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 $10.00; Sustaining $15.00; Fellowship $25.00; and Life $200.00. 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.Tim Lorman, Calif.
Rec. Secy.Jeanne Woodbury, Calif.
Corres. Secy.Kathy Dorr, Calif.
Treas.Joyce Lorenz, Calif.


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

1976-1979: Robert G. Burstrom, Leonard Kent, Elmer J. Lorenz, Edward McWilliams, Harold W. Wiedman, Tim Lorman, Sue Gardner, Herbert Plever.

1977-1980: William Kirker, Leslie Walker, Eloise Beach, Kathy Dorr, Fritz Kubisch, W. R. Paylen, Amy Jean Gilmartin, Edgar Smith.


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; Robert W. Read.


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

Individual copies of the Journal, $2.00


Bromelia alsodes St. John: A Taxonomic Whodunit
  Mary L. Neighbors195
Additional Suggestions for the Use of Growth Regulators on Bromeliads
  Vernon Stoutemyer201
Iquitos Update
  Shirley Grubb203
A Better Mousetrap?
  David George Liebl207
Collecting Highlights
  Glenna Simmons208
For The Connoisseur-Vriesea capituligera210
Pupping on the Scape of a Tillandsia globosa
  Wilhelm Weber212
Cryptanthus — Earth Stars216
Center Rot — A Blessing in Disguise
  Tim Boudreaux218
The New Bromeliad House in Frankfurt
  Aja Coester219
X Neomea `Star Dust'
  Joseph F. Carrone, Jr.223
Publications Dealing with Bromeliaceae226
Regional Reflections227
Guzmania wittmackii Andre240


Tillandsia tetrantha R & P
Photo by Alexander Hirtz. Ecuador

Editor: Victoria Padilla

Editorial Board: Dr. R. W. Read, Identification; Dr. W. Rauh, Identification; Mrs. Kathy Dorr, Advertising; Elmer J. Lorenz, Index; Lawrence Mason, Jr., Science; Robert Burstrom, Regional; Edgar Smith, Regional.

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

Bromelia alsodes St. John: A Taxonomic Whodunit


Drawing of B. alsodes which appeared in Curtis's Botanical Magazine, 1823.

During the summer of 1975, while doing some field work in Mexico,1 we visited the Puerto Vallarta area in search of bromeliads. We took the road north out of Puerto Vallarta toward Tepic. Not too many miles from the town the road winds up into a set of hills where we began to feel that we were really in the tropics. This feeling was due mostly to the forms of the trees — tall, with bare trunks and a canopy of green leaves — and, of course, to their epiphytic bromeliads. In the 20 miles from Puerto Vallarta we found 6 different epiphytic species, among them Tillandsia baileyi Rose, T. polystachia L., Aechmea mexicana Baker, and possibly T. ignesiae Mez. The others were only in leaf and we were unable to identify these, although they were also probably Tillandsias.

After crossing the hills we found ourselves once again in the hot, humid lowlands. Here we experienced some spectacular thunderstorms, which, together with the croakings of the chorus frogs at night, produced an unbelievable cacophony of noise that, needless to say, made sleeping difficult.

Some 20 miles south of Compostela, in the state of Nayarit, just out of the small town of Las Veras, we began to notice a terrestrial bromel growing along the east side of the road, almost as if it had been planted as a fence or hedge. They were beauties, about a meter tall, with the inner leaves of the rosette turning bright red in flower and fruit; the scape-bracts were also red while the outer leaves of the rosette were grey-green. The inflorescence was stubby and compact, and covered with dense tufts of hairs. Unfortunately the delicate pink and white flowers were protected by some very wicked recurved spines on the margins of the leaves and bracts, a fact which quickly became apparent when we tried to gather population samples for later study.

After returning home, we found that the identity of this collection posed an interesting problem. The plants were definitely a species of the genus Bromelia, but seemed to be a combination of two species, Bromelia pinguin L. and Bromelia sylvestris Willd. without fitting either one perfectly. At the same time, Bromelia sylvestris turned out to be an invalid name, and had been changed to B. alsodes St. John. Some explanations are in order!

First of all the name change should be mentioned since the old name of Bromelia sylvestris was used for many years. Harold St. John, in 1965 while working on Pandanus (Pandanaceae), the screw-pine of the Old World tropics, came across an Indian species of Pandanus that had been named Bromelia sylvestris. Even though this name was later changed, the International Rules of Botanical Nomenclature stipulate that the name Bromelia sylvestris, having once been applied to a species, should never be used for a different species. Apparently, Willdenow, who first described this species, illegally and unknowingly, had used the name, publication communication being a problem in the late 1700's and early 1800's. Thus, St. John had to find a new name for this species and adopted alsodes. "...Greek adjective...'woodsy', and is here chosen to continue the meaning of the original epithet" (St. John, 1965).

Our search had now narrowed to the two species mentioned above, Bromelia alsodes (properly) and B. pinguin. Further inspection showed us that, by the descriptions in North American Flora, Vol. 19, part 2, Bromeliaceae (Smith, 1938), our plant seemed to have the flowers of Bromelia alsodes, while the fruit had the shape of B. pinguin. Yet, the fruit was smooth, not warty, a character which does not fit either species. (Compare characters, Tables 1 and 2). We decided that our plant was a closer match to Bromelia alsodes, but with a vaguely uncomfortable feeling since the fruit seemed such a good match in size and shape to B. pinguin.

The author discovering B. alsodes along the roadside in Mexico.

Dr. Lyman B. Smith helped us to sort out the problem. He checked the herbarium material at the Smithsonian Institution, and the fruit of Bromelia alsodes is indeed smooth. There had been an error in the species description. The ellipsoid ovary and ovoid berry of our collection apparently are merely some of the variations which can occur within the species and should not be construed as a diagnostic character to separate the two species.

Thus, after some long searching, we found the identity of our mystery Bromelia to be B. alsodes St. John. We find that this is a range extension, the former distribution being Vera Cruz, the Yucatan Peninsula, and Honduras (Smith, 1938). With our collections, the species is now also known to grow on the western coast of Mexico.

While doing some of the research for this paper, we also found the original drawing of the species; this drawing was made from a plant growing in England, propagated from the original collection that was growing in the Berlin Botanical Garden. A picture of this drawing is included; we could hardly resist its beauty and wished to share it. It originally appeared in Curtis's Botanical Magazine with an expanded description by John Sims (1823).

We have also included a corrected species description of Bromelia alsodes based on our collections and the description in North America Flora (Smith, 1938).


1. The field work was sponsored by NSF grant DEB 76-04042 to Dr. Amy Jean Gilmartin, to whom the author would like to express her thanks.


Sims, John D. 1823. Curtis's Botanical Magazine. Vol. 50:t2392.

Smith, Lyman B. 1938. Bromeliaceae (Xyridales). North American Flora, Vol. 19, part 2. St. John, Harold. 1965. Bromelia sylvestris Burm. f. and its homonyms. Taxon. 14 (1) :29. Bromelia alsodes St. John. Taxon 14 (1) :29

Bromelia sylvestris Willd. ex Link., Hort. Berol. 308, 1821; descr. expanded by Sims, Bot. Mag. 50:t.2392, 1823.

Agallostachys sylvestris Beer. Bromel. 35. 1857.


PLANT about one meter tall. LEAVES 1 m long; blade 3.0-4.0 cm wide, blades glabrous and dark green above, densely, finely lepidote and light green below, often streaked with red; teeth to 5 mm long, 2.5 cm distant, decidedly antrorse. SCAPE much exceeded by the leaves; 2.0-3.0 cm in diameter; white floccose; concealed by the scape bracts. SCAPE BRACTS 20-30 cm long, bright red; sheath 10-22 cm long, by 3.0-4.0 cm wide, inflated, membranaceous, margins entire; blades 16-18 cm long by 1.0 cm wide exclusive of serrations, succulent. INFLORESCENCE at least 10 cm long by 5.0 cm wide, subthrysoid at least in fruit; branches erect, often interrupted. PRIMARY BRACTS 3.0-12.0 cm long. Like the scape-bracts but with much-reduced blades, the upper ones bladeless. FLORAL BRACTS dimorphic, the larger ones 35 mm long by 8 mm wide, triangular, membranaceous, lepidote; the shorter ones 17 mm by 3mm; both found on the same branch. FLOWERS short pedicellate, not exceeding 4.0 cm long, largely concealed by the straight sides for 2/3 length, rose-pink with white margins, lepidote; the apex broadly acute; reaching to 2/3 the distance to the petal apices. PETALS 25 mm long by 5 mm wide, lanceolate, rose-colored, connate for 2-3 mm with the filament tube, fleshy, apex obtuse, lepidote on the dorsal side only; distance between flowers 2-3 mm. distance between berries to 1.0 cm. OVARY 1.5 cm long, ovate to cylindric, lanate. BERRY ovoid to subglobose 2.5-3.0 cm long. 1.0-2.0 cm in diameter, smooth. In flower and fruit, July and August.

MATERIAL EXAMINED: Gilmartin 2214, 20 miles west of Compostela, a few miles north of Las Veras, Nayarit, Mexico. Alt. 100 meters, 2 July 1975. NOTE: A population sample of eight plants was collected. The plants were numerous locally and rather close together making collecting difficult. They were growing off to the side of the road in a very flat area and the ground was exceedingly damp with some standing water from the previous night's rain; club mosses growing on the ground between some of the plants attested the moist conditions. The plants looked as if they had been planted in some sort of order; Smith (1938) says that the TYPE was "described from cultivation".

Dept. of Botany, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 198

TABLE 1. Affinities of Bromelia alsodes and Gilmartins 2214: Description from Smith (1938).
Bromelia alsodes Gilmartin 2214
INFLORESCENCE Subthrysoid, interrupted at base ±
SCAPE White Floccose +
LEAF SPINES Teeth 5 mm +
FLORAL BRACTS Narrowly triangular, flat ±
FLOWERS Pedicels short and stout ±
SEPALS Lanceolate-triangular 15-18 mm +
PETALS Lanceolate, obtuse 25 mm + (20mm)
PETAL COLOR Blue or rose with white margin +
PETAL INDUMENTUM Glabrous or scantily lepidote at apex +
CONNATION OF PETALS Connate for 3 mm +
OVARY Cylindric –
BERRY SHAPE Subglosbose, 2 cm in diameter –
BERRY SURFACE Verrucose (warty) –

TABLE 2. Affinities of Bromelia pinguin and Gilmartins 2214: Description from Smith (1938).
Bromelia pinguin Gilmartin 2214
INFLORESCENCE Many flowered, pyramidal ±
SCAPE White farinose –
LEAF SPINES Teeth to 10 mm long –
FLORAL BRACTS Linear, subulate, 3 cm from a short broad base ±
FLOWERS Pedicellate ±
SEPALS Very narrowly triangular-subulate, pale –
PETALS Linear-elliptic, 3 cm long 5.5-6 mm wide –
PETAL COLOR Rose with white base and margins +
PETAL INDUMETUM Densely tomentose at apex –
OVARY Slenderly ellipsoid, 2 cm +
BERRY SHAPE Ovoid, 3.5 cm long +
BERRY SURFACE Verrucose (warty) –

Additional Suggestions for the Use of Growth Regulators on Bromeliads


In a previous communication (1977) we discussed several possible methods of applying growth regulators, including the cytokinins, which now seem to have a possible use in the propagation of certain bromeliads (Gardner, 1977). Although several chemical firms can supply cytokinins, doubtless the most complete listings are offered by two firms which are specializing in supplies for plant tissue culture. These are:

Flow Laboratories, 1710 Chapman Ave., Rockville, Maryland 20852
and 936 West Hyde Park Blvd., Inglewood, CA 90302

Grand Island Biological Co., 3175 Staley Rd., Grand Island, New York 14072
and 519 Aldo Avenue Santa Clara, CA 95050

If experimental work shows that certain formulations are effective and if there is sufficient demand, these firms would probably be willing to prepare and distribute such preparations. Regrettably little information is available regarding the stability of the various cytokinins in lanolin or in aqueous solutions under various storage conditions. If these are marketed in forms similar to those used for the auxins or the gibberellins, probably they should be marketed with the date of preparation and with instructions for storage.

One of the cytokinins, kinetin, can be dissolved in water with heat. Skoog and Armstrong (1974) suggest suspending kinetin in less than the final volume of water, with heating on a steam bath for 30 to 45 minutes to dissolve, using occasional stirring. The solution should be stored at room temperature in the dark. This solution is stable but should not be stored for over two months, according to Skoog and Armstrong. However, it should be remembered that these authors were writing for other scientists who were performing scientific experiments with great precision and probably kinetin solutions would be usable for a longer period.

There are some successful methods of applying biological chemicals to plants which should be tried with bromeliads. Buck (1969), who was one of the pioneer breeders of tetraploid daylilies, used an injection method for inducing flowers of diploid cultivars of Hemerocallis, the daylily, to produce tetraploid pollen for breeding. This was accomplished by cutting soft glass tubing of 6 mm diameter into 8 inch lengths. One end was drawn out to a fine sharp point with an opening of slightly over one mm in the flame of a fishtail Bunsen gas burner. In case of breakage, the operation could be repeated. The sharp point was inserted into the stem just below an immature bud and the tube was fastened to the flower scape with adhesive tape. The tube was filled with colchicine in solution by means of a rubber ear syringe. The tip of the tube was dipped in the solution before inserting, in order to avoid air bubbles.

The success of this method led some medical people to place the colchicine solution in the spongy pith of daylily scapes with hypodermic syringes. This apparently worked quite well but this development was apparently not published. One unfortunate result of the drug culture of our times is that is has become very difficult for non-diabetics to purchase and own hypodermic syringes legally. The procedure of Buck offers an alternative which is both legal and practical. In the many species of bromeliads which have tanks, it should be possible to pour in measured quantities of solutions at intervals on an appropriate schedule.


Buck, W. Quinn. 1969. An "injection" method for treating Hemerocallis spikes with colchicine. Hemerocallis Journal 23 (2): 42-43.

Gardner, Sue. 1977. Induction of lateral growths on Vrieseas by cytokinin. Journal of the Bromeliad Society. Jan.-Feb. pp. 31-33.

Skoog, Folke, and Donald J. Armstrong. 1974. Chapter 15. Tissue culture in Experimental Plant Physiology, page 110. Anthony San Pedro, editor. C. V. Mosby Company, St. Louis.

Stoutemyer, Vernon. 1977. Some suggestions for the use of growth regulators on bromeliads. Journal of the Bromeliad Society. March-April. pp. 52-54.

The Society's Glossary is now available from the editor. It is a dictionary of all the terms that are used in connection with bromeliads, and, as such, should be of great assistance to the readers of the Journal. Price — $3.00.

Iquitos Update


Jack Grubb holding Streptocalyx subnuda

Daybreak is very noisy on the Amazon. The birds and animals all herald the new day, and the boys who work at the camp shake the floors as they pass with toothbrushes and paste in their hands on the way to the boat dock and their morning ablutions.

In August Jack and I were at one of several camps set up for tourists on the Amazon and its tributaries. We were on the Naynay in dense jungle about a half hour by boat from Iquitos, Peru. For anyone interested in roughing it in style and comfort this place is a must. The river was so low that there was a forty or fifty foot bank that we had to climb to get to the lodge owned by American Paul Wright. Even with a bank this high the lodge had to be built on eight to ten foot stilts to be above the water level when the river rises in March-May. The trees tower another hundred or more feet around the clearing.

The camp is entirely hand made with the joints lashed together with fiber. The thatched roof is quite tall to let the breezes through, while the walls to each small room are shorter and covered with netting to keep out most insects. Wash water is pumped from the river into large drums, where it is allowed to settle for use in the showers and gravity fed faucets for washing. There is a chemical toilet and pitcher and basin in each room. Bottled water is for drinking and brushing teeth.

As we approached the lodge by boat we were surprised to see orchids and bromeliads mounted outside the big open verandah, a good sign because we came to search for bromeliads to take back with us. We were lucky to have a young man who had two years of college botany and a real interest in the plants as manager at the camp.

For two days Hugo took us on forays into the jungle with another boy to help paddle, climb and hack a path through the undergrowth. We looked especially for Aechmea chantinii, which we had read grew in the area around Iquitos.

Bromeliads in this jungle are not so bountiful as those we have seen in Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and Brazil. In addition, they are in the tops of the enormous trees and mostly inaccessible. From time to time we encountered one of the giants that had fallen to the ground, but even the plants clinging to it were often enormous.

We collected Neoregelia eleutheropetala, Navia species, Streptocalyx longifolius, Streptocalyx poeppigii, Aechmea ramosa, Tillandsia grandis, and a banded Billbergia with a purple throat, along with other unidentified species. But the highlight was when we spotted the "big orange," as the plant was described by Lee Moore and Jack Holmes in 1964-65. Hugo was as excited as we were and determined to get it. There was a large cluster of the plants, two of them in bloom, about forty feet from the ground. He used a nearby vine to climb to it, stepping on an ants' nest on his way up and almost falling as it broke under him. A shower of debris fell around us, and pretty soon he was cutting the plants loose with his machete and dropping them down.

Amazon Lodge

Jack Grubb with S. subnuda

Back at the camp Hugo planted the blooming plants (Streptocalyx subnuda) in hollow logs as permanent exhibits for the guests, who were very impressed. We were happy to have several smaller offshoots to take home. We also helped him to gather orchids to add to his collection at the camp. He said that some we got were quite rare, and he was delighted to have them.

We cleaned our plants in the muddy river and packed them in the cardboard boxes we had carried with us all over Peru from home. When we returned to Iquitos and walked about the city for several hours, we didn't see one bromeliad. To think that ten or more years ago Victoria Padilla reported seeing Aechmea chantinii everywhere — in the square, in the banks, and in the patios. This emphasizes the need for private collectors to preserve specimens, for in this case what was once common is now rare. We didn't collect any Aechmea chantinii on this trip.

Another word about Iquitos. After a colorful history and obvious prosperity as a rubber capital and then the decline following the collapse of the rubber economy, Iquitos is booming again. A modern airport is under construction to serve the new oil industry that Peru is relying on to help its economy. Iquitos is the jumping off place for the oil rigs and the pipe line that is being built across the Andes. So far, the oil wells are not very productive. But it's an interesting place for Norte Americanos to go, and there are several flights daily from Lima.

River Ridge, Louisiana

RENEWAL NOTICES — Although 1978 is still several months away, we are enclosing renewal envelopes in this issue and are requesting that the members help us by renewing their memberships now instead of waiting until the end of the year, which is always a hectic time for all of us. Membership dues will remain the same, and the members are assured of the same high standard which has prevailed in previous issues. There will be abundant color and articles covering a wide range of interest, from tips to the novice to the newest developments in plant breeding.

A Better Mousetrap?


While I consider the propagation of cycads from seed more my forte, I have enjoyed germinating other tropical and sub-tropical plants from seed. Those of you who share with me the pleasure of seeing seed germinate and develop into robust plants know of that special feeling when attempts are met with success. Anyone who has attempted propagation from seed has, no doubt, met with some failure, as well.

Aside from 'old' or infertile seed, one should have nearly 100% germination if the seed is maintained under the proper conditions. It has been the search for "the proper conditions" that has tormented even the experienced plant enthusiast. While experimenting with various approaches to germinating bromeliad seed, I came upon a technique that has proven most successful. If someone else has reported my "better mousetrap", let this then be another favorable comment and review of the procedure.

The technique is not complicated. Take a sandwich-size plastic ziplock bag, cut a piece of paper towel slightly smaller than the bag and place the paper towel into the ziplock bag. Mix a strong solution of a good fungicide and soak the paper towel while it's in the bag. Pour off the excess solution. Place the bromeliad seed on the moistened towel, attempting to arrange the seed in such a way that no two seeds touch. Seal the bag, trapping a small amount of air inside. Place the bag in a warm location (75° to 80°F) in diffused light. As a space saver, I have noted that the bags can be stacked, prior to germination. The bags should be examined every other day. When germination has begun, small green seedlings will appear. The individual bags should then be moved into higher light intensity. As the seedlings begin to grow inside the bag, they may become a bit cramped. This can be temporarily resolved by over inflating the bag and resealing it.

Once the seedlings have developed a sturdy root system and have produced leaves ¼ to ½ inch long, the bags can be cut open to facilitate removal of the seedlings to the growing bed. I use a medium milled sphagnum moss and vermiculite mixture. As the seedlings grow, I increase the light intensity, always being certain to keep the potting mix slightly moist.

The advantages of this technique: space saver for those who have limited space to propagate from seed, limited costs and success. Within the last several weeks I have germinated eighteen species of seven genera.

— Rhode Island.

Collecting Highlights


Late in October 1976 on our way to Buenos Aires we stopped for five days at Iguassu Falls near the point where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay meet. A flight of one and one-half hours on a fine plane from Sao Paulo carries one to this famous and magnificent spectacle. There is a continuous stream of tourists from all over the world at the excellent hotel on the Brazilian side overlooking the falls. From here we made one-day trips by highway bridge over the Parana River to Paraguay and into Argentina by Ferry across the Iguassu River along whose contorted rocky gorges the falls extend for several miles.

The countryside is tropical with great forest trees loaded with epiphytes, many of them bromeliads. Aechmea distichantha was in full bloom in all three countries. We could see heavy clumps of the large blooming plants way up in the tall trees, sometimes at two or three levels at maybe 25 feet, 50 feet and 75 feet in the same tree. Some had hanging pink flowered begonias twining about them; others in Paraguay were accompanied by great bouquets of cascading yellow and white orchid flowers. These seemed to be in almost every tree in a forest a few miles from the river. Here I also saw Aechmea bromeliifolia up in the trees and blooming Tillandsia tenuifolia and T. araujei.

On a beautiful rain forest island at the brink of the falls on the Argentina side tall trees were covered with tillandsias, most conspicuous were the many blooming T. strictas. These are giants compared to those in the Rio de Janeiro area, perhaps three of four times as big with hanging bright pink bracts and blue to cream flowers. Most of the other bromeliads were non-blooming or too high up to identify. We did see Acanthostachys strobilacea and Aechmea recurvata in bloom and one yellow flowered Vriesea.

Out on the rocky cliffs in the Falls were tall yellow flowered bloom stalks on masses of plants that looked like big dyckias but we never could get close to them though there are many boardwalks leading here and there into the falls. Since the forests immediately around the falls are national parks in Argentina and Brazil we didn't collect plants there except for a few fallen on the ground. This area is worth a much longer stay for the plant lover, and the birds and butterflies are fantastic!

Later in Argentina we had an exciting and unexpected find just south of the outskirts of Buenos Aires. We were walking through a damp dark forest when we came to an open pastureland with scattered trees. When we got near one we found it covered with blooming Tillandsia aeranthos. They were small four-inch steel gray plants lightly dusted with silver, the new side shoots being a lighter gray-green. The blooms were a stunning cerise color with true purple flowers. Fortunately on dead branches littering the ground were plants of all ages and we were able to collect as many as wanted.

Here also we found flat mats of a very tiny tillandsia, perhaps T. recurvata minima, though it is much greener in color than our T. recurvata and grows differently. It has half-inch seeds on half-inch stalks. The plant is less than one inch with a few tiny leaves. The flowers must bloom at night as I never can find one open though it keeps forming seeds.

Mt. Dora, Florida

FUNGUS SAVES FERTILIZER — Mycorrhizal fungi, which live on roots and aid them in taking up water and nutrients, are important to many plants, according to tests at the Minnesota Agricultural Experimental Station. The highest quality plants were produced with fertilizer plus mycorrhizae. Fertilizer alone resulted in equally good growth; however plants that received only mycorrhizae had nearly the same dry shoot weights as those given the other treatments. This along with the fine quality of plants receiving both mycorrhizae and fertilizer "suggests that plants of high quality may be produced with fewer fertilizer applications" if mycorrhizae are present. Important also is the fact that when mycorrhizae were established on the roots 20 days before the root rot organisms were introduced, the roots were protected from these diseases. It was also found that by adding mycorrhizal cultures or soil containing mycorrhizae to sterilized or soilless mixes, such as are used for bromeliads, better plants would result and fewer applications of fertilizer needed.

The Avant Gardener, Vol. 8, No. 19

For the Connoisseur —

Vriesea capituligera Andre

  Photos by Alexander Hirtz
Vriesea capituligera in habitat — Ecuador.

This very handsome bromeliad was first described by Heinrich Grisebach in 1866, who believed it to be a tillandsia and accordingly called it Tillandsia capituligera. Andre, in 1888, discovered the plant growing on the western slopes of the Andes in Colombia, at a elevation of 9,000 feet, and he, too, thought it to be a tillandsia, calling it T. fastuosa because of its proud and regal bearing. When Baker described the species in 1889 in his Handbook, he seemed to be dubious about its classification, commenting that it was very different in inflorescence from any other tillandsia. It became a guzmania in 1896 when Mez described it, and it was not until 1953, after several other name changes, that this bromeliad was put into the genus Vriesea by Lyman B. Smith and C. S. Pittendrigh.

Vriesea capituligera is indigenous to the West Indies (it had been found in Cuba at a early date), Colombia, Ecuador, and Venezuela at elevations ranging from 3,000 (probably lower in Cuba) to almost 10,000 feet. It is an epiphyte growing often low on trees — from 3 to 15 feet from the ground — and has been seen clinging to cliffs.

It is a large plant with bright green leaves reaching 29 inches in length and 3 inches in width at the middle. Its columnar inflorescence varies from 12 to 20 inches in length. It is a stunning, brilliant plant when in flower and except for its size would be a welcome adjunct to any collection.

A number of the large vrieseas do well outdoors in coastal southern California—V. regina, V. hieroglyphica, V. imperialis, V. gigantea doing well as accent notes in the garden amid other plants and planted directly in the soil. This has been the case in the editor's garden. Perhaps Vriesea capituligera could join this group and become a garden specimen. Coming from high altitudes it probably could withstand the vagaries of the southern California weather, especially along the coast where frost is rare. This plant is obtainable in the American trade.

Pupping on the Scape of a Tillandsia globosa


Tillandsia globosa Wara

Tillandsia globosa rarely appears in collections, because even in its habitat in Brazil it grows as single specimens scattered here and there, in contrast to the soft leafed form of Tillandsia stricta, which it resembles very closely before bloom. I am indebted to the kindness of Senhora Amanda Bleher of Lotus Osiris, Mage, Brazil, for making it possible for me to grow and observe several examples of this rarity. My specimens come from the Organ Mountains near Rio de Janeiro.

As stated above, T. globosa is deceptively close in appearance to T. stricta in size and form. Only in the spring, when the flowers appear, does one realize that this is a completely different species. The compound inflorescence closely resembles that of T. geminiflora in structure and color, the difference being that all parts are much narrower. It almost seems to me that T. globosa is a mutation of T. geminiflora, in which the genetic determination of the width of all the organs is reduced.

In the fall of 1976, I discovered the beginnings of an offshoot on the scape of a faded inflorescence from spring. The fact that it was a genuine offshoot was proven by the double keeled primary leaf, with which it began. (See illustration and drawing.) This type of offshoot on the shaft of the inflorescence is known on various tillandsia species, where they appear regularly and true to the species, e.g. T. somnians, T. latifolia, T. propagulifera, etc. In T. globosa, on the other hand, the offshoots are normally located in the axils of the basal rosette leaves. Therefore this formation of an offshoot on the shaft of the inflorescence can be viewed as an exception.

How do such phenomena occur? The potential for the formation of organs of a plant — leaves, lateral buds, roots and flowers — is fixed genetically in the DNA of the chromosomes. The triggering of an organ formation is the recall of this genetic information in the form of a differential gene activation. Various correlations can play a role in such processes, e.g. in the formation of lateral offshoots; or environmental influences, for example, can influence the formation of flowers. The formation of organs is controlled by hormones and, since the hormones originate in other locations, this formation of organs is also controlled by correlations. Correlations are remote effects from one part of the plant to an other. Most correlations are transmitted by hormones. If a hormone's place of origin is different from its effective arena, then we have a correlation.

The best known case of hormonal correlative control is apical dominance or correlative bud control. Terminal growth of a plant checks lateral growth, i.e. growth in the leaf axils. Lateral growth may be totally suppressed; the lateral buds then are present only as dormant "eyes". If the tip growth is removed, then the lateral buds develop into new shoots. Branching occurs. This fact has long been exploited by growers in the vegetative reproduction of bromeliads; by removing the heart leaves of a bromeliad, one stimulates the formation of offshoots. Also, when the center rots because of impure water, one can witness increased formation of pups.

T. globosa showing post floral inflorescence with no
growth on scape — in natural size.

In apical dominance, auxin (indolyl-3-acetic acid) is always present. It is produced especially in fast growing meristems, as in sprouts or in the growing embryos of seeds. The generated auxin is transported down the stem and thereby checks any possible lateral growth from the dormant buds.

The transition from the vegetation into the generative phase is equally important in the formation of flowers. In flower formation, instead of a predisposition for foliage, we observe at the vegetation cone a predisposition for flowers, i.e. for sepals, corolla, stamens and pistil. This conversion of the apical meristem presupposes again differential activation; genes different from those observed earlier in the vegetative growth become active. These differential gene activations are evoked by the bloom hormone FLORIGEN (also called vernalin), which occurs in the leaves of photoperiodically active plants. Florigen consists of a complex of gibberellins and anthesins; the chemical composition of the latter is unknown. Florigen and auxin thus work as antagonists. The vegetative or generative phase of a plant is determined by the predominance of one or the other phytohormone. If the redisposition for flowers forms in the apical meristem, the production of auxin is diminished, apical dominance vanishes, and the formation of offshoots from the axillary buds occurs. A bromeliad grower knows this phenomenon from experience, because the formation of offshoots usually occurs along with the formation of the bloom.

Pupping deviations from this norm, as described above in my T. globosa, are thus based on a distortion or destruction of the hormonal balance.

Some years ago I was able to make a similar observation on the inflorescence of a T. stricta. Unfortunately I did not document this case. In that instance, the offshoot on the scape did not develop into a new plant; after a few rudimentary leaves, a new inflorescence appeared, so that the effect was that of a branched inflorescence.

—Waldstimberg, G.D.R.

Translated by Harvey L. Kendall

IN MEMORIAM — It was with deep regret that we learned of the death of George Kalmbacher on June 9, 1977. Mr. Kalmbacher, formerly a taxonomist with the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, had long been a bromeliad enthusiast, had contributed many articles to this Journal, and had served on the Board of Directors for several terms. He was a world traveler and had friends in many lands. He will be missed. A special fund to perpetuate his memory has been started to go toward the support of an Herbarium Fellow at Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Those wishing to contribute should send checks marked Brooklyn Botanic Garden (G. Kalmbacher Memorial Fund), 1000 Washington Ave., Brooklyn, N. Y. 11225.

Cryptanthus –
Earth Stars


Right —
C. bahianus `Blonde'

Left —
C. fosterianus

Right —
C. 'It'

Right —
C. 'Pink Starlight'

Left —
C. 'Osyanus' cross

Right —
× Cryptbergia 'Mead'

(Cryptanthus beuckeri × Billbergia nutans)

Center Rot — A Blessing in Disguise



How anxious I was when my very first bromeliad order arrived. One of my new plants was Vriesea 'Rose Marie,' a European hybrid. With loving care the plants were all nestled into their new living quarters. Like most bromeliad amateurs I know, the next day and every day thereafter, I checked the centers for buds, regardless of the fact that these were mere pups.

One day on my checking rounds, I was shocked with dismay—my V. 'Rose Marie' presented me with a rotted center. Upon regaining my composure I rinsed out the center and allowed it to dry out. I hid my first failure from others under the leaves of some crinum lilies. A few weeks later V. 'Rose Marie' shamed me for my thoughts of her by presenting me with four beautiful healthy pups. I immediately displayed her and her brood for all to see.

As the pups matured they were potted. Three new pups later appeared. These seemed small and weak, so I decided to allow them to stay with their mother. Looking a little sad in the pot, I wired them with sphagnum to a tree fern board and hung them high in a pine tree. They loved it and prospered.

Within a year's time V. 'Rose Marie' again repaid me for the disappointment I had gone through with three beautiful flower spikes. What a different and beautiful display she exhibited this time! How well I was rewarded for the disappointment I felt with my first center—rot experience. It was truly a "Blessing in Disguise!"


The New Bromeliad House in Frankfurt


For a long time the possibility had been discussed in the Palmengarten to give the bromeliad collection more space. It had been crowded in such a small house that the large species such as Vriesea imperialis and V. regina, Hohenbergia stellata and Aechmea lamarchei had no room to grow to their full splendor. Also many new imports had enlarged the tillandsia section and they could hardly be displayed in the narrowness of the small house.

Autumn 1976 finally brought the opportunity we had longed for. A larger, wider, and higher house became vacant and could be used for the bromeliad collection. It was completely renovated, and our purpose was to give each plant as good a place as we could find for it. Instead of two straight walks around a middle bed, only one broad winding path was designed, ending in a circle that allowed the flow of visitors to turn with ease.

The two large planting beds on either side of the path were lined with walls made of greenish-grey slate stones, found in the Taunus Mountains near Frankfurt. These walls have a nice rough appearance and are about 1 meter high, curving irregularly. Air shafts were built under the planting beds every 3 meters in order to assure a good circulation of warm air in the house and also draw fresh air from outside during the warmer months of the year.

With all the technical details completed, filling in of the planting material began: a large layer of lava pebbles was put down first, with a mixture of leaf mold, half rotten pine needles, peat, and a little organic fertilizer placed on top. The sunny back section was covered with bark, which contained many pockets for plants. We used bark from Robinia pseudacacia and several kinds of maple, as both were available. In the pockets we put various tillandsias and billbergias. In between the bromeliads, to enliven the picture, peperomias, some rhipsalis, and ferns were planted.

In front of the bark wall, a section with basalt columns was planned. The idea was born on a trip to Brazil, where our director, Dr. Schoser, and Herr Motschenbach, our bromeliad specialist, had observed many bromeliads growing on steep basalt rock slopes, wet with running water. Giant vrieseas clung to these slopes with astonishing force. Well, these habitats were taken into consideration, too, in our new house. We were able to obtain some interesting columns from the Westerald Mountains north of Frankfurt. These were hexagonal in shape, the unusual forms resulting from a sudden cooling of lava. No artificial cutting was needed. We arranged the rocks into a group and planted various aechmeas, billbergias, and tillandsias around them. One interesting plant native to the basalt rocks of Brazil, the Vellozia, was not forgotten. It forms thin shaggy bushes and holds on to the wet rocks with thick root masses. The single flowers are lilylike and are a very beautiful blue, white or red. The finished section with a large flowering Aechmea tillandsioides and A. 'Bert' fitting well in between the rocks offers a lively and fascinating picture.

The author in the greenhouse showing the basalt rocks

We mounted a number of large "trees" in the planting beds, again using Robinia pseudacacia, the wood being the most durable under the created tropical conditions. Also, this species has an excellent bark for the mounting of tillandsias. In the shady corner by the entrance we have a display of epiphytic ferns: Davalia and Polypodium in a number of species, the most attractive one being P. heraclifolium. This plant is a magnificent sight with its long fronds, about 50 cm in length and deeply serrated. Among its fronds we mounted tillandsias, mostly T. tricolor and T. cyanea. Opposite this planting on the other side of the entrance is a collection of rhipsalis. They are often found growing right along with bromeliads in the same habitat on trees in the rain forest. They add an interesting note with their stringlike appearance.

The outstanding feature in the center of the house is the two big groups of bromeliad trees. Many species of tillandsias grow at the top, midway are neoregelias, billbergia and aechmeas on the larger branches, and in the lowest section are vrieseas and nidulariums. A special section was chosen for such valuable guzmanias as G. lindenii and G. vittata. It takes time to achieve the desired effect and for the plants to grow into their selected place. The job is not easy, but it is most satisfying to have enough space for all our lovely plants!

As far as possible most of the bromeliad collection is displayed in this house. However, a number of plants, such as new imports and rare and valuable species, will always remain in the back growing house. Interested bromeliad fans are always welcome to view them there too.

All the planting beds were worked over with a load of decorative roots which we had gathered in the woods, creating a landscape with highs and lows and mounds for effective display.

The order of planting was kept as in the old house. To the right as one enters is a large collection of vrieseas. The giants among them have sufficient space now. These are followed by nidulariums and canistrums and porteas. In the sunniest corner are many beautiful Aechmeas. An imposing sight in the center of this section is A. hystrix var. nationalis (A. ornata var. nationalis) with the stiff rosette of leaves with yellow stripes, looking almost like an agave.

To the left one sees billbergias and quesnelias and a great number of neoregelias. Some pitcairnia species fill the background, and a valley full of guzmanias give a lovely soft effect. In between the larger plants you can see everywhere carpets of cryptanthus, really looking like "earth stars." A large group of Ananas comosus in its various forms is planted on a high bed in the curve of the path.

Explanatory texts naming the bromeliads are posted in various parts of the house, in order to bring at least the better known bromeliads to the knowledge of the general visitor and the many schoolchildren who visit our garden. Frankfurt is for many visitors from abroad a point of arrival or departure or both. We invite all bromeliad friends to take a few hours off in Frankfurt and visit the Palmengarten and our new Bromeliad House!

Organic and Natural Organic Fertilizers — If you are an organic gardener and dedicated to the idea of growing plants only with organic fertilizers, or if you want the resistance to leaching and the long-time availability which we associate with manures and other natural organic fertilizers then it is important to know that there are two kinds: water soluble and water insoluble. The water insoluble organic fertilizers are called natural organics and come from manures, seed meals such as cotton seed meal, tankages, sewage sludge products, and any plant source.

The soluble organic fertilizer nitrogen comes mainly from urea, made by a chemical process. This is about 45% nitrogen and is quickly available. It must be mixed with other material and used sparingly or it may burn. If you see a fertilizer marked 50% or 100% organic, it no doubt contains urea. This doesn't mean that it is not all right; it just explains it. Either kind may be used in our mixes. Study the label on the fertilizer package.

Henry R. Rahmlow, Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society



Neomea 'Stardust' with Neoregelia 'Fancy Free' in background

This charming new hybrid is the result of crossing our Aechmea chantinii, #15 with Neoregelia ampullacea, var. tigrina, Midget. Though each of these plants is a favorite of mine as a parent in its respective genus, their union in an intergeneric hybrid had always seemed ludicrous to me and, thus, for years I resisted the temptation of making this cross. Well, in a somewhat whimsical and frivolous gesture, I picked up a pot of Neoregelia ampullacea, carried it over to where one of our most beautiful varieties of A. chantinii was in bloom, and applied the Neo. pollen to the stigmas of every flower that was open. I didn't bother to tag any of the blooms because I began to feel that the cross was just too foolhardy to even consider. I even wanted to pinch off the blooms after I had pollinated them. Well, I didn't.

The following morning, while passing the same two plants on my way to open the roof vents of this greenhouse, I noticed new flowers open on each plant. I hesitated for an instant to reflect on the folly of my actions the day before, then proceeded on my way through the house. I made only five steps and stopped with a jolt, then looked back at the flowers. They just seemed to be asking for my attention. O.K., I turned around, retraced my steps, and again pollinated each flower on the A. chantinii that was open. This time, I suppose you could say, I had made a definite commitment: I tagged all of the flowers that had been pollinated on both days. From that day on, I made it a point to visit A. chantinii #15 each morning on my way through the greenhouse.

This went on for weeks from mid July into August back in 1972. I never bothered to reciprocate the cross — A. chantinii onto N. ampullacea — because I had found this Aechmea always to be a most-willing seed parent with almost every type of pollen placed on it. I felt that if viable seeds were to come from this union, the Aechmea was more likely to produce larger an stronger seeds than the little Neoregelia could.

Well, two months later, on October 15, 1972, I gathered the blue berries, processed them in my usual manner, and sowed the seeds in several plastic trays. To my surprise, hundreds of plants came up! However, the growth of about fifty was alarmingly rapid. In fact, the first plants bloomed in August, 1974, in a period of less than two years.

Not all of the plants from this cross were worth keeping — many never progressed beyond that flat-seedling stage. Still others were downright ugly with burn-like markings that are common to all Aechmea chantinii by Neoregelia crosses throughout their juvenile stage. Only the fifty or so plants that I considered select were kept — all others were destroyed. In this way only the best plants from the cross would ever be known. These select cultivars are all more or less uniform in growth habit. They are most accommodating in that they will do well in bright sun or in more moderate light, and they can be grown equally well wet or dry. They root readily without shock if removed from the parent plant, and increase rapidly by three or four-inch stolons.

Neomea 'Stardust' matures at less than a foot tall with many cultivars attaining only eight to ten inches. Shape, unique among present-day Neomeas, is like an elongated or upright-growing A. chantinii with long-oval or ellipsoid tank. Some forms have a decidedly pinched-neck shape like a tall vase or pitcher. All have great appeal! Leaf blades and sheaths are minutely though lavishly peppered with deep maroon dots and heavily dusted silvery gray. In strong light the green leaves take on a yellow-green to red cast.

The inflorescence is a compound head usually well above and out of the high cup and varies from golf ball size to as large as four inches tall by three inches wide. Sepals are usually vivid rose red while the petals are cream to yellow, tipped blue to violet.

Yes × Neomea 'Stardust' is aptly named, truly a distinct novelty that fascinates every bromeliad fan who sees it. Though it is a terrific grower, it is sure to remain in short supply for several years to come.

— New Orleans, La.

Thomas E. and M. R. Davey, From Single Cells to Plants. Published by Wykeham Publications (London) Ltd. 1975. Available in the U.S. from Springer Verlag New York, Inc., 175 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10010.

In view of the current interest in the vegetative propagation of bromeliads by tissue culture, this attractive science paperback of 171 pages will be welcomed by many. It is clearly written and profusely illustrated. It is up-to-date in every way and recent developments such as naked protoplast culture and fusion, production of haploid plants for breeding, etc. are covered in considerable detail. No attempt is made to cover the now extensive literature of the field of tissue culture, but some supplementary readings are suggested. The book will be particularly useful to those who have had a laboratory course in bacteriology or plant pathology. However we would have liked to have had formulas of the most useful media and a detailed description of certain laboratory manipulations. Fortunately, a practical procedural manual of this type is being prepared by Dr. Toshio Murashige, doubtless the leading figure in the development of propagation methods using tissue culture.

The senior author is on the staff of the Max Planck Institute for Plant Genetics in West Germany and the junior author is with the Department of Botany of the University of Nottingham, England.

— V.T.S.

Publications Dealing with Bromeliaceae


Smith, L. B. Notes on Bromeliaceae, I-XXXIII. (1953-1971) reprinted as Contributions from Reed Herbarium, No. XX: 666 pp. Illus. 1971 — $7.50, plus 40c for mailing.

Smith, L.B. The Bromeliaceae of Brazil. 290 pp. 128 figs. Sept. 7, 1955. Reprinted as Contributions from Reed Herbarium, No. XXVI. 1977. 1977. $5.00, plus 40c for mailing.

Smith, L.B. The Bromeliaceae of Colombia. 311 pp., 88 figs. 1957. Reprinted as Contributions from Reed Herbarium, No. XXVI. 1977. $5.00, plus 40c for mailing.

Smith L. B. Studies in the Bromeliaceae. I-XVII. (1930-1954). Reprinted as Contributions from Reed Herbarium, No. XXVIII: 550 pp. Illustrated, 1977. $7.50 plus 40c for mailing.

Make checks payable to Reed Herbarium, 10105 Harford Road, Baltimore, Maryland, U. S. A. 21234.

For the Indoor Grower

Bromeliads for Modern living By Dr. Louis Wilson and illustrated by John Pike. 80 pages. 125 illustrations in color. A beautiful little soft-back picture book aimed specifically for those who must grow bromeliads in their home. The photographs are outstanding in their color and artistry. To obtain a copy send check payable to Dr. Louis Wilson, 900 Longfellow Drive, East Lansing, Michigan 48823.

Cryptanthus, One of the Bromeliad Family by Kathy Dorr is a 30-page booklet describing most of the cryptanthus in American cultivation. May be obtained from the author, 6153 Hayter Ave., Lakewood, California 90712 for $3.50 postpaid.

Regional Reflections


Cool days are now upon us and those of us who have summered our plants outdoors should have already checked them for any possible pests they may have acquired. Mealybugs and scale are about the only insects that bromeliad growers will be concerned with. Of all my plants, my bromeliads give me the least trouble and the most enjoyment but I'm sure that as I do, most enthusiasts grow other plants as begonias, ferns, gesneriads and an occasional orchid.

When you brought your plants indoors this fall, you may also have brought in a variety of mites, mealybugs, white flies, scale, and aphids. This may also be true of newly purchased plants. A number of insecticides may be used to eliminate any such pests.

My favorite "safe" insecticide is Ceda-Flora, which is applied with an applicator, or a wad of cotton and leaves foliage with a nice shine. My favorite spray is Systemic Isotox, containing Sevin — a long-acting insecticide, effective against 160 pests. I also recommend Kelthane as a miticide and Meta Systox as a systemic insecticide. To these I add Phalthan as an antidote for fungus.

The plants get a weekly inspection. Those that appear to have a pest or disease problem are hauled up to the roof to be sprayed thoroughly and are left there to dry and deodorize before they are returned indoors. This works fine on warm days. In the winter, you have to work inside, but with caution. These chemicals are toxic; spraying indoors is dangerous because the spray material may be dispersed throughout the room and may settle on walls, furniture, floors, or clothing. There is also a greater chance of overexposure to the insecticide as the spray is heavier than air and stays in suspension in the lower third of the room for some period of time,

For indoor treatments, I use a large, clear plastic garbage bag 30 by 40 inches. I line the bottom of the bag with newspaper. The bag is large enough to hold a number of plants which are placed on the paper. I wear long rubber gloves and insert an atomizer sprayer into the bag, wrapping the opening snugly around my wrist with my other hand.

The plants are sprayed thoroughly on all sides and should be left in the bag for about a half hour. The newspaper absorbs all the excess insecticide. Still wearing the rubber gloves, you may then remove the treated plants and carefully roll up and throw out the plastic bag and newspaper.

Of course, you should heed the warnings and follow the directions on the labels of the containers.

Rozalia Rau, New York


The picture of the multiple flowering Aechmea orlandiana on the back cover of the Nov.-Dec. issue of the Journal for 1976 was very interesting. The fact that this plant was grown in Beaumont, Texas, was in keeping with our Texas image of doing things on a grand scale.

Several years ago, I had a billbergia hybrid which sent up two inflorescences. These were upright blooms, and except for the fact that one was slightly taller, they seemed to be similar in all respects. Since then this billbergia has produced offsets and these in turn have produced offsets (grand offsets?). All the plants have not yet bloomed, but so far there has been no recurrence of the double inflorescence. This perhaps indicates that multiple flowering is not a trait passed on genetically. It would be interesting if botanists could determine what triggers this phenomenon. Perhaps some day in the future there will be a method of producing multiple flowering. Just image your favorite bromeliad with several flower heads instead of one!

Edgar L. Smith, Dallas


On arriving in South Florida from Canada, my husband and I found the epiphytic plant material in the native trees most intriguing. It was several years later that I really grew more interested in them, when I joined a garden circle whose concern was in the protection of native plants. Gradually identification of the native bromeliads was accomplished by helping to set up displays at local flower shows. Most native bromeliads are tillandsias. All bromeliads are protected by law except Tillandsia usneoides (Spanish Moss). A few of the plants were offered for sale by the Seminole Indians, within the provisions of the law.

In order to become better informed concerning bromeliads, my husband and I joined The Bromeliad Society of Broward County.

In the fall of 1975 the appearance of native tillandsias suddenly became more and more frequent and soon all of the major department stores and boutiques in shopping malls, as well as flea markets, were offering these "air plants" for sale. Many plants in decorative shell containers and driftwood plaques were for sale at prices up to $60.00. These native plants require about seven years from seed to maturity. The tillandsia most frequently offered for sale is the Tillandsia utriculata. This particular tillandsia is produced almost exclusively by seeds, rarely by offset. They grow mainly in the populated areas. In contrast, the Guzmania monostachia and other tillandsias and catopsis are usually found in the more remote everglades hammocks.

Alarmed that these plants would surely become extinct, as they were being offered for sale nationally, support was enlisted from the Garden Clubs and The Bromeliad Society of Broward County. The battle was to begin.

After investigation, it was found that most of these plants being offered for sale to the boutique shops were accompanied by some sort of permit to gather, which was one of the exceptions to the native plant law. A meeting was held in the summer of 1976 with representatives from the Department of Agriculture of the State of Florida. We put forth the interpretation of the law that would allow only the person with the permit to sell the plants. In other words they would not be allowed for resale.

A request was made for a ruling by the State Attorney General. His interpretation was that if once obtained legally they could be resold. However, since our roadside and public parks are also being denuded, then we are assuming that the permit to gather in remote places was also being used on public and private lands, to satisfy the latest fad. There has been an arrest made on the complaint of a condominium owner.

Recently a bill was filed for the upcoming legislature which will convene in April. This bill would exclude the exemptions to the plant law which had been added allowing permits by various means to be obtained. This bill would allow the native bromeliads to be sold by licensed nurserymen who propagated them from seed or natural vegetative process, allowing them to be obtained by plant collectors and growers instead of being sold as decorator items. Possibly, future generations can view them in their natural habitat, festooning our cypress and live oak trees.

Maureen S. Frazel, Ft. Lauderdale


I have been growing bromeliads for nearly ten years and grow many of my plants under fluorescent lights. Under the lights I grow many vrieseas, guzmanias, nidulariums, and some aechmeas, all of which have bloomed from time to time, especially the vrieseas. I also use an automatic humidifier and keep a small fan running at all times in the room, as good air circulation is essential. My plants sit atop crushed marble stones in plastic trays spaced four inches apart on wire mesh tables under the lights. I keep the lights going fourteen hours each day and find this to be sufficient for most of the bromeliads in my collection.

I live in the city where everything is asphalt and cement and very few trees exist. My small concrete backyard is an oasis in this desert, where I maintain planters of summer flowering plants. It does not receive sun all the time and is ideally suited for bromeliads which I also grow in the yard during the summer months by grouping them together in various locations about the yard where their form and color are most complimentary. They flourish beautifully during this time when they can receive natural rain water, abundant fresh air and just the right amount of natural sunlight. Our Middle Atlantic summers are very warm and humid, and this is what the great percentage of bromeliads thrive on. During this time the leaves thicken and the plants grow fuller and sometimes set buds and flower. My aechmeas especially love the outdoors and really put on a show of color. The banded and splotched varieties intensify their scurf and markings.

I grow most of my plants, depending upon the species, in coarsely broken tree fern with a little potting soil and perlite mixed through it and some in straight osmunda. I prefer osmunda to anything else, but the supply of it is very limited and expensive. It grows naturally in the woods of New Jersey, but is on the list of endangered plants in this state and therefore cannot be removed from its habitat. Even if you could take it from the woods, it is next to impossible to extract it from the bogs. However, my potting formula seems to suffice as my bromeliads are flourishing beautifully as proof of the pudding.

Lawrence R. Souder, Camden

BROMELIADS by Walter Richter — With the exception of Mulford B. Foster of Orlando, Florida, no one in recent years has devoted himself so wholeheartedly to the growing of bromeliads or contributed more in the way of notable hybrids than has Walter Richter of East Germany. In 1965 he published his long awaited Zimmerpflanzen von Heute und Morgen: Bromeliaceen (House Plants for Today and Tomorrow — Bromeliads) the first complete book on bromeliads for the novice grower.

Thanks to the kindness of our honorary trustee, Adda Abendroth of Brazil, who undertook the translation of parts of this book into English, the Bromeliad Society was able to publish excerpts in the Journal, these appearing in Volumes XVII, XVIII, XIX, and XX. Because the original book is no longer in print and the past issues of the Journal are no longer available, the Society has reprinted these excerpts in book form. It is now available at $3.50 a copy from the editor.

Guzmania wittmackii Andre

A. Hirtz

Colombia and Ecuador are especially rich in guzmanias — some of the most beautiful of the genus being found within their boundaries. Guzmania wittmackii, which is listed in some commercial catalogues, is one of these.

This guzmania was first found by Andre in 1888 and described by him in his Bromeliaceae Andreanae. He named the plant in honor of Max Karl Wittmack, editor of Gartenflora and a professor in Berlin. It is an epiphyte growing at elevations from 800 to over 4,500 feet.

It is a large species, attaining a height of 3 feet, with leaves reaching 2 feet in length. The inflorescence is approximately 8 inches long. The brilliance of the inflorescence particularly impressed Andre when he first saw a tree containing a number of these highly colored plants, and he compared them to many brilliantly lighted candles brightening up the dark forest.

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