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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 shows a close-up of the magnificent Streptocalyx holmesii, one of the outstanding bromeliads brought back from the Amazonian region in Peru by Jack Holmes. The huge inflorescence reaches a height of 2 to 2½ feet and is so vibrant in coloring that it tends to out-dazzle all other plants in the greenhouse. Photo by Mr. Holmes.

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



Bromeliads fit into any kind of decorating scheme. The upper picture shows a planting at the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company in Tampa, Florida.

The photo to the left shows Cryptbergia used in the home.

Figure 1. Regulation of flowering of 3 bromeliad species; Upper, Vriesea splendens; middle, Billbergia; lower, Ananas (pineapple). Left: untreated plant; right, plant drenched with 0.1% Omaflora. Time from treatment to flower or fruit required 14 weeks for Vriesea; 5 weeks for Billbergia; and 24 weeks for Ananas when plants were at a minimum night temperature of 65°F.



LOWERING OF THE PINEAPPLE plant, Ananas comosus (L.) Merr. was first regulated by wood smoke and ethylene (8). Ethylene (2), acetylene (6,12) (hydrolyzed from calcium carbide), auto exhaust and smog also forced flowering. Synthetic plant growth regulators were also reported to promote flower initiation: 1-naphthalne acetic acid (1), 2,4-dichlorophenoxy-acetic acid (11), indole butyric acid (3), indole acetic acid (3). Gowing and Leeper (4,5) reported that beta-hydroxyethylhydrazine (Omaflora3) promoted flower induction of pineapple plants and allowed for crop control by advancing the date of fruiting in a part of the whole field population. Recently. Omaflora was registered for use on commercial plantings of pineapple plants. Flowering of other members of the pineapple (Bromeliad) family has been regulated by photoperiod (7,9,10) and by ethylene (2).

This report describes experimental results with Bromeliad species, grown on photoperiods regulated to keep them vegetative and treated with Omaflora to induce flowering on schedule. On many Bromeliad species these treatments turn them into potted plants which can flower or bear fruit at any time of year.


Billbergia pyramidalis (Sims) Lindl. was selected for detailed studies. Offshoots were cut from mother plants and rooted in pea-sized gravel. The offshoots were grown on natural days and interrupted from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly with at least 20 ft-c of incandescent light. The plants responded as if they were grown on a long day, herein called a long-day condition. The rooted offshoots were potted in a mixture of equal parts sandy loam, peat moss, and pea-sized gravel. The bottom third of the pot was filled with gravel. Routine watering and fertilization procedures were used. A minimum night temperature of 65-70°F was maintained at all times.

Plants were grown on long days in a lightly shaded greenhouse for over 3 years. Plants, 18 months or older, occasionally initiated and developed flowers when shifted to 8-hr. days and reduced light. Other plants grown on natural days flowered each fall on offshoots formed the previous year. Thus, long days alone inhibited flowering, and prolonged exposures to natural days promoted flowering seasonally, but an abrupt shift from long to short days only occasionally promoted flowering.

Rooted offshoots were grown for six months on long days and were treated with various growth regulators. The following compounds were inactive or only occasionally promoted induction of flowering: 1-naphthalene acetic acid (0.0005-0.01%); indole acetic acid (0.0005-0.1%) ; 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (0.005-0.1%; and calcium carbide (0.5-4 gms per plant).

Following the technique reported by Gowing and Leeper (5), we dissolved beta-hydroxyethylhydrazine, called Omaflora, in tap water in the dosage range from 0.01 - 1.0%. The leaves that grasped the growing point, called the well of the plant, were washed clean with tap water and emptied of liquid. The well of the plant was then filled to overflowing with solutions of Omaflora. The volume of solution depended on the size of the plant. Dosages less than 0.1% Omaflora only occasionally induced the initiation of flowers. Dosages from 0.1 to 0.4% always induced flowering without burning the foliage (Fig. 1). Dosages greater than 0.4% damaged the leaves and often destroyed the growing plant. Many basal shoots developed on plants with the growing point damaged.


Detailed experiments were conducted on how to use the chemical without disfiguring the plants. The salient points are

  1. Recently transplanted offshoots often failed to respond to Omaflora. Plants with established root systems and sufficient size always initiated flowers. The minimum size for this Billbergia was 14 inches wide and 32 inches tall; smaller plants did not always initiate and develop flowers.

  2. Continuous production of flowering potted plants was possible from a large population of plants. Billbergias were grown on long days at 65°F night temperature. Separate lots were treated with 0.1% Omaflora at monthly intervals and flowering occurred 28 to 35 days later. From one large population of plants, individual plants were flowered on a monthly schedule for more than 1 year.

  3. Control of the photoperiod after treatment of the plants with Omaflora was not necessary. Omaflora promoted initiation and development of flowers regardless of photoperiod.

  4. Temperature regulated the number of days from treatment with Omaflora to anthesis without altering the dosage required to induce flowering. Plants of this Billbergia grown at 70°, 65°, and 60°F, night temperature required 28, 32, and 40 days from treatment with 0.1% Omaflora to anthesis.

  5. The plants required exposure to a solution of Omaflora in the well of the plant for at least 24 hr. to induce flowering. The solution could then be removed and induction of flowers still occurred.

  6. The water and the algae growing in the well of the plant had to be removed prior to treatment with Omaflora. They interfered with treatments; many plants flowered irregularly when these precautions were not taken.

  7. The well of the plants must be completely filled with the solution of Omaflora. Filling the well insufficiently, or using concentrated solutions, caused burning of the foliage.

  8. Solutions of Omaflora held for 3 weeks in sunlight at room temperature (75°F), were stable and induced flowering on plants.

  9. One treatment of Omaflora at the proper concentration always induced flowering. Four dosages of 0.025% Omaflora, 4 days apart, did not induce flowering, while one 0.1% dosage always induced flowering.

  10. Treatment of each individual offshoot was necessary to induce flowering. Treatment of one offshoot had no effect on another offshoot attached to the same plant.


Other Bromeliad species were grown on long and short days and were treated with solutions of Omaflora. The flowering of the following species was induced with 0.1 and 0.2% Omaflora.

Aechmea coelestis (Koch) E. Morr.; Aechmea fasciata (Lindl.) Baker; Ananas comosus (L.) Merr., Billbergia venezuelana Mez.; Neoregelia concentrica (Veil.) L. B. Smith; Neoregelia spectabilis (Moore) L. B. Smith; Nidularium fulgens Lem.; Vriesea splendens "Major" Hort. (Fig. 1); Vriesea regina (Veil) Beer; and Vriesea geniculata Wawra. Higher dosages (0.5%) damaged the foliage and the growing point; many vegetative basal offshoots developed (Fig. 2). Omaflora in the dosage range tested (0.05 - 0.5%) had no effect on the following species: Aechmea bracteata (Sw.) Griseb; Pitcairnia heterophylla (Lindl.) Beer; Puya berteroniana Mez.; and killed plants of Wittrockia superba Lindm. at all dosages tested. However, the P. berteroniana and Aechmea bracteata plants were not flowering size and the Pitcairnia heterophylla plants were in the juvenile grass-leaf stage.


  1. Clark, H. E., and K. R. Kerns. 1942. "Control of flowering with phytohormones". Science 95: 536.

  2. Foster, N. B. 1953. Bromeliads. Pub. by the Bromeliad Society, Inc. 1-64.

  3. Gowing, D. P. 1956. "An hypothesis of the role of naphthaleneacetic acid in flower induction in the pineapple." Amer. Jour. Bot. 43: 411-418.

  4. Gowing, D. P., and R. W. Leeper. 1955. "Induction of flowering, in pineapple by beta-hydroxyethylhydrazine." Science 122: 1267.

  5. Gowing, D. P., and R. W. Leeper. 1961. "Studies on the regulation of chemical structure to plant growth-regulator activity in the pineapple plant. IV. Hydrazine derivatives, compounds with an unsaturated aliphatic moiety and miscellaneous chemicals. Bot. Gaz. 123: 34-43.

  6. Kerns, K. 1936. "Method and material for forcing flowering and fruit formation in plants." U. S. Patent 2,047,874. Acetylene.

  7. Mastalerz, J. W. 1957. "Preliminary report on the effect of daylength on the flowering of Billbergia nutans." Bromeliad Soc. Bull. 7: 37-38.

  8. Rodriguez, A. G. 1932. "Influence of smoke and ethylene on the flowering of the pineapple (Ananas sativus Schult.)" Jour Dept. Agr. Puerto Rico 26: 5-18.

  9. Van Ousem, J. G. 1955 "La lumière artificelle et la culture de l' Aechmea fasciata." Internatl. Hort. Cong. Rept. 14: 1040-1047. Also in Rev. de l'Agr. 9: 172-180. 1956.

  10. Van Ousem, J. G. 1960. "Recherches recentes concernant l'eclairage artificial dans la culture de l'Aechmea. Revue de l'Agr. 13 (8): 939-946.

  11. Van Overbeck, J. 1945. "Flower formation in the pineapple plant as controlled by 2,4-D and naphthaleneacetic acid." Science 102: 621.

  12. Wendt, W. A. 1936. "Treatment of plants to expedite bud development." U. S. Patent 2,037,203. Calcium carbide.

1 Editor's .note: This article is released for publication under the terms of the Memorandum of Agreement between the SAF and USDA
2 Horticulturist and Physiologist, respectively, Crops Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Beltsville, Maryland.
3 Omaflora was provided as a 80% technical material by Olin Mathieson Chemical Corporation, Sales Development, 745 Fifth Avenue, New York, N. Y.
4 Trade names are used to provide specific information. Their use does not signify that they are approved by the USDA to the exclusion of others of suitable composition.


  1. Grow plants on a photoperiod regulated to keep them vegetative: Examples: Long days for Ananas and Billbergia and short days for Aechmea fasciata and Vriesea splendens.

  2. Select for treatments plants that are large enough to flower and with well-established root systems.

  3. Prepare solutions by dissolving 1/6 or 1/3 oz. (1 or 2 tsp.) of 80% beta-hydroxyethylhydrazine (Omaflora) in 1 gal. of tap water to give, respectively, 0.1 to 0.2% solutions.

  4. Remove water and algae from leaves which clasp the growing point and form a well.

  5. Fill the well of the plants to overflowing with 0.1 to 0.2% solutions of Omaflora.

  6. On sensitive species, remove Omaflora solution after 24 hr. to reduce burning of the foliage.

  7. Test each preparation of Omaflora for optimum dosage to force flowering of a bromeliad species.

Figure 2. Regulation of branching of Billbergia venezuelana with Omaflora:
Left, untreated; right, plant drenched with 0.5% solution.



WAS VERY FORTUNATE to be able to receive a small quantity of Omaflora concentrate. It normally is sold only in 55-gallon drums to the pineapple growers. Since 1 teaspoon dissolved in 1 gallon is sufficient to treat 2 full acres of pineapple plants, it would be impractical for the bromeliad hobbyist to purchase Omaflora. I will come back to this later.

For almost 15 months, I had been possessor of a large mature Guzmania zahnii. It was huge and well colored and healthy, but there was no sign of even the beginning of an inflorescence. After treatment with 0.1% solution of Omaflora, the visible effects were almost immediately apparent. Within 10 days, I could see the beginnings of a flowering shoot and in 5 weeks, I had a full-sized inflorescence and in another 2 weeks flowers were formed. All this was done in a New York City apartment in a western exposure window. Since this Guzmania does not have a center well (neither does Ananas comosus), I just drenched the center of the plant, including the growing point with about 3 ounces of the solution. I had been using a calcium carbide solution in the past, but I find this method cleaner and easier, as well as surer.

I contacted the Olin Mathiesen Chemical Corporation, makers of Omaflora, and got their okay to have some dealer buy a large 55-gallon drum and then rebottle it in small quantities for retail hobbyist sale. Perhaps there is some profit in it. Imagine being able to time flower production for flower shows and other special occasions!

—8502 Fort Hamilton Parkway, Brooklyn, N. Y., 11209.

Editor's note.—Similar experiments are being carried on in Los Angeles, and reports regarding the outcome will be written in the Bulletin. For further information about this chemical, write to Olin Mathieson Chemical Corp., Chemicals Division, 745 Fifth Avenue, New York 10022. According to their latest brochure, five gallons of Omaflora may be obtained from Lake Charles, Louisiana. As the cost is rather high, perhaps the affiliated organizations would like to purchase five gallons for distribution among their members.



Hector R. Cibes and A. Santiago Nieves, plant physiologists and research assistants connected with the Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, have been experimenting with the flowering of bromeliads. There are three solutions which may be applied to bromeliads to induce their flowering: calcium carbide (CaC2), napthalene acetic acid (NAA), or Beta-hydroxyethyl hydrazine (BOH). According to the results obtained in their experimental work at the Agricultural Experiment Station, Cibes and Nieves found the most effective and easy to use of the three listed chemicals is BOH. Not only did they find that flowering is more uniform and prompt in BOH-treated plants, but also that the color and to some extent the quality of the fruit of the pineapple is improved.

A number of bromeliads were brought into the greenhouse to test whether BOH would stimulate their flowering as effectively as it does in pineapples. Some 18 species were sprayed with a BOH solution containing 0.06 percent of the chemical; while 7 others, which were considered to be more tender, were treated with half that concentration. Comparable plants were left untreated. The following is the results obtained:

Treated with 0.06% concentration Number of days to flower
Ananas bracteatus
Ananas comosus (S. C.)
Aechmea fasciata
Aechmea chantinii
Aechmea fosteriana
Aechmea × 'Foster's Favorite'
Aechmea berteroniana
Aechmea × 'Royal Wine'
Aechmea mexicana
Aechmea penduliflora
Aechmea gigantea
Aechmea weilbachii
Guzmania berteroniana
Billbergia venezuelana
Billbergia leptopoda
Vriesea splendens
Ananas comosus (variegatus)
Ananas comosus (striatus)





Treated with 0.03% concentration
Billbergia × 'Fantasia'
Billbergia hybrid
Billbergia saundersii
Tillandsia cyanea
Neoregelia carolinae
Neoregelia carolinae var. Tricolor
Aechmea orlandiana

The results as reported in the Journal of Agriculture of University of Puerto Rico are given as follows:

"Table 1 clearly shows the flower-inducting power of BOH, at both concentrations, upon the various bromeliad species included in the experiment. Out of 25 treated species only 5 did not flower. However, not all the plants receiving the chemical treatment flowered at the same time. The flowering time varied widely between species. In this respect it was amazing to note that the great majority of the plants, at either concentration, responded quicker than pineapple to the stimulating action of BOH. On the other hand, a few took longer to flower. It should be mentioned that pineapple plants of the Red Spanish variety flower about 30 days after treating with BOH.

"Only one species was adversely affected by the chemical, as shown by its burning effect on the leaves. This plant never bloomed.

"The ornamental plant collector, as well as those in the plant and flower business, are very much interested in the early and uniform flowering of their plants, some for pleasure and others for profit. Apparently, the use of BOH in the culture of bromeliads will insure both objectives."


(Reprinted from Agricultural Research)

OMEMAKERS CAN TURN a popular green houseplant, the bromeliad, into a bright-colored floral display—with a ripe apple and a plastic bag—says ARS horticulturist H. M. Cathey. Simply put the plant in the bag, add the apple, close and tie the bag, and leave it alone for 4 days. Then remove the bag and the apple and take care of the plant as usual. In 1 to 6 months, depending on the species, the plant will produce beautifully colored blooms and fruits.

Bromeliads are pineapple plants, which are quite popular for indoor use. As house-plants, they rarely flower but are easily recognized by their cup-like crown formed by fleshy leaves surrounding the stem tip. There are many species, but homemakers usually know and buy them simply as bromeliads.

Cathey is a member of a Beltsville, Md. team working with plant growth regulating compounds to tailor ornamentals to meet the desires of consumers (AGR. RES., September 1964, p. 8) After scientists in Hawaii had used B-hydroxyethyl hydrazine to make field-grown pineapples bloom and form fruit, Cathey used this chemical on green-house bromeliads. Knowing that ripe apples give off ethylene gas, which has a chemical structure similar to that of B-hydroxyethyl hydrazine, he decided to test the apple as a natural source of growth regulator that could be used by homemakers themselves. He tried it and it worked. The bromeliads bloomed and formed fruits in 1 to 6 months. A treated bromeliad produces a large cluster of small flowers that vary in color even within species. Cathey is working with several species, including Billbergia, Aechmea, and Vriesea, that produce blooms and fruits in a wide range of colors—orange, blue, lavender, yellow, green.



(Continued from last issue)


Racine Foster examining a stalk of Deuterocohnia meziana.
Y COLLECTING TRIP to Brazil introduced me to two genera unfamiliar to me except in name that can very happily be adapted to our succulent gardens in the south with sub-tropical climates.

Deuterocohnias and Encholiriums resemble the Dyckias or Hechtias so much that without flowers it is almost impossible to tell them apart.

Like the Dyckias, the Encholiriums and Deuterocohnias are semi-succulent and are very efficient xerophytes enduring terrific conditions. Because of what seems like adverse conditions these bromeliads have developed hardy qualities and they thrive in such profusion that it is almost impossible to climb the rocky slopes where they grow; they are as well armed with spines as any cactus I know.

In evolutionary development and thereby appearances, the Deuterocohnia without bloom is very close to the Puya. But in bloom the distinction is at once apparent. Puyas having a spike of relatively compact flowers is quite unlike the branched scape of the Deuterocohnia which holds many less densely distributed flowers.

Deuterocohnia Meziana is an oddly unique bromeliad; its branched five to seven foot flower stem continues to bloom for years from the same stalk. No other bromeliad (and as far as I know, no other plant, possibly the Hesperaloe) has this strange habit of blooming so many successive years from the same flowering stem. I found this flowering stem of the Deuterocohnia also possessed the unique phenomenon of a cambial layer, similar to a characteristic of dicotyledons rather than the monocotyledons to which group the Deuterocohnias belong.

After its long trek from the Matto Grosso in Brazil to its resting place in our Florida garden the Deuterocohnia now seems perfectly happy in its new surroundings.


Encholiriums resemble the Dyckias and Deuterocohnias so very much that the bloom is really the only distinguishing feature and the bloom on Encholirium horridum is unusually distinctive with its many branched inflorescence. It was one of my new species and the first known Encholirium with a branched flowering stem, and also the first one to be found growing so near the sea as it was literally within a stone's throw of the ocean. It is a huge plant with whorling spiny leaves which cling to smooth, granite, perpendicular rocks just above the water in Espirito Santo.

The other new species which I discovered on our Brazilian trek was named in honor of Dr. Hoehne, Encholirium Hoehneanum found in the Bahian interior. It is a silver, gray whorl of hooked, spiny leaves, which should be an effective addition to our rock garden plantings by contrast of this greyish foliage against the rocks of near greener foliage of the other succulents.

Encholirium horridum

Encholirium hoehneanum

The extreme xerophytic qualities of the Encholiriums make them adaptable to warm climates and they ask for the minimum amount of care. In this dry land, cacti are close neighbors to many bromeliads, especially Encholiriums. As a matter of fact I cannot recall having seen many Encholiriums growing wild except in company with cacti. This applies to both the coastal type and those growing back in the dry interior.


Orthophytum foliosum is a new species of a small and little known genus. This plant was growing in clusters on rocky ledges in a cool, mountainous section of Brazil with its nearest plant neighbors being orchids, the huge Certapodium Andersonii and Cattleya Warneri.

Until the blooming stage is reached, Orthophytums resemble Cryptanthus in growth form, but at blooming time the Orthophytums reach eighteen inches in height with many clusters of white flowers hugging close to the main stem in ascending sections. The leaves are thorny, light green and swirling, so that the whole effect is quite decorative and by contrast to other succulents is most interesting.


Neoglaziovia variegata, a monotypic terrestrial bromeliad is, for many reasons, a "must" in every succulent collector's garden. It will grow "anywhere" in our warmer climates. Its home is in the dry, hot, catinga (similar to our mesquite land), in granite soil; it seems to thrive on adverse conditions side by side with cacti and other succulents, and was indeed found growing in the company of Arrojadoa penicillata. Amusingly, they continue to be neighbors in our Florida garden.

From this visual point of view it is striking; distinctive horizontal, light grey bands on the almost cylindrical or terete tall, straight grey-green leaves make it a succulent one does not overlook. The "whip-like" leaves range in length from 2 to 15 feet, producing long, strong fibers, hard to equal, when properly treated; in Brazil it is being commercially propagated for this excellent fiber.

The lovely flower spike is not like any other familiar bromeliad scape; it is sometimes as tall as the leaves consisting of rich coral coloration in stem and bracts which hold purple flowers that turn to dark royal purple with age.

I am particularly fond of this odd, unique bromeliad but unfortunately I know of no one who has any plants to share as yet.



NSPIRED BY Dr. Alexander F. Scutch's article in Bulletin 64-4, I wish to present an account of birds and bromels in our garden in Teresópolis, Brazil. The most assiduous visitors to the flowers of many bromeliads are humming birds, of which eleven species come to our garden, some the year round, others only seasonally. Birds of other families also show interest in these plants.

Four species of hummers are always present: Leucochloris albicollis, the Brazilian whitethroat, blue-green above, gray belly, visits many kinds of flowers, including bromeliads; two Phaetornis species, eurynome and pretrei, large, brownish with some white towards the end of their long tail feathers, addicts especially of Billbergia pyramidalis torches and of the large overhanging pendants of Billbergia sanderiana. They seem to know the location of the plants, for they come to have a look at them when flowering time approaches. The Brazilian swallowtail, Eupetonema hirundinacea, large, dark blue, shows preference for Tillandsias. To see one hovering before the tiny burgundy flowers on the powder-pink spikes protruding from a silvery Tillandsia gardneri is an eye-arresting event.

Phaetornis and swallowtail never fail to call on the pond bromels while they flower during the rainy season. The pond is then full of water; only the tips of the petals of the 2 to 6 simultaneous flowers rise above waterlevel, just enough to let the liquid enter the flower tube. The hummer hovers above and lowers its bill deep into the dry interior of the tube to pick up some of tiny white mites that always live there.

All of the four permanent species are fond of the high Vriesea sprays. Each of the few daily flowers gets visited several times a day by each bird. Whirring in front of the flower, the hummer inserts its bill deep into the tube for a moment, then flies off to the next one. Buds get only a side glance, no stop. Sword Vrieseas are also visited, and Tillandsia stricta and geminiflora.

Occasional visitors are the tiny Chlorostilbon aureoventris, a glistening golden-green or nearly black, depending on prevailing light, and his grayish-green mate; Colibri serrirostris, grayish-green with a purple frill around its neck; Amazilia lactea, dark-blue with a white line down its chest; Thalurania glaucopis, dark blue with greenish luster; Clytolaema rubricauda, dark green and rusty brown with an off-and-on rose on its throat; Melanotrochilus fuscus, black with some pure white on its flanks; and the little Calliphlox amethystina, grayish blue with some light brown. These do not come especially after bromeliads. It seems they wander, staying in a given area for some time and helping themselves to whatever happens to bloom, including bromeliads.

The fruit of berry-bromeliads supply an important item on the menu of our "tié-preto" (Tachyphonus coronatus - a tanager). It isn't really a garden bird; its home is virgin and secondary forest. It was attracted to our garden by the berry bromeliads. One morning I found signs of past feasting in the shape of berry skins scattered over a cup of Neoregelia concentrica. Next morning I got up very early and saw what went on. A rusty-brown bird I had not seen before, about the size of a tanager, was standing on the bend of one of the bromel leaves while pulling on the spikes in the cup with its bill. One by one the green bristles that crown the fruit were tried and if one came up, the berry was squeezed and the juice sucked out. In the process seeds and juice got spluttered about. Discarded husks are pretty well empty.

In the wild I sometimes saw empty husks on faded bromel cups. One day I found some on a big cluster of a Wittrockia that lives in high tree crowns in our forests. The clump had fallen to the ground after a storm, together with the branch it was attached to. The leaves were bedraggled with seed. I am not sure, however, that "tiés" were responsible, because in this bromel the berries grow on the bottom of a narrow funnel of very spiny leaves. I cannot see how "tiés" could have pulled them up.

In time more "rustics" came to our garden. With them, but keeping distance, were shiny blackbirds of the same size with a white patch under their wings and an occasional bright red crest. Later I learned they are the males of the rusties. Making the round of the garden the "tiés" discovered my feeding station where banana is offered to tanagers and other birds. The "tiés" became steady guests, later brought also their babies. These are a rusty brown like their mother. Within a year black feathers show up in spots on the boys, a funny sight. Tiés have been with us for many years now, once as many as twenty in a group, but mostly only 2 to 3 couples. The females are quarrelsome, always pecking the males when they seem too close, despite the fact that they behave gentlemanly, always giving the ladies first choice of tidbits and helping to feed the children.

One day I heard familiar squeals coming from the feeder and there was a mother-tié feeding a cow bird (Molothrus), which is unusual if not altogether a novelty. Tié proved herself a fine foster-mother. The child was fed in turn banana-pulp from one feeder, bread and milk from another, a sip of sugar-water from the hummingbird glasses, a well chewed-up grub picked from somewhere else. Then the mother inspected the bromels, no doubt looking for berries. But it was summer time, there were flowers only, or nothing. Patiently the old bird searched one rosette after the other, carefully lifting leaves and debris that had accumulated in the cups. Even Aechmeas and Billbergias were examined, all in vain. Although the male tié was around at a distance, I never saw him feeding the cowbird. One day a second young cowbird had joined the trail. Mother tié seemed to know which was her own though, for she ignored the new-comer. After a few days he gave up. Her own foster child, grew up into a beautiful specimen. When he finally decided to leave, his stepmother was soon joined by her mate.

A little honey creeper (Coereba) that drinks from the humming bird feeder and eats orange juice at the fruit station, likes to bathe in Neoregelia concentrica ponds. In Rio I saw the same species in a friend's garden, where it makes a habit of taking his bath in the tilted blades of an Aechmea bromeliifolia.

A song sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis) once built its nest in a cluster of Vriesea philippo-coburgi var. vagans attached to a tree 2 m above ground. They raised a cowbird.

The English sparrow, a recent immigrant to Teresópolis, uses the long strands of Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish moss) in a certain stage of his nest construction.

Aechmea nudicaulis and Aechmea coelestis, as well as the spiny torches of Aechmea fasciata, often have their berries stolen. I suspect tiés, but never caught them at it.

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



HAT WERE SOME OF THE REASONS why the ancestors of present day bromeliads sought an arboreal existence? Probably for the same reason that certain of the orchids, ferns, and peperomias in the course of a long evolutionary process, slowly and tortuously ascended rocky places and the trunks of woody plants that were receptive to their seeds. Increased light and air, and the freedom from the inevitable crowding by other more vigorous plants on the forest floor: these were the rewards of an epiphytic habitat. Probably concurrently developed were the means for the storage and subsequent use of rain water in the cupped or vase-like leaves of the tank bromels, and the hygroscopic epidermal scales of the mesophytic and xerophytic types.

A resounding crash is heard as a heavy object falls to the tropical forest floor. The fallen giant is a Hohenbergia stellata, filled to surfeit by the rains of the night before, and made even more topheavy by its stoutly branched inflorescence of cerise and blue. Thus the cycle is repeated; once a denizen of the earth, the bromeliad became a tree dweller, and then finds itself an earthling again.

In present-day sub-tropic culture, Hohenbergia adapts itself readily to ground-beds where drainage is adequate.

It is often a disheartening experience to find the central leaves of Vrieseas and Guzmanias pulling away from the plant when tugged gently, indicating disintegration of tissue in the crown of the plant. These genera seem especially disposed to this disorder. It is possible that the tissues in the cups of these genera are sensitive to changes in temperature, pH, or excess concentrations of nutrient ions of the aqueous solution held in the centers. At any rate, an imbalance in the solution results in destruction of the vital growing point. Often plants with disintegrating centers can be saved for production of offsets by inverting and drying them out. In some cases tissue destruction involves even the outer and older leaf bases, and there is no way of saving the plant.

Certain genera and species are particularly susceptible to infestation by the flyspeck scale, Gymnaspis aechmeae. Among these are the Billbergias, especially B. pyramidalis, which more often than not is made unsightly unless a rigorous spraying program with Malathion is followed. Among the Aechmeas, A. bracteata and A. chantinii seem to be the favored hosts. Hohenbergia stellata is often as heavily infested as B. pyramidalis. Many of the Neoregelias require regular spraying to control Gymnaspis, but N. marmorata appears immune for all practical purposes. Aechmea miniata discolor and A. fulgens discolor are practically immune. Guzmanias and Vrieseas are infrequently parasitized by scale insects, if at all.

In the full winter sun of south Florida, Neoregelia marmorata attains its highest degree of coloration. The red mottling of the yellow-green leaves and their red tips are more brilliant than at any other time of the year. Is it the waning light of a sun that has wandered south, lower day and night temperatures, or a combination of all three, that create this brilliant seasonal coloration? By way of contrast, the subtropic sun of mid summer bleaches these plants unmercifully and actually scalds plants deprived of cooling air currents.

—P. O. Box 969, Sebring. Florida.


Members will be pleased to learn that work on a new handbook to be entitled All About Bromeliads is well under way at this time. This handbook will be a compilation of all the best articles that have appeared in previous bulletins and in the first handbook. Plans are going forward to make this a very handsome volume with an attractive hard-back cover. There will be over fifty beautiful illustrations in full color and many more in black and white.

This book will be of value to all growers of bromeliads—whether they live in the East, the South, or in the West; whether they grow their plants in a greenhouse, in a city apartment, or in a subtropical garden. The volume will be divided into four general divisions: Background, Varieties, Culture, Propagation, and Display. The articles will all be written by experienced growers, so will cover many points of view.

The publication of this hook is being made possible by the donations made by interested growers and affiliated groups—their names will be published in the book.

It is hoped that the book will be off the press by early spring. It is suggested that members order copies now for themselves and for their friends for gift giving at the special pre-publication price as given in the enclosed sheet.

It is with great pleasure that we welcome to our group of affiliated organizations the Bromeliad Society of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Originally formed in April, 1964, with 12 members, this group has attracted wide interest, with an average of three new members joining the organization at each meeting. A cordial invitation is extended to all members of the international society to attend these meetings in Fort Lauderdale, which are held on the Third Tuesday of each month. For further information get in touch with the president, Mr. Thomas Seuss, 1631 S. W. 22nd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale.

It is hoped that more members will form groups and become affiliated. All that is necessary is a nucleus of seven members of the Bromeliad Society. It is only through meetings and an exchange of ideas and information, visiting various greenhouses and gardens and noting different growing techniques that a person can fully enjoy his plants and raise them successfully. If anyone in a specific area would like the names and addresses of other members in his locality, he should write the secretary.

Again the appeal is out for more articles for the Bulletin. The editor would like to run a series of articles on various gardens, and the ways members grow their plants, but she needs the assistance of the members from all over for this type of article. We would like to hear from England, Italy, France, New Zealand, Australia, Latin America, Texas, etc. etc. etc. This Bulletin can be only as good as you members make it.


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.

Meetings: Fourth Wednesday January, March, May, June, September, November.
President: Warren Cottingham, 10717 Oregon Way, Culver City, California.

Meetings: First Tuesday every month at 7:30 P.M.
President: Ervin J. Wurthmann, 5602 Theresa Rd., Tampa, Florida.

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

Meetings: Third Tuesday of each month at eight o'clock.
President: Thomas Seuss, 1631 S. W. 22nd Ave., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Meetings: Fourth Wednesday January, March, May, June, September, November
President: Mrs. Charles L. Brown, 27 Neron Pl., New Orleans.

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.

President: William Rogers, 14 Royston Ave., Mangere East, 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, Calif. 90275.



This photograph, taken by our trustee Mrs. Adda Abendroth, shows Neoregelia concentrica growing in its natural habitat in the Organ Mountains, Brazil. Mrs. Abendroth states that it grows in small colonies in the cloud forest near Teresopolis, mostly on rocks exposed to light.

This medium-sized Neoregelia, with heavy, evenly disposed leaves, it noteworthy for the purple blotching of its leaves and its purple heart when it gets ready to bloom. The leaves have conspicuous dark thorns.

It is a robust plant and will do well in the average southern California-garden. It seems to grow equally well in sun or shade, with much or little watering. Heavy and tough though the leaves appear to be, they seem to be a favorite food for snails. Otherwise, the plant has no enemies.

The writer originally purchased her plant from a nursery in Belgium under the name of Nidularium acanthocrater.

—V. P.

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