BSI Journal - Online Archive


Victoria Padilla, Editor
Editorial Office—647 South Saltair Avenue
Los Angeles, Calif. 90049

The Journal is the official publication of the Bromeliad Society, a non-profit corporation organized in 1950. Subscription is included in the membership dues. There are six classes of membership: Annual, $7.50; Sustaining, $12.50; Fellowship, $20.00; Commercial, $25.00 and Life, $150.00. For membership information, write to Mrs. Jeanne Woodbury, 1811 Edgecliffe Drive, Los Angeles, California 90026.



President—Charles A. Wiley, 4036 Via Solano, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. 90274
First Vice-President—Jack M. Roth, 6987 Los Tilos Rd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90028
Second Vice-President—Fritz Kubisch, P. O. Box 389, Culver City, Calif. 90230
Secretary—Lottie Cave, 7453 Denny Ave., Sun Valley, Calif. 91352
Membership Secretary—Jeanne Woodbury, 1811 Edgecliffe Dr., Los Angeles, Calif. 90026
Treasurer—Laurel Woodley, 1250 N. Bundy Ave., Los Angeles, Calif. 90049


David Barry, Jr. 11977 San Vicente Blvd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90049Awards
David H. Benzing, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio 44074Research
Edward McWilliams, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich. 48105Research
Eric R. Knoblock, Box 121, Braithwaite, La. 70040Program Aids
John Riley, 3370 Princeton Court, Santa Clara, Calif. 95051Education
George Kalmbacher, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn, N. Y. 11225Study Course
Ervin Wurthmann, 5602 Theresa Rd., Tampa, Florida 33615Cultural Aids
Ralph Davis, 15500 E. 9th Ave., North Miami Beach, Fla. 33162Cultural Aids
Patrick Mitchell, 8211 Helmers St., Houston, Texas 77022Affiliated Societies
Ralph Spencer, 2620 Via Rivera, Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. 90274Slide Library
Wilbur Wood, 1621 Irving Ave., Glendale, Calif. 91201Hybrid Registration
Kelsey Williams, 7430 Crescent Ave., Buena Park, Calif. 90620Promotion
Elmer Lorenz, 5110 Monte Bonito Dr., Los Angeles, Calif. 90041Display Notes
William Paylen, 1008 Gretna Green Way, Los Angeles, Calif. 90049Advertising
George Milstein, 33-55 14th St., Long Island City, N. Y. 11106Programing
William Dunbar, 11444 Ayrshire Rd., Los Angeles, Calif. 90049Legal Adviser

Adda Abendroth, Brazil
Luis Ariza-Julia, Dominican Republic
Olwen Ferris, Australia
Mulford B. Foster, U.S.A.
Marcel Lecoufle, France
Harold Martin, New Zealand
Richard Oeser, Germany
Prof. D. W. Rauh, Germany
Raulino Reitz, Brasil
Walter Richter, Germany
Dr. L. B. Smith, U.S.A.
Robert G. Wilson, Costa Rica
Julian Marnier-Lapostolle, France

CANISTRUM FOSTERIANUM — A native of Brazil discovered by Mulford B. Foster. Photo by Jeanne Woodbury.



Collecting bromeliads in the Florida Everglades is a rewarding and interesting pastime. It can also be a very bewildering one when it comes to Tillandsia fasciculata. With all the variations in evidence to the collector, it is often difficult and sometimes impossible to identify the specimen under the established varieties of Tillandsia fasciculata native to Florida.

Before the construction of "Alligator Alley" between Naples and Ft. Lauderdale opened up the Fakahatchee Slough section of the Everglades, collecting by the less adventurous of us "ribbon clerks" (as Ralph Davis has named our breed of week-end and vacation collectors) was confined largely to accessible areas bordering the major highways and the little out-of-the-way roads leading into the Everglades. "Alligator Alley" opened a vast area heretofore inaccessible to other than those with their own swamp buggies. Now it has been possible to park the family car off the "Alley", walk in not more than fifty to a hundred feet into the scrub cypress south of the highway and be surrounded by literally thousands of Florida's native bromeliads. Here grow Catopis berteroniana, Tillandsia balbisiana, T. circinnata circinnata, T. fasciculata and T. polystachia within arm's reach of the eager collector. Further along, in the denser hammocks grow C. floribunda, T. flexuosa, T. pruinosa, T. setecea and the ever-present T. fasciculata. T. valenzuelana is abundant here, its soft leaves tinged red by the sun.

Deeper into the wetter portions of the slough grow C. nutans, Guzmania monostachia and, in at least two known areas, the rare (and to us, beautiful) G. monostachia variegata. One finds huge T. utriculata scattered here and there. Everywhere, even here, is T. fasciculata as well as T. recurvata and T. usneoides, although the latter two are not as plentiful as in other areas of the state. In the Tampa area we find T. recurvata, T. usneoides and T. utriculata in great number. However, all the bromeliads brought from the Everglades have acclimated quite well to our area with the exception of C. berteroniana which seems to prefer a slightly warmer and drier growing area if kept outside year-round.

Identification of most of the species is a relatively easy task except for the many variations evident in Tillandsia fasciculata, which is another task altogether. Here the layman collector is confronted by what seems an endless variation in the collected specimens. Just as you think you have them all neatly identified, you find another specimen which just will not fit neatly into the varieties established by our more learned associates, the botanists.

Neglecting variations evidently due to differences in lighting, humidity, etc., one is still confronted by variations in shape of inflorescence, coloration of floral bracts, color of petals, etc.

Shape of inflorescence has been fairly well classified by variety: fasciculata, clavispica and latispica.

Variety fasciculata is characterized by its spike of clustered segments pointing more or less straight upward.

Variety clavispica is recognized by its spike whose segments (longer than those of fasciculata) curve outward and upward, giving the effect of a candelabra.

Variety latispica, on the other hand, has its segments curving upward and outward, the opposite of clavispica.

Two other different forms have been collected which do not fit these varieties. One is a clavispica-like type which is retroflexive. At first appearance, one would be inclined to credit this to the weight of the spike causing it to bend downward and then attempt to grow upright again. However, this characteristic has carried over into its "pups". This suggests a separate variety: retroflexa.

The other form is a slightly smaller plant with a tightly compressed spike which barely rises above the foliage and scrape bracts. This is probably Tillandsia simulata (Small) described by Frank C. Craighead in ORCHIDS AND OTHER AIR PLANTS of the Everglades National Park.

Floral bract coloration is a wide variation of T. fasciculata regardless of variety. Colors run from the showy red usually associated with the particular Tillandsia to an all pale yellow-green. Collected variations include:

  1. All red from base of segment to apex.
  2. All salmon-red from base to apex.
  3. Red at base changing to yellow at apex.
  4. Red at base changing to yellow at apex except individual floral bracts edged in red.
  5. All pale yellow-green with light shading of red at the base of the segment.
  6. All pale yellow-green.
These floral bract coloration variations do not seem to be commonly distributed among the form varieties. Variety fasciculata has been collected with variations 1, 5 and 6. Variety clavispica exhibits variations 3, 4, 5 and 6. Variety latispica has been found with variations 4, 5 and 6. The retroflexive type seems to exist only with color variations 1 and 2.

Color of petals presents only three variations: purple, sky-blue and white. Purple petals are associated with floral bract colorations 1 through 4, sky-blue petals with 5 and white petals with 6. This further suggests two additional sub-varieties coelestipetala and albaflora. Lyman B. Smith, in THE BROMELIACEAE OF COLOMBIA, attributes T. incurva (with yellow petals) as being native to Florida, but it has not been collected to my knowledge.

Based on collected specimens, the following is suggested as being native to Florida:

Catopsis berteroniana
Catopsis floribunda
Catopsis nutans
Guzmania monostachia
Guzmania monostachia variegata
Tillandsia balbisiana
Tillandsia circinnata
Tillandsia fasciculata var. fasciculata
Tillandsia fasciculata var. fasciculata coelestipetala
Tillandsia fasciculata var. fasciculata albaflora
Tillandsia fasciculata var. clavispica
Tillandsia fasciculata var. clavispica coelestipetala
Tillandsia fasciculata var. clavispica albaflora
Tillandsia fasciculata var. latispica
Tillandsia fasciculata var. latispica coelestipetala
Tillandsia fasciculata var. latispica albaflora
Tillandsia fasciculata var. retroflexa
Tillandsia flexuosa
Tillandsia juncea
Tillandsia pruinosa
Tillandsia recurvata
Tillandsia polystachia
Tillandsia setacea
Tillandsia usneoides
Tillandsia utriculata
Tillandsia valenzuelana
T. tenuifolia (Small) is T. setacea, T. simulata (Small) is probably T. juncea, T. aliofolia (Small) is T. flexuosa and T. hystricina (Small) is T. fasciculata.

Unfortunately, very little work has been done recently on the classification of our native bromeliads. Dr. L. B. Smith may not recognize some of the classifications above, but we collectors of native bromeliads would be indebted to him for any light he can shed on the proper classifications. Some work must be done soon or it may be too late for some of the species now being "civilized" out of existence in the Everglades, with the advance of jet-ports, mammoth sub-divisions, exclusive hunting lodges and mile on mile of canals for water-front lots.

—Tampa, Florida




I wonder how many times I have suggested to people that they should try growing a few bromeliads and have met with the reply that they have nowhere to grow them. It is hard to convince them that such exotic looking plants can be grown successfully in their flower beds and rockeries.

It would be difficult to provide a list of plants which are suitable for growing in the open, as the climate differs widely in different areas. However, there are obvious requirements which are necessary for success, such as reasonable freedom from frost and adequate shade. Experience here suggests that many species will stand light frost without any damage, and while frosts may cause quite a lot of superficial injury to a plant, it is continuous cold, wet conditions for long periods that is the real killer. Every garden has its microclimates, and it is worth going to a little trouble to select a favorable position, sheltered as far as possible from the worst of the weather. Some degree of shade has proved necessary for practically all the species I have tried so far, with the exception of Billbergia nutans. Many varieties are said to grow in full sun, but sun in a hot, humid climate is by no means the same as sun in a very dry climate with the humidity down below 20%. The very dry conditions we experience locally can cause far more damage than full sun in the tropics. Most species seem to grow just as well, and flower as freely, in nearly full shade as they do in the sun.

It is also desirable to choose a well-drained position, especially for plants such as the Dyckias, which come from dry areas. A number of species have been growing here in soil which is generally quite waterlogged for several weeks each winter, without showing any ill effects. This is not to say that they would not do better in a well-drained position. Another point to remember is that a plant growing in the open ground may look entirely different from the same plant growing in the glasshouse. I have several here that I am no longer able to identify until they flower. The amount of shade provided will also affect the shape and color to a marked degree.

Billbergias have proved excellent subjects for planting out; there are a number of hardy species which seem to grow almost anywhere. B. distachia may not be as spectacular as some of the other varieties, but I still consider it a most useful and ornamental plant, almost as hardy as nutans but needing some shade. On at least one occasion I have found it with leaves white with frost, which did not cause any damage. In my conditions it is one of the first of the Billbergias to flower towards the end of winter. It is a very variable species, and it is worth going to some trouble to find a good clone. As so often happens, the plants with the best foliage generally have fewer flowers than the plain ones. My preference is for a variety which has the leaves very densely silver scaled, with the flowers having the sepals only blue-tipped, the petals being all green. In full shade the whole flower may be green. This may be the variety bakeri, and its main attractions are the large pink bracts and the number of flowers produced, averaging 20 to each spike. The forms with purple tinted leaves, some with pale spots, may be nice foliage plants but often produce only about 6 flowers on a spike. B. vittata is another species which has withstood frost and also flowers in winter. Plants growing in nearly full shade flowered last winter earlier than plants in a sheltered spot on a verandah which received far more light.

There are, of course, species which require warm, sheltered conditions, or which are too valuable to risk in the open. I have not yet tried growing B. × 'Muriel Waterman' in this manner, although it grows so well in a cold glasshouse that it might prove to be at home in the open. During the past year or two I have been frying to discover whether B. × 'Fantasia' can be grown successfully in the garden. It is generally agreed that this hybrid is a glasshouse plant needing fairly warm conditions, at least for successful flowering. An offset was planted out in the garden, in a position sheltered from the worst of the wind and rain and has survived two winters. The temperature at times must have been very close to freezing point but I don't think the plant has actually been subjected to frost. Another plant was sent to a garden near Perth, and the first year it produced a spike, but this was spoilt by heavy rain. It was then moved to a sheltered spot where it would be comparatively dry and it flowered successfully last July, the showy inflorescence being admired by a number of people. Another species which is growing in the open is B. sanderiana, and no doubt there are many more.

Some Neoregelias are also suitable for this type of culture, the only ones tried here being some hybrids of N. carolinae, which are doing very well. A few N. carcharodon will be added as soon as the seedlings are large enough. It is rather risky to plant out small seedlings, even if they survive they seem to take a long time to become established. I prefer larger plants, removed from their pots.

Quesnelia liboniana was planted in a shady, sheltered position and is growing well, not forming a clump, but rather a chain of plants as the rhizome wanders over the surface. It has not flowered yet, but plants of the same clone, grown in small pots, flowered regularly although the plants are only half the size of those growing in the open.

Dyckias are usually regarded as plants for the open air, and plenty of sun, but even these hardy plants need the right conditions. A plant of D. brevifolia failed in my garden, either from too much rain or possibly damage to the leaves from hail, causing the plant to rot. Another variety is doing well in the same conditions and I hope to try a few more. For those who have plenty of room there are plants such as Bromelias and Puyas. I have seedlings of Puya berteroniana (alpestris) which look healthy whatever the weather is like—it is a pity they are so slow growing.

Another way in which bromeliads can be used in the garden is to place the plants, in their pots, at any suitable position during the warm weather. There are odd corners in most gardens which would be improved by a plant or two; the pots can be concealed or perhaps buried in the ground, being taken inside again when the cold weather starts. Plants growing on pieces of tree fern, etc., might also prove useful for temporary plantings.

—Western Australia. (Reprinted from Bromeletter, the official journal of the Bromeliad Society of' Australia.)

LYMAN B. SMITH — Latest Publications on Bromeliaceae

(See Vol. XVI, No. 4, for previous publications)

Phytologia, "Notes on Bromeliaceae," obtainable from Dr. H. N. Moldenke, 303 Parkside Road, Plainfield, New Jersey, 07060, $1.00 each, with exception Vol. 15. $2.00.

XXIV, Vol. 13, No. 7 — contains key to Orthophytum
XXV, Vol. 14, No. 8 — contains key to Dyckia
XXVI, Vol. 15, No. 3 — contains key to Bromelia and Neoregelia
XXVII, Vol. 16, No. 2 — contains key to Catopsis and Greigia
XXVIII, Vol. 16, No. 6
XXIX, Vol. 18, No. 3
XXX, Vol. 19, No. 4
XXXI, Vol. 20, No. 3 — contains key to Tillandsia
To be published this year XXXII with key to Guzmania.

L. B. Smith & C. S. Pittendrigh: Bromeliaceae: Flora of Trinidad & Tobago, Vol. 3, Part 2: pp. 35-91. 1967. $1.00 Government Printery, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad.

Bromeliaceae in Margaret Mee: Flowers of the Brazilian Forests. $300.00. The Tryon Gallery Ltd., London.

The Bromeliaceae of Bolivia, Rhodora, Vol. 71, Nos. 785 & 786. Write to Rhodora, Botanical Museum, Oxford St., Cambridge, Mass. 02138. Separates available to libraries and qualified individuals.



On a recent trip to the Virgin Island Ecological Research Station on St. John, United States Virgin Islands, I had a chance to make some observations on the fauna which inhabit 2 species of bromeliads. Picado (1913) and Laessle (1960) have both made extensive investigations into the inhabitants of bromeliad leaf axils in the tropics. Aside from taxonomic investigations of these unique micro-environments, there has been considerable interest generated when it was discovered they may support mosquito larvae which in turn spread malaria (See Smith, 1952). My interests with the Bromeliaceae were more than a taxonomic investigation of the leaf axil fauna. I wanted to, approach each axil as an individual ecosystem and look for relationships and interactions in this small community.

My studies concerned 2 species of bromeliads on St. John which trap water in their leaf axils, Tillandsia utriculata and Aechmea lingulata. The former species is found in the hot open areas of the island near the coast. The vegetation in the lowlands is xerophytic, consisting of many thorny shrubs, acacia and cactus. Rainfall in this region has been put at from 40 to 45 inches per year. The other species of bromeliad, Aechmea lingulata, is found almost exclusively in the moist highlands of Bordeaux Mountain, 1280 feet above sea level and located in the central portion of St. John. Bordeaux has a higher rainfall than the outlying areas; here it is from 50 to 55 inches per year. The vegetation on the mountain is more lush than that near the coast, and consists of banana, papaya and large shade trees.

Though I identified, scorpions, cockroaches, isopods, centipedes, assorted arachnids and 2 species of frogs, I became most interested in the dipteran larvae, the immature stages of various species of flies which live in water trapped in the bromeliad leaf axils. Though the common house fly has a larva or 'maggot' stage which survives in moist conditions, many flies spend their immature stages in standing or running water. Only 3 families of dipterans were found in significant numbers from the bromeliads, of these the mosquitoes or culicid larvae were most abundant. These are free swimming predacious invertebrates, feeding on algae or small protozoans which also inhabit the leaf axils. The other 2 dipteran families were bottom dwellers and spent their time prowling about among bits of leaves, sticks and other detritus which make its way into the bromeliads. These 2 dipteran families were the Ceratopogonidae and Chironomidae. Since the adults of the former sometimes bite, and the adults of the latter do not, they are referred to as the biting and non-biting midges, respectively. Most of the members of these 2 families are non-predacious and feed on organic material.

There was considerable variation in the larval communities between the wet and dry areas of the island. For example the chironomids and ceratopogonids were found almost exclusively in the leaf axils of Tillandsia utriculata distributed in the dry coastal areas. Less than 12% of the total number of either of these 2 families were collected from the axils of Aechmea lingulata on Bordeaux Mountain. In contrast to the midges the dominant group in the axils of A. lingulata were the culicid larvae. The mosquitoes were also taken from the axils of Tillandsia utriculata, though these coastal populations were dominated by the 2 families of midges. This striking difference in larval distribution is probably dictated most of all by the external terrestrial conditions of light, temperature and humidity. Because of this, certain species of gravid females may be encouraged or limited in their penetration into areas on St. John. Second in importance to the effect of the external environment on larval distribution must be the presence or absence of certain predacious larvae in the leaf axils. In this manner the aggressive culicids in the axils of A. lingulata could limit the numbers of non-predacious larvae in other families.

Aside from influencing larval distribution in the bromeliad leaf axils, the aspects of adequate water add another dimension to the bromeliad study. This is the fact that most of these islands suffer from a considerable shortage of fresh water. This is due not so much to lack of rainfall, but rather to rocky, nonporous soil and a hot sun which evaporates much of the water which is not lost to the sea. Fresh water for domestic use must be collected from rooftops and stored in cisterns or else brought in by barge from Puerto Rico. So for these islands the bromeliad ecosystem represents one of the widest natural fresh water sources on the island. The dipterans are able to successfully inhabit areas which would be too dry to support their immature stages were it not for the presence of water trapped in bromeliad leaf axils.

Toward the end of March in 1970 we visited Anegada, British Virgin Islands. There it was much dryer than the areas sampled on St. John. The yearly rainfall on Anegada has been estimated at from 30 to 35 inches. This island is entirely of coral formation; the highest point is only 60 feet above sea level.

There were about a dozen epiphytic Tillandsia utriculata on this island which contained enough water to support a community of dipteran larvae. As might be expected in these dry conditions there were no mosquito larvae in these leaf axils. The only prominent group were the ceratopogonid larvae, even the chironomids were not evident on Anegada. Both of these missing groups, the culicids and chironomids, were collected from other fresh water sources, ponds and ditches, on the island.

Using the leaf axils of the 2 species of bromeliads, I had discovered 3 different habitats, each with its own unique larval community. The leaf axils of Aechmea lingulata on Bordeaux contained mostly mosquito larvae; the axils of Tillandsia utriculata from Anegada contained only the ceratopogonid larvae. The coastline of St. John, intermediate to the other 2 collection areas with respect to rainfall and humidity, contained all 3 dipteran families, though the ceratopogonids and chironomids were dominant.

I hope to be able to investigate other aspects of invertebrate communities in leaf axils or micro-environments. Certainly in an area such as St. John, with fresh water at a premium, much can be learned about larval relationships and interactions observed in these habitats might be used to more fully understand distribution and behavior of organisms in a larger and more diverse ecosystem.

—Central Michigan University, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan,


Laessle, Albert M. 1960. A limnological Survey of Jamaican Bromeliads. Ecology 42: 499-517.

Picado, C. 1913. Les Bromeliacees epiphytes, considerees common lilies biologique. Bull. Sc. Fr. Belg. Ser. 7, 47, 215-360.

Smith, L.B. 1952. Bromeliad Malaria. Smithsonian Report for 1952. pg 385-398, publ. #4125.


From Henry P. Butcher, Volcan, Chiriqui, Panama, comes this interesting comment:

"I don't believe I have written anything for the Society as yet, so will try to get a word in for Panama. It doesn't appear that Panama has been too well collected, so far as bromeliads are concerned except for those areas easily accessible by car and during the dry season. There is still plenty of unexplored territory here.

"I don't believe anyone other than myself has done any collecting, except for Ralph Barton, Bill Paylen, and Jimmy Giridlian, and, of course, we got to only a few places accessible by car or Jeep. Here in Chiriqui we collected in the Boquete area from 3,600 to 6,300 feet and on the Volcan side. Then in eastern Panama, we collected at El Valle de Anton and, of course, Cerro Jefe, one of the most prolific places I have ever seen for the family. On the trees and on the ground are to be found Tillandsias, Guzmanias, Pitcairnias, and Vrieseas. I am not too well versed on the family, as my own specialty is orchids, but I am really interested in them; as a matter of fact, I am interested in all wild flowering plants, especially those of an arboreal habit, which includes the Columneas, Orchids, Bromeliads, and Utricularia. But we have spent all too little time even in these areas.

"It is certainly too bad that in the Cerro Jefe area there are no means of spending several days there for a large party. I have gone in and stayed there ten days; at that time I had to pack in all our supplies and jungle hammocks without any horses or guides. I have collected a few bromeliads along the slope of the East Ridge near Colon, mainly Tillandsias, and there saw the most beautiful specimens of Guzmania musiaca. They seem to develop the best color in shaded locations and very high humidity (74-84) and a temperature range of 76 to 80°, although they will do well with lower temperature, as on Cerro Jefe it gets down to 65° at night and sometimes lower. On the East Ridge I have also seen Tillandsia subulifera in the jungle, also growing on various types of bushes at Summit Gardens.

Today (November 25) is the first day of the dry season with a strong northeast wind blowing all night. Rains will start again any time in April. The best time for collecting in Panama is from December 15 until the end of March.

Mrs. H. E. Lyon, Route #1, Box 290B, Cedaredge, Colorado 81413, writes: "Somewhere in one of the bulletins I read about softening water for bromeliads by one of the known methods. It did not tell what any of these methods are. I know one cannot use water from a water-softener for plants, so I would like to know more about these methods. (If anyone can help Mrs. Lyon, it would be appreciated. Such information would be of value for the Journal. —Ed.)



Without a doubt the Andean area of Southern American mothered the family into existence. While the Puyas, the earliest members of this interesting group, have devoted their efforts toward survival in their original home area, regardless as to how high they have been pushed up into the clouds, their great line of descendants have migrated all over South America and the southern area of North America.

Whenever we study the migration of birds, men or animals we see a similar pattern; we find men following the plants in low swampy land, in the high mountains, in low rolling hills or on the desert.

Brazil, it seems, has been the favorite place of residence for the bromeliads, as the greatest number of different genera and species are to be found there. And yet, one could travel for days within certain areas without seeing hardly one bromeliad.

The Puyas have traveled from Chile to Costa Rica, yet they have not set root in Brazil.

Tillandsia usneoides and T. recurvata, called Spanish Moss and Ball Moss, have been the greatest migrators of all; they now live in every country and state where there are any bromeliads to be found (with the exception of Africa).

In marked contrast to these Tillandsia species that use the most modern way of travel, via air, their relative Vriesea itatiaiae has been so self-satisfied that it lives on Mt. Itatiaia, one of Brazil's highest mountains and nowhere else on the earth. There are other endemics in the family, but few with a range so limited.

The genera Navia and Brocchinia are found north of the Amazon in the Guianas, Venezuela, Brazil and Columbia. They are rare and isolated in habitat. Cottendorfia is limited to a small area of southwestern Bahia in Brazil. Encholirium is coastal from below the mouth of the Amazon to Espirito Santo and inland as far as Minas Gerais and Bahia.

Ochagavias are isolated on Juan Fernandez Island off the coast of Chile. Abromeitiella and Fascicularia choose high Andean ranges of Chile to be near their ancestors. Greigia has not left the home ground of the Puyas and is to be found from Costa Rica to Chile. Ronnbergia, a rare genus, seems to prefer the western part of Colombia. Deuterocohnia with its few known species is found in the central and southern area of the Puyas but has gone over into the Matto Grosso of Brazil. They have shared some of the territory with Dyckia but the Dyckias have taken in parts of Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Uruguay and a great area of Brazil as far north as the Bahia area.

Hechtia, though closely related to the Puyas, has apparently never trespassed into the Puya domain. They have chosen their territory to be in Central America from north of Costa Rica with a northern boundary line in lower Texas, Arizona and Baja California.

Pitcairnia, on the other hand, has spread from the central part of Mexico, including the West Indies and a greater part of South America with its southern limits in the Argentine, Bolivia, and a portion of Chile. Strange as it may seem just one species has been reported in Africa. In very nearly the same area as the Pitcairnias dwell, you will find the genus Catopsis excepting that it avoids Chile and some parts of the lower Argentine. Vriesea, too, which has the southern part of Mexico as its northern limit, takes in all of the Catopsis area and a bit more of Bolivia and Peru. However, most of the species are native to Brazil.

The circle shrinks for Guzmania. The northern limit is southern Mexico and the tip end of Florida. The southern limit swings around the northern part of Brazil from Bahia across to the Pacific Coast. It is interesting to note that the Florida species of Guzmania monostachia has taken up residence in much of that area even to Bolivia. The few species of Glomeropitcairnia are found in a very limited island area of the Lesser Antilles with Trinidad as its southern limit.

Tillandsia, greatest of all migrants in the family has made a territorial line swinging around all of the species so far named and those yet to be zoned in this treatment. Its very northern limit is the southeastern tip of Virginia at the 35th parallel; its southern limit in the Argentine to the 45th parallel would be comparable to being in the neighborhood of Maine and Nova Scotia in the North.

One of Brazil's finest fiber plants Neoglaziovia, a monotypic genus, is found only in a limited area of Bahia and states bordering its northern boundary. Acanthostachys, another genus with but a single member is also Brazilian but has a greater range throughout the central section of Brazil. Wittrockia from coastal mountains in Brazil, Araeococcus from Costa Rica and northern South America, Pseudananas, the false pineapple found on the high planes of Brazil—all of these genera have but from one to three species to their credit.

Cryptanthus species are all central Brazilian and the dozen or more Orthophytum species are to be found in a somewhat similar area. Andrea species too are limited in their central Brazilian home.

With the exception of one Neoregelia (which is in Peru) all of the Neoregelia, Nidularium, and Canistrum are confined to Brazil. Hohenbergia species are native to Cuba and the West Indies with ten of the species from Jamaica; they range on down through Trinidad and into Brazil. A typical species of this genus, Hohenbergia caatingae, is a stiff-leaved bromel that grows in great masses on the caatinga which is similar to mesquite. It will stand very severe drought. Wittmackia seems to keep to the Atlantic Coast of South America from northern Brazil up to Costa Rica and into Puerto Rico and the Lesser Antilles.

Androlepis has a Central American residence for its few species, while Streptocalyx seems to be just as satisfied in Peru as in Brazil, for its species may be found in the western and northern end of South America right on down to Rio and the surrounding country. Ananas, the pineapple, may be found wild in many parts of Brazil, but in just how many of the other countries of South America it was native is open to much discussion. At any rate some of the species grow wild over quite an area. The genus Bromelia also covers a great area. Some of its species may be found in Mexico, the West Indies or right on through Central America, over a great part of South America on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts. I have found it growing wild in many American tropical countries where almost universally it has been used by the natives as a property line marker where conditions are primitive.

The beautiful Portea species are few in number with a range along the Atlantic coastal region in Brazil from Rio north to Bahia. The range of the delightful Quesnelia species is from the Guianas to southern Brazil and they do not go inland for any great distance. Most of the Billbergia species found their home in Brazil, but they are lightly sprinkled from Mexico south and well down the Atlantic coast to Argentina with a few on the Pacific to Peru. The Aechmea species are greater in numbers and greater in range than almost any of the other berry-fruit bearing bromeliads; they are native from Mexico south, including the West Indies and throughout South America. Brazil, of course, has by far the greatest number of species.

They are an intriguing family, the bromeliads. They may be found perfectly at home on the side of a house or a perpendicular rock, attached to a giant cactus or a telephone wire, overhanging a waterfall or a rainless desert. With or without roots the species will be found, each one finding much of its food in the air carried to it by favorable air currents or rainfall dropped into its water-filled cups far up in the trees and under the trees. The bromeliads have explored the American tropics for centuries and have settled down in so many out-of-the-way places that inquisitive plantsmen are still seeking their whereabouts in order to know more about them.

—Orlando, Florida.




The picture shows an unusual double inflorescence in Nidularium innocentii var. lineatum resulting from treatment with Ethrel. The plant was acquired as a pup in November, 1968. By the end of 1969 it had grown to modest size under lights with virtually no sunlight. On January 1, 1970, it was treated with Ethrel in a strong solution and applied with a compressed air sprayer. Signs of inflorescence were noticeable in March, and by May there was a fully developed double inflorescence, both with handsome dark red bracts. The picture was taken in June, 1970, and the smaller inflorescence can clearly be seen between the main inflorescence and the first big leaf. At this writing (September 1970) it is still in reasonably good color, but one offshoot is ready to be taken.

My theory is that artificial inducement of flowering is quite apt to cause such unusual effects, especially since the solution was quite strong (50 parts of water to one of Ethrel), and application with a power sprayer (instead of a hand sprayer as recommended) probably further stimulated an imbalance of the flowering genes.

—New York.



Our bromeliad collection is located in our No. 2 house of the thirteen-room conservatory. This house is 25 feet long, 22 feet wide, and 16 feet high at the ridge.

Dominating the No. 2 house is an artificial epiphyte tree, which was entirely remodeled during the past winter. It supports bromeliads with a very limited number of other epiphytes. It was originally intended solely for bromeliads and was called our Bromeliad Tree. The account of the history of the first tree was given in the Bulletin for July-August, 1967, under the title "A New Tree in Brooklyn."

Growing a bromeliad collection in a botanic garden located in a region of cold winters is a different story from a collection that can be grown outdoors the year round. Lacking are the heat, the sun, the fresh air, the space available in a warm climate, and with plenty of sun during the growing season. Because of the necessity to supply heat during the winter, maintenance is expensive. However, a greenhouse presents controllable management, and many bromeliads can be grown to become outstanding specimens under such conditions, not subject to the hardships of the elements and marauding animals.

Growing plants on a bench affords ease in handling and close observation. Our bromeliad bench is 24 feet long and 3 feet wide. We have a number of terrestrial forms established on it, but many epiphytes can be grown in the medium, thrive, and expand.

Under the tree is a center bed, 24 feet long and 5½ feet across. In it are grown our largest plants, as well as other epiphytes. An overhead spray irrigation has been set up to reach every plant of the tree. It is hand operated by a valve. This watering also drops to the center bed. The bench is watered by hose. In a big complex, routine watering is likely to be the rule, unfortunately. Observations that daily watering was making the planting too wet caused me to request that for a whole week the bench be left unwatered. Although plants looked presentable under the routine watering, after a week's dryness, the change was astonishing among the terrestrials. The Cryptanthus especially had gained sparkle and freshness; their colors were brighter. In general, the foliage of all plants had acquired a new liveliness. This brought to mind that a balance of moisture must be maintained, and that plants should he often scrutinized individually—not easy in a big establishment.

Some years ago we were growing Bromelia pinguin in our main (tropical) greenhouse. From the time the foliage had developed a lot of red, it became more and more spectacular as the inflorescence matured. It certainly was an outstanding showpiece, but because of the vicious long stout spiny leaves and spread of plant, I caused it to be discarded. This was not only because of danger to visitors but to prevent harm to the gardeners. A piece of leaf would have made a fine weapon for defense if we had need of it.

On the bench we have two different forms of Quesnelia testudo. Referring back to armament, the end spines of the leaves of this plant are the most delicately formed, yet the most dangerous of any similar structure. If anyone knows of anything more formidable, let me know. I mention two different forms. In many kinds of bromeliads as well as other plants, one must be alert to this phenomenon of plant life—some species being apparently unstable, others moderately plastic, and some fairly constant. This is in regard to plants growing under the same factors of cultivation, apart from the same plant differing because of a different location or because of a different culture.

On the back cover of the January-February 1966 issue of the Bulletin is a colored photo of a medium-sized Aechmea tillandsioides. We have different, almost vest-pocket-sized editions of the species pictured. One of ours is about six inches high when in full inflorescence, the inflorescence sitting low in the plant. In our other variety, the inflorescence is large, a little more complex, and is perched up higher and is more conspicuous. Examining the photo in the Bulletin and our plants, we find that the larger the plant, the more complex the inflorescence, and the more attractive. It is likely that at some time other forms might be found ranging in sizes from the smaller to the larger. So much for variability.

Two uncommon plants of the family are growing in the Cactus and Succulent Greenhouse—Deuterocohnia schreiteri and Hechtia marnier-lapostollei. The Deuterocohnia leaves are very hard, stiff, narrow, and look as if they were fashioned out of some smooth light grey attractive stone. It has grown very slowly up to now, and in three years has shown no sign of an inflorescence. The Hechtia was given to us about three years ago by the gentleman after whom the plant was named—Mr. Julian Mariner-Lapostolle. It is very tough, thorny, low growing, attractively colored with silver and copper and a heavy scaly individuality. Mr. Marnier stated that the sex of this plant was not known (Hechtias are single-sex plants), but that when ours flowered, he would supply the other sex so that we could get seeds in time. So far ours has not flowered, but it is flourishing and offsetting.

A regimen adopted by our propagator, Tom Hofmann, involving fertilizing proved quite surprising. Some seedling bromeliads, after being pricked out into individual pots were treated about five times a week with the fertilizer Plant Prod, 15-30-15, at one quarter the recommended strength per treatment. This was applied in the watering. Procedure was kept up for about two months, resulting in the plants getting about ten times the recommended strength. Tom was following standard commercial nursery practice.

Plants involved were one or two plants of Aechmea cariocae, A. bracteata, A. organensis, A. veitchii (one), Canistrum lindenii roseum. These were the names of the seeds received; a few will have to be confirmed when in flower. These made fast growth; in two months the leaves were about four inches long. The seedlings were then planted on display. Since then, in less than three months, they have grown into stocky plants, the leaves of some being more than a foot long. From their coloring and healthy robust appearance it would seem that this treatment provided possible maximum growth in the minimal amount of time without sacrifice of quality. It should be mentioned that the fertilizer was watered into the cup as well as the planting medium.

While working on this article, I have come upon an interesting floral phenomenon. In the nine flowers of a Billbergia × 'Fantasia' inflorescence, I found three flowers with the parts in two's instead of the normal three's. In other words, these aberrants had two petals instead of the usual three and four stamens instead of the usual six. Of the three flowers, two had two sepals each, but the third had the normal complement of three sepals. The three flowers were much flattened. What is interesting here is that the same flower was found on the same axis (inflorescence) in two different perfect mathematical forms. It is not difficult to conceive that here and there we see in nature a guiding hand that rules the universe.



To those of us who have many bromeliads growing outside under trees, fall is a time when leaves gather in dense masses over and in the tanks of the leaves. In most cases these rot down in the water and do a great deal of good supplying humus in a way that is not possible in a glasshouse. With air movement and rain many leaves gradually work down in a tightly packed mass and gradually break down.

Could there be any type of tree that has leaves that could be toxic to other plants? Most certainly there are, and with enough accumulation of these in the tanks things will start to happen, notably the appearance of yellow and brown spots in the blades, which eventually will set the plant back and certainly spoil its appearance.

In what part of the world are there trees with leaves that are toxic I do not know, but here in Australia we have three that will cause the above troubles as we can prove by experience. Most eucalyptus, common name is gum tree, are toxic, some worse than others. From these is distilled a very powerful oil used as a germicide. Sassafras has a powerful and toxic oil known as safrol which is used to kill wogs. The ti-tree, which produces Titrol, is used in many ways as a germicide and in soap. Certainly these are all essential oils, but the fact remains that if soaked in water long enough they do give off poisons that are little known. Stagnant water in a pool in the bush under gum trees is slightly blue in color and has a slight taste. Bushmen drink it as a matter of course with no bad results, but city folk who go into the bush treat such water with great suspicion. Gaze into a pool dense with sassafras leaves rotting at the bottom, and in bright sunlight the water at the level immediately above the leaf mass has the appearance of syrup, and in this lies the toxic matter.

—Bilpin, Australia.



To better understand the bromeliad family, it would be wise to learn a little about the three subfamilies that comprise it.

1. Pitcairnioideae: Here are the most primitive members of the family. This subfamily is characterized by being mainly terrestrial. They tolerate much drier conditions than do most other groups. In fact, two of the genera, Dyckia and Hechtia, contain species that are frequently found in cactus and succulent collections. They usually have fairly heavy spines on their leaf edges. The leaves are often very fibrous although the leaves of the Pitcairnia species are frequently thin and soft. More often than not the inflorescences are rather beautiful and spectacular. The seeds usually have two or three wings attached to their surfaces. If the Dyckia or Hechtia is grown as a houseplant, be prepared to allow plenty of overhead space for the inflorescences to shoot up into, as they are frequently very tall growing in proportion to the size and height of the plants.

2. Tillandsioideae: The most characteristic feature of this group is that the leaves are complete or spineless and smooth. In almost every instance, the species herein included are epiphytic. Probably the most highly evolved and most adaptable bromeliads are in this subfamily, especially in the genus Tillandsia. Almost all the species included here possess beautiful inflorescences and leaf markings. In the Tillandsia and Vriesea genera, the inflorescences often are in a feather-like outline with boat-shaped brackets. Many have fragrant flowers. The seeds are plumed and are borne in capsules.

3. Bromelioideae: With few exceptions, most indoor cultivated bromeliads belong to this subfamily. About 75% of the species here are epiphytic. In almost all cases the leaves have sharp spiny edges. It is in this subfamily that the breadwinner of the bromeliad family is found. This is, of course, the edible pineapple or Ananas comosus. The leaves are usually arranged as rosettes and very often have bizarre and unusual markings. The bracts are brightly colored and remain this way long after the blooming period has ceased — in some cases many months after. In this subfamily there is a tremendous variation in the shapes and forms of the inflorescences — so much so that, especially in the case of the genus Aechmea, some species on gross examination might be mistaken to be members of other genera. Another attractive attribute of the Aechmeas is the long lasting highly colored berries. This helps to account for the frequent utilization of these plants in home horticulture. Other genera in this subfamily popular in indoor cultivation are Billbergia, Cryptanthus, Neoregelia and Nidularium.

Before detailing the writer's methods of indoor horticulture, it would be well to describe the eight most popular genera in home horticulture with a listing of those species and hybrids that do exceedingly well in indoor horticulture.

Aechmea: Without much doubt, the most popular bromeliads in indoor cultivation belong here. These are plants with few drawbacks in attractiveness. Not only are the foliage pattern, coloration and markings outstanding among houseplants, and not only are the inflorescences traffic-stopping and the shape of the plant and the foliage arrangements sculptural in appearance, but the plants are as easy to grow indoors as any bromeliad could be. They have barbed leaf edges and deep foliage tanks to hold water. The recommended species and hybrids can be grouped as follows: (a) Zebra-like chocolate markings against a pale green background — A. orlandiana, A. fosteriana and their hybrid offspring A. × 'Bert'; (b) Discolor foliage with blue flowers on red berries on long-lasting inflorescences — miniata var discolor, A. fulgens var. discolor and their hybrid offspring A. × 'Maginalli'; (c) dark bars against white or green backgrounds — A. fasciata (the most popular cultivated bromeliad in the world), A. chantinii; (d) plants whose center leaves turn a brilliant red before and during inflorescing — A. recurvata var. benrathii, A. recurvata var. ortgiesii, A. pectinata; (e) specimens with pendent inflorescences — A. racinae, A. racinae, A. victoriana and their hybrid offspring, A. × 'Foster's Favorite', the first U. S. patented bromeliad; (f) light pink through various shades of brown and maroon to a deep red foliage — A. penduliflora, A. lueddemanniana, A. × 'Royal Wine', A. × 'Red Wing', A. × 'Burgundy'.

Billbergia: Mostly tubular, longish plants with spined leaves. The one drawback in growing this genus is that the inflorescence is of exceedingly short duration. This is more than compensated for by the brilliantly marked and colored foliage and the parrot-hued flowers. When these plants are grown indoors under artificial light that is strong and steady, they will be slow to flower. They need short photo periods to initiate inflorescing. If this factor is remembered and mature Billbergias are removed from the strong light source when full grown and mature, it is almost an impossibility not to bloom them with regularity. The majority of the inflorescences here are more or less pendent, although a few of the best known species have upright inflorescence habits. Recommended species and hybrids — B. nutans, by far the easiest of all bromeliads to grow and flower, B. pyramidalis and its varieties, B. amoena and its varieties, B. venezuelana, B. vittata, B. horrida, B. × 'Fantasia', × B. saundersii hybrids, B. × 'Muriel Waterman', B. × 'Catherine Wilson', B. × 'Santa Barbara'.

Cryptanthus: These are terrestrially growing species and hybrids. Their common popular name is "earth stars", a title that is easily understood when one sees the foliage arrangement pattern. As a rule they have fewer light requirements than other genera and will grow under poor lighting conditions, but for the best results in foliage pattern and color, it is wise to grow them under good light. These plants are cultivated primarily for their foliage, because their white flowers grow low in the centers of the plants and are insignificant in appearance. Their foliage markings and pattern arrangements are among the most bizarre in the entire plant kingdom. Because of their horizontal instead of vertical growth habit and their low light needs, they make ideal plants for the business desk or coffee table, even if they are grown a distance away from a good light source. This genus is readily hybridized. Desirable species and hybrids are C. fosterianus, C. bivittatus, C. osyanus, C. beuckerii, C. bromelioides and C. bromelioides var. tricolor, C. × 'Racinae', C. × 'It'.

Guzmania: The brilliant orange to red inflorescences of this genus always attract much attention. In most species the leaves are thin and strap-like, although some are really spectacular in their markings. In many species, the foliage exhibits fine bright red pencil lines running longitudinally along the leaf length although in some, this marking is confined to the leaf base. The flowers and bracts are generally shades of red, yellow and white and are borne on upright inflorescences. The leaves are complete or unspined. Many of the species and hybrids are fairly easy to grow and are readily adapted to indoor cultivation. Recommended specimens include G. lingulata (all varieties), G. zahni, G. × 'Memoria', G. musaica, G. × 'Narantha', G. × 'Magnifica'.

Neoregelia: These plants are grown mostly as foliage plants since their blue or white flowers are hidden deep in the foliage rosette cups. Two beautiful phenomena are associated with these plants. In one instance, the tips of the leaves become bright red and then the plants are called "lady's painted fingernails", and their other beautiful visual gift is the ability of the center leaves to turn from green to a brilliant crimson or scarlet, when the plant is ready to flower. Besides this, the species and hybrids show remarkable patterns and markings on their spiny-edged leaves. These plants are easily grown indoors and while they must have good light in order to develop their beautiful coloring, they will grow in rather poor lighting conditions. Among the many recommended species and hybrids are N. carolinae and N. carolinae var. tricolor, N. ampullaceae, N. tristis, N. zonata, × N. spectabilis hybrids, × N. marmorata hybrids, N. × 'Oh No', N. × 'Fireball'.

Nidularium: These plants superficially resemble the Neoregelias, and the two genera are frequently mistaken for each other. Like the Neoregelias, they have spiny leaves and turn red in the center when inflorescing, but in the case of the Nidulariums, it is the large leaf-like bracts which turn red, instead of the leaves themselves as in the case of the Neoregelias. Also, in the Neoregelias, the flowers are all together deep in the cup, where as in the Nidularium they emerge from between the bracts at various levels of the inflorescence which is frequently borne on a long peduncle above the leaves. The leaves are not patterned as brilliantly as the Neoregelias, although in some cases they are a rich purple color. Recommended species are N. innocentii and its varieties, N. fulgens, N. regelioides, N. procerum.

Tillandsia: Here are the bromeliads that have adapted themselves to the most varied of conditions and in so doing have managed to assume an amazing assortment of forms and shapes. They have smooth-edged foliage, but the leaves might vary from thin or broad soft substance to a hard leathery fibrous material. Frequently, some species are covered with a hairy fuzzy scurf. Many species possess leaves that turn a dazzling red when ready to bloom. The inflorescences of this genus have myriad forms and range from simple single-flowered types to multi-branched compound forms. The flowers may be white, blue, or red, and some species are deliciously fragrant. Some of the driest growing of all the Bromeliaceae species are found in this genus. Also the tiniest bromeliads are found among the Tillandsias. It is not recommended to grow many species under home conditions but a few can prove quite successful indoors. Among these are T. ionantha, T. brachycaulos, T. lindenii, T. cyanea, T. pulchella.

Vriesea: When exhibited at flower shows, members of this genus usually evoke the most favorable comment. The sword-like or feathery inflorescences are lovelier than words can describe and the foliage takes on many patterns and markings. Frequently, the inflorescences are not only upright but may also be recurved or pendent. As a rule, these plants do not need a very strong light to develop beautifully. They do require a warmer atmosphere than do other genera. Recommended are V. splendens, V. carinata, V. psittacina, V. × 'Mariae', V. hieroglyphica.



Tillandsia capitata Griseb.

This is a rosulate medium-sized species from Cuba and Mexico where it is found mostly growing on rocks and tree roots, especially where it gets plenty of light. The fleshy leaves are green, often gray-scaly.

This Tillandsia is especially beautiful when it blooms because the bracts turn flesh-colored to red, and the dark violet petals and golden stamens form a wonderful contrast to them.

There appear to be several forms of this bromeliad in the trade: there is a red form, in which the whole plant is a brilliant scarlet, and there is another in which the colored head on the central flower stalk becomes a symphony of grey, yellow, lavender, and brown.

The plant is easy to cultivate and propagates well by offshoots.

Tillandsia polita L. B. Smith

This small stemless Central American species is native to Guatemala where it is epiphytic in pine and oak woods at 1600 to 1900 m. The many leaves, which are narrow and gray-lepidote, form a dense rosette from which emerges the erect scape. The inflorescence is very beautiful with often dark red bracts, dark violet petals, and golden exserted stamens.

The species is rare in European cultivation, although it is beautiful and easy to grow.

—Munich, Germany.

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