BSI Journal - Online Archive


The Bromeliad Society Bulletin is the official publication of the Bromeliad Society, a non-profit corporation organized in 1950. The Bulletin is issued six times a year. Subscription to the Bulletin is included in the annual membership dues. There are four classes of member-ship: Annual, $5.00; Sustaining, $7.50; Fellowship, $15.00; and Life $100.00. All memberships start with January of the current year. For membership information, write to Mrs. Jeanne Woodbury, 1811 Edgecliffe Drive, Los Angeles, California 90026. Please submit all manuscripts for publication to the editor, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90049

PresidentDavid Barry, Jr. Editorial SecretaryVictoria Padilla
Vice PresidentFritz Kubisch Membership SecretaryJeanne Woodbury
Treasurer           Jack M. Roth

Board of Directors
Warren Cottingham
Ralph Davis
Nat De Leon
James N. Giridlian
J. G. Milstein
Julian Nally
W. R. Paylen
O. E. Van Hyning
Charles A. Wiley
Wilbur G. Wood
Dr. Russell Seibert

Honorary Trustees
Adda Abendroth, Brazil
W. B. Charley, Australia
Charles Chevalier, Belgium
Mulford B. Foster, U.S.A.
C. H. Lancaster, Costa Rica
Harold Martin, New Zealand
Richard Oeser, Germany
Raulino Reitz, Brasil
Walter Richter, Germany
Dr. L. B. Smith, U.S.A.
Marcel Lecoufle


Vriesea sintenisii is epiphytic in the forests of Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, and Hispaniola, often found at a considerable elevation. It was named after a Mr. Sintenis, a man who made a large collection of Puerto Rican plants for the Berlin herbarium. The plant has had a checkered career, Baker calling it Caraguata sintenisii. Mez putting it into Guzmania and then Thecophyllum. Finally Dr. Lyman B. Smith and Colin Pittendrigh put most of the Thecophyllum, including this plant, into Vriesea. V. sintenisii is not too happy under cultivation. The plant in the photograph was found in Puerto Rico and flowered about six months later in the editor's greenhouse. (Photo—J. Padilla)

Articles and photographs are earnestly solicited by the editor. Length is no factor. Please mail all copy to the editor, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90049.



Billbergia × 'windii' is one of the oldest hybrids in the bromeliad family, being the result of crossing Billbergia nutans H. Wendl. × B. decora Poepp. et. Endl. at the end of the 1870's. It was first introduced into the trade by the Belgian bromeliad grower Jacob Makoy at Lutych.

It is a plant with rigid greyish-green leaves covered with minute scales, which give to the leaves a slightly farinose effect. The inflorescence is pendulous, with eye-catching rose-pink bracts and with long yellowish flowers, margined by blue and green, the perianth segments being curved outwards.

This Billbergia has been given many names. Sometimes in gardening literature in the discussion of hybrids to the Latin name of the maternal parent is added the word hybrid, hybrida, or hybridum. When describing Billbergia × 'windii' several authors omitted the word hybrida in the name Billbergia nutans hybrida, and here was the first source of confusion: the mother species was named equally as its hybrid with Billbergia decora. For example, in the German book Zimmerblumen by Grunnert (1945) is 'B × windii' under the name B. nutans. In this book under the photograph is written "Billbergia nutans hybrida," but in the text is given only B. nutans.

Walter Richter in his fine book Zimmerpflanzen von Heute und Morgen-Bromeliaceen describes this plant as both 'B. × windii' and B. rosea hort and says that it has several other names. The same author in his older work Schone und Seltene Pflanzen has put the name Billbergia morellii under the picture of 'B. × windii.' But this mistake was probably made in the printing. In Czechoslovakian collections, 'B. × windii' is often labeled Billbergia rosea.

'Billbergia × windii' is one of those plants which deserve more prominence on the market than they get. Perhaps the reason for this is that the plant can be propagated only vegetatively. But despite this fact, it is the plant most often seen in homes, offices, railway stations, etc. This is no doubt due to the fact that the plant is almost indestructible.

It will survive for a seemingly long time if you happen to be away from home on your vacation. It will grow in a sunny spot as well as in a semi-shaded one or even in a room that is dark. Only a very low temperature can be fatal; it dislikes a temperature that in winter goes under 50°.

I know from experience of various growers, the most solicitous of people, who grow this Billbergia most carefully, and they have very few flowers. Their plants grow well and produce many offsets, but the flowers are few and far between. But those people, who from time to time forget their plants and do not water them, these are the ones who have prolific blooms.

'Billbergia × windii' often shows its flowers in winter, about Christmas time, and for this reason is called in Moscow, the "Christmas Flower." But although it has its strongest and best blooms at this time, it will have flowers several times throughout the year. It is a good idea to remove the old rosettes after their flowering to allow for better growth of the younger plants.

I do wish to recommend 'Billbergia × windii' to every plant lover; let him grow it under any name he wishes. Arranged on a piece of driftwood, taken from a stream, it can be used as a piece of decorative merit. It is also attractive when hung from a stand; its contour and pendent inflorescence making it most adaptable to this type of growing.

—Botanic Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Pruhonice, Czechoslovakia.



During a panel discussion at a meeting of the Bromeliad Society of South Florida, there arose several interesting and somewhat controversial problems concerning plants which sometimes produce no offshoots after flowering. The panel also touched upon a few of the species which produce the new pups centrally from between the leaves very near the base of the former inflorescence. Everyone does not agree with some of the matters here discussed, and it is quite possible that clonal or cultural differences are involved; however, similar experiences with the same species seem to have vexed a fairly large number of growers.

Many people have complained of losing their plants of Vriesea heliconioides and Tillandsia lieboldiana after flowering has taken place. For positive vegetative perpetuation of these two species (at least certain clones), the inflorescences should always be removed when the brilliance of the bracts first starts to fade. It is true that some plants will pup with the inflorescences left intact; but, if a person has just acquired a plant of either of these two species and is not yet certain of its hardiness in regard to vegetative propagation, he should not wait until too late to cut the spike. I have a clone of T. lieboldiana which almost invariably dies if the spike is not cut, whereas the spike's removal has produced up to nine pups per plant.

Having heard that the spectacular Tillandsia lucida is usually lost after flowering, I removed the inflorescence of my only specimen after the last few flowers faded. It produced four very small pups, only one of which was I able to keep alive. I have had similar experiences with a beautiful scarlet bracted, damp growing Tillandsia from Dominica. In another instance several local growers lost their only plants of a Mexican Tillandsia, whereas my plant, with the inflorescence cut just prior to fading, produced numerous pups In addition to small lateral inflorescences. Growing our plants in the open in South Florida may allow for a greater incidence of flower pollination, and it is possible that this may have some bearing on the problem. It would be interesting to, hear if some of the greenhouse growers in colder climates have problems of this sort.

Among the species initiating new plants from the center are Tillandsia anceps, T. lindenii, T. cyanea, T. monodelpha, Guzmania sanguinea, Vriesea splendens, V. ringens, and V. chrysostachys. With the Tillandsia species, there seems to be little difficulty with increasing stock, for multiple heads are not uncommon. With the species of the other two genera, it appears to be purely a matter of extremely good luck to get more than one pup per plant. My healthiest plants of the most common form of G. sanguinea have never produced more than one head after each flowering, but the most bedraggled example I ever acquired produced two heads after its very first flowering. I have had better luck with the rare, dwarf form of G. sanguinea. It appears, in my experience, to be more prone to producing double heads. Incidentally, for those not familiar with it the above mentioned Tillandsia monodelpha possesses foliage which is among the most graceful of all bromeliads. The inflorescence, resembling a green, abbreviated V. ensiformis spike, has only small white flowers; but the fragrance at night is extraordinary.

Our last species to be mentioned is Tillandsia complanata. I have not been fortunate enough to acquire this species; but according to Nat De Leon, the plant continues uninterrupted growth from the top, flowering laterally from year to year and producing no pups terminally or laterally.

—Miami, Florida.


T. M. HOWARD, JR. D. V. M.

Tillandsias found by Dr. Howard were to be found growing on rocks or on the branches of trees.

Although the visiting bromeliad enthusiast, with spare time and good luck, may find a few Tillandsias worthy of cultivation in the mountains surrounding the town of Monterrey (T. setacea, T. lucida, etc.), it is not until he is considerably farther south on the Pan American Highway that Tillandsias become conspicuous as road-side plants in the trees lining the highway.

A few miles north of Mante, in the state of Tamaulipas, the trees suddenly seem to come alive with various epiphytes. To be sure, many of these are not so "choice" as some to be found farther south, but they do create excitement nevertheless. A few orchids will sometimes be seen too, especially the little Epidendrum alatum with its dull olive-brown flowers scattered along a wiry stem, but one can forgive its homely appearance with the first whiff of its candy-like fragrance. If the traveler is fortunate, he might even spot specimens of Oncidium cebolleta that have not yet fallen prey to other collectors. In late spring the small yellow flowers look like so many little butterflies on the still-leafless trees.

Tillandsias schiedeana is perhaps the commonest Tillandsia to be seen, being found in large clumps in many of the older trees. It is a xerophytic type with stiff informally spreading leaves of grey topped by rosy stems and bracts. It is the yellow, or sometimes white tubular flowers that distinguish it from the others of this type. Here and there, too, one finds clumps of T. ionantha, but they are not so thick here as they are in other areas, apparently having been too heavily collected by others over the years. These little greyish-green "pincushions," which turn bright red as the tubular purple flowers come into bloom, seem to be a perennial favorite with nurserymen and neophyte bromeliad enthusiasts, and there seems always to be a heavy demand for them. This is true in spite of the fact that T. ionantha really can be a rather difficult plant to maintain by beginners, since it is very particular about drainage. A much easier plant to grow is T. fasciculata, in both the common green-leaved form and that with the reddish leaves. Its larger size may make it less appealing to those with limited space. It is magnificent when seen in large clumps, with its purple flowers vividly contrasting against the chartreuse-yellow flattened bracts and bright red stems. These are attractively framed by the rosette of narrow, stiffly elongated leaves. Sometimes a few specimens of T. fasciculata are found that appear to be rather anemic looking, with no bright color in the stems or bracts (or even the flowers, for that matter) being instead a rather uniform green throughout. A collector with an eye for showier plants will soon learn to leave the drab ones alone. If a person does much traveling in Mexico, he soon learns that many of these commoner low altitude Tillandsias will crop up again and again throughout the various regions, sometimes in slightly different forms from the type, but still easily recognizable as to the species. This is especially true of plants like T. setacea, T. fasciculata, T. balbisiana, T. recurvata, T. usneoides, T. utriculata, and T. Valenzuelana, which are found in Florida as well as Mexico and elsewhere.

Although not found wild in Florida, such plants as T. schiedeana, T. dasyliriifolia, T. ionantha, and T. deppeana appear repeatedly where climatic conditions and altitude are suitable for their survival. Thus the collector is not surprised to find an occasional T. balbisiana, with long dangling, narrow leaves from a swollen bulb-like base. The very slender reddish inflorescence is very attractive in its unobtrusive way.

A species that I have not yet been able positively to identify is to be found north of Valles on shrubby thickets. This Tillandsia is of medium size, with yellow-green leaves of somewhat stiff texture, rather flat, in an informal rosette. The stems and bracts are orange or sometimes reddish, and the flowers purple or occasionally white. Sometimes one may find individual specimens with foliage strongly marked with purple or red, and these can be ornamental even when not in flower. This Tillandsia seems to be well suited for the beginner.

While in this region, a person becomes aware of other bromeliads besides Tillandsias. Perhaps the most common of these is Bromelia balansae, a plant that seems to occur almost everywhere at lower elevations. These are really beautiful when seen in full color, but the collector will find it prudent to take only small plants if car space is limited. The stiff leaves are not only space consuming, they are also very wickedly armed and this bromeliad is definitely not the sort of plant that one wishes to stuff into the trunk of an automobile if he is doing any serious collecting. Another space-consumer, Aechmea bracteata, can generally be handled more easily, as the large leaves can be gently tied together, and the plants can then be handled like so many logs. The forms of this species found around Valles have red leaves, and these are really prettier than the more common green-leaved variety found farther south on the Pan American Highway.

When collecting bromeliads with only a conventional sedan for transportation, one soon learns to suppress the urge to take many of every new species encountered, as trunk space and interior space soon become a premium. Usually it is better to settle for small, young plants rather than the larger, mature ones. The larger species with long foliage can easily be made into compact "logs" by tying the foliage together with a cord. I have also learned that whereas good cardboard boxes are indispensable, a few good burlap bags are even better for carrying plants like orchids and bromeliads. These bags can be tied to the roof of the car, and if they get rained on, it will not hurt them a bit. The plants also get enough light and air to keep them happy and healthy. This is especially desirable on trips of a week or more.

If the traveler turns west at Valles, on Mexico 86, a new highway leading to the city of San Luis Potosi, he will enter country that is still relatively rich in epiphytes, not being so "picked over" as is the case along the Pan American Highway. This country abounds in orchids, with many popular species, such as Epidendrum cochleatum, E. alatum, and several other unidentified Epidendrums, as well as Brassavola cuculata, Oncidium cebolleta, and a Catasetum species are frequently found on tree stumps or on the trunks of palms. One will also see many species of the red-leaved Aechmea bracteata and Bromeliad balansae, but he will probably be more fascinated by Tillandsia brachycaulos. When not in flower, these little compact rosettes are a dull olive green, but they turn a brilliant flaming red when they bloom. The bright purple tubular flowers add to the attractiveness. This little Tillandsia is one of the easier ones for the beginner, doing equally well in pots with osmunda or shredded tree fern or on a tree fern slab. Some of the other Tillandsia species already mentioned will be found here, too, with T. fasciculata being the most common.

The road quickly climbs into the eastern range of the Sierra Madres, but as the highway is relatively new, its curves have been engineered so that the trip can be made at a fairly fast clip. If we stop in this area, we'll find a whole new group of epiphytes. Perhaps the most beautiful of these is T. deppeana, with its large formal rosettes of soft, flight-green leaves, which are cupped at the base enabling them to hold large quantities of water. The neophyte bromeliad collector may sometimes be shocked to find how cold this "ice water" can be, if one of these plants is tossed down from a tree and empties onto the unsuspecting enthusiast for the first time. The inflorescence is beautiful, being of a "shocking pink" color, in a well-branched candelabra. Culture is similar to that of most Vrieseas; that is, it requires more shade than most Tillandsias and should always have water in the leaf bases.

Tillandsia setacea is very abundant here, and a plant that I have tentatively identified as T. lucida is scattered here and there. A strange little orchid, with orchid-pink flowers and grassy stems, Isochilus linearus, grows here, too, along with a very pretty epiphytic pink-flowered, winter-blooming species of Echeveria and a fragrant winter-flowering miniature orchid with olive, green, and white flowers. I have been unable to identify this little mite, but it seems to be the same species that is found in the area above Horsetail Falls, near Monterrey.

Proceeding westward on Mexico 86, towards San Luis Potosi, the country drops into a plateau where much citrus is raised, especially around the town of Rio Verde. The epiphytes are not too obvious until we begin ascending another mountain range. Then we become aware once more of Tillandsia setacea and T. usneoides, which lets us know that there is more humidity. Soon we are at still a higher elevation and see big gray Tillandsias growing against the rocky cliffs and outcroppings. These are lithophytic kinds and quite showy and large. The leaves are stiff and semi-erect, covered with scurfy scales, sometimes tinged with purple. The inflorescence is very showy—a branched candelabra with brilliant rosy-pink bracts and tubular purple flowers. Every plant is surrounded with numerous offsets of all sizes at the base. It is a species that I have been unable to identify, but it seems to show kinship to T. lucida, at least in its flowering habit.

Several species of terrestrial orchids are to be found here, along with many bulbous plants, such as Tigridia ehrenbergii, Sprekelia formosissima, Zephranthes sp., Habranthus sp., Allium sp. Milla biflora, Dahlia sp., etc. If one has the time, he may find Tillandsia benthamiana growing at altitudes in excess of 9,000 feet. I was not able to find it, although I met another collector with plants in his hand who did! It is possible that epiphytic orchids grow in this area, too, but I have yet to see one. We did find some interesting little carnivorous plants, Pinguicula caudata, growing in pockets of humus in shaded areas. The pretty purple flowers look somewhat like violets with a spur on their backs and stems above a pretty rosette of succulent foliage with a "greasy" coating that entraps tiny gnat-like insects.

From this point the road gradually descends into drier country and then into the valley in which sits the city of San Luis Potosi. This country is too dry for bromeliads with the exception of Hechtias and Tillandsia recurvata. Since the country from San Luis Potosi to Mexico City is too arid for epiphytes, we will return to the Pan American Highway by turning northward on Mexico 57 and proceeding eastward at El Huizache on the older Mexico 80 that leads to Ciudad Maiz and to the Sierra Madre Oriental once more.

Here we will once more find epiphytes, but not in the quantity that they once were to be found years ago before the country became so picked over by collectors. Laelia anceps once grew here in profusion, but is a rarity now. Laelia grandiflora is becoming quite rare, as is Epidendrum mariae. Tillandsia deppeana may be found occasionally but is nowhere abundant. T. setacea and another Tillandsia species are abundant enough, but these are common elsewhere, as is Isochilus linearis. A few other epiphytic orchids may sometimes be found, but this country that was once described as one of the most fabulous sections in Mexico" is now but an empty shell of its former self. We will not tarry long here, but will descend once more towards the Pan American Highway and turn southwards towards Valles, thereby completing a full loop on our journey.

—San Antonio, Texas.



L. B. Smith and C. S. Pittendrigh, "Bromeliaceae," Flora of Trinidad and Tobago, Government Printery, Trinidad, Vol. III, Part II, pp. 35-91, Price $1.00.

This is a descriptive listing of the bromeliads indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago. Over 60 species, covering 14 genera, are described, as well as are locations and conditions of growth. These two islands, lying so close to Venezuela, have a flora more akin to that of South America than to the rest of the Caribbean islands. A very valuable study.

L. B. Smith, "Notes on Bromeliaceae," XXVII, Phytologia, Vol. 16, No. 2., Feb. 1968, Harold N. Moldenke, 303 Parkside Rd., Plainfield, New Jersey 07060, Price $1.00.

This most recent of Dr. Smith's Studies contains the descriptions of a number of new bromeliads, as well as a revision of Catopsis and of Greigia.

Amy Jean Gilmartin, "Taxonomic Notes on some Bromeliaceae of Ecuador," Phytologia, (same edition as above.)

This is a part of the doctoral dissertation on the bromeliads of Ecuador now under preparation by Mrs. Gilmartin. When it is completed, it will be a most valuable addition to the literature of bromeliads.

George Milstein, "The Vrieseas," The Bromeliana of the Greater New York Chapter of the Bromeliad Society, 1967, 3355 - 14th Street, Long Island City, N. Y. 11106. Price $2.00.

This is a 38-page edition of the newsletter of the New York Affiliate in which Dr. Milstein describes and illustrates (by drawing and photograph) his Vrieseas-38 in number. This commentary is chiefly for those who must grow their Vrieseas in their homes.



The Story of Vriesea × 'Mariae'

This popular hybrid is widely distributed among growers and collectors. It is a handsome plant, of easy culture, rapid growth, is very prolific in producing offshoots, and presents a nice balance between the size of the floral stalk and that of the green-leaved rosette. The red to chartreuse bracts and the yellow tubular flowers make an exotic color combination. Perhaps the story of the origin and naming of this plant will add to the pleasure of growing it.

Through the interest and kindness of our Honorary Trustee, M. Marcel Lecoufle, the Society has been presented with a copy of the September issue of 1889 of the Journal de la Societe Nationale d'horticulture de France. This remarkable publication began in the year 1827 at 84, rue de Grenelle, in Paris. The original name of the magazine was Annáles de la Societe d'Horticulture de France. It is still being published from the same address, and is now named Jardins de France. Mr. Lecoufle has managed to add to his extensive botanical library a complete set of these publications with all plates intact, an achievement in acquisition of considerable magnitude.

The lead article of six pages by M. P. Duchartre in the September, 1889, issue is entitled "Sur le Vriesea × Mariae" Andre (Ed). Preceding this article is a double page plate in color of an aquarelle of the plant by Mile Jeanne Koch, a reproduction of which appears on the next page. This elaborate announcement to the horticulturists of that time shows in what high regard the plant was held

The hybrid was made by an accomplished horticulturist of Versailles, Albert Truffaut. It was named by the botanist, Edward Andre, to honor the memory of Madame Truffaut, whose name was Marie. The plant flowered for the first time in 1888 and was presented by Monsieur Truffaut to the Society on the 8th of November of that year.

The pollen parent of this hybrid was Vriesea barilletii; the seed parent was Vriesea psittacina var. brachystachys. According to the article the "choice of the two parents had been determined by the desire to unite in a single type the elegant inflorescence of the mother, which unfortunately has a slow growth, with the rapid growth which is the principal merit of the father. This desire has been fully satisfied: Vriesea × 'Mariae' flowered for the first time two years after its seeds were sown, and all of the offshoots (pieds) which were obtained later showed the same rapidity in their development. At the same time, without appreciable lessening, the brilliance of the inflorescence of Vriesea psittacina was retained, and a marked improvement over either of the parent plants was achieved."

It is thus evident that this "remarquable nouveaute" is the result of a careful selection of the parents, a very nice way of being brought into this world. In this case it was eighty-two years ago.

—Los Angeles, California.

Vriesea × 'Mariae'

A reproduction of the aquarelle appearing in the
Journal de la Societe National d'horticulture de France, for September, 1889.

Vriesea × 'Rex'

A description of this hybrid by Leon Duval first appeared in the Revue Horticole in 1894. The above illustration appeared in the same periodical in 1907; accompanying description appears in the next page.



(Translated from an article appearing in Revue Horticole, No. 24, for December 16, 1907, Paris.)

Vriesea × 'Rex', a hybrid made by M. Leon Duval, about a dozen years ago, is one of the most attractive bromeliads. This hybrid, obtained by crossing V. morreno-barilletii with V. cardinalis, is distinguished from the numerous other varieties of Vriesea that one finds in cultivation by its beautiful brilliant carmine bracts, in size equaling those of V. morreno-barilletii.

Vriesea × 'Rex' is very vigorous; it forms its bracts in great abundance, a characteristic not always found in this family. Propagation is easy, for it produces numerous suckers; which, when given proper conditions, immediately take root, and soon, in their turn, give beautiful inflorescences which last a long time and make an excellent effect among other foliage plants.

I have always maintained the great superiority of this hybrid because of its ease of multiplication, its abundance of blooms, and the duration of its bracts, which last a very long time without losing their ornamental quality.

Its culture is easy, and in my home the foliage is not only exuberant, but becomes almost bushy. Divisions do best and appear to their greatest advantage in pots from 8 to 10 cm in width, a size which restricts the growth of the foliage and permits a full appreciation of the dazzling bracts.

Offsets can be placed in larger containers, but in order to obtain a specimen like that which is reproduced in the color plate, it is necessary to wait two or three years and not divide the plant—then one can obtain a large planting covered almost all over with inflorescences.

Like most of its kind, Vriesea × 'Rex' needs warmth and humidity at all times. It does best in a loose compost of leaf mold, white sand, and gravel.

Editor's note—Unfortunately, this beautiful Vriesea is not easily obtainable and is seldom listed in catalogues. The editor procured her specimen in Belgium, but the plant does not exactly resemble the color plate; instead it has a branched inflorescence. The color of the bract and the foliage, however, is similar. It is of easy cultivation, although it is not so generous with its offshoots as M. Jarry-Desloges would have us believe.




Identification and classification is the necessary basis for all botanical research, and the Bromeliaceae are no exception to this rule. Rather, they are an especially difficult problem, because first the petals and stamens that are necessary to generic identification are soon lost, and second, the plants are so successful in vegetative reproduction that they produce flowers irregularly and infrequently.

The first problem of identification I have more or less solved by means of artificial keys combining several genera and going directly to each species by means of such durable characters as the form of the inflorescence, bracts, and sepals. The second problem of identification of sterile plants is much more difficult and requires every possible assistance. Here is where the younger divisions of botany assist and enlarge the original one of classification.

The Bromeliaceae include some 2000 species at present, so the more that we can limit the number to be considered, the easier our problem becomes. The specimen that we are trying to identify grew in some locality within the range of the species, so we can turn to geographic botany. If our specimen is from Brazil we need to consider less than 600 species and if it is from the State of Santa Catarina only about 100. When Padre Reitz's treatment of the family is published in the "Flora Ilustrada Catarinense" with its distribution maps for each species, it will be possible to subdivide still further into species of the littoral, species of the coastal rain forest, and species of the planalto. Here geographical botany begins to merge with ecology, where we find further help in the distinction between terrestrial and epiphytic habitats.

In the case of cultivated species of Bromeliaceae, the origin of a specimen is frequently unknown so that we can not use geographic botany, but the fact that it is cultivated automatically limits the possibilities of its identity. The cultivated species are a small part of the family and are largely Brazilian. They frequently have distinctive leaf-markings and have been comprehensively illustrated, as in the "Exotica III" of A. B. Graf.

To return to the consideration of natural species, we can well use the example of those growing in Santa Catarina, because Padre Reitz has already done much on their sterile identification in connection with the Bromeliad Malaria problem. So next we turn to the macroscopic morphology of the stem and leaves to classify or limit our problem further. Here the most convenient and at the same time the most taxonomically significant division is between serrate and entire leaves. The subfamilies Pitcairnioideae and Bromelioideae have serrate leaves with rare exceptions, while the subfamily Tillandsioideae always has entire leaves.

In Santa Catarina, Pitcairnia flammea is exceptional in having entire leaves, but these are grass-like and narrowed toward the base of the blade and thus distinguish it from any of the Tillandsioideae. Pitcairnia and Dyckia, the other genus of the Pitcairnioideae, are always terrestrial or saxicolous in contrast to many epiphytic members of the other two subfamilies. In Dyckia the leaf-blades are narrowly triangular and thick and the sheaths form a solid mass with no space between to hold water, unlike the hollow rosettes of most Bromelioideae. Most species of Dyckia now require flowers for identification, but of the two littoral species with large leaves, D encholirioides has the underside of the blade with broad shallow grooves between the nerves and persistent scales while D. maritima has very deep narrow grooves with the scales soon exposing the nerves. D. brevifolia of riverside rocks has very short broad leaf-blades that are finely and regularly white-striped beneath. The remaining species will require microscopic examination of the leaves before they can be distinguished.

The Bromelioideae are represented in Santa Catarina by Neoregelia, Nidularium, Bromelia, Canistrum, Wittrockia, Hohenbergia, Aechmea, Quesnelia, Billbergia, Pseudananas, Ananas, and in all probability by Acanthostachys, although, the latter has not yet been recorded. These 12 genera are often difficult to distinguish with complete specimens, so it is not surprising if they prove especially frustrating when sterile.

Perhaps the best that we can do is to separate the three consistently terrestrial genera, Bromelia, Pseudananas, and Ananas, on the basis of their long essentially linear leaf-blades with large curved distant spines along the margins. They all resemble Dyckia of the Pitcairnioideae in being terrestrial, but their leaf-blades are relatively much thinner and are linear in cross section rather than crescent-shaped, and the scales of the leaf-sheaths are much larger and more densely imbricate. In Bromelia the scales of the leaf-sheaths are linear and dark brown while in Pseudananas and Ananas they are much broader and paler. Pseudananas spreads by rhizomes while Ananas has only close erect basal shoots. In Ananas the direction of the leaf-spines is useful to distinguish some species, but I know of no distinctions within Bromelia.

The remaining 9 genera of Bromelioideae must be reduced piecemeal. Acanthostachys has rope-like leaf-blades that generally hang straight down. Canistrum lindenii, the only Catarinense species of the genus, has a large wide-spreading rosette with leaf-blades coarsely spotted with darker green. Nidularium leaves are generally characterized by very fine teeth and a strong median stripe or channel, but this combination occurs also in other genera, most notably in Wittrockia. In fact the almost exact identity of Nidularium innocentii and Wittrockia smithii outside of the petals, makes one wonder if the latter could be a hybrid.

The two species of Billbergia subgenus Helicodea, B. alfonsi-joannis and B. zebrina have narrow vase-like rosettes quite unlike those of other members of the Bromelioideae. The remaining species of Billbergia, Quesnelia, Aechmea, Hohenbergia. Neoregelia, and Wittrockia must be merged in an artificial key and the species distinguished one at a time beginning with the most distinctive. It is not possible to go further with this investigation now, but it is hoped that others will be moved to record their observations and that microscopic morphology will add still more information.

The Tillandsioideae are represented in Santa Catarina by Tillandsia, Vriesea, and Catopsis. The young leaves of Catopsis berteroniana and sessiliflora are a very pale green that is accentuated by a curious chalky coat. This is not found in Tillandsia and in Vriesea only in V. guttata which is readily distinguished by its large dark spots. The acute leaves of Catopsis berteroniana are about twice as large as the broadly rounded ones of C. sessiliflora.

With a few exceptions in both genera, Tillandsia has narrowly triangular or finely linear leaf-blades while Vriesea has ligulate ones. The only exception in Tillandsia, T triticea, has generally dark-spotted leaves that are only 2-4 cm wide where similar species of Vriesea have much broader ones. Vriesea lubbersii, drepanocarpa, flammea, and corcovadensis have narrowly triangular leaf-blades like Tillandsia but large sheaths unlike all Tillandsia except T. aeris-incola. The latter, however, has a bulbous rosette, while all the Vrieseas have open ones.

The typical Tillandsias can be divided into those with prominent gray scales and those with inconspicuous one. The gray scaly Tillandsias have fine linear leaf-blades in usneoides, mallemontii, and recurvata, and narrowly triangular ones in gardneri, geminiflora, and stricta. Further distinctions can be made on stem development and scale position and form, but without flowers it is nearly impossible to distinguish T. mallemontii and recurvata. The species with inconspicuous scales though few in number are more difficult to distinguish by macroscopic characters.

A few of the more than 20 ligulate Vrieseas may be distinguished by some outstanding trait of form or color, like the fine wavy cross-lines of Vriesea platynema that are shown by transmitted light. However, we must resort to microscopic and chemical characters to distinguish most of the species.

My experience with microscopic and chemical techniques is, slight, so I have had to report largely on studies by my colleagues for what follows. Our curator of mosses, Harold E. Robinson, has applied some of his tissue preparation technique to Bromeliaceae and has found that the form of the stomata is a specific character in Cottendorfia. Like several other investigators he has noted that the character and position of the leaf-tissues varies greatly from species to species.

P. B. Tomlinson in his work on the morphology of the monocotyledons has taken particular interest in the leaf-scales of the Bromeliaceae. He finds that they show characters at both generic and specific levels in their form and the form and position of their component cells and also in their stalk cells that penetrate the epidermis and carry water into the leaf.

Although probably not usable with herbarium specimens, the new and rapid technique of chemical analysis by paper chromatography promises a very helpful new approach to the study of cultivated bromeliads. The resulting patterns of differentially absorbed compounds on paper are specific and in the case of hybrids combine those of the parent species.

Ultimately, by the use of all possible approaches, we should be able to identify any sterile specimen of Bromeliaceae.



More and more we hear this expression in regard to growers who are fast getting to the saturation point as far as room inside is concerned. Some broms are given away, some are sold, but still they come; and everyone who is fond of these plants just hasn't the heart to throw them away. So the thought comes — maybe they will do outside where there is more room, but where is the best location for them?

Why not put them outside under trees or shrubs, or hanging on trees, or planted in rockeries, or in containers in carports or on shelves in sunrooms, or planted in the ground straight along the garden path?

What are the enemies of these bromeliads planted outdoors? If grown near where children play or dogs scamper, the result will surely be damaged leaves or even a completely wrecked plant, so planting must be done with such things in mind. Next comes the weather in your locality; hail, frost, snow, or tearing winds will not do at all, and shelter from these must be considered. The overhanging branches of trees make a good shelter, and the falling leaves will also help feed the plant. Against a fence or hedge where there is some protection is fine.

To those who live in snow country or where frost is severe, more thought is needed, but it is surprising how many varieties will survive even in such places, and the best way to find out is to try growing some plants outdoors.

Generally speaking, the tougher the leaves on a bromeliad, the hardier they are. This does not apply to all bromeliads, however, for such plants as Nidularium innocentii var. innocentii and Nidularium × 'Francois Spae' have been known to be the only ones to come out of a bad winter when tougher-looking plants browned off.

Many bromeliads will take direct all-day sunlight, some will not show a yellowing of the leaves; space will not permit the listing of those which will and those that will not. Strong light will bring out much beautiful coloration; in others it will fade the foliage. Try Aechmea pineliana out in the open for rich mottled red, but don't try A. × 'Foster's Favorite' for though it does not burn, it will fade badly. All this is an experiment you may wish to try out yourself, and the results can be very interesting. Ananas comosus grown in full hot sunlight becomes one of the loveliest of broms, for it will turn a rich red. The Bromelias will do likewise. We have seen here at our own nursery Aechmea distichantha, Aechmea pineliana, and Billbergia nutans disappear under two feet of snow for two days and come out with a smile.

Mostly one can depend on the rains to do the watering, but in a drier spell a good hosing is necessary; but if the tanks are full, even a month without watering does not seem to hurt a mature plant. Seedlings are a different matter, and these need shelter and care indoors.

It is a saying in Australia that lucerne or alfalfa will only fail to grow where you don't plant it. Perhaps you may have felt shy about sending broms out into the "rough," but, who knows, they may like it.

—Bilpin, N. S. W., Australia.



One of the more difficult subjects to talk about is the amount of light that a plant needs for best growth. An appropriate measure of the illumination in various parts of the greenhouse is also difficult to describe. Trial and error placement of plants is possible, but not very satisfying since results are slow and permanent. The proper measure of illumination is the footcandle or amount of light that a standard candle will place on a screen one foot from the source. Noonday sunlight in the temperate zone is about 10,000 footcandles.

If you have access to an exposure meter for camera work, it is relatively easy to obtain a measure of illumination in standard units of footcandles. Since photographers have a choice of film speed (exposure index), f/stop (aperture) and exposure time, it is a bit complicated to figure out the camera settings. Modern cameras have an automatic setting which takes into account all factors using a single exposure meter reading on a scale known as "Exposure Value" (EV). If your exposure meter has such a scale, you can set the exposure index to a value of 3 and read a measure of light directly. The following table converts light values to footcandles:

Light Value 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Footcandle 50 100 200 400 800 1600 3200 6400
Be sure to point the exposure meter in the direction of the light source so that you measure incident light. If you point it towards the plants, the reading will be only that light reflected from them.

The readings you obtain will depend upon a number of factors such as cloud cover, season of the year, orientation of the greenhouse and the filtering action of the roof. With some consideration for these factors, it should be possible to obtain quite consistent readings of illumination. A simple figure in footcandles on the plant label should provide guidance for determining the plant's preference to light intensity.

—Santa Clara, California.



(Translated by Adda Abendroth, Teresopolis, Brazil)

Summing up what was said in the previous issue, we have the following types of seeds and means of dissemination:

Tillandsioideae (Vrieseas, Guzmanias, Tillandsias) These are perfect epiphytes and have seeds that weigh very little but are equipped with flying hairs that enable them to float far on the air and fasten tightly onto their final destination.

Bromelioideae (Aechmeas, Billbergias, Cryptanthus, Neoregelias, Nidulariums, and others) These develop sizable berries, sometimes juicy, containing sweet pulp. Dissemination is taken care of by animals that eat the pulp and pass the undigested seeds.

Pitcairnioideae (Pitcairnias, Hechtias, Dyckias, and others) These are terrestrials whose seeds are built for dissemination by the wind. Their seeds respond to available site conditions.

The process of germination permits us to draw certain conclusions about the plant's ability to adapt to existing conditions. Length of time required for germination differs within the group as much as other details of the entire process. Let us begin our examination with seeds that have hair crown. They float on the air until they strike a surface suitable for germination. A certain percentage, of course, is lost because it glides to the ground. The great number of seeds produced, however, compensates for this loss. That the fly-hairs possess the capacity to adhere to even a very smooth surface is proven by the fact that bromeliads are found on palm trunks and on columnar cacti. But the ability to hold fast is not all that is required. If the seed's were to start life totally unprotected, only a very small percentage would survive the ravages of weather. The fly hairs have an additional task to fulfill, and they are duly equipped for it. They are very hygroscopic, that is moisture attracting. Settled on whatever the floating seed may have come to rest on, the floss soon becomes covered with tiny droplets of water. It is moisture present in the air due to ever-changing weather conditions that the hairs are able to trap. Although the amount may be diminutive, it is sufficient to reach the grain and to make it swell. Germination then begins.

The germination process is perfectly geared to alternating dry and moist periods. Much moisture over a prolonged period of time would induce algae to form on the floss, thus ,endangering germination. In view of the importance to safeguard the process, I would even venture to admit that the length and the abundance of fibers in the various species have nothing to do with the size of the plant. More likely the amount of floss is proportionate to weather conditions prevailing in the area, probably in such a way that fewer and shorter fly-hairs suffice in moist climate, while drier areas need a larger amount, enough to manage the extra work of gathering more moisture from a scarcer supply. This would explain why often the quantity of floss seems out of proportion to the size of the plant that produces it. As an example, look at certain species of Tillandsias that have a hair crown as big as that of a much larger Vriesea or Guzmania.

Conditions differ entirely in the group of the berry bromeliads. Most of their seed grains, it is thought, pass through the intestines of animals that eat the berries. The chances of their landing on a site convenient for germination certainly equal those of the hair-crown species. Bear in mind the wealth of epiphytes that grow on the trees in the tropical forest. Branches are crowded with these plants which make them more receptive for seeds to be found in the excrements of birds and animals than are the branches of the trees in our northern forests with their smooth and naked limbs. The epiphytic flora may be compared to a sponge that sucks up everything, including the droppings of animals. But the seeds contained in them need space to grow. It is quite possible that the decaying funnel of one withered bromel may become the seedbed of another species. The bromeliad seed may even germinate among the roots of other epiphytes, or in a cushion of mosses. What counts is the chance for the seed to germinate at all. This kind of seed has no fly-hairs and is therefore unable to draw moisture from the air. In compensation germination proceeds much faster, and so do the first steps in development. Rapid germination reduces the risk of loss, presence of humus supplied the young plant with nourishment.

Finally let us examine the third group, the one that has capsule fruits containing seeds devoid of fly hairs. Being terrestrials, the plants in this group germinate like any other seeds plants. The process is rapid if the place where the seed lands is moist enough. The seedling must make use of any favorable conditions and grow fast in order to become strong enough to survive when the dry season comes.

The relation of moisture and drought is, I think, the key to the difference in the length of time consumed in the germination of different species. I have the impression that germination takes longer where constant and sufficient moisture is sure during the ripening period of the seeds and that it proceeds faster in seeds from an area where occasional rain alternates with long dry periods. In the latter case it is vital to make use of the moisture white it is available in order to promote development of the seedling.




Guzmania melinonis (quitense) is a close relative of the commonly known G. monostachia, shown in color on the front cover of Bulletin XVII, No. 5, 1967. The structure of the flower spike and the white flowers are much alike in both species, but the colors of the bracts differ. Those of G. quitense are a mellow pink, diffusing to white at the tips. The leaves of the rosette have a brownish-red hue, while those of G. monostachia are generally pale green.

This new species, as yet quite rare, comes from the area around Quito, Ecuador, as its name suggests. It does well under ordinary pot culture. So far I have not been able to produce any seed or know of anyone who has. G. monostachia is self fertile and usually sets plenty of seed.


[Guzmania quitense is a local name for Guzmania melinonis.]

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