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

TILLANDSIA MACDOUGALLI, named after Thomas MacDougall, plant explorer (see his article in this issue), is found in Central Mexico, between Pueblo and Tehuacan at 7,500 to 10,000 foot elevations. Photo by Dr. W. Rauh.




The bromeliad world has a "king" of the bromeliads, and now it has its queen—Tillandsia viridiflora var. variegata from Central Mexico. It is without doubt one of the most beautiful variegated bromeliads to enter cultivation in recent times. Unlike other variegated species, the variegation is not limited to the foliage but takes in the entire inflorescence.

The plant pictured here is very large, some three feet across and the branched inflorescence is almost four feet high. The plant is slow to flower; the plant started to bud in late June of 1970 and six months later had not shown a flower.

Of easy culture, T. viridiflora is to be found growing in trees or on rocks, but the exact habitat of the variegated species remains a mystery. Under cultivation it is quite happy planted in rock and needs only a little misting when the leaves start to slump. If given proper light, morning sun is the best; the white stripes will take on a pink flush and increase its beauty.

When the plant is still young, it puts out small plantlets from the base and the lower leaf axils. Let them remain on the mother plant until the plantlets take on the form of the mature plant and some roots are showing. It may be that this is the only way to get pups, as there is no sign of its making regular offsets.

—Houston, Texas,



This Vriesea is an eminently satisfactory plant for the greenhouse; and though at maturity it is too large for a houseplant, in the juvenile stages it serves very well in that capacity also, with its attractive form and markings, and easy culture. It does not appear to resent low light levels as do so many other bromeliads—a borrowed plant returned after about six months was still in good shape, though for that period it had been receiving only artificial light and not at a particularly high intensity.

Small seedling-like offsets are produced in abundance. When removed and planted in individual pots on the greenhouse bench a good many failed to grow for me; but I find that all, even quite small ones, set in the damp sand under the bench are alive and doing well in this higher-humidity environment. Potted ones also, placed there, are much improved. This need for moist conditions in the early stages ties in with an indication that overwatering of the larger plants is better tolerated than with most other kinds, and with Mulford Foster's account (Bulletin, XIII, No. 1, pp. 19-20) of this species growing in the wild in particularly wet locations.

I've never seen a flower in three successive "bloomings." Mr. Foster's article notes the ephemeral nature of the flowers and their failure to develop unless humidity is high. However, his statement is not universally true that the new growth, near the center of the leaves is double; it is this time, but was solitary the first and second times around.

—Winter Garden, Florida.



Tillandsia stricta from Paraguay, one of most colorful blooming type of that variable species.

The area where Tillandsias have settled is vast and includes many different kinds of landscape. Our cherished air plants occur from the southern part of the United States down to Argentina. One species, Tillandsia usneoides, encircles their entire domain. But the long wreaths in Florida look different from those at home in Paraguay. One form is fleshy and well nurtured, whereas the other is thin and stringy. Yet both are unmistakeably Tillandsia usneoides.

The fact perplexes the botanist and fills him with misgivings about where to draw the line when he is confronted with the problem of lining up the various forms and varieties in order to present them in an acceptable combination. Fans and hobbyists, on the other hand, delight in varieties and feel proud to own more than a single form of the humble T. usneoides.

The trailing garlands that seem to grow on and on suggest an admirable vitality in view of their conquest of such extensive territory by means of only a few simple changes in their makeup. Nearly the same holds true of the ubiquitous American ball-moss, Tillandsia recurvata.

These two sturdy members, however, cannot be held responsible for the deep admiration Tillandsias in general have aroused among those who appreciate attractive exotic plants. The credit goes to the wealth of the other species of the genus which excel in beauty of shape and coloring. The total number of species identified to date defies appraisal; new ones are currently being discovered and no one knows what surprises may lurk in as yet unexplored regions. For all we know, some of the novelties may be steps in advancing evolution, and this theory makes the subject even more exciting. This is also a matter which gives the amateur pleasure but makes the botanist frown.

It is well known and can be considered a rule that even named and correctly described Tillandsias with definite species characters that come from different locations do not look exactly alike. The difference is vague and difficult to describe, but it is nonetheless real.

From among the favorites let us choose the species T. brachycaulos. It contains at least half a dozen varieties, if we distinguish between dwarfs and giants, between pale, dark, and whitish leaves, etc. The case of T. ionantha (erubescens) is similar, with the addition that the white-leafed, stem-forming variety Van Hyningii might justify as being considered an independent species, just like T. ionantha var. scaposa from El Salvador.

Tillandsia stricta is widely disseminated from Brazil to Paraguay and occurs in so many varieties that it would be worth collecting for that reason alone: its straight or sinuous leaves may be grayish or green, slate to near black; the flowers have various very beautiful shadings and arrangements. It is puzzling that the varieties often live side by side in their native habitat. Probably, though, the white-leafed form comes from more exposed locations, while the green ones grow in shade.

The botanist can certainly make out shape differences in herbarium specimens. But dry material does not transmit the characteristic life-traits, often of passing duration, that add up to a plant's personality, let alone fugitive coloring. Amateurs in Brazil distinguish between strictas that bloom in different seasons, a habit they keep up when cultivated in Europe. The winter-blooming stricta flowers around Christmas for us, incidentally bolstering its value from the dealer's point of view. Flowering periods are fixed in heredity. If they occur in separate times of the year, crossing is practically out of the question. The plants remain pure and would justify being an independent species.

The above explanation is included merely to remind growers in a general way that if two Tillandsias look nearly alike botanically, it may not mean that their vital capacities are the same. If they come from separate regions, they may react in different ways to conditions they are not used to. Adaptation to climate may be affected. For the amateur this is important. We should always remember that if varieties, even those that belong to the same species, come from different locations their needs in our surroundings may not be the same. Naturally, there will always be some sort of selection. The plants in our glasshouse are no exception to that rule, especially when grown from seed. It will then be found that some of the plants have an innate capacity to adapt well to the new conditions offered them and promise favorable results.

Fortunately most Tillandsias are very closely related. In their native habitat spontaneous hybrids occur among them, strong enough to survive as intermediates. Two kinds of variation deserve special mention because they are frequent and have given rise to much controversy: dwarfs versus giants in one case, and reddish or green leaves in the other, in otherwise identical plants.

In the beginning all seedlings are very small. If a Tillandsia exhibits its first flowerspike while still undersized as compared with its parents, we have before us not a child but a dwarf. Early flowering year after year does not let the plant become large and sturdy; in this case dwarfing is due to too hasty flowering. The basic reason for this condition can well be ascribed to seasonal differences of climate, in many ways opposite to what the plants were used to in their home. Again the grower, often short of space in his greenhouse, will appreciate the abnormality.

The opposite has also happened: a plant forgets to bloom and keeps growing, becoming a giant. The eventual flowerspike may be larger and showier than normal. Some of the dwarfs and giants, though, seem to be heredity-bound, as in the case of T. caput medusae and T. brachycaulos. Scientists might do some research on whether abnormal size is based on duplication of chromosomes.

The case of red or green leaves, however, is not so simple as one might at first glance assume. Distinct leaf coloration is perhaps—at least in some cases—connected with the amount of available light or by the presence or lack of certain nutrients. In any case, it is an external factor. Ultra-violet light produces a most beautiful red leaf color. Gorgeous red imports lose their wonderful color within 4 to 6 weeks in the glasshouse. As known, glass shuts the ultraviolet rays out. The handy new ultra-violet lights can restore original charm. Stunning results have been obtained by the use of ultra-violet lamps in indoor plant-cases, which need artificial light any way.

Certain reds, however, are hereditary. Seedlings from another bromeliad species, Orthophytum saxicola, from a rust-red mother plant split in two different shades: among perfect copies of the mother plant were pure green offspring. A recessive red gene may become active in the offspring of pure green parents. The field for cultural experiments in this connection is broad indeed. Tillandsias are especially inviting for this purpose in view of the great number of already existing and acknowledged variations of botanically well defined species, plus the many natural hybrids (T. brachycaulos in El Salvador).

Pioneers in Tillandsia crossing were M.B. Foster, who hybridized T. brachycaulos × T. ionantha, producing T. × 'Victoria'; and Walter Richter with T. flabellata × T. tricolor. Continuing experiments along their lines, I had surprising results. My own seed raising and growing methods accelerated my task. To start with I wanted to learn which crossings would be successful. In the old days this included a six-year waiting period (12 years for atmospheric Tillandsias) before the first hybrid flower appeared. For hybridizing, one depends primarily on plants that happen to bloom simultaneously. The flowers dictate the program; not all the family trees were preserved. Many factors tend to upset the process; for instance, during the long flowering period of T. streptophylla various partners with a shorter period can be used for pollination, with the result that seed maturing on T. streptophylla might have been pollinated by either T. bulbosa, T. caput medusae, T. seleriana, or by T. streptophylla itself.

The results of raising seedlings from the streptophylla seed in question were both exciting and fascinating; my seedlings grew happily. True to the rapid growth commonly observed in hybrids, 2-or 3-year olds changed from infantile rhythm to rapid growth the following year. Often new characteristics could be noticed, some of which identified the father quite clearly. Signs of T. bulbosa prevail decidedly in the streptophylla × bulbosa crossing. The new T. × bulbosa surpasses the pure bulbosa seedlings considerably in size and profitably in speed of growth. T. bulbosa is by nature a slow-to-very-slow grower.

As my T. bulbosa imports include five different varieties, it is quite possible that the little T. bulbosa from Costa Rica crossed with the violet-flowered T. bulbosa from Ecuador may produce hybrid-like fast-growing offspring.

T. streptophylla × caput medusae produces giant hybrids whose general shape recalls transition between both parents. It is known that pups of well-nourished and well-cared-for onion-shaped Tillandsias almost double in size within two years after blooming if they are left on the mother plant. It is therefore not impossible that the new hybrids can grow to become veritable giant showpieces. I remember that a friend of mine who collected in Mexico found T. caput medusae with leaves 70 cm long. It might well have been a natural hybrid.

The experiments carried out with Central American Tillandsias can probably be repeated with their South American brethren in their respective groups. I would like to see crossing of T. meridionalis, stricta, aeranthos, bergeri, tenuifolia, and pohliana on one side and T. gardneri and geminiflora on the other. The species mentioned comprise much variation and many transitions.

The first of the South Americans to bloom for me was T. bergeri × aeranthos. The pollen plant, T. aeranthos, dominates in flower color. Other hybrids do not yet permit a guess; they have not yet bloomed. There is little individual distinction in the group of juveniles.

The purpose of my present writing is to call attention to the fact that the steadily growing number of Tillandsia enthusiasts need not depend on new imports. Judicious crossing of existing specimens is sure to yield an ever-increasing variety of new forms. Using no more than T. streptophylla, seleriana, caput medusae, bulbosa, ionantha, and brachycaulos has provided me with plants whose new combinations hold infinite promise. Plenty of work is ahead for the next generation of growers, and deep joy if, aside from just hybridizing, they put their heart in aiming at beautiful plants.

—Freiburg, Germany. (Translated by Mrs. Adda Abendroth, Terespolis, Brazil)



Tillandsia stricta from Paraguay, one of most colorful blooming type of that variable species.

The Pacific slopes of the Continental Divide, where it crosses the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in Mexico, are characterized by outcrops of broken limestone. The Trans-Isthmus Railway winds through picturesque areas of these outcrops, and it is precisely at Kilometer 223 along this railway that there is a concentration of the plant species typical of this habitat.

The "Rock Gardens" of K.M. 223 have an altitude of approximately 500 feet above sea level. The locality is subjected to a long dry "winter" season during which prevailing winds blow in from the Gulf of Mexico. These winds, the "nortes," are often of gale force; they seldom bring precipitation as far as the "Rock Gardens," but the humidification of the air is very noticeable and is attested to by the abundance of epiphytes.

The writer has written articles on both the orchids and the cacti and succulents of the Nizanda "Rock Gardens." For a long time he has had the intention of offering this small contribution on the bromeliads to the Bromeliad Society Journal. I like to think of Dr. Lyman B. Smith as the co-author with me, for without his identifications this would not have been written. Dr. Smith is also the author of Hechtia macdougallii. During the winter months the coral-red flowers of this Hechtia add color and interest to the rich and diversified flora of the Nizanda "Rock Gardens."

Tillandsia dasyliriifolia on Neodawsonia nizandensis.
Tillandsia juncea on rock, with Hechtia sp., Mammillaria collinsii and M. albilanata.

Tillandsia dasyliriifolia, T. caput-medusae, and T. ionantha on Neodawsonia nizandensis.

Tillandsia concolor on Neodawsonia nizandensis.

Tillandsia caput-medusae on
N. nizandensis, T. juncea on rocks in rear.



(Part II)

Genera Adaptable For Indoor Cultivation

There are many genera of the Bromeliaceae that cannot be considered as houseplants, either because of their scarcity or the impossibility of achieving their life requirements in the home. On the other hand, many genera contain species and cultivars that can actually flourish indoors or at the worst need only a little special effort and care to grow and bloom indoors. It has been the author's experience that frequently while some specimens might prove fussy at first, the second or third generation of offsets eventually will adapt so easily to the house environmental conditions that they will flourish and infloresce. The following genera and their members have done well under the writer's house conditions, and where possible the necessary factors that have aided growth will be mentioned.

ACANTHOSTACHYS — only one species is found in this genus and if it is to be cultivated indoors, it should be grown as a clump on fir-bark (see instructions later on in this series on how to grow bromeliads epiphytically in the home). The single species is A. strobilacea, and when grown in the home should be hung in a well-lit window that is not too sunny. While it likes its roots more or less dry, it does benefit from high humidity and should be sprayed frequently.

AECHMEA — this genus is probably the most popular of all bromeliads. Not only are its inflorescences beautiful and long lasting, and the foliage, brilliantly and fantastically patterned, it can be grown comparatively easily. If they are grown under artificial light, species like Aechmea fasciata, A. chantinii, A. recurvata, A. luddemanniana, A. penduliflora, etc., should be grown as close to the light source as possible (but never closer than 4 inches). A. chantinii requires more heat and humidity than most of the others. On the other hand, many of the discolor specimens can use a little distance from the light source (but never more than 10 or 12 inches). This would include species and hybrids like A. fulgens, A. miniata, A. × 'Maginalli', A. × 'Foster's Favorite', etc. A. recurvata can be grown a lot drier than most other Aechmeas. In fact, in the writer's home, a specimen of A. recurvata var. benrathii (which had been accidentally concealed from view by some taller plants) was actually not watered directly for almost four months, was able to sustain itself solely on the humidity which was present, and not only lived but bloomed and threw off many offsets. A trick in blooming A. fasciata is to grow it very dry for a few weeks when it is mature and this will bring it to inflorescence.

ANANAS — while this genus is more or less representative of the entire bromeliad family, it is not recommended that it be grown as a houseplant, except for the miniature and spineless varieties. The regular Ananas species even the gorgeous varieties as A. comosus variegatus and A. bracteatus var. tricolor have lethal treacherous spines and can cause a great deal of injury in the home, and since space is usually at a premium if one wishes to grow a great many plants, that valuable area can be used for other colorful bromeliads with a lot less danger to the horticulturist. However, if one insists on at least one pineapple in his collection, it is recommended that the readily available A. pumila be used. This should be grown in strong light with normal watering, fish emulsion feeding and good humidity for best results.

ARAEOCOCCUS — one species in this genus, A. flagellifolius, has been grown with great success by the author. He admires it for its mottled whip-like leaves that redden up in good light. These leaves have a thick bulbous base and the inflorescence contains pink flowers that eventually become very dark berries. Needs infrequent waterings, strong light and good humidity.

BILLBERGIA — like all the genera that are grown mainly for their lovely leaf coloring and markings, the house horticulture of these plants can be quite tricky, and if care is not taken, much of the beauty they have to offer can easily be lost. The secret for success is maximum lighting indoors. If good lighting is not achieved, the grower will end up with etiolated (elongated) drab green specimens. How disappointing it is to purchase a gorgeous plant that has been grown outdoors or in a greenhouse in plenty of strong sunlight to see it change after a stay in the home. The leaves lose the bright colors and patterns and the offsets grow long and skinny, often to double the mother plant's height with none of the mother plant's original beauty. This is especially true of such common types such as B. × 'Fantasia', B. × 'Muriel Waterman', × B. saundersii hybrids and B. × 'Santa Barbara'. Even species as B. amoena var. viridis, B. leptopoda, B. horrida, B. valenzuelana, B. pyramidalis var. striata need special attention and care to achieve proper foliage development. The secret, as noted earlier, is plenty of light that must approach real sunlight as nearly as possible. The author gets wonderful results by combining both natural window light and full spectrum florescent lighting. This combination brings out all the dazzling reds and yellows that the Billbergia foliage is capable of developing. If this is done, not only is the foliage beautiful, but the offsets are nice and compact. When it is time for the development of inflorescences, Billbergias do best on low photo-periods. If strong light is continued indefinitely, the plants will color up and grow beautifully, but they will rarely bloom.

CANISTRUM — most of these are fairly large and awkward in the indoor set-up, but the author gets a great deal of pleasure out of C. lindenii, both the varieties lindenii and roseum. They take a long time to bloom, but they are grown mainly for the beautiful mottled foliage. The inflorescences are handsome and not unlike those of the genus Nidularium. I give my plants plenty of light and moisture and that keeps them happy.

CRYPTANTHUS — these "earth stars" are among the most popular of all houseplants, mainly because of a mistaken notion that they require very little light and care. It is true that they require a lower light source than do most other cultivated bromeliads, but they will not grow to their most attractive condition, unless they receive decent light. In the case of this genus, I can highly recommend the good light emitted by full spectrum florescent tubes. This helps develop the beautiful reddish or bronzy coloration that is much a beautiful part of the charm of this family. They do very well if grown slightly on the dry side. Feeding is important for large growth of the foliage. This is true in species like C. fosterianus and its hybrids like C. × 'Racinae', C. bivittatus var. luddemanniana, C. acaulis, C bromelioides, C. beuckeri and C. osyanus. In order to develop the strong redness in the leaves, certain specimens need a very strong light for best results. Four or five inches away from the full spectrum florescent lighting will do admirably for C. bromelioides var. tricolor, C. × 'It', C. bahanius and C. bivittatus or C. lacerdae. Even though this genus is terrestrial in habit and should be grown in pots, one variety, × 'Cascade', does very well in tree fern hanging baskets. They all enjoy a drink of water in their shallow cups when their pots are watered. Later on in this series the propagation of cryptanthus will be given special attention.

DYCKIA — members of this genus are frequently found in cacti and succulent collections, and so many growers are lulled into the false belief that they must be grown under extremely dry conditions. A letter to the author from Dr. Lyman B. Smith states that in Brazil, he observed a gigantic stand of Dyckias in an area where their roots were growing in exceedingly wet and muddy conditions on the edge of a river bank. They were extremely healthy and in beautiful inflorescence. They must have a high humidity and plenty of water if they are to thrive indoors. It would be well to remember that their inflorescences are very high and if they are grown under lights, provision must be made for this height. This will be discussed in the section under lighting. Dyckias that have done well for this writer include fosteriana, D. brevifolia and D. frigida. D. × 'Lad Cutak' is a hybrid that is very highly recommended.

GUZMANIA — this genus has many pitfalls built in and many of its members have to become enured [<=CHECK SPELLING] to the particular growing conditions found in the home, but once established, they become rather easy to carry on. Most members of the family have fairly thin strap-like leaves which are smooth-edged; many of them have extremely fantastic foliage, and these are the devils to watch out for. They are best grown in pure peat moss and require medium light conditions along with good humidity. They abhor the cold, so make sure that they are protected from this in the winter, especially on the window sills of northern cities. In this writer's home G. lingulata and its varieties and hybrids such as G. × 'Memoria' and G. × 'Magnifica' all do rather well. The fantastically marked species such as G. musaica and G. vittata must be well established and even in the second or third generation before one can consider them successfully cultivated. G. zahnii is one species that has been proved to be of easy cultivation and when well-grown can be a tremendous source of pleasure for the cultivator. It is also one of the easiest to stimulate into inflorescence by chemical stimuli.

NEOREGELIA — is the genus for beginners to try first. They are very easy to grow, but even here a note of caution must be inserted. In order for the beautiful foliage to develop, they need very good light; and when they receive it, they reward the grower with some of the most beautiful specimens in the entire bromeliad family. That means that when they are grown under lights, they must be placed fairly close. Also, in order to develop the intense reds of the foliage, they should be grown fairly dry when they are ready to infloresce (this dry growing condition should be observed in all bromeliads that develop the intense red coloring; e. g. C. × 'It', C. bromelioides var. tricolor, A recurvata, A. pectinata, B. × 'Santa Barbara", among others). Neoregelias to be included in almost any collection should be the hybrids of N. spectabilis, N. marmorata and N. carolinae as well as N. carolinae var. tricolor. Another beauty with many variations of form is N. ampullacea. It is well to remember that after the inflorescences form, it is good to remove them from the cups with a grapefruit knife. This eliminates their rotting with the resulting putrid odor. When offsets emerge, they should be severed from the mother plant as early as possible.

NIDULARIUM — this genus is fairly difficult to grow, but when one recognizes its particular needs, there is no problem. It contains so many beautiful members that a true bromeliad enthusiast should include at least several in his collection. Nidulariums have low but good light requirements. They need a lot of humidity and should be grown slightly dry. They will also benefit by being grown in pure peat moss or osmunda fiber. Among the species to be considered should be N. innocentii and its varieties, N. billbergioides, N. procerum, N. regelioides, and N. burchellii.

QUESNELIA — like the Billbergias which they closely resemble, members of this genus have beautiful inflorescences that are extremely short-lived. They have interesting foliage and are very thrifty since they multiply freely. All the rules that apply to Billbergias can be used here. Recommended species include Q. arvensis, Q. humilis, Q. liboniana, and Q. testudo. A real beauty that needs height is Q. quesneliana.

TILLANDSIA — this genus offers the greatest challenges and also the greatest rewards of all the bromeliad genera. The author grows more members of this group in his collection than any other. In most cases, they do best when mounted on tree fern slabs in the manner that the author describes later in this series. They require less watering but a very high humidity. Species like T. brachycaulos, T. bulbosa, T. butzii (this requires more water than most), T. fasciculata, T. ionantha and its varieties, T. geminiflora, T. balbisiana, T. gardneri, T. pulchella and its varieties, T. punctulata, T. seleriana, T. streptophylla, T. tricolor var. melanocrater, T. tenuifolia, T. stricta and the sweet smelling T. xiphioides are all species being grown successfully in the author's home on tree fern slabs. Other species and hybrids like T. cyanea, T. lindenii, T. flabellata. T. flexuosa and, among others, T. × 'Oeseriana' will do excellently when grown in pots under a culture that is more or less on the dry side. There is no doubt that one can hardly ever see a sight more beautiful than a well grown T. cyanea with its shocking pink bracts and peacock blue flowers emerging. Rodney W. Jones, the famous orchidologist and good friend of the author, once said that when his T. cyanea bloomed, visitors to his greenhouses literally ignored the blooming orchids to gaze in rapture.

VRIESEA — like the Guzmanias and the Tillandsias, this is also a smooth-edged genus belonging to the subfamily Tillandsioideae. It is characterized by feather-like inflorescences and some of the most striking foliage in the entire Plant Kingdom. Most of them do best on low light requirements, and plenty of moisture without sogginess. With care most of the following will do well in the home, provided it is on the warm side with plenty of humidity. Vrieseas are easily injured so care must be exercised in handling them. Among the species and hybrids the author has grown in his home, the following are outstanding: V. carinata, the "gay feather", V. fenestralis, a beautiful species grown mainly for its gorgeous foliage, V. erythrodactylon, V. guttata, V. heliconioides (in the case of this species, the plant dies soon after inflorescing and if offsets are wanted, one must remove the inflorescence almost at once), V. hieroglyphica, another species grown for its lovely foliage patterns and frequently called, "King of Bromeliads", V. inflata, V. incurvata, V. malzinei, V. platynema var. variegata (in this writer's opinion, the most beautiful of all foliage bromeliads when well grown in good light), V. psittacina, V. rodigasiana, V. simplex, V. saundersii, and one of the most popular bromeliads of all, V. splendens var. major.

WITTROCKIA this genus is easily mistaken for a Nidularium both in habit and in inflorescence. The leaves are stiffer and more pointed, but the culture is almost exactly like the Nidulariums. The author has successfully grown W. superba. W. amazonica and W. Smithii, all beautiful specimens.

There is no doubt that many favorites have been omitted, but the foregoing have all been successful in the writer's home.

(To be continued)




On my bromeliad collecting trip through Mexico in 1966 I collected in the dry and semiarid region between Tehuacan and Teotitlan an interesting Tillandsia (Rauh Coll. Nr. RM 15447), growing on big cacti, such as Neobuxbaumia, Cephalocereus hoppenstedtii and in association with Tillandsia mackoyana and others. L. B. Smith, to whom I sent herbarium material, identified this plant as Tillandsia achyrostachys. It is true that RM 15447 is closely related to T. achyrostachys, but it differs in some remarkable points: I found RM 15447 only on cacti or on succulent Liliaceae as Beaucarnea gracilis, whilst T. achyrostachys prefers trees, especially Burseras, Acacias and others; it is much bigger; the inflorescence spike is longer (up to 60 cm). But the main differences to T. achyrostachys are the pale carmine-red, nearly whitish, densely white lepidote flower bracts, the dark blue-violet flowers, while these are pale yellow green in T. achyrostachys and the flower bracts of a bright carmine red color with prominent nerves. (See color photo 20 in: RAUH, Bromelien, 1970). Some months ago the plant flowered in the famous bromeliad collection of my friend, Julien Marnier-Lapostolle, St.-Jean Cap Ferrat (France). He again sent material and photographs to L. B. Smith and he is now, according to this material, of the same opinion as the author, that means that L. B. Smith regards RM 15447 also as a new species.

In recognition of his interest in the genus Tillandsia, we dedicate the plant to Prof. Dr. Luigi Califano, Napoli.

Following the diagnosis:

Tillandsia califani RAUH spec. nov.

Tillandsiae achyrostachyi E. Morr. affinis, sed ab ea differt foliis longioribus dense cano-squamosis, bracteis floralibus roseis et floribus obscuro-caeruleo-violaceis. Acaulis, cum inflorescentia usque ad 80 cm alta; folia usque ad 12 in rosulam laxam ad 30 cm diametientem disposita; vaginae foliorum indistincte limitatae oblongo ovatae, usque ad 6 cm longae, 4 cm latae dense cano-squamosae; laminae plus minusve 30 cm longae supra vaginam 3,5 cm latae marginibus valde erectis, anguste lanceolatae, paulatim longe acuminatae, dense cano-squamosae; scapus erectus, 15 - 20 cm longus; folia scapi erecta, basalia lamina longa angusta foliis rosulae similia; inflorescentia simplex, spicata, gladiata, usque ad 50 cm longa, 2 - 3 cm lata; bracteae florales imbricatae, dorso rotundatae pallide roseae, rarius virides, dense cano-squamosae; sepala libera, membranacea, alba, 3 cm longa, 9 mm lata lanceolata; petala 6 cm longa, 6 mm lata obscuro-caeruleo-violacea, tubum angustum formantia; antherae et stylus usque ad 1 cm e flore exsertae.

Habitat: Mexico, prope Teotitlan (Tehuacan)

Holotypus: Rauh Nr. Coll. RM 15447 (1966), in herbario Heidelbergensi (HEID) conservatur.

Plant stemless, flowering up to 80 cm high. Leaves about 15, in a funnelform rosette, up to 40 cm long. Sheathes indistinct, up to 6 cm long and 4 cm wide at the base; densely brown lepidote; blades narrowly triangular, about 30 cm long, 3,5 wide above the sheath, long attenuate, tapering gradually into a thin, curved tip, drying up very early; their margins curved upwards, densely grey-brown lepidote. Scape stout, erect, 20 - 30 cm long, shorter than the rosette leaves; scape bracts erect, the lower ones subfoliaceous with a short linear blade; the upper ones broadly ovate, apiculate, pale carmine red, exceeding the internodes. Inflorescence a simple spike, up to 50 cm long and 2-3 cm wide. Floral bracts densely imbricate, shortly apiculate, rounded at the back, pale carmine red with whitish, adpressed scales; their nerves not so prominent as in the flower bracts of T. achyrostachys. Flowers dark blue violet, exceeding the flower bracts. Sepals free, membranaceous, up to 3 cm long, 9 mm broad, lanceolate, white to pale green; petals forming a narrow tube, up to 6 cm long and 6 mm broad, much more longer than the sepals. Stamens and style exceeding the flower tube; anthers pale yellow-green, style and stigmas violet.



A treatment which has been claimed capable of pushing recalcitrant plants into bloom is to add calcium carbide (CaC2) to water (to generate acetylene gas), then pour the water, with the reaction proceeding, into the cup of the plant. Inasmuch as I happened to have a number of such plants, and, coincidentally, having a can of carbide on hand, I decided to try the technique.

First plant treated was a many-year old Aechmea pineliana var. minuta, which apparently was not going to bloom, judging by the four-inch offset on it. I took a cube of CaC22 about 2 mm on a side, crushed it slightly, and dropped it into the water-filled cup of the parent plant, deviating, thereby, from the above-described procedure. The date was March 3, 1970. Ten weeks later, on May 11, I noted an inflorescence in the cup; flowering then proceeded normally. Other than adding carbide, no change was made in plant care: it had been growing under one Gro-Lux and one Cool White lamp, timer-controlled, in a bookcase in my office. It remained under those conditions until it began to flower at which point it came home with me for my wife to enjoy.

In the meantime, I repeated the experiment with a Neoregelia zonata several years old and which also had a healthy offset. The same quantity of carbide was added and in the same manner as with the Aechmea. Nothing happened, so on October 22, five months later, the treatment was repeated. On December 17th, 8 weeks later I observed a flower, pale blue shading into white, deep down in the cup, followed shortly by three more.

The third and final experiment to date, using the same technique, was started on May 14th, two days after I noted the Aechmea's inflorescence appearing. This time the experiment was done with a control of sorts: I used plants which had been simultaneous offsets from the same parent—a Billbergia × 'Muriel Waterman.' One was a single plant, i.e., cut from the parent and potted alone; the other was a "twin"; I had cut two close-growing offsets form the parent as though they were a single plant and potted them at the same time as the single. At the time of the experiment, these were all mature plants, something over a year old. I added the CaC2 to both the twins, and considering the other plant as the control.

On June 17th, 417 weeks after the carbide treatment, I observed an inflorescence protruding from the water in one of the twins, and in the second a week later when its inflorescence popped through the surface of the water in its cup. Both proceeded to flower normally and simultaneously, reaching full bloom early in July. The double flowering plant was truly an eye-catcher at this time; it had been kept out-of-doors for over a month, receiving full sun from early morning until early afternoon, and, in addition to the red, white, green, yellow, and blue of the inflorescence, had assumed its characteristic silver and maroon leaf coloration.

Billbergia × 'Muriel Waterman' — the "twins" in bloom.

What happened to the control plant? It, too, turned maroon and silver, but still hasn't flowered, although it did put an offset about the time the twins began to flower. The twins, incidentally, have now started five offsets. The Aechmea pineliana of my first experiment has since produced a second-generation offset.

In summary:

Plant TreatedTime to bloom in weeks
Aechmea pineliana var. minuta10
Billbergia × 'Muriel Waterman'4½ and 5½
Neoregelia zonata (second treatment)8
My conclusions from the above are:

  1. It is very possible that treatment with acetylene gas does cause blooming of at least some bromel species.

  2. It appears reasonably certain that treatment with calcium carbide, in the manner described, is not detrimental to the normal growth cycle of, again, at least some species.

  3. It is obvious that the treatment does not cause flowering in all cases.

—New York City, N. Y.



Spanish moss, long accused of strangling trees with its waving gray-green tendrils, is being killed by a mysterious agent. Scientists are fighting to save it and keep the South's distinctive trademark.

The much-maligned plant, neither Spanish nor moss, is rarely a killer. But its ethereal appearance, haunting by moonlight and evocative by day, has made it a figure of legends, poems, and old wives' tales.

Found in Central America and the Caribbean and from the Gulf States to Virginia. Spanish moss has been dying of an unknown blight since 1969.

Spanish Moss normally is resistant to insects. Edward Allen of the Florida Agricultural Extension Service said officials "suspect various things such as air pollution. but this takes us out of our field to things on which we are not authorities." There also is speculation that an unknown virus is attacking the lacy fronds that are such a distinctive part of southern scenery.

In a poem, Lafcadio Hearn once described the "nightmare hug" and "strangler's cord" of Spanish moss, which he called a "vampire of the woods." Because it often is seen festooning dead trees and stumps, a belief grew that Spanish moss lived by killing growth.

But Spanish moss is not a parasite. A distinct relative of the pineapple, it draws sustenance from the air, merely using the tree as an anchor. If the humidity is right, a telephone pole will do.

Infrequently, Spanish moss may grow thickly enough upon a tree to deprive it of needed sunshine, damaging its growth.

Indians called the plant "tree hair," or "pale moon flower," for the small yellowish blossoms concealed among its stringy leaves.

French explorers called it "Spanish beard," after the hirsute adornment of the competing conquistadores, while the Spaniards in turn referred to it as "French hair."

An Indian legend said the plant grew from the hair of a maiden and her lover, a brave from another tribe who was slain by her father. The maiden killed herself, and the legend said the Great Spirit draped the tresses of the pair from trees as a memorial.

Early settlers mixed Spanish moss with mud for mortar in building cabins, and made bridles, horse collars, and saddle blankets from cured moss.

Despite its usefulness, many persons mistakenly blamed the plant for causing "chills and fevers," since it grew in hot, damp areas.

For many years cutting fast-growing Spanish moss for use in mattresses, upholstered furniture, and as packing material was a thriving business in several southern states. Southerners could claim, "Money grows on trees."

With the rise of synthetic padding, harvesting Spanish moss with a knife on the end of a long pole went into a decline. And now, unless science finds the answer, the plant itself may be dying.

—Fort Worth Star-Telegram.



The Removing of Offsets — there appears no set rule or time to remove side shoots from our bromeliads. For rough reference, when four full leaves have been produced, cut off just half to one inch away from base of crown of new growth. Some offsets have a long, hard woody piece from parent to new crown. If left on, offset is awkward to pot up, so can be left with the parent plant.

With Aechmeas, split and then strip off all old leaves at base of plant, then repot deeper than usual. This gives offsets a chance to lengthen neck and throw out roots in a good growing medium.

An offset with roots will quickly outgrow those without roots. In fact, if taken too small from mother plant, they will be slow to produce any roots, although they may put out new leaves. —A. F. Danks.

In the Greenhouse — a monthly or bi-monthly re-organization of the plants is one of the best ways of enhancing a collection's appearance. Taking the plants off the staging regularly also enables one to examine the plants for pests or disease, to trim off dead or dying leaves, to see if any pups are ready for removal, and to clean out the vases if they have become dirty. One can also decide if the amount of light the plant is getting is correct for good growth and replace it accordingly. The bench can be cleaned down at the same time.

When the plants are being rearranged those approaching their best can be brought to the front, those past it further back. Some bromeliads—those with attractive markings on the under-surface of the leaves look best when placed above eye level. Similarly those with attractive outlines, such as Billbergia brasiliensis or Aechmea leucolepis, should be placed where seen to best advantage. Others such as Nidularium fulgens look best when looked down upon. By juggling various sized plants a good cover can be arranged hiding unsightly pots or untidy staging. If you have several of a kind in flower at once, group them—they will look much more impressive.

Often it is a help having other low-growing, shade-loving plants to fill in odd corners such as Maranta leuconcura or selaginellas. With a bit of imagination very interesting home displays may be made.

I often find such a job a good cure for the blues. It is not strenuous; it diverts one's mind from milling over other problems and leaves one with a sense of satisfaction of a good job done. —W. Rogers

Growing Pineapple Tops — Buy a fruit with a fresh looking green top and cut off the green top with a slice of the flesh. Trim the fruit off the center core to about the diameter of a penny. Place it in a plate covered with damp sand. After 2 or 3 weeks lift gently to see if it has made roots. Once roots have started, pot into standard mix and also water in the center. Pot on as plant grows. —from News and Views of the Bromeliad Society of New Zealand.

Guzmania gloriosa, pictured above, was photographed by Elizabeth Naundorff in its natural habitat—the high country of Ecuador. It was first described in 1896 by Edouard André, who discovered it growing in the dry, sandy regions of the Andes of Ecuador at an elevation of 6,000 feet. It is also found on both the eastern and western slopes of the Andes of Colombia and Ecuador in dense forests to 10,000 feet.

One of the giants of the genus, this glorious plant measures from 3 to 5 feet in height and diameter. The leathery leaves are smooth, medium green, and marked at the base with dark red stripes. The one-inch-thick flower spike carries brilliant scarlet bracts, tipped with green. The bright yellow flowers appear in clusters close to the stem in the axils of these bracts.

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