally appear in the spring. Unlike their cousins, the pineapples, Dyckias always send their flower spike laterally from the side of the plant. The axis remains sterile and continues to grow year after year. The larger types often form a yucca-like trunk, but the smaller species cover the ground in mat formation.
Most of the Dyckias are native to Brazil but neighboring South American countries have a few species. They are generally found growing on or in the crevices of rocks.
In private collections the two most common Dyckias have been D. sulphurea and D. rariflora. The large botanical collections have had a few additional ones such as D multiflora, D. altissima, D. frigida, D. Montevidedensis and D. remotiflora.
From my collecting in Brazil I have introduced to this country the following known species: D. coccinea, D. minarum, D. microcalyx, D. leptostachys, D. sordida, D. ferruginea, as well as three of my new discoveries, D. simulans, D. ursina and D. Fosteriana, plus several new hybrids. Of the earlier introductions from Europe, the first two Dyckias, (sulphurea and rariflora) have been the only ones suitable for small collections because of their convenient size. However, from my own collecting, the D. coccinea, D. minarum, D. leptostachys and D. simulans are all of a small enough size to interest the succulent collector limited to pot culture.
Dyckia minarum is one of the smallest sized plants in the group. I have seen this plant which averages two to three inches in diameter growing in rather large beds. When in bloom, with its six to eight inch spikes of orange-yellow flowers, it is an interesting subject. The green leaves are stiff and the plant is rather compact.
|Left center—D. fosteriana — Right center—D. minarum, D. ursina|
Dyckia coccinea is quite a hardy plant and grows in much more compact masses than many Dyckias. When grown in the open the individual plants do not show up as distinctly as most Dyckias. The lepidote olive green leaves, four to seven inches long, are narrow with an upright growth; the red-orange flowers are on a tall, 18 inch spike, and they add a nice note of color in the early spring and summer. This species grows natively in open rocky fields and is exceptionally drought resistant.
Dyckia microcalyx is a medium sized plant but certainly the most floriferous Dyckia I have ever had. It produces from one to three tall branched flower stalks each year with hundreds of yellow flowers thereon; it makes an excellent outdoor rock garden subject. The mass of curved, narrow, heavy spined leaves is a real addition to any succulent collection.
Dyckia leptostachya has been at home in our garden from the moment of its arrival from Brazil where we found it on rocky slopes in far off Matto Grosso. It grows in sun or shade, but of course blooms best in full light. It has fewer leaves than most of the Dyckias. They vary from maroon to green and most of the plants have produced at least two spikes of flowers in succession each spring. It reproduces by shooting out underground stolons and new plants will continue to develop around the matured plants. The flowers, on an eighteen to twenty-four inch spike, are of a rich orange in color. I have seen solid mat beds of these Dyckias eight to ten feet in diameter.
Dyckia frigida, an early bloomer coming from February to June, withstands quite a cool climate and dry conditions in sun or shade. The plants are from twelve to eighteen inches in diameter and the branched flower spike, at least three feet high, carries a good supply of orange yellow flowers. The green leaves are glabrous.
Dyckia ursina is well named. The flower spike and even the sepals and part of the petals are covered with a brown wool an eighth of an inch thick resembling a bear's fur. It is a bit large for pot culture but as a rock garden plant it will stand extreme conditions. While I found it in the tropics it grew high in the Brazilian mountains of Minas Gerais and the cold, raw, windy morning convinced me that it had not grown the wool covering for naught. Also the mid-day sun in that area was so severe that I am sure the wool covering has still another purpose. The branched flower spike is often three to four feet high and the flower is a lovely orange almost covered with brown wool.
Dyckia Fosteriana, according to Lad Cutak of spiny "chatter" fame, is the gem of the genus. And indeed it is a priority plant for its spiral whorl of grey leaves appears to be made of platinum and its brilliant flowers of gold. As a pot plant it will have no rival within the Dyckia tribe. The plant is three to four inches in diameter.
My Dyckia hybrid "Lad Cutak" is the most vigorous grower and bloomer of any of the Dyckia family, and it exceeds in size either of its parents. Several more of my Dyckia hybrids, not yet described, will be worth while new comers.
In appearance the well-armed Hechtias resemble very closely the spiny Dyckias. In fact, most of them could not be distinguished from Dyckias except by the inflorescence. They generally grow in much greater masses than the Dyckia colonies that I have seen. Most of them are also highly xerophytic and enjoy extremes in heat as well as fairly low temperatures. While the Hechtias are of more interest to the succulent specialty collector, most of them are a bit too large for the collector who has little space. The flowers are generally borne on long branched spikes and for the most part are rather inconspicuous, being without showy colors.
The Hechtias have one interesting character which is unusual in the family of bromeliads. While the flowers are monoecious, having both pistil and stamens, however, each species has what we might term masculine and feminine forms. In other words, in the male form the pistil is not fully developed enough to function. In years past in many of the species, because of the different vegetative appearance in the two forms, each sex was named as a separate species.
Many of the Hechtias could hardly be noted for showy beauty, but one outstanding exception is the lovely Mexican species, H. capituligera. The stiff, spiny, succulent leaves of this plant when in full sun, radiate an almost transparent amber color and lend a beautiful note to the rock garden. This species as well at H. stenopetala are two Mexican species that should grace every southern garden.
The four Texas species, H. scariosa, H. Ghiesbreghtii, H. glomerata and H. texensis, are all deserving of a place in any succulent collection. I know of no plants that ask for less attention than many forms of these Hechtias.
While most Hechtias are moderate in size, ranging from about eighteen inches to twenty-five in the spread of the rosette, with a flower stalk from one to four feet high, I discovered, (in Mexico in 1935) a giant among the Hechtias. Its rosette spread is over five feet across and its flower stalk nearly eight feet high. This proved to be a new species, H. melanocarpa (recently described by Lyman B. Smith), with a peculiar characteristic.
It has a central inflorescence! All other Hechtias, Deuterocohnias and Dyckias that I am familiar with have a lateral inflorescence; several other genera have this characteristic and I wrote a paper on the subject of "Lateral Inflorescence in the Bromeliaceae" in the National Horticultural Magazine for January, 1945. While this article was on the press, the giant Hechtia which I had been growing in my garden since its collection ten years previous decided to produce its first bloom. And from the center axis of the plant, (which no self-respecting Hechtia should do) upsetting completely my statement that "the genera . . . regularly producing a lateral inflorescence . . . are confined (in Bromeliaceae) to Hechtia, Dyckia, Deuterocohnia and Encholirium."
Now for a trip back to Mexico to find more Hechtias which will prove or disprove that H. melanocarpa is the only exception.
In general, the spiny leaves of the Hechtias lend themselves fittingly to rocks and blend happily in association with cacti and other succulents, thereby adding one more interesting form to the desert garden.
MARTHA VAN NESSROMELIADS WERE BROUGHT to my attention while I was attending a daytime home gardening and landscaping course. Our instructor brought the "weed" of the bromeliad family to class one day. He identified it as Billbergia nutans, commonly called "Queen's Tears," and told of its ability to grow outdoors and survive all sorts of adverse conditions.
My interest was aroused, for I had recently acquired a plant of B. nutans from an elderly gardening enthusiast. I continued in the field of horticulture by taking night courses at the local college. There I had the opportunity to browse through the fascinating book Exotica. I was so enthralled with it that I wished out loud for it at home, and my good husband presented me with a copy of Exotica II for my birthday. I poured over that book for hours and began to commit to memory many of the plants I saw pictured on its pages. The color page that introduced the Bromeliaceae family intrigued me. I hoped that some day I would have the opportunity to buy some of these fancy plants and so tried hard to keep the genera and varieties, the epiphytic and terrestrial, catalogued in my mind.
On a trip to southern California I had the good fortune to come across Acanthostachys strobilacea. I promptly bought a small plant of it as well as one of Tillandsia lindenii and Dyckia fosteriana, and of all places at a cactus garden! Eventually I sent for more plants through the help of a friend who had begun to receive the Bromeliad Bulletin. The bulletin was a turning point in my appreciation of bromeliads. I too sent for the bulletin, and with the help of its guiding information, as well as the list of nurseries advertising bromeliads for sale, I became somewhat of a collector. At present, I find I have in the neighborhood of 87 varieties and 13 genera. I have gained much pleasure and knowledge from growing these plants.
Some of my bromeliads have won ribbons at flower shows and others are just there to grace space. I have had the experience of learning the procedure of importing plants as well as the headaches and heart aches that go along. One box of imported plants had heavy fumigation because the bromeliads reportedly had palm scale. Needless to say, I saved none of the plants. It was a costly lesson, but a lesson none the less. In the short time of a year I have swooped to the status of having over 125 bromeliads. Along with orchids, cactus, and other types of flowers I love to grow, that is a staggering figure.
I paid what I thought was quite a price for an unnamed plant which proved to be Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor. It took me two months thinking about whether I wanted it and checking on whether it was still for sale before I made up my mind that I wanted it enough to pay the price. The plant was for sale in a variety store! This plant has proved to be my best investment, for to date it has developed nine offshoots, making the original cost of the plant proportionately nominal.
I find many of the Billbergias and some of the Aechmeas will winter outside under lath here in Pacifica, which is just a few miles south of San Francisco. I intend to check more closely the lists that appear in our bulletin on hardiness and put more "broms" outside to ease space in the greenhouses. One greenhouse is unheated, but the fact that plants are protected from the elements seems to be sufficient for many. Others need heat to keep them happy.
I have become selective about the plants I purchase now because I prefer either beautifully colored foliage or attractive bloom. Many fill both categories, and when they do, my oh my, what a sight to behold!
I am trying my hand at raising some from seed and have some little darlings showing their green leaves. A magnifying glass keeps me up to date on their progress, and I have five very fine plants coming along that were seedlings about one and a half inches high last winter and are now better than seven inches high.
My subscription to the Bromeliad Society Bulletin and the Society Handbook have been of great help in keeping my interest going. Also any one who can look at Wilson's Bromeliads in Cultivation could not be indifferent to those beautiful pictures. I am truly grateful to all who have had a part in bringing me so much contentment with such a fascinating group of plants.
—432 Perry Ave., Pacifica, Calif.
The latest issue of Phytologia to contain information on bromeliads is that issued in October, 1964. Of special interest to the serious student of bromeliads is the revision of the genus Puya, by Lyman B. Smith. Also described are several new Aechmeas, a Billbergia, a Hechtia, a Neoregelia. Copies of this publication may be obtained by sending one dollar to H. N. Moldenke, 15 Glenbrook Avenue, Yonkers 5, New York.
From Australia were received two pleasant letters. Mr. Tom Lauder, of Auburn, N. S. W., wrote: "Have derived great pleasure and knowledge from the Society's journal during the past two years and despite the fact that my collection is not large it is sufficiently varied to always have something happening. Have made up a few dishes to give as Christmas presents containing flowering specimens of Aechmea fulgens discolor. How delightful they look and how fortunate we are to have them flower at exactly this time of year! Aechmea × 'Foster's Favorite', though not in bloom, has wonderful colour in the offsets and these have been incorporated in bowls of mixed indoor plants. Indeed some of the greatest joys of living are tied up with the growing of plants and the giving of them to friends."
From W. B. Charley, of Bilpin, Australia, came a newspaper item which read as follows: "The people of Bellingen and district were fortunate to be able to view as fine a selection of the popular and rare new pineapple family of pot plants—Bromeliads—as could be seen anywhere. These were displayed by Mr. and Mrs. Jack Powell of the North Beach Nursery who are well in the fore-front of Brom growers in this state. The noncompetitive exhibit of these intriguing plants with their unusual marking and flowers was a choice selection of the many varieties they have at the nursery and were greatly admired."
DECORATING WITH BROMELIADS—HIS INTERESTING PHOTOGRAPH, sent by Dr. H. Murata, of the Onomichi Botanical Garden, in Japan, shows what can be done with Aechmea fasciata in an arrangement. The whole Aechmea is used without any disturbance to its roots, so that the bromeliad can be replanted. The foliage is Stauntonia hexaphylla. The arrangement was displayed by Mrs. Tamae Konishi.
—Roger K. Taylor, Winter Garden, Florida.From California—While the new means of breaking dormancy is with the rocket fuel derivative, it may be of interest to consider some of the refinements on the use of the old means with carbide. Mr. Jean Merkel of Alberts and Merkel, Florida, wrote that he dissolved calcium carbide in a pail of ice water which seems to increase the concentration of gas in solution and gets better results in flowering. He reports further that a friend tips his plants so that the water in the cup drains out and then adds the treated water. Mr. G. M. Gerlach of New Iberia, Louisiana, drops the carbide pellets directly into the cup and secures favorable results. I tried this method with a large Aechmea Marie Reginae and several others with no apparent effect good or bad. Then in a fit of pique an extra generous dose was administered and while the heart was not burnt out, the small leaves forming were burned and later grew out minus the tips. While Fascicularia possesses no true cup, it was decided to make an attempt on a pokey old plant in the garden. The granules did some burning to the tender leaves, but there was conspicuous flush of new growth.
—William Drysdale, Riverside, Calif.From Australia—By experimenting with unusual types of fertilizers, one is often rewarded by changes in the appearance of his bromeliads. A narrow leaved Neoregelia carolinae formed its rosette in the normal way, but after being fed heavily with ground-up sheep manure, the red flush of the heart began to shift up along each leaf, leaving the center green. At the end of the year the red coloring had reached the ends of the leaves. Will the heart of the plant ever regain its reddish tint? It is believed that it will. Was abnormally new vigor the cause of the center leaves to "grow out" the color along the leaves? We believe so. Our belief is that the nutrients in this class of natural manure applied to a mature plant set up new growth so that the plant decided that it had not reached full maturity after all and started off again.
—W. B. Charley, Bilpin, N. S. W.
William Rogers, from the Bromeliad Society of New Zealand: "One of the problems of a new specialist society is finding new subjects for programmes, especially where the group is away from the main centers of activity, and where few have a wide knowledge of the subject. At times we have been a little worried about what the next programme would be, but it is surprising how new ideas keep turning up.
"We have been going two years now. To begin with we had a series based on the Handbook, going through the agenda one by one, discussing cultivation, appearance, looking at specimens and pictures till we got the hang of each. Then we were fortunate in being able to borrow slides, sometimes from overseas, sometimes to get copies of slides to build our own collection. We have seen all our own slides 2 and 3 times in various contexts, then to fill an evening we put them on again, getting the members to identify the species. Some people knew every one; others needed a little help to identify the plants. We also got plenty of comments from those growing the plants, and information as to where they could be obtained.
"Last month we asked individuals how they grew their plants. Starting with experienced people, shyness soon wore off and we were able to get younger and less experienced ones to discuss their efforts. We are lucky in that we are a small society and all are well known to each other.
"We have just had a competition for arrangements of bromeliads grown in man-made and natural containers, which proved very popular. Driftwood was much in evidence as a base, as was our local volcanic scoria rock which can easily be chipped out to form a bowl. Among novelties was a coconut with the top cut off in the form of a mask, the "hair" being a narrow leafed Dyckia. A clay pot known as a strawberry jar with numerous small holes round the sides was a good setting for a collection of Cryptanthus. An old shoe-last with a bromeliad growing through the toehole caused much merriment, as did an old boot painted for the occasion. We also organized a question and answer evening. In a group such as ours where everyone is learning, a few formal questions start the ball rolling, and we soon find out what people want to know, and also what they have found out. Such evenings keep everyone in the picture.
"Country members often find it hard to obtain new and unusual plants. To encourage their interest we put their names down on the ballot for rare and imported plants, and if they are lucky, post the plants to them. If we have a surplus we also advertise it in our circular so country members will know what is available. It would be interesting to hear from other societies, how they organize their evenings, and what programmes they have. Such interchange helps to brighten and vary the monthly meeting."
Kurt Peters, Secretary of the Bay Area Bromeliad Society of California was on Channel 5 San Francisco Television on November 29, 1964. The program is called the "Green Thumb". He showed an 8-inch wooden container full of Billbergia vittata. Five of the 14 plants were in bloom. It was an outstanding display. In addition to this he had a Guzmania lingulata and an Aechmea miniata discolor in bloom to show. He had planted a single Billbergia vittata offshoot in an 8-inch container in 1962. He let it multiply until the whole container was covered. When none of the plants bloomed in 1964, he treated every plant with carbide in October, 1964. The result was that five plants had beautiful blooms in November for the T.V. show.
"Three members of the Bay Area Bromeliad Society exhibited plants at the Bay-Ocean District Exhibit at the Community Building at the San Mateo County Fair Grounds in San Mateo, California. The Bay-Ocean District is a branch of the California Garden Clubs, Inc. This exhibit took place on November 20, 21, and 22, 1964. Doris Beaumont showed an Aechmea fasciata. Graham Pearson showed a Guzmania lingulata, and Kurt Peters showed a Billbergia vittata; the same plant that was on T.V. Each plant received an award. , Since bromeliads are not so well known yet on the Peninsula, the visiting public asked a good many questions.
Mrs. Robert Van Ness describes the Society's first exhibit: "At the San. Mateo County Floral Fiesta this past August, the Bay Area Bromeliad Society had their first showing of Bromeliads. It was a courtesy display, there being no category in which we as a group could enter competitively. The members were mainly interested in getting bromeliads before the public and acquainting them with the family of plants. The Fiesta management provided walls of plywood that were painted and draped the ceiling with greenmoss covered wire. They erected railings to divide the display area from the hallway, and from there two of our able and capable members, namely Mr. Otto Schroller and Mr. Robert McElderry, carried on and staged the exhibit. These two men had the most plants of show quality available, so provided most all that were used, including ficus, caryota, philodendron, ferns, and many other plants to create a tropical splendor. The plants were set on mounds of tanbark and the pots surrounded with green moss to hide the mechanics of the staging. There were hollowed logs with pots set into them, and half baskets of wire against the wall full of Billbergias growing that way. There were Vrieseas down a much weathered length of wood and blooming away, looking as if they were in their native setting. There were pineapples, yes, real ones and one ripe enough to cast its aroma. There were two groups of Aechmea fasciata in all their glory of deeply silvered leaves and pink bracts, with lovely blue blooms, a glorious Aechmea chantinii and an Aechmea nudicaulis cuspidata stiffly erect and glowingly in bloom. Many of the smaller plants, such as Cryptanthus, Vriesea, Tillandsia and Billbergia, helped to make this an outstanding exhibit. The San Francisco Hall of Flowers Flower Show followed less than one month later, so we decided to enter the educational category. We were allotted a five by twelve foot table so this display was more an assortment of plants that members had. There were thirty-two varieties represented and many were in bloom. The judges' comment quoted in part was "This is a beautiful horticultural display". We had not given enough educational information to merit an award. The plants drew a great deal of attention and people inquired about the society. Many visitors remarked that they had grown or were growing bromeliads and were pleased to find such a show and so much interest shown. We are now working towards the goal of getting categories opened at the flower shows so that we may have competition in a bromeliad class alone and not have to enter under such categories as foliage plants or other blooming plants. As a reasonably new group, less than a year old, we feel we have come quite a ways to enter such shows before we had celebrated our first birthday!"
Ervin Wurthmann from the Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay Florida: "Activities in the Tampa Chapter are confined to learning the various Bromeliads and how to grow them. Members had an exhibit at the State Fair in February. Prize moneys will go into the Chapter Treasury. Some of the members with artistic bents have taken up charcoal drawings of Bromeliads. Mrs. Wurthmann has done some water colors of Bromeliads. We are working on a color photo album of Bromeliads. This could be a long term project as we are trying to secure photos of plants in blooms. Everything shown at the show won a prize. There were no plants such as Billbergia nutans, B. pyramidalis, or other common ones exhibited by our group. This year was experimental; next year the showing could be twice or three times as large. The superintendent of horticultural department at the Fair wants to put on a display of Bromeliads against a landscaped background rather than table display next year. The plants would still be judged individually. Our guild will have a display about 12' by 12' at the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs Convention in Tampa April 28-29. Twelve hundred people are expected to attend. Aim—display Bromeliads and secure members."
Mrs. Eric Knobloch, from the Louisiana Bromeliad Society, New Orleans: The new officers for the years 1965-1966 are as follows:
- President: Mrs. Charles L. Brown
- Vice President: Mr. Walter Smith
- Secretary: Mrs. Eric Knobloch
- Treasurer: Mrs. Herman Kohlmeyer
- Board Members:
- Mr. Karl Kraak
- Mr. Morris Henry Hobbs
- Mrs. William B. Wisdom
- Mr. Morris Henry Hobbs
- Vice President: Mr. Walter Smith
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 Verde Estates, California.
- BROMELIAD SOCIETY OF LA BALLONA VALLEY, Culver City, California.
- Meetings: Fourth Wednesday January, March, May, June, September, November
- President: Warren Cottingham, 10717 Oregon Way, Culver City, California.
- BROMELIAD GUILD OF TAMPA BAY, Tampa, Florida.
- Meetings: First Tuesday every month at 7:30 P.M.
- President: Ervin J. Wurthmann, 5602 Theresa Rd., Tampa, Florida.
- BROMELIAD GUILD OF GREATER NEW YORK, New York, N. Y.
- Meetings: First Tuesday of each month at eight o'clock.
- President: Dr. J. G. Milstein, Telephone: Shore Rd. 5-4228.
- LOUISIANA BROMELIAD SOCIETY, New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Meetings: Fourth Wednesday January, March, May, June, September, November.
- President: Mrs. Charles L. Brown, 27 Neron Pl., New Orleans.
- BROMELIAD SOCIETY OF SOUTH FLORIDA, Miami, Florida.
- President: Ralph W. Davis, 15500 NE 9th Ave., North Miami Beach.
- BAY AREA BROMELIAD SOCIETY, San Mateo County, California.
- President: John M. Riley, 3370 Princeton Ct., Santa Clara, California.
- BROMELIAD SOCIETY OF NEW ZEALAND, Auckland, New Zealand.
- President: William Rogers, 901 Mt. Eden Rd., Mt. Roskill, Auckland, N. Z.
One of the most attractive of all bromeliads is the plant pictured above—Portea petropolitana var. extensa. Named in honor of Dr. Marius Porte of France, who was the first to introduce this genus into cultivation (1885), Porteas are to be found growing only in Brazil. Although they are all handsome plants, Porteas have not attained the popularity that is their due. Perhaps this lack of recognition can be attributed to the fact that there are only five known species and two varieties, and these are seldom found in commercial establishments.
Portea petropolitana var. extensa is generally considered the most desirable of the genus. It was found by Mulford Foster growing on rocks near the sea in the state of Espirito Santo, Brazil. In subtropical areas, this bromeliad can be grown outdoors, and in southern California has withstood freezing temperatures for short periods of time. The plant seems to thrive in either sun or shade and is tolerant of the most unkind treatment, such as it has received in the writer's garden. It suckers freely and is a consistent bloomer.
The tall semi-tubular rosette of glossy, light green leaves edged with prominent jet black spines makes the plant attractive at all times. It is a tall bromeliad, the leaves measuring almost two feet, but the soft texture of the foliage gives the Portea a graceful appearance which belies its robustness. The flowers with their lavender petals and apple-green ovaries are borne in an open spray, which lasts in color for several months. The dark purple berries which follow add interest to this plant for a considerable period of time.