BSI Journal - Online Archive


A non-profit corporation whose purpose is to promote and maintain public and scientific interest and research in bromeliads throughout the world.

There are 4 classes of membership: Annual $7.50; Sustaining $12.50; Fellowship $20.00; and Life $150.00. All memberships start with January of the current year.

Address all correspondence to:
The Bromeliad Society, Inc.
P. O. Box 3279
Santa Monica, Calif. 90403
PresidentW. R. Paylen, Calif.
1st Vice Pres.Kelsey Williams, Calif.
2nd Vice Pres.George Kalmbacher ,N.Y.
Rec. Secy.Jeanne Woodbury, Calif.
Corres. Secy.Kathy Dorr, Calif.
Treas.Virginia Berezin, Calif.


1971-1974: David H. Benzing, Fritz Kubisch, George Kalmbacher, Wilbur Wood, W. R. Paylen, Kathy Dorr, Amy Jean Gilmartin, Bea Hansen.

1972-1975: Jeanne Woodbury, Ralph Barton, George Anderson, Virginia Berezin, Victoria Padilla, Charles Wiley, Ervin Wurthmann, Jean Merkel.

1973-1976: Robert G. Burstrom, Leonard Kent, Eric Knobloch, Elmer Lorenz, Patrick Mitchell, Edward McWilliams, Harold W. Wiedman, Kelsey Williams.


Adda Abendroth, Brazil; Luis Ariza Julia, Dominican Republic; David Barry, Jr., USA; Olwen Ferris, Australia; Mulford B. Foster, USA; Marcel Lecoufle, France; Harold Martin, New Zealand; Richard Oeser, Germany; Dr. W. Rauh, Germany; Raulino Reitz, Brazil; Walter Richter, Germany; L. B. Smith, USA; R. G. Wilson, Costa Rica; J. Marnier-Lapostolle, France.


Published six times a year: January, March, May, July, September, November. Free to members.

Editor: Victoria Padilla
Asst. Editor: Kathy Dorr


A New Bromeliad Monograph
  Lyman B. Smith127
The Men Behind the Scene—P. Raulino Reitz
  Victoria Padilla130
The Bromeliario in the Jardim Botanico in Rio
  Padre Raulino Reitz132
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Notes
  George Kalmbacher138
Progress Report
  Kelsey Williams140
An Unusual Problem in Growing Bromeliads
  Edgar L. Smith141
Notes on Peruvian Tillandsias
  Werner Rauh143
Jewels of the Caribbean
  Leslie Walker148
Cryptanthus—So Lovely, So Difficult
  Bea Hanson155
Guzmania sanguinea (Andre) Mez
  Victoria Padilla157
Vriesea gradata (Baker) Mez184


Tillandsia capitata — Photo by J. Padilla

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

Individual copies of the Journal — $1.50



Thirteen years ago in anticipation of a monograph of the Bromeliaceae, I published "A Bromeliad Census" in the Bromeliad Society Bulletin (10:6. 1960) and briefly summarized the size and content of previous monographs. Now the first of my three-volume work has gone to press as part of the Flora Neotropica series and should appear sometime this year.

Since my monograph is essentially a continuation of Mez's final one on the Pflanzenreich and has relatively little change in organization, the questions arise as to what is the difference and why did I take so long. The basic difference is a recent population explosion in the known Bromeliaceae due to intensive collecting in Latin America and a surge of interest in anatomy, morphology, physiology, and horticulture.

As a result of this explosion I have enlisted leading specialists to write different parts of my introduction, unlike Mez who did it all himself in 1896 (his latest in 1935 had no introduction). In the keys and descriptions I have run a mad and always losing race. Collections have poured in faster than I could handle them and my papers constantly have gone out of date between submission and publication. So in this monograph I have had to freeze the manuscript and already have published three supplements for a paper that has yet to appear in print.

A few statistics may point up the differences. In the Pitcairnioideae covered in my first volume, the number of genera remains the same, 13. I have reduced 3 small genera of Mez's work and added another 3, also quite small. The species are another story. Mez had 1516 for the whole family where my count is already over 2000 or increased by a third in the past 38 years. In the Pitcairnioideae alone Mez covered 417 on 157 pages, while I have 731 species on an estimated 1100 printed pages. Puya has gone from 89 species to 168 and Pitcairnia from 183 to 260, while recent exploration of the "Lost World" (Guayana Highland) has astronomically inflated Navia from 6 to 74. The great increase pagewise is due not to the amount of print per page but to the greater detail of description, increase in specimens cited, and ampler illustration.

Sample Illustration
FIG. 77. Cottendorfia florida (Fl. Bras. pl. 93): A, leaf; B, inflorescence; C, flower; D, pistil; E, section of ovary; F, ovule.

My keys are my greatest alteration from Mez's "natural" system in which he used the floral characters presumed to be most important in an evolutionary sense. As his keys were based largely on petals and stamens, he frequently had to guess and placed species in the wrong genus or subgenus. My keys are frankly artificial and wherever possible are based on habital characters and the more durable floral ones such as those of bracts, sepals, and ovary. Where necessary, I combine species from several genera in a single key. My reasoning is that a key should be primarily for identification and that evolution being dendritic in form is much better indicated by a diagram.

Undoubtedly the illustrations here are the greatest improvement on Mez's monograph. Where Mez illustrated 27 out of 417 species of Pitcairnioideae, I have 604 out of 731, thanks to my partner, Professor Robert Jack Downs, Director of the Phytotron at North Carolina State University. Our acquaintance began when Jack was a student in my plant taxonomy class at George Washington University. He was tops in everything including art and so I got him to illustrate my papers. In a short time he was more partner than artist, but now that he is a leading physiologist he still continues to illustrate for me. In the case of the monograph he has organized all of the figures available and then added many more. Our idea is to support the key in as great detail as possible or to benefit equally one who tries to match specimens with pictures.

The Hafner Publishing Company, New York, is bringing out this first volume. While no exact price can be given at this point, every effort will be made to bring in within the reach of as many people and organizations as possible.

—Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C., U. S. A.




No one has championed the cause of bromeliads in Brazil more assiduously than our honorary trustee from Santa Catarina—the eminent Padre Raulino Reitz. A man of indefatigable energy, outstanding ability, and boundless enthusiasm, he has worked hard and long to see that bromeliads attain their rightful place in Brazilian gardens. Although there are more bromeliads in Brazil than in any other country in the world, there are very few collections outside the botanical gardens. Bromeliads are so common that most Brazilians consider them as weeds and a danger to health because the water they hold in their cups attracts mosquitoes.

P. Reitz has long been regarded as one of Brazil's most active and esteemed botanists, specializing in the flora of his state in southern Brazil, and more specifically in bromeliads. For years he was a teacher in the seminary at Azambuja and founded the Herbario Barbosa Rodrigues at nearby Itajai, where he still serves as director. He is also director of the Morro do Bau Botanical Park at Ilhota and the Azambuja Museum in Santa Catarina. In 1971 P. Reitz took charge of the Botanical Gardens at Rio de Janeiro, a park of some 340 acres. Considered the most dynamic of all the directors who have supervised the garden since it was first laid out in 1824, P. Reitz is calling for new reforms and projects which will make the gardens one of the most important in the world. He describes his work with bromeliads in this issue.

P. Reitz has been conducting botanical research for some thirty years, combing his native state for yet undiscovered bromeliads. In his explorations he has found 18 new species and has studied them exhaustively. These have been described in his annual volume "Anais do Herbario Barbosa Rodrigues" or "Sellowia" for short. He has been a contributor to many botanical journals and is the author of seventy-two publications. For a number of years he has had under preparation a detailed flora of Santa Catarina, which will include eighty bromeliad species, most of them to be illustrated by colored plates.

P. Reitz received his training not only in Brazil, but also in the United States and Europe. He studied at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C., the Botanische Staatssammlung of Munich in West Germany, the Paris Musee d'Histoire Naturelle, and the Kew Royal Botanical Garden in England.

From time to time the Journal has published articles by P. Reitz. Among the most interesting are "Diagram of Bromeliad Habitats," Vol IX. P. 70, "Ecological Aspects of the Bromeliaceae of Southern Brazil," Vol. VII, P. 3, and "There aren't Many Bromeliads in Amazonia", Vol. XV, P. 121.



View in the Botanical Garden at Rio de Janeiro

With the object of giving to the Jardim Botanico of Rio de Janeiro a collection of live Bromeliaceae worthy of the wealth of species dispersed through the immensity of Brazil came the idea of constructing a new Bromeliario. We have an excellent situation for cultivating the majority of the 2050 known species of gravatas (as we call them) under natural conditions. It should not be admitted that in their own country elegant Bromeliaceae must be imprisoned under a roof and planted in clay pots.

Growing in the Garden — Neoregelia princeps, Baker var. phyllanthidea (Mez) L. B. Smith

Aechmea sp. n., not published, brought in by Mrs, Margaret Mee from the state of Amazonia (Brazil) in 1972.

Vrieseas in rockery

I found in the Jardim Botanico a partly wooded hill which offers all the ecological conditions for a Bromeliario since there are brightly sunlit areas and others of medium or deep shade.

The technique used is to construct high rolling beds of rock and sand on which all the epiphytic species can be cultivated as well as being fastened to the trees already there. The terrestrial ones are planted in flat beds directly on the soil. A good part of the tillandsias, the hanging candelabra type of neoregelias, and various other species with long pendent inflorescences are hung in a pergola. On a gentle slope between stone walks there are homogeneous beds of single species and heterogeneous ones of several mixed, exactly as they grow in the forest or open fields, so that the visitors can observe something of the ecology of Bromeliaceae.

Padre Reitz (right) and assistant

In May 1972, I invited my brother, Padre Alfonso Reitz, to commence the construction of the stone beds that he had invented. With this technique he had already constructed beautiful Bromeliarios in the State of Santa Catarina in the city of Brusque and in the Parque Botanico of Morro do Bau (Trunk Hill) in Ilhota. With excellent understanding of the ecology and biology of gravatas he constructed two artistic high beds of stone with numerous branchings modeled on the details of the beautiful leaf designs of certain vrieseas and aechmeas. The expanse of the beds with its zig-zags, branchings and re-entrances obeys the requirement of being accessible to a man's arm for the purpose of cleaning, trimming, and applying insecticides and of offering the visitor easy readability of the labels that identify the plants. The name, number and origin of each plant is stamped into an aluminum tag which is inserted in a ceramic holder that in turn is cemented to one of the rocks of the bed.

The rolling beds of rock and sand prove excellent for cultivating terrestrial Bromeliaceae because of their good drainage, and provide conditions for the development of epiphytic species, even of xerophytic or aerophilous tillandsias.

Bromeliad planting — foreground—Cryptanthus, center—Nidularium, back—Aechmea.

Aechmea planting

In nature also such species as live on the treetops, grow also on exposed ledges, or even on the sunny sands of coastal restinga (thicket).

The functionaries of the Jardim Botanico with real Carioca (native Rio) humor call the Bromeliario the "petrified forest" after a recent TV program.

Vriesea saundersii

The great Bromeliario, which was designed to harbor 500 species, is divided into three sections corresponding to the subfamilies Pitcairnioideae, Tillandsioideae and Bromelioideae. The species of each genus are grouped in separate beds to instruct the visitor quickly in systematic botany, that is in the natural grouping of species of Bromeliaceae. According to Lyman B. Smith, there are 45 known genera in the great family Bromeliaceae, that already includes 2050 species new to science.

—Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara, Brazil

Phytologia, Vol. 24, No. 5, December, 1972. Published by Harold N. and Alma L. Moldenke, 303 Parkside Road, Plainfield New Jersey 07060. Price—$3.00.

This edition contains Dr. Lyman B. Smith's "Notes on Bromeliaceae XXXIV "—a most valuable addition to the study of bromeliads, for it contains the latest key to Aechmea—a large genus and one grown most often by collectors. In this key Dr. Smith recognizes 210 species and varieties, throwing into synonymy a number of names long used in the trade. Every serious collector should have a copy of this key so that he can correctly name his plants. According to Dr. Smith, this is "the last large key preliminary to my monograph and the only one of any great size in the Bromelioideae." As the number of copies of Phytologia is extremely limited, those who desire this issue should get in their order at once.



It is not rare to see a bromeliad with leaves having a large dark area at their bases. The color is a blackish purple and is to found on both the top and the bottom of the base of the leaf. Looking at this coloring, one can observe that the pattern of the two sides of any individual leaf base is not uniform, that there is a difference.

Examples are: Quesnelia testudo, Vriesea vagans, erythrodactylon, Brocchinia micrantha, Aechmea recurvata. I have seen Ae. bracteata with this character, and without it. Receiving some bromeliads from Ecuador not long ago, I was impressed with the frequency of this scheme in the shipment.

I am not aware of anything having been written about this before, but I can conceive a possible usefulness. I feel that this is a benefit for night-active animals, such as frogs, who must sleep and rest during the day. Doesn't it seem logical that these recesses are equivalent to sleeping chambers with shades down to reduce the light, in the case of humans?

There is another leaf color combination common among bromeliads, and that is the arrangement of color in leaves represented by the Latin part of the name—discolor. In this case "discolor" does not have the English meaning of derangement of color, but means that the two sides of the leaf have different colors. The top of the leaf is typically some form of green and the lower side maroon, a rich ruddy brown, or even nearly black in some varieties. With the top of the leaf green, a large quota of sugar can be produced through the agency of chlorophyll. The leaves are usually large and there is no real need for much chlorophyll below, so that the absence of green on the lower side is rather immaterial. The lower leaf color is very dark with not much brilliance. In other words, under a bicolor plant there is plenty of shade during the day for whatever tropical life is present in the area that can take advantage of it. The undercolor is often attractive in its way, a pleasing unusual color that may be enhanced by a high gloss. What is strange is that the same species have plain green-leaf forms, which must have been the first ones to appear in the origin of the species. A question arises, What causes an all green species to have a form that has dark reds or red-browns? In this matter I am uninformed.

Since bicolors propagate vegetatively true to form, it must mean that, once the change, it must become fixed. There are hybrids that have the top of the leaf with this type of color, but still the undersides are darker . . . . . Here in the BBG we have a Canistrum roseum rosette that is dark greenish above, but the underside is variegated with soft reddish irregularly spaced longitudinal lines. Since the leaves lie near the ground, this effect is hidden, and I discovered it only by accident.

In our bromeliad collection we have four different forms of Spanish moss. A big proportion is the kind that grows in our southeastern states, but in addition there is a clump of Mexican form, an Ecuadorian form, and a small bit of the most delicate of all, a form sent to me by Adda Abendroth from the island of Paqueta in Rio de Janeiro Bay where she now lives. The Mexican is the heaviest and the coarsest of the four and the Ecuadorian seems to be the curliest, and rather dense.

As I write, it is about mid-January. As the days have been growing longer, and maybe a little previously, the reddish kind of leaf coloring among our bromeliads has been growing richer and brighter. Perhaps the sugars that are produced during the day are trapped in the evening and prevented from being translocated to become starch in storage, analogous to what happens to coloring before leaf fall in the trees outdoors in the autumn. However, I am not willing to chew up any leaves to see if they taste any sweeter from time to time.



In the July—August, 1972, issue of the Journal I published an article on growing tillandsias from seed by the flask method using a modified Knudsen Formula.

In early October, 1972, I decided to take the seedlings out of the flask; they were getting crowded as they were growing so fast. At the time I removed them from the flask they measured an average of two inches in diameter. I put them in two-inch plastic pots, using a potting medium of equal mixture of fine fir bark, fine sponge rock, and composted redwood sawdust. I divided them into two groups, putting one group in a clear plastic bag and sealing it air tight. The other group I left outside. The two groups were placed side by side on the greenhouse bench, where they would get about 500-foot candles of light and a minimum temperature of 65 degrees and a minimum humidity of 65 percent.

Those in the plastic bag continued to grow very well, while those left outside the bag began to decline and within a few weeks were dead and had to be discarded. After about eight weeks in the plastic bag the plants had done so well that I felt that they could survive on their own if gradually dried out, so I opened the end of the bag so that a limited amount of air could circulate around the plants and left them that way for three weeks. At this point I removed them from the bag completely, and they have done very well ever since. They get the same treatment as the well established plants under the same growing condition.

The plants will be two years old in June, 1973, and at this writing (January) they measure from four to six inches in diameter. In fact, the largest plants are large enough to mount on bark. It is my belief that we can save three years in time by growing tillandsias by this method rather than by the old conventional method.

If anyone is interested in trying this method, he can contact John Miller, 2021 Margie Lane, Anaheim, California 92802. He will flask your seed for you.

—Bueua Park, Calif.



Growing bromeliads outdoors during the warm weather has its many problems. There is, of course, insect and animal damage, excess moisture or dryness, and, as I disastrously discovered this past spring, hail damage.

However, one of the most unusual problems in growing bromeliads outside that I have encountered is the one of fallout on my plants. This fallout consists of the exhaust emission from the jet engines of the airplanes which pass over my yard. This situation arises mostly because of the location of my home. While my house is not extremely close to the busy Dallas airport, the paths of both of the two main runways "straddle" my location. One flight pattern is just to the north while the other is slightly to the south. Since the prevailing wind in Texas is from the south, my location is subjected to a great amount of this sooty pollutant.

This carbonaceous fallout is not readily noticed on most of my plants but is easily seen on awnings, white roofs, and on the white patio furniture where it shows up as a black deposit especially noticeable in cracks and depressions in the surface. However, some plants (not bromeliads) build up noticeable deposits which resemble sooty mold. That my bromeliads are covered with this dark deposit is obvious if the leaves are rubbed with a damp cloth. The bromeliads with shiny leaves, e.g. Aechmea × 'Foster's Favorite' and Aechmea × 'Royal Wine', appear to lose some of their luster. Also the plants with cream or red colored splotches seem to lose some of their contrast.

I have not been able to determine if this contamination really has an adverse effect on the general health of my bromeliads since I do attempt to remove the fallout as much as possible. The plants are rinsed with a garden hose to help rid them of this sootiness, and also occasionally a hand washing is given to individual specimens to help them. I cannot help feeling that this filmy deposit is bad for my plants as it must affect their ability to utilize air and moisture. The trees which furnish a shade cover for my bromeliads also would seem to act as a screen for the fallout, but in reality they cause a heavy concentration of it to pollute my plants during rain showers when it washes off the tree leaves. It seems certain that heavy deposits are built up in the tanks of the bromeliads where they are difficult to remove.

I have noted that I do not seem to get some rather common bromeliads to flower and wonder if this unusual fallout problem could help cause this lack of florescence. A controlled test situation would be difficult for me to set up since maintaining equal atmospheric moisture and temperature would be virtually impossible in my situation. Also, all of the pollutant might not be able to be excluded from the control plants and individual plants could react differently to the same environment. Thus valid results would be very difficult to obtain. (The obvious answer to this peculiar problem would be to move, but that I do not want to do.)

It is true, of course, that this problem of jet exhaust fallout is not a widespread one and perhaps of no real importance in the growing of bromeliads, but it is an interesting one as well as an annoying one.

—Dallas, Texas.

HANDBOOK OF THE BROMELIACEAE by J. G. Baker. A Plant Monograph Reprint of the original published in 1889. Obtainable from Stechert-Hafner Service Agency, 866 Third Avenue, New York, N. Y. 10022. Price $12.40.

The original edition of this book has been out of print for many years, so this reprint will be welcomed by many bromeliad fans. J. G. Baker was the first-assistant in the Herbarium of the Royal Gardens at Kew, and he listed and described some 800 species in 1889, all the bromeliads that were known at that time. Mr. Baker was sure that this number would fall far short of the actual species in existence. The hook is written in comparatively simple English; in fact, to date it has been the most extensive description of the family written in English. However, the book, due to numerous changes in nomenclature, is completely outdated and should be used only when the reader has a more up-to-date reference available so that he can double-check the names.



Fig. 1 — Type locality of T. ecarinata (Rauh, Nr. 20390). Steep rock walls of limestone (km 247 Milagro, Monte Negro, north of Bagua)

1. Tillandsia ecarinata L. B. Smith

In the course of several botanical expeditions to Peru I had the chance to discover some new tillandsias. Some of them have already been described by L. B. Smith, some of them by the author himself in collaboration with L. B. Smith, and some are still to be described.

Fig. 2 — T. ecarinata L. B. Smith (Type-plant, Rauh Nr. 20390)

In the following articles, which will appear from time to time, we will present short, illustrated notes of our new Peruvian tillandsias and other bromeliads. A quite attractive, but very big, species is the new Tillandsias ecarinata, described by L. B. Smith in Phytologia, Vol. 20, No. 3, 1970. It grows in masses in steep rock walls of limestone (Fig. 1) in the region of Bagua Grande on the way (km 247) to Milagro-monte Negro (northern Peru) at an altitude between 500 and 700 m.

T. ecarinata forms dense, big, stemless, yellow-green rosettes of a diameter of about 1 m. The outer and older leaves of the rosette hang down; the inner ones are erect (Fig. 2-3); their blades are ligulate, acuminate, up to 60 cm long, 8 cm wide, and covered with adpressed, brown-centered scales. The sheathes are broadly elliptic, up to 20 cm long and of a dark castaneous color.

The inflorescences are 1,5 - 2 m long, erect (Fig. 2) or horizontally spreading (Fig. 3) with pendant spikes (Fig. 3-4) and laxly tripinnate. The scape is stout, a little longer that the rosette and completely hidden by the subfoliate, imbricate bracts. The rhachis of the inflorescence is stout, carmine-red and waxy; the primary bracts are subtriangular, acuminate, carmine-red, and much shorter than the long sterile base of the branches (Fig. 4).

Spikes numerous, 20-30 cm long, 2-3 cm wide, complanate, dense to subdense, many flowered with a flexuous, narrowly alate rhachis.

Floral bracts ecarinate, carmine-red, broadly acute, strongly nerved. Flowers subsessile; sepals slightly exserted, ecarinate, obtuse, strongly nerved, 23 mm long, greenish and red tipped.

Petals blue-violet, about 5 cm long; stamens a little exserted with greenish filaments.

Holotype: Harsh-Nr. 20 390 (L 1970). A second collection was made under the number Rauh-Nr. 24 379 (1971) in the same region.

2. Tillandsia carnosa L. B. Smith

The ecarinate and strongly nerved floral bracts and sepals show a clear relationship to Tillandsia carnosa L. B. Smith, discovered by J. Wurdack (1962), east of Chachapoyas (North Peru) at an altitude between 2000 and 2400 in and described by L. B. Smith in Phytologia, Vol. 9, No. 4, 1963. But Tillandsia carnosa is much larger than T. ecarinata in all its parts. It is also one of the great epilithic Tillandsias, growing only on steep rock walls. It forms dense rosettes of a diameter of more than one meter; the leaf blades are up to 1 in long and up to 10 cm wide, yellow-to bluish-green and covered with adpressed scales. The inflorescence is mostly pendant (Fig. 5), up to 2 m long and very laxly bipinnate with a pale red waxy rhachis. The scape is very stout and completely hidden by the subfoliaceous bracts. The primary bracts are ovate acuminate, up to 8 cm long and much shorter than the laxly bracteate, sterile bases of the spikes. In the type plant it is twice as long as the spikes (see Fig. 5 in Plate III in Smith, 1963) and these themselves are 18 cm long in average and 6 cm wide. Near Pucarra (North Peru* Dptm. Taen. I collected at an altitude of 500 m a plant (Rauh-Nr. 24 418, 1.9.70) which is pictured in Fig 5 and which differs from the type in the following characters:

The sterile bases of the spikes are much shorter than the spikes (only 10-15 cm long): these themselves are much longer than those in the type, up to 30 cm long (in the type only 18 cm).

Fig. 3. T. ecarinata L. B. Smith, a plant with a pendent inflorescence (Rauh, Nr. 24379)

Fig. 4. T. ecarinata Inflorescence of the type plant—(Rauh — Nr. 20390)

Fig. 5. T. carnosa L. B. Smith var. longispicata Rauh (Rauh Nr. 24 418)

Fig. 6—a

Fig. 6—b

T. carnosa L. B. Smith var. longispicata Rauh. Parts of the spikes. Fig. 6a shows an open flower.

Because these differences are constant in an extended population of plants, I think that our plant (Rauh-Nr. 24 418) can be considered as a good variety and it shall be named var. longispicata Rauh, var. nov.

The floral bracts are (as in the type) very fleshy, up to 5 cm long, completely ecarinate, strongly nerved (Fig. 6a-b), equaling or exceeding the sepals. They are of a bright green color and red tipped.

The ligulate petals are a little longer than the bracts and their tips are rolled back. The filaments and the style are exceeding the petals about 1 cm (Fig. 6a)

—Institute of Systematic Botany and Plantgeography of The University of Heidelberg, Germany.



My earliest interest in the West Indies came after reading my first pirate story. On a trip to Mexico in 1965, I saw my first bromeliad and became intrigued with this plant family. While learning more about bromels, my dormant interest in the West Indies was aroused.

A sail through the islands seemed the ideal way to see some of this historical area, collect plants, swim, snorkel, lie in the sun and soak up what the West Indies had to offer.

In October, 1970, I boarded the "Flying Cloud", a 208 foot 3-masted schooner, to spend four weeks sailing through the Windward and Leeward Islands. The flora and fauna, beaches and water, etc., proved to be more than I had expected.

May, 1972, found me aboard the "Fantome", a 262-foot, four-masted schooner to spend four more weeks sailing through the islands.

The Windward and Leeward Islands are like a string of jewels separating the Caribbean and Atlantic; stretching from Anguilla, east of Puerto Rico, to Grenada, north of Venezuela, a distance of approximately 510 miles. Though there is little water separating the islands, each one is very unlike its neighbors. The variations include English, French and Dutch possessions, which have changed political connections many times through their history. Some islands are coral formations while others are volcanic. Generally the volcanic islands have a great deal of rainfall while the coral islands have wet and dry seasons which cause variations in flora, bromeliads included. I shall try to describe the great beauty and individuality of the islands as I saw them stretched out in the sun.

Anguilla is small and flat with sparse vegetation. At Road Bay it has one of the most beautiful beaches I've ever seen, a large white sand crescent surrounding clear turquoise water. The native boys make model sail boats about three feet long with plastic film sails that they are able to set on a tack which will carry these boats clear across the bay, approximately one-half mile while the boys run along the sand to pick them up on the other side.

One of the larger, tourist-ridden, free-port islands belongs to two countries. It is named St. Maarten (the Dutch part) and St. Martin (the French part). The island has lovely green hills and valleys and boasts of its many fine beaches. The capital of the Dutch part is Phillipsburg, an interesting town on a sand spit, consisting of two streets with alleys between. Front Street runs along the bay and Back Street runs along the salt ponds which are many shades of pink. As the water evaporates, the pink of the ponds deepens.

Many natives on the French island of St. Barts are descendants of the original Swedish settlers. They have built many stone fences and homes on this partially mountainous and rather rugged island. In May the vegetation was dried up and they had sold all their cattle since they had had an unusually long dry season.

Along the road up a hill to a small guest house and restaurant were planted ananas, yuccas, succulents and cactus in a manner that reminded me of some of our Southern California hillside gardens. Barbuda is small, flat and drought ridden with little vegetation. On a walk around a lagoon I was introduced to two tropical fruits, sugar apples (chirmoya [sp?]) and chili plums, which were small, semi-tart, crisp, juicy and very refreshing after a long walk in the tropical sun. On a sandspit between the lagoon and bay, where my ship lay at anchor, on a low windswept bush, I found and collected three tillandsias.

Saba is a volcanic peak which rises straight out of the sea. I set foot on the island at Fort Bay, the only place you can land if you come by sea and only then when the water is not too rough. The steep, rocky cliffs along the road to The Bottom (name of the town) were host to many bromeliads and orchids. From The Bottom to Hell's Gate (town name) at about 1300' elevation, I saw and collected many more bromeliads and orchids, but none in flower. The top of the volcano rarely comes out of the clouds and is reached by a trail of many stone steps. There, they grow fruits and vegetables to feed the residents of this lush, green and beautiful Dutch island.

The island of St. Eustatius, called Stacia, is also Dutch and had a very important part in American history. It was here that the blockade runners picked up arms to supply the colonies in their wars for independence. When England declared war on the Netherlands in 1781, Admiral Rodney sacked Stacia, and the island never recovered its former importance to Caribbean economy. Oranjestad, the capital, is a sleepy village of small, well-kept houses and yards full of flowers. One garden had a large galvanized wash tub full of lovely lavender blue flowering water lilies. Several yards had Ananas planted in them. The trees, walls, roofs, and rain gutters at Fort Oranjestad were covered with Tillandsia recurvata. The island consists of two volcanoes joined by a flat strip of land. The crater of one of these volcanoes is used to grow pawpaw (papaya), bananas, plantain, breadfruit and soursop.

Nevis is a small, round, volcanic cone with gentle sloping sides and surrounded by lovely white sand beaches with coconut tree "umbrellas". The thick stone walls, vaulted roof, wide verandas and shuttered windows of the Bath House Hotel, are all that remain of this once fashionable resort built in 1807. On the grounds were many trees, many hosts to bromeliads. In the dead trees with no foliage the bromeliads glowed red like stained glass.

Antigua is a coral-formed island with fabulous beaches. The many fine hotels are spread all around the island and have their own white coral sand beaches. Old sugar mills dot the hillsides and the roads around the island often tunnel through fields of sugar cane and past ponds of lotus. In the garden of a 196-year old house, built for a plantation overseer, were native hibiscus of all colors and sizes that the owner had collected throughout the islands. On neighboring property among grazing goats was a gigantic clump, of 8' × 10' and 5'-6' high, bromeliads in flower. They were growing in full sun on a sun-windswept hill in sight of the ocean and had the most glorious color I've ever seen. At English Harbor there is an 18th century dock yard where Lord Nelson was stationed during his stay in the Caribbean area.

The dockyard has been restored and is a fascinating place. Most of the buildings are made of brick which came from England as ballast in ships that took sugar back.

The dockyard is now home to the largest fleet of charter boats in the Caribbean, and many of the restored buildings are being used in much the same manner as when Nelson was there. It is said that the Officers Quarters houses a few ghosts Nelson left behind. In the gardens of the Admirals Inn, built in 1788 as the engineer's office, there are planted many bromeliads and other native plants, growing in a most natural manner, In the hills above the dockyard, I found more bromeliads, usually growing in thorny trees with little foliage and many termites, but also in cactus and other large trees of a different variety. On a power wire in the capital of St. John's was a large clump of Tillandsia recurvata which was playing host to another rosette-shaped tillandsia. When the wind blew, it would swing around, but the recurvata clump acted like a gimbal and kept the rosette upright.

Black and brown volcanic beaches surround Montserrat and its 3,000 foot high Chance Peak. The island was colonized by Irishmen who built many large homes with spacious rolling lawns and large trees providing hosts to many bromeliads. The temperature varies only 15° and the humidity is lower than on other islands making it more comfortable for many tourists.

Anse des Hase is a small fishing village on the west side of French Guadeloupe, which is mountainous with lush vegetation. In a small native restaurant, I had a marvelous dinner of freshly caught fish and lobster, wine made in Guadeloupe and very tasty dessert of fresh Ananas and pawpaw marinated in a slightly sweet red local wine.

The Iles des Saintes are a group of small islands south of Guadeloupe where the fragrance of Frangipani (plumeria) floats across the water from trees growing on the rock cliffs. Fort Napoleon sits high on a hill overlooking the small island of Terre de Haut, where flowers abound and the snorkeling is good.

Some of the most dramatic scenery in the West Indies can be found on Dominica, with its 365 rivers, waterfalls, rain forests and mountainous terrain. This volcanic island has much to offer a tropical plant lover but no beaches for a sun bather. The rainfall averages 75 inches per year along the coast to 360 inches per year in the mountains. On the 15% of land that is cultivated are grown bananas and the limes which provide the world with Roses's Lime Juice. At the Convent Industrial School in Roseau the girls make lovely rugs of Khuskhus grass grown on the island. Tropical plants grow with abandon here and epiphytes often engulf trees so their trunks and limbs become invisible. It is a plant collector's paradise if you are blessed with a green house at home to provide for their survival.

The French island of Martinique is the birthplace of Napoleon's Josephine. The capital of Fort de France is a crowded city full of taxis and stores selling inexpensive perfume for the tourist's pleasure. Along the coast driving north to St. Pierre are many small fishing villages with their colorful nets drying in the sun and one of the island's 170 distilleries sitting in the middle of a cane field. St. Pierre is a sleepy fishing village built on the ruins of the former capital, which was wiped out when Mt. Pele erupted in 1902. Inland are fields of fruit and vegetable crops including ananas. In the rainforest, 50' to 75' high in the trees, were huge bromeliads with large flower spikes, unfortunately dry in October.

On the mountainous, volcanic island of St. Lucia are grown bananas, coconuts, cocoa, sugar cane and limes. The Banana boats are loaded in Castries harbor at night by women carrying stems of bananas on board balanced on their heads. In the gardens of the Bagshaws, who make silk screened fabrics, are tastefully planted ananas, aechmeas, orchids, hibiscus and other tropical plants.

On St. Vincent is the first Botanic Garden in the West Indies, founded in 1765. This is where Captain Bligh brought breadfruit plants from Tahiti in 1973 [check date] and there is still a third generation tree growing in the Botanic Garden. A few of the plants, I recognized growing were pandanas [sp?], cassia, bauhinia, largerstroemia, heliconia, bromeliads and orchids. In a small lath house were growing the largest Cryptanthus Fosterianus I've ever seen. On shady cuts along the roadsides the grassy leaves and red flowers of Pitcairnias were often seen. On the terraced hillsides of the Mesopotamia Valley, bananas, arrowroot and vegetables grow abundantly. Sugar cane, Sea island cotton and coconuts are also cultivated in the rich volcanic soil of St. Vincent, often called the Planter's Island.

One of the smallest islands, but a real jewel, is Bequia. Rounded hills, lush and green in October were dry and brown in May. Beautiful white beaches, few tourists, peace and quiet make it a marvelous place to "get away from it all". It was here that I saw a calabash tree for the first time with its strange large green fruits hanging off the trunk. I also discovered that the calabash is a popular host for orchids and bromeliads as I had been previously informed. From trees and bushes cut down along the roads, it was easy to collect many bromeliads.

The privately owned island of Mayreau with a population of 150 people is made up of one hill with a town on top, another hill and a salt pond between and a couple of beaches with good snorkeling. I was told about a calabash tree in the center of the island near the salt pond, so I set off to find it and collect some plants. After slipping and mucking my way around the salt pond and through the bushes, I finally found the only calabash tree I saw without any bromeliads or orchids.

Carricou is a rugged and mountainous island where flowers abound on trees, bushes and vines. Lying in the azure blue waters of Hillsborough Bay is Sandy Island where the snorkeling and swimming are marvelous.

The southernmost island in the Windward chain is Grenada, a volcanic formation, whose highest mountain rises to more than 2,700 feet. It is blessed with many fine beaches and in the carenage [?] at St. Georges, small boats find a safe harbor. Near Grand Etang Lake, elevation 1,740 feet, were a profusion of ixoras, clerodendron, begonias, and anthuriums and a palm tree girdled with a mass of bromeliads and orchids. In a Silk Cotton (kapok) tree over 100 years old, there seemed to be as many broms as kapok pods. Growing nutmeg, clove, ginger and cocoa has caused the island to be known as the Spice Island. In a small fishing village, orchids were growing as a hedge in a church garden.

I hope I have been able to give you some idea of the great variety of enjoyment that can be found in the West Indies for the plant collector, swimmer, sailor, historian or just a lover of great natural beauty.

My first amateurish bromeliad collecting (October 1970) was fairly successful. I returned with a duffle bag of broms which I tied to two hapuu logs suspended over my bath tub. In the morning before going to work I would let a couple of inches of hot water run into the bathtub and then shut the door. On returning home I plugged in a fan and sprayed the plants with rain water. When the weather warmed up in April 1971, I put the plants outdoors. Even with such idiotic care, I brought two bromeliads into bloom. After tracing through Lyman Smith's "Key to Tillandsia and Simulators" they appear to have been T. paniculata from Antigua and T. makoyana from Bequia. Others continue to grow and will hopefully bloom someday soon. An orchid collected on Saba is now forming flower spikes. I believe it is possible for an amateur to collect with some degree of success, if you take into consideration the native habitat while trying to acclimate the plants to your environment.

—Long Beach, California.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Leslie has again packed her plants in her duffel bags and returned them to the West Indies. The Islands, plants, and people captured her heart and she has gone to live among all this beauty.



To some bromeliad fanciers it may seem surprising that Cryptanthus should be thought difficult to grow. Here in New Zealand many of our members have problems with these fascinating little plants. They grow well during the warmer months but start to go back when the colder days come.

Some members have found that bringing them into the house for the cold months does help to keep the Cryptanthus in good condition. Here there very few houses with central heating, so even though the plants are in the house, they have to put up with cold during the hours that our heaters are turned off. However, it does help to take them out of the shadehouses.

I winter my Cryptanthus in my cactus house. It is cold, but it is a dry cold, and so far this seems to be the answer to my problem. C. bromelioides var. tricolor, however, is one I cannot keep under these conditions, and most of us have found it must have heat during our winter. On the other hand, one member grows his under a bench and the plants are kept as wet in winter as they are in summer. His plants are large and perfect, but if any of us tried this member's method, ours would probably rot completely!

One member grows his C. bromelioides var. tricolor in an old fish tank. When the other plants are hosed, this also gets plenty of water, and as the water is slow to drain away, the plant is in practically a quagmire. The plant has grown and increased and is one of the loveliest I have seen, with outstanding color, broad, unblemished leaves and no die-back.

Another member grows a number of Cryptanthus on tree fern, and they are also perfect plants. They are kept very wet, but the tree fern drains quickly. These are the successful people, but many of us are not! Perhaps our conditions are not right. It cannot be the mix, as we are using the same medium as some of the successful growers. It is indeed a challenge, and although many of us say we will give up growing Cryptanthus, we still go on and each year hope that this will be the time we will discover the secret of growing these lovely but difficult little Earth Stars.

—Auckland, New Zealand.




Two forms of Guzmania sanguinea

(Colored illustrations donated by the Bromeliad Society of Orange County)

Guzmania sanguinea has long been considered as one of the most desirable of all bromeliads, because no bromeliad has foliage that is more startlingly beautiful when in bloom. Although it has been listed in European catalogues since the early years of the century (J. Chantrier of France), this plant has been fairly rare in the United States up to now due to the fact that importation has not always been successful and propagation is slow. This species seldom puts out more than one offset.

Guzmania sanguinea was first described by Edouard Andre in the Revue Horticole in 1883, who found it growing in Colombia. He wrote: "I gathered the first specimens of this new Bromeliad in May, 1876 in the western Cordilleras of the Andes of New Granada, between Tuquerres and Barbacoas, at a place called Los Astrojos. It was growing here and there in epiphytal fashion on large trees which it lighted up with its fine blood-red foliage. The colors were so vivid that the Indian cargueros who frequented this route, called the 'terrible road,' often gathered living plants of it in order to plant them as a votive offering on a cross formed of two trunks of tree ferns (asophila), and which had on this account received the name of 'Cruz de las bicundos,' Bicundo or Vicundo being the name of Bromeliads in this district of New Granada, Caraguata sanguinea being named Bidundo colorado on account of its red color. I collected a considerable number of specimens which were dispatched with the first plants of Anthurium andreanum, when I discovered this beautiful aroid, but the Bromeliads perished before reaching Europe. In 1880, in a new exploration organized by some amateurs of the south of France, I succeeded in introducing good seeds of this Caraguata. These produced the plants from which the description and figures were taken, which are now published for the first time." (Caraguata is one of the early names for Guzmania.)

Andre describes the plant as being of medium size—15 to 20 inches in diameter with foot-long leaves, 1½ to 2 inches broad at the middle, forming a dense rosette. The leaves are a "tender green tinted with red, gradually becoming in the earlier stages of growth spotted with violet-red, which changing later on to blood-red, increases in intensity as the flowering time approached. The coloration varies in individual plants to the extent that some are entirely purple, while others are more or less spotted."

The type plant Andre found at an elevation of 990 m. At a higher elevation (1,060 m) he found another variety which he called var. erecter probably because of its erect stalked head of flowers. This plant he described as being more robust than the other type and distinguished by its thick creeping stem.

As can be noted from the two illustrations, G. sanguinea appears to be a variable plant. Kelsey Williams of Buena Park, California, who grew the first plant, says that it is easy to grow and seldom is larger than 12 inches in diameter. It is a very compact bromeliad with an abundance of leaves. Generally this species produces only one offshoot, but Mr. Williams had already removed 7 offsets from this particular plant before he took this photo.

The plant in the lower picture was discovered by Henry Turner of New York growing as a terrestrial in a cloud forest at about an elevation of 8,000 feet, fifty miles from Medellin, Colombia. As can be noted, except for the coloration it does not resemble the type grown by Mr. Williams.

Dr. Lyman B. Smith recognizes at this time just two varieties of this Guzmania. Var. sanguinea, native to Trinidad, Cocos Island, Ecuador and Colombia and var. brevipedicellata, which differs from the type in the shape of the floral bracts. This variety was found by Dr. Amy Gilmartin on the western slopes of the Andes in Central Ecuador between 300 and 2100 m. Both varieties grow in damp areas and usually epiphytically.

A note of interest is to be found in Nehrling's My Garden in Florida. The author was highly enthusiastic about this species and grew it as both a terrestrial and an epiphyte. He says that he saw it growing in the White House Conservatories along with G. musaica and G. zahnii early in the century.

Vriesea gradata (Baker) Mez

This handsome vriesea may be seen in a rockery in the Botanical Gardens at Rio de Janeiro. Although not listed as being in the trade, it was described by Baker as long ago as 1888, who called it a tillandsia. It is a robust, medium-sized plant with soft green leaves 1½ feet long and 1½ inches broad at the middle. The simple erect spike is 8 to 9 inches long and bears 20 to 25 flowers. It is native to the mountain region near Petropolis in the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Although an epiphyte, this vriesea like many others in the genus, has adapted to terrestrial living under cultivation provided that adequate drainage is maintained. This author has found that most of her vrieseas do better in the ground in her southern California gardens than in pots in the greenhouse. They seem to become hardier plats, show no browning of the leaf tips, and can withstand temperatures to 38 degrees with no ill effects.

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