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
PresidentElmer J. Lorenz, Calif.
1st V.P.Leonard Kent, M.D., Calif.
2nd V.P.W. R. Paylen, Calif.
Rec. Secy.Jeanne Woodbury, Calif.
Corres. Secy.Kathy Dorr, Calif.
Treas.Kelsey Williams, Calif.


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

1974-1977: Eloise Beach, Kathy Dorr, George Kalmbacher, Fritz Kubisch, W. R. Paylen, Amy Jean Gilmartin, Robert Read, Edgar Smith.

1975-1978: Jeanne Woodbury, George Anderson, Charles Wiley, Ervin Wurthmann, Victoria Padilla, Wilbur Wood, Thelma O'Reilly, David H. Benzing.


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; 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


The Second Brazilian Symposium on Bromeliads
  P. Raulino Reitz203
Tillandsia baileyi - Texas' Endangered Species
  Sue Gardner207
Neoregelia carolinae var. Medallion
  Kelsey Williams211
Behind the Glass Door
  Howard Berman212
Ayensua uaipanensis (Maguire) L. B. Smith
  J. Bogner215
Hans Gulz - In Memoriam
  George Kalmbacher220
Germination of Bromeliads in Our Garden
  W. W. G. and May A. Moir223
Vriesea 'Plantation Pride'
  Jean Burstrom226
Billbergia Development
  Racine Foster228
Billbergia Venezuelana
  Henry Teuscher230
Tillandsia dura240


Neoregelia carolinae var. Medallion

Photo by Jules 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.

No material from this Journal may be reprinted without permission of the Editor.

Individual copies of the Journal, $1.50



Those presiding at the meeting—Left to right, Mario B. Aragao, Secretary of the Oswaldo Cruz Institute; Harold W. Wiedman, official representative of the Bromeliad Society; Robert W. Read, Smithsonian Institution; P. Raulino Reitz (Coordinator) of the Jardim Botanico of Rio de Janeiro; Lyman B. Smith, (Coordinator) from the Smithsonian Institution; Luiz Ariza Julia, from the Dominican Republic; and Sieghard Winkler from the University of Tubingen, Germany.

At nine o'clock in the morning of the twenty-ninth of January, 1975, in auditorium "A" of the twenty-sixth Brazilian Botanical Congress which took place in the Center of the Health Sciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Padre Dr. Raulino Reitz brought together the Coordinator of the Symposium, Dr. Lyman B. Smith of the Smithsonian Institution, U.S.A.; the Secretary, Dr. Mario B. Aragao from the Oswaldo Cruz Institute, Rio de Janeiro, R. J.; and among others Dr. Luiz Ariza Julia, Honorary Member of "The Bromeliad Society", U.S.A.; Dr. Harold Wiedman, Official Representative of "The Bromeliad Society", U.S.A.; Dr. Sieghard Winkler of the University of Tubingen, Germany; and Dr. Robert W. Read of the Smithsonian Institution, U.S.A.

There were one hundred sixteen people who signed the roll at the Symposium.

After a quick introduction in which he expressed appreciation for the presence of the foreign participants, especially that of Dr. Lyman B. Smith, Padre Dr. Raulino Reitz presented his two works: -

"Encontro e Reencontro de Bromelias"
(Encounter and Reencounter with Bromeliads)

"Bromeliario Ecologico do Jardim Botanico do Rio de Janeiro."
(Ecological Bromelario of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro.)

After finishing the presentation of his contributions, Padre Dr. Raulino Reitz reported briefly on the work accomplished by the now extinct National Service on Malaria in Santa Catarina between 1949 and 1953 on the problem of malaria transmitted by the anopheles mosquitoes which breed in the water accumulated in bromeliads and called on Dr. Mario B. Aragao who produced the team which accomplished these studies to add more comments on the subject.

After this Dr. Lyman B. Smith recalled the request which he received in 1948 from the now extinct National Service on Malaria to indicate a specialist capable of identifying the bromeliads of Southern Brazil to which he responded that the most adequate person lived in Santa Catarina and was named Padre Raulino Reitz.

Following this, Padre Dr. Raulino Reitz took the opportunity to show the assembly the first volume of the Monograph of Bromeliads which is being published by Dr. Lyman B. Smith and to announce the approaching appearance of the second volume and the concluding third volume due in, at the most, two years.

P. Raulino Reitz (with microphone) addresses the words of appreciation to the participants of the Symposium for having proclaimed him president of the Brazilian Bromeliad Society — just founded that day. He gave an animated speech to all the Bromeliophiles present, encouraging them to study and cultivate with affection these adorable vegetative jewels of rare aesthetic and ornamental worth.

On the visit of the Bromeliophiles to the Ecological Bromelario of The Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro, P. Raulino Reitz (in the center with the portfolio) shows Sr. Luiz Ariza Julia, special guest from the Dominican Republic, a vigorous flowering specimen of Dyckia encholirioides var. encholirioides.

The program continued with the presentation of two more works:

"Bromeliaceas ou Alguma Coisa para Todos."
(Bromeliads or Something for Everybody.)

by Dr. Lyman B. Smith and

"Species Novae in Brasilia Bromeliacearum."
(New Species of Bromeliads in Brazil.)

by Prof. Edmundo Pereira.

After these presentations, Padre Dr. Raulino Reitz referred to the collaboration given by the wives of botanists, accompanying their husbands on expeditions, at times through very difficult situations and invited Mrs. Ruth Smith to make a little talk in homage to the "International Women's Year."

Mrs. Ruth referred to the happy experiences of her forty-five years of marriage accompanying Dr. Lyman B. Smith in several countries, especially Brazil, from which she has acquired many wonderful memories and friends.

Padre Dr. Raulino Reitz acknowledged the presence at the Symposium of all the people who had over many years become great friends and called on Dr. Lyman B. Smith who expressed the appreciation of all the foreign botanists. He repeated it in English for the benefit of the English speaking guests.

Dr. Reitz called on the Secretary who announced the founding of the Brazilian Bromeliad Society and proposed the following provisional Board of Directors:

President - Padre Dr. Raulino Reitz of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro.

Secretary - Prof. Alceu Longo of the University of Blemenau, Santa Catarina.

Treasurer - Prof. Roberto Miguel Klein of The Herbario Barbosa Rodrigues, Itajai, Santa Catarina.

After this Provisional Board of Directors was applauded, Padre Dr. Raulino Reitz proposed that Dr. Lyman B. Smith be considered Honorary President of The Brazilian Bromeliad Society and this was approved with acclamation. After the applause Padre Dr. Reitz brought an end to the Second Brazilian Symposium on Bromeliads.

Tillandsia baileyi - Texas' Endangered Species


Of the three tillandsias found in Texas. Tillandsia baileyi is the most limited in range. It is found growing only in an isolated area of South Texas. approximately 20 miles south of Kingsville. Its entire habitat covers approximately fifty square miles. All of this area is ranch land; much of it is part of the gigantic and world-famous King Ranch. The land is sandy rangeland with scattered clumps of live oaks. It is in these live oak clumps that T. baileyi makes its home, in the company of the much more wide spread T. recurvata or "ball moss". To the uninitiated, the much larger clumps of T. baileyi when not in flower may easily be mistaken for giant clumps of "ball moss". Some of the very large clusters of T. baileyi may exceed 18" in diameter. In the spring months, small brilliant pink spikes bearing blue petaled flowers distinguish it even to the untrained eye.


U. S. Highway 77 cuts a path through the King Ranch in this area, and numerous road-side parks and rest stops take advantage of the cooling shade of the oak clusters. Some of these rest stops boast historical markers recalling armies who are said to have rested in the shade of these same oaks on their way to fight for the independence of Texas from Mexico. As recently as 1971, when most of these photographs were made, the branches of the oaks in these road-side parks were heavily laden with colonies of this bromeliad, but with the increased popularity of bromeliads in South Texas, collectors have next to eliminated this lively wild flower from the road-side parks. They have been aided by the highway department who keep the lower branches of the trees removed, often destroying thousands of these plants at a time. These practices along with the very limited range of the species put its survival in the wild into the hands of a few ranch owners. This set of circumstances concerned some of the members of the Corpus Christi Bromeliad Society, who recommended that this plant be placed on the Texas Conservation List. Several months ago at a meeting of TOES (Texas Organization for Endangered Species) T. baileyi was added to the list and is now illegal to collect from public lands. Attempts have been made to introduce this native tillandsia into wild-life refuges in South Texas, but lack of knowledge about its limiting factors, makes these attempts less than certain, and only time will tell how much success will be experienced.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Live oak covered with T. baileyi Close-tip of flower of T. baileyi

T. baileyi growing on oak

Letters to the Editor........

In an article written by David Barry, Jr., in the Sept.-Oct. 1975 issue of the Journal, page 186, he writes: "There are chemicals to force plants into flower; how about one to force a plant to produce offshoots?" I do not know of any chemicals to produce offshoots, but through experience I've been able to force offshoots in even 2 or 3-inch seedlings. Time and again I have produced offshoots in Vriesea splendens, V. hieroglyphica, V. fosteriana var. Red Chestnut and with some Guzmanias.

The method is simple, but one must be brave to do it. I take 3-inch seedlings or offshoots and tear out the inner set of leaves. Inside a short time up to 3 pups will appear. Perhaps the same could happen to those plants that do not normally give offshoots. It seems that Mother Nature replaces the injured plant with offshoots to sustain the genus.

Maybe there are some chemicals which do the same—injuring the bromeliad and thus signaling its reproductive mechanism to be triggered. I would welcome personal replies from those interested.

Willen Vilders, Sr.. 18106 Hamburg Detroit, Michigan 48205

I recently sent a Neoregelia ampullacea to Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451. The Illustrated Man, and The Martian Chronicles. The plant was a gift to thank him for a telephone lecture he gave a class I was teaching. With the plant, I provided all the necessary cultural information and potting material. Finally, I included the address of The Bromeliad Society and told him that any assistance he required could be obtained there.

Shortly thereafter I received a letter back from him in which he said "Thanks for the Martian you sent on disguised as a plant. Come off it. You don't fool me. I've written too many stories about things like this. First thing you know, we water the thing and it grows during the night! I just phoned the Bromeliad Society and as I suspected, there was only a kind of grassy rustling and whispering on the other end of the phone. Tomorrow the world!"

Who knows, maybe someday he'll write a science fiction story about what really goes on in the water cup of Neoregelia ampullacea.

Lawrence Mason, Jr., Syracuse, N. Y.

Neoregelia carolinae var. Medallion


Neoregelia carolinae var. Medallion (illustrated on the cover) has an interesting history behind it.

Five years ago while purchasing plants for my nursery, I found an unusual specimen of Neoregelia carolinae var. Meyendorfii at a nearby commercial greenhouse. The plant was rather large with many broad green leaves without any marking of any kind. The leaves were just plain dark green all over. When I asked the grower about the plant he said he had grown it for some time but had never been able to flower it, even by treating it with Omaflor. For some reason, I cannot explain why, I could not resist buying the plant.

I brought my new plant home and placed it on the bench with the rest of my collection and waited for results. It was the time of year for neoregelias to flower, but nothing happened. After four or five months, four husky offshoots began to emerge from the base of the plant. All four grew into very fine plants, but N. carolinae var. Medallion was the outstanding. This clone has several interesting characteristics.

It is now almost four years old, but it has never flowered, even though I have treated it with Ethrel. It has just continued to grow. It has never produced an offshoot, but just continues to grow from the center, forming a continuous rosette. It has never developed a single root. It grows up out of the pot until it is top heavy; then I cut the bottom of the stem off and put the plant into a new pot. This takes place about every nine months.

The plant never ceases to grow. It is a beautiful thing all year, as the pattern of the leaves is always changing. The longer the days, the more brilliant the rosette becomes. As the days grow shorter more chlorophyll is visible, and the leaves become green splotched with red instead of being a brilliant red all over, especially in the center of the rosette.

The only nutrients the plant gets are from the water, except for an occasional weak solution of liquid fertilizer in the cup. There is no need to fertilize the potting mix, for there are no roots. My observation of this plant has made me realize how intriguing and mysterious nature can be.

Buena Park, California



As in a childhood fantasy—I step from one world to another—from cold grey to warm green, moist pungency teeming with relentlessly thriving life. This simulation of nature's mysterious growing forces is in my own backyard—my greenhouse.

Space, soil, fresh air, temperature, light, moisture, humidity—these are the elements that nature provides for plant life. To duplicate and control these elements is the mission that is constantly being carried out behind the glass door.

I have three greenhouses. Number One was built 8 years ago. It proved to be much too small. My newly found horticultural desires were in a disorganized, unsettled state. In no time at all I had filled the little house with every plant that caught my fancy. I am sure I would not have discovered my interest in bromeliads if I hadn't gone through this sorting out process. This small house, only 10' by 12', has all the elements and controls that are needed reliably to produce beautiful, blooming bromeliads.

Number Two is two years old. It is connected to the small house by a work and utility house in the back. It still has some of the cut flowers and potted plants left from pre-bromeliad days, but these are being relentlessly squeezed out by my increasing fascination with and acquisition of more bromeliads.

Number Three is still in the dream a dense, misty mossy atmosphere—about an acre in size—waterfalls, pools, birds, wild animals—and throughout it all, clusters of every bromeliad ever found—and all in New Jersey! Oh well, back to reality.

I believe a greenhouse should be detached from the home, not too far away, but distant enough. Those few steps from the house keep the insects, odors of fumigation, and dirt away; and they also provide a hideaway from the television, telephones, and toddlers.

Both my houses have redwood benches along the walls, 30 to 60 inches wide. In addition, the large house has a 6-foot-wide bench running down the center. I have seen houses with no benches at all where plants are grown from the ground up on logs, mini-trees, rocks, etc. This creates a natural and beautiful effect—but it also creates an unnatural stress on the vertebrae. Obviously the advantage of using benches is that almost everything is at or near eye level and bending is kept to a minimum.

I have landscaped the benches with old, gnarled, interesting-looking termite-free logs. Usually, there is one log the length of the bench. One end of the log rests on one of the corners of the bench. It rises diagonally across the bench up to the roof of the house on the other end. The log has branches and joints in several places along its length. In corners and spots which seem to ask for it, I place individual, interesting stumps and rocks. The benches are filled to the top with peat moss.

Plants requiring less light and/or more height are spaced throughout the benches. Those requiring more light are mounted on logs and in the crooks of branches and stumps. All bromeliads are kept in pots, for this gives me the flexibility of moving them if necessary. However, to look at the house, not a pot is visible; those on the bench are plunged under the peat moss and those on logs and branches are held in places by sphagnum lined, home-made chicken wire containers. With the addition of mounted tillandsias in every nook and corner, plus Tillandsia usneoides hanging down from the roof rafters and electrical pipes, you have my realization of a bromeliad-filled tropical garden.

The essential elements with which greenhouses simulate nature are light, temperature, fresh air, moisture, and humidity. A greenhouse should be situated where there are few if any trees overhead. In New Jersey no shading is required during the period November through February. Partial shading is needed on bright, sunny days during March, April, September, and October. Full shading is necessary from May to August.

I use redwood and aluminum roll-up shades on the outside of the house. I believe this is the most flexible and the coolest method of shading. I get additional light and growing space by installing automatically timed fluorescent lights under the benches.

The temperature is thermostatically controlled all year round. In the cool seasons, my gas fired, hot water radial finned system keeps the bromeliads happy with a night temperature of 60 degrees. The daytime temperature can go up to 70 degrees before the overhead vents automatically open and allow cool, fresh air to enter. Fresh air not only moderates the temperature, but it helps the necessary circulation of moving air around the plants.

Once the temperature drops below 70 degrees the vents close. For the hot weather, I have in the past relied on shading and keeping every door and vent open. There have been hot summer days when the temperature in the house has gone over 100 degrees, and frequent, time-consuming misting and water were required. For this coming summer I am in the process of installing some two-speed, thermostatically controlled air coolers. A combination of the coolers and shades will allow me to maintain a summer-long range of 65 to 85 degrees.

Moisture, humidity, and air movement are produced and controlled by thermostatically operated humidifiers. A fan circulates air through aspenwood pads, kept moist by a built-in pump. I keep the relative humidity at 55 percent. My watering is done with a hose, once a week in the winter and more frequently in the summer. When the weather forecast is for a bright, sunny day, I mist the foliage in the morning (twice a day in the summer).

Once a month I fertilize the water in the cups with Peter's 18-18-18, ½ tsp. per gallon of water. I fill the cup so that there is spill off onto the medium and I add fresh water to the cups three days later. I don't fertilize sensitive vrieseas like V. splendens at all. I add a pinch of Osmocote to the top of the medium every few months, making sure to keep the pellets away from the foliage to avoid severe burning. Once a month I use the weak Peter's solution when misting my tillandsias.

The wonders of my world behind the glass door are visually apparent to me as I write this. It is the middle of February. The temperature outside is 18 degrees and 4 to 6 inches of snow covers the ground. I stand inside the greenhouse in my shirtsleeves; the warm, pungent air around me and the lush, verdant growth of the bromeliad world belies what I see outside.

Right now, in the middle of the winter, among the plants that are in bloom are Aechmea weilbachii, pubescens, fasciata, lueddemanniana var. 'Mend', chantinii, orlandiana var. 'Ensign', Vriesea poelmanii, ensiformis, 'Mariae', Guzmania 'Magnifica', 'Symphonie', and too many tillandsias, neoregelias, and cryptanthus to list. What a Winter Wonderland!

(Reprinted from Bromeliana of the New York Bromeliad Society.)

Ayensua uaipanensis [Maguire] L.B. Smith


Flowering plant of Ayensua uaipanensis

This very interesting bromeliad was first described in 1957 as Barbacenia uaipanensis Maguire (Velloziaceae). Later on, in 1962, Dr. L. B. Smith transferred it to Vellozia, another genus of the Velloziaceae, and called it Vellozia uaipanensis (Maguire) L. B. Smith. When Dr. E. S. Ayensu studied the anatomy of this plant, his results demonstrated that it belongs not to the Velloziaceae, but to the Bromeliaceae. Later, with more adequate material, Dr. L. B. Smith described for the plant in 1969 a new genus, Ayensua L. B. Smith, and made the new combination Ayensua uaipanensis (Maguire) L. B. Smith. The genus is named in honor of Dr. E. S. Ayensu, of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C. It was first discovered by K. D. Phelps and C. B. Hitchcock on the Uaipan-tepui on January 27, 1948. Ayensua is a monotypical genus and is placed in the sub-family Pitcairnioideae.


Summit of Auyan-tepui

"El Libertador" natural habitat of Ayensua uaipanensis.





Summit of Auyan-tepui, showing the cliffs.




All photos by J. Bogner

Large cushion of Ayensua uaipanensis in one gorge of the summit. The larger plants in the cushion belong to a Cottendorfia species.

Ayensua uaipanensis grows only on the summit of Uaipan-tepui and Auyan-tepui in Estado Bolivar, Venezuela. These two tepuis1 are to be found in southern Venezuela in an area called La Gran Sabana. The natural habitat of Ayensua uaipanensis on Auyan-tepui has an altitude between 2,200 and 2.400 m at "El Libertador", but it is also reported growing at an altitude of 1,660 m in the western Auyan-tepui; the locality on the Uaipan-tepui is 1,900 m high. Thus, this species grows only at high elevations.

I visited the summit of Auyan-tepui in February, 1975, where this bromeliad is growing abundantly. The Auyan-tepui is one of the largest tepuis. It is a very typical one with a flat topped appearance and is surrounded by high vertical cliffs of rose to red colored sandstone. The summit is dissected by deep crevices and has swamps, streams, and areas with small forests and low vegetation. It has a summit area of 700 square kilometers, and its highest altitude measures 2,500 m. This tepui also has the highest waterfall in the world, the famous Salto Angel, which has a free fall of about 1,000 m.

Ayensua uaipanensis grows mostly in cushions on the accumulations of humus on the deeper parts of the sandstone at the summit. But it also is commonly found growing between rocks as well as on cliffs. The soil is very acid, peat-like, and very low in mineral contents. Ayensua uaipanensis grows together with Stegolepis (Rapateaceae), Paepalanthus (Eriocaulaceae), Xyris and Orectanthe (Xyridadeae), Cyrilla (Cyrillaceae), Tepuia and Notopora (Ericaceae), Brocchinia and Cottendorfia (Bromeliaceae), Heliamphora (Sarraceniaceae).

Ayensua uaipanensis forms cushions 30 to 60 cm high, plants caulescent; stems simple or few-branched, covered with the old, dry leaf-sheaths and only at the terminal part with complete leaves; roots stout. Leaf-blades very narrowly triangular, glabrous, 3-8 cm long, light green. Inflorescence central and sessile, capitate; floral bracts equaling or exceeding the flowers; flowers white; sepals and petals very similar to each other, stamens in two very unequal series; fruits subglobose.

Several plants were in flower in February, 1975. I sent living specimens of Ayensua uaipanensis to Germany, but they have been very difficult to grow. We cultivate them in a warm greenhouse in rough peat which is kept wet.


(1) Tepui is an Indian word and means "table mountain."


Maguire, B. and Wurdack, J., 1957; Botany of the Phelps' Venezuelan Guayana Expeditions - II Uaipan-tepui, Estado Bolivar. Mem. N.Y. Bot. Gard. 9: 477, Fig. 117.

Smith, L. B., 1962: Synopsis of American Velloziaceae. Contr. U. S. Nat. Herb. 35: 267.

Smith, L. B., 1969: Botany of the Guayana Highland - Part VIII (Bromeliaceae by L. B. Smith). Mem. N. Y. Bot. Gard. 18 (2): 29 - 31, Fig. 5 A, B.

Smith, L. B., 1971: Flora de Venezuela, Vol. XII, Bromeliaceae. Caracas, 361 p., 25 Fig.

Munich, West Germany

Cushion of Ayensua uaipanensis








Part of a cushion of Ayensua




Death came to Hanz Gulz on March 31, 1975, shortly after his 65th birthday to end the career of one of today's great plantsmen. He created the world-renowned nursery at Bad Vilbel, located a few miles from Frankfurt, Germany, which specializes in bromeliads, as well as orchids, African violets, and foliage plants. His impact on central European horticulture was great because he not only grew bromeliads to perfection, but raised them in mass production, selling them reasonably when the demand for them reached its highest peak. In 1974 the Gulz nursery sold about one and one-half million bromeliads. The capacity for 1975 is for between three to four million bromeliad plants. The 17 greenhouses cover an area of 4,000 square meters.

The nursery offers approximately 450 different species and varieties of bromeliads, including a number of special forms and hybrids that Mr. Gulz had selected and developed. There are larger nurseries in Germany that deal in bromeliads, but these offer only a limited number of kinds, and there is no nursery in the world that offers the great variety that the Gulz establishment does. Business is done only on a wholesale basis.

It must be noted that although Hans Gulz was the originator and developer of the Bad Vilbel nursery complex, the business is a family affair, and he was greatly assisted through the years by his wife Elly, and his daughter Hedi. The death of the founder is sad news, but it is a great consolation to know that the nursery moves forward under the capable management of Elly and Hedi Gulz.

Hans Gulz was involved with plants his entire life. He was born in Saxony, and after finishing high school became an apprentice gardener. He spent some time in England, Holland, Switzerland, Italy, and North Africa. He entered the Horticultural School in Versailles, from which he received his degree in horticulture. He started his own business in 1937 in Nice, specializing in bromeliads and other houseplants. During World War II he served as interpreter in France and on the eastern front. After the war he found employment with the Palmengarten in Frankfurt, again among bromeliads. In 1951 he had the opportunity to rent a business in Bad Bilbel and in 1954 he established his own business. Gulz was a profound student of bromeliad literature, and his knowledge made him an outstanding expert of his time. His grasp was magnified by expeditions to Mexico, Central and South America, where he often faced hazardous conditions.

Gulz was a keen and clever hybridizer, taking a very special interest in the genus Guzmania and he derived a keen satisfaction from this part of his business. Two of his guzmania hybrids best known to Americans are G. 'Mignon' and G. 'Symphonie." Others include G. 'Hades', 'Hestia', 'Osiris', 'Vulkan', and 'Calypso.' He also did much work with aechmeas and cryptanthus, C. 'Feuerzauber' being a favorite.

In October 1974 I paid a visit to Hans Gulz and his nursery and I was indeed thrilled with the activity and efficiency, as well as friendliness, that permeated the vast enterprise.

Brooklyn Botanic Garden

The world of bromeliads also saw the passing of two other great bromeliad enthusiasts this past summer. In June Mary Heinlein of Homestead, Florida, died after a lengthy illness. Her nursery was no great establishment as is the Gulz complex, but during its heyday it listed an outstanding number of interesting and hard-to-get plants. Mrs. Heinlein tended to her nursery herself, and her plants showed the effect of her tender loving care. She was a warm, sympathetic woman, and her passing was mourned by her many friends.

Many members will be saddened to learn that Frank Overton died in his sleep on August 14th. Mr. Overton was one of the founding members of the Society, the opening meeting being held in his home in Glendale, California, in September 1950. He became the Society's treasurer, a post he held for many years. Due to ill health he had to relinquish many of his activities, but his interest in bromeliads and in the Society never lessened. His gentle, kind personality endeared him to all those whose privilege it was to know him. He was delighted that he was able to attend the Congress in June where he enjoyed meeting old friends.

The newest affiliate to receive its charter is the Saddleback Valley Bromeliad Society of El Toro, California. Meetings are held the second Wednesday of every month at 7:30 P.M. in the Peoples Federal Savings and Loan, 23688 El Toro Road. Mrs. Kathy Dorr is president, Miles McDorman is vice-president, Bob Schorsch is secretary, and Dr. Otis True is treasurer. Guests are most cordially invited.

Germination of Bromeliads in Our Garden

W.W.G. and MAY A. MOIR

Seedlings of tillandsias and vrieseas growing on dracaena.

We have to be very careful of what seed matures in our bromel collection because the seeds, especially those in the Tillandsioideae group of genera such as Tillandsia, Vriesea and Guzmania germinate so easily. The most prolific germinators are Guzmania monostachia, Tillandsia juncea, T. fasciculata and T. schiedeana which even "fly" over the house and germinate on the plants in that part of the garden.

For sometime we have looked for seed of T. cyanea in the hundreds of heads we have from June through to Feb., Mar. or April, but we can never find them. Yet, here and there through the garden we have large clumps of this species that have germinated and grown without our assistance on both trees and fern logs.

G. monostachia and T. juncea have come up on vines, shrubs, trees, fern logs, tree ferns, rocks and even concrete walls. Now when these flower they are cut off and placed in flower arrangements with the entire plant being used.

T. capitata has begun to follow in the footsteps of the others. But the most surprising was T. monadelpha which we felt was too delicate. It has come up on Ti plants (dracaena) and even on rocks to the lee of the two plants we had on the end of the garden nearest to the wind source. The seedling's leaves are stronger and deeper colored than the parent plants.

Aechmea lueddemanniana has been popping up in several places and the birds love the berries but the pussy cats keep the birds away, so we do not have new plants.

Vriesea splendens have sprung up all over the nearby trunk and roots of Dracaena marginata. Variations are noted in the intensity of the color of the bands in the leaves and width of leaves. These also have germinated in the axils of leaves of other bromels just as Aechmea dichlamydea var. trinitensis seeds have germinated in its own leaf axils.

Many more aechmeas would also do this but most of them are not pollinated and we have to hand pollinate to get seed for those desiring them. Pitcairnia atrorubens seeds freely, but we have yet to see their plants.

Dracaena marginata trunks are the best germinating surface for the fuzzy seed especially the wetter north side. However, Hoya purpurescens, a very old vine, seems to be equally as good for some seeds. Since we have trouble growing tillandsia seed we receive from others in pots we have taken to growing them right on the dracaena.

We have yet to see any germination from neoregelia or nidularium species or hybrids or from any cryptanthus either.

There is great competition between bromels, orchids and platyceriums for germination space on some plants, especially on a large Medinella magnifica, the plumerias and live tree ferns.

Since mutations are taking place rather freely in the clumps of plants we do hope we will find mutants among these seedlings. Our mutations are mostly taking place where growing conditions are a bit more difficult such as too much sun or not enough or enough moisture like under the leaves. Cryptanthus bahianus has given us a blonde form and a deep chocolate form after struggling very hard in a very hot spot. The mutations have been removed to better growing places and are beautiful.

The natural growing of seedlings shows us we have at least created the right conditions for them, conditions similar to their native habitat in proper micro-climates.

Among the seedlings growing in the shrubs we find shapes and leaf patterns we cannot match to plants in the garden. How interesting it is to see the plants that change leaf shape form wire-like miniature plants to broad leaf after a certain size is reached. Also how fascinating to see these plants silhouetted against the sky high up on a Ti stem and watch them stool out and make many growths and yet be no more than one or two inches high as in T. cyanea. These all make a constant source of plants for bromel visitors and others intrigued with shapes and colors. We look forward to more species joining the competition to reproduce themselves and take up space we could not easily landscape with grown plants.

Oh, if we could only find some of the true beauties doing this, such as G. sanguinea, Neoregelia schultesiana, Aechmea rubens, but they do make enough shoots to fill up space allotted them such as Guz. sanguinea with seven huge blazing heads, all in 5 × 5 ft. space. Moths and night flying insects seem to take care of the night opening or early morning flowers but the afternoon opening and closing flowers are not readily pollinated.

Honolulu, Hawaii




The hybrid Vriesea 'Plantation Pride' is a result of quite a few years of study, steady hybridizing, work, and waiting. Each morning finds Bob with his bromeliads, and by breakfast time he usually has put in a good three hours. His favorite bromeliads for hybridizing are members of the Tillandsioideae family, but he really can't pass up anything which has ripe pollen. When Ervin Wurthmann calls from Tampa, he usually greets me with, "What has Dr. Wierdo been up to today?"

Vriesea 'Plantation Pride' is a cross of Vriesea schwackeana and the beautiful hybrid Vriesea 'Van Ackeri.' From the beginning, this plant showed great vigor and was the most robust seedling in the family flat. At the time of the second transplanting Bob put it into a special pot so that he "could keep an eye on it." Sure enough, it bloomed a year earlier than its siblings—spring of 1974.

This is a regal bromeliad—large and stately, with good conformation. The plant grew to about 30 inches high, and the diameter of the dark green mottled foliage was also about 30 inches. The tall branched inflorescence is, when young, a brilliant lemon yellow, which, as it matures, graciously blends into a beautiful shade which is almost a burnished gold. The inflorescence had nine slightly inflated branches. The flowers are yellow.

Two more outstanding bromeliads from the same cross bloomed this spring. The first, Bob has named Vriesea 'Plantation Pride' var. 'Forever Amber'; the second, Vriesea 'Plantation Pride' var. 'Southern Belle'.

Vriesea 'Plantation Pride' var. 'Forever Amber' is a medium-sized plant—about 14 inches tall. The inflorescence nestles close to the foliage, and the inflorescence has glossy amber branches, which are nicely inflated and tend to incurve slightly.

Vriesea 'Plantation Pride' var. 'Southern Belle' is also a medium-sized bromeliad. The inflorescence has 5 bright russet orange branches which are inflated, broader and shorter than 'Forever Amber'.

In hybriding Bob feels that only the best results should be kept. The rest of the seedlings should be destroyed for the good of everyone concerned with bromeliads. In Bob's experience, he has had only one out of sixty seedlings that he feels is worthy of continued propagation and only one out of perhaps hundreds that is worthy of registration.

Vriesea 'Plantation Pride' has turned out to be a real winner. For the present, it is the star of our bromeliad family, but we're looking forward to more of Bob's crosses to bloom.

Plantation, Florida



in flower in fruit close-up of fruits

No matter how many times we have witnessed the arrival of bromeliad flowers, the show that Billbergia venezuelana stages is as startling and stimulating each time as a never-seen-before inflorescence in a new plant. It never fails to captivate the viewer.

First the flamingo-pink bracts appear, tightly enclosing the flower head that emerges a day or two later. These bracts open and a few flowers appear; the stem keeps pushing down while the first few flower buds timidly peep out. Then suddenly all are out! A small miracle of life unfolding. If you stand long enough (only a few minutes) watching it, you can see the petals of the individual flowers spring backward in a tight coil; they are extra long lavender petals curled back to reveal the extra long yellow stamens. A pendent inflorescence over two feet long. What a sight!

B. venezuelana is a native of a limited area in the northeastern section of Venezuela, in the state of Aragua near the coast.

Contrary to other wild epiphytes growing in their local forests, which the natives spurn, this one has become a much prized home patio plant, ever an unfolding glory for drab lives.

It was first collected by Pittier and named by Mez in 1921.

It belongs to the subgenus Helicodea (Lem.) Bak. which includes other stunning billbergias with pendent inflorescence such as B. decora, B. porteana, B. zebrina, B. meyeri.

Because of rather slow offset reproduction these billbergias are somewhat scarce among collections.

According to our member in Japan, Mr. K. Yamaguchi, bromeliads in general are not very popular in his country. Nurserymen grow only a few kinds, selecting the most showy and marketable species. Bromeliads were introduced into Japan some 20 years ago by Dr. Takemura, an obstetrician in Osaka. Some people were interested, including a nurseryman who took up this plant investing some amount of money, but due to lack of experience, his business turned out to be a failure. Since then, there has been no nursery that has cultivated bromeliads on a wholesale scale. Dr. Takemura died about 10 years ago, and his collections have not been kept up. Occasionally a few of the more common species are found in flower shops, but the academic study of bromeliads in Japan is almost none.

The excellent accounts of new bromeliads that he has found in his collection trips may be found in Dr. Werner Rauh's Bromelienstudien. So far four parts have been printed. Parts 1, 2, and 3 are $5.00 each; Part 4, $6.50. The text is in German, but the photographs are superb. These pamphlets may be obtained from the Abbey Garden Press, Box 3010, Santa Barbara, California 93105. Checks should be made out to the Abbey Garden Press. California residents please add sales tax.



(Reprinted from Bromeliad Society Bulletin, Vol. 3, No. 3, 1953.)

When from a generally beautiful genus one species stands out head and shoulders above the others as the peer of them all, it is certainly worth writing about, and when besides it is still hardly known outside the country of its origin it deserves even more to be eulogized. All this applies to the subject of this note.

As far as is known at present, Billbergia venezuelana occurs only in Venezuela and even there it appears to be confined to a rather limited area of the northeastern section of the country near the coast of the state of Aragua. Though it does not seem to have been introduced into cultivation outside of Venezuela, it is one of the very few native plants which the inhabitants themselves appreciate for its beauty and which they plant for ornamentation. As elsewhere, so also in Venezuela, most ornamental plants are introduced foreign species, which somehow seem to have a greater appeal that the native ones, no matter how pretty the latter are. Especially in the region of its origin, one may see rather frequently large clumps of Billbergia venezuelana planted in the low crown of the family calabash tree [Crescentia cujeta], which latter is cherished for its hard shelled fruits serving as simple vessels and which commonly is the only plant in front of the flimsily built low adobe houses or huts.

During October and November of 1951 the writer, accompanied by Mr. Mulford B. Foster, spent four weeks as guest at the government operated biological station in the national forest of Rancho Grande, Venezuela. Dr. E. Schaefer, in charge of this station, showed us the only plant of Billbergia venezuelana in the wild state which we saw on all our collecting trips. This plant, a huge clump, was growing in the crotch of a medium-sized tree in the depth of the forest on the lower slopes of a mountain. Mr. Foster pointed out that this was a very unusual place for this plant to be, because it is a sun lover by nature, and the rather shaded position had in fact produced considerable alteration in the appearance of the plant as the normally tight leaf cylinders were rather loose and flappy. Dr. Schaefer had seen it in flower. He had been sitting for several hours of several succeeding days under a large Ceiba tree only a few yards away from the tree bearing the billbergia, watching for certain birds which he was studying, and during this period it flowered. At first there was nothing to be seen on the plant and he did not even notice it. But while he was sitting there the brilliant pink-bracted inflorescence, over two feet long, gushed forth on all sides as from a fountain head. He said it was the most amazing and most unforgettably beautiful sight he had ever seen.

The extraordinary speed, with which the large inflorescence develops, is very impressive indeed and even rather startling. It flowered at the Montreal Botanical Garden in October 1952, but the inflorescence unfortunately developed over the weekend so that its growth was not timed. On Saturday morning there still was no sign that the plant was going to flower, and we had no reason to expect it to do so. On Monday morning the inflorescence was fully developed, and the uppermost flowers were open for business. The inflorescence retained its full beauty for about ten days. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most spectacularly beautiful members of the whole bromeliad family.

Montreal, Canada

Visitors to Florida should not miss seeing the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 800 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota. This beautiful spot, situated at the intersection of the Tamiami Trail and Palm Avenue, specializes in epiphytic plants—probably the only botanic garden in the United States that does. Outdoor walks wind through six acres of intensely cultivated gardens amid gigantic banyans and bamboo with Sarasota Bay in the background. The large greenhouse is dedicated to a display of orchids, bromeliads and other exotic plants in a setting of rocky cliffs, trickling waterfalls, and overhanging trellises.


With this issue The Bromeliad Society marks the end of one-quarter century of service to bromeliad growers. For those of us who have been with the Society from the very beginning (when it was a Round Robin with thirteen members) it hardly seems possible that so much time has elapsed since the issuance of the first bulletin (eight pages) in 1950. That the Society has grown from a mere handful of enthusiasts to over 2,500 active members can be noted by the size of the 1975-1976 Membership Roster which is enclosed with this journal. Remarkable, too, has been the growth in interest in bromeliads throughout the world. In 1950 there was just one commercial catalogue devoted to bromeliads—that of Mulford B. Foster, of Orlando, Florida, and the dean of bromeliad growers. He listed some 75 items. Today, there are dozens of nurseries specializing in bromeliads and other epiphytes, and a glance through Dr. Leonard Kent's listing, for example, will give some idea of how many hundreds of species and hybrids are today available to the avid collector.

With the unprecedented growth of the Society, particularly during the past year, the Board of Directors has made many plans for the future—further publications, a bromeliad identification service, special research, etc. All this requires time, effort, money, and the cooperation of all members. If any of you have any special suggestions regarding projects, we would welcome them, as we need all the support we can get.

We are desirous of issuing a better and bigger journal in 1976. Criticism has been leveled at the Editor to the effect that the journal is too technical on the one hand or too amateurish on the other. At all times she has striven to strike a happy medium, but has been sorely handicapped by the lack of material which she has received. Cultural articles especially geared for the beginning collector have been difficult to obtain, as no one seems to be willing to share the knowledge gleaned as a novice. Then, again, our botanist members have the mistaken idea that the Society is not interested in the more technical aspects of bromeliad culture. There must be many, many members who have such information to share and we most earnestly solicit their help.

Next year the editor will endeavor to have a little bit of something for everyone. There will be cultural hints, descriptions of new species and hybrids, fascinating articles on collecting, and more colored illustrations. The journal will be enlarged to include a special section on regional cultural problems and activities, and every member is invited to participate in this new part—"Regional Reflections."

We hope that all of you, if you have not already done so, will renew your membership immediately to lighten the load of our membership chairman, Mr. Walter Goddard, as well as to insure your getting the first issue of the year when it appears in January.

This is the time of the year when we count our blessings and thank those who have been so generous to bestow them on us. The editor thanks most sincerely those who have contributed to the journal this year, especially Dr. Werner Rauh of Heidelberg, Mrs. Kathy Dorr of California, Mr. Bernard Stonor of West Australia, Mr. Goodale Moir of Hawaii, and Mr. George Kalmbacher of New York. Their assistance on the journal has been of the greatest value. To all the rest of you, thanks for listening, and a happy, happy holiday season and new year full of beautiful bromeliads.

V. P.


J. Padilla

For a number of years there has been growing in a corner of my lathhouse a little tillandsia. It never seemed to do very much. Its dull green, rigid leaves were densely spread over a leafy stem which died back as more leaves were formed at the growing end. It was a slow grower and I wondered at times whether it was worth keeping. But I did keep it as it was different from the other tillandsias.

Finally, one day to my amazement, I noted that an inflorescence was emerging from the end of the stem. It took several months to develop, and when it finally did, it measured 2 ½ inches in length and over ½ inch in width. The spike became a vivid pink and one by one the little white flowers emerged. The flowering process took several months and the spike remained in color for almost a year. This little 'ugly duckling' certainly proved to be a beautiful 'swan.'

This tillandsia was identified by Dr. Rauh as T. dura, a native of the moist woodlands of southern Brazil. It was first described by Baker in his handbook in 1889. The name evidently refers to the durability or firm texture of the foliage.

V. P.

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