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.
TreasurerJoyce 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


Sanibel Sojourn
  Louis F. Wilson3
Plant Growth Substances
  Vernon Stoutemyer7
Something Different
  Bernard Stonor12
A Cold Alarm for Your Greenhouse
  David J. Christiano15
Neoregelia 'Fancy Free'
  Joseph F. Carrone, Jr.17
Bromeliad Hybrids20
Just Off the Press22
Wanted: Information on Tillandsia utriculata L.
  Sue Gardner23
Mutants and Variants
  W. W. G. Moir26
Tillandsia rosea vs. Tillandsia brachyphylla
  Alfred Blass32
Regional Reflections35
Wittrockia superba 48
PICTURE ON THE COVER Pitcairnia tabuliformis Linden. Photo by Harold W. Wiedman, California.

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.

Sanibel Sojourn


For several days it had been too cold to swim, and we had our fill of shelling on Sanibel's beaches. The winter of '76 was the coldest we'd ever experienced in southern Florida. As there appeared to be no let up in the weather, I turned my thoughts to my favorite subject bromeliads. Four times during the past 10 years, we'd spent delightful vacations on Sanibel Island and I'd long wondered if bromeliads grew there. That is, ones other than the occasional wisp of Spanish moss that highlighted the trees along Periwinkle Way the main thoroughfare. We knew that not far inland, just east of Ft. Myers, several species grew profusely. In the past we had toured the Fakahatchee Slough as Cornelison1 had suggested and "discovered" many of the species he listed. We had crossed the Tamiami several times and spied Tillandsia fasciculata in abundance. From Tampa to the keys we'd explored and searched for most of the species of Tillandsias and some of the other bromeliads known from Florida. But, except for Spanish moss, we'd not seen any on Sanibel.

Sanibel is a crescent shaped isle arching seaward on Florida's gulf coast, 18 miles from Ft. Myers. A beautiful tropical isle dotted with palms and casuarina, parts of it still remain primitive and unspoiled. This is particularly true to the leeward side where a generous portion is preserved as the J. N. "Ding" Darling Reserve a refuge set aside for birds, mammals, reptiles, plants and other wildlife. A booklet, available at the entrance, lists some of the inhabitants and notes there are "airplants" among the trees and shrubs. Was it referring to the ferns, cacti, and orchids we'd already observed on Sanibel or was it referring to bromeliads? We had to find out!

Diane, my wife, and our daughter Barbara decided to go shopping. Haunted now by the phrase in the Reserve's booklet, I gathered my 3 boys, Scott, Dan, and Glenn three extra sets of eagle eyes and set off on a sojourn to see what we could find. The boys agreed we should start our search near the Reserve. Much of the Reserve is mangrove thicket and impossible to traverse so we searched along the inland edge on higher ground. We poked into a few places for half an hour but found nothing.

Fig. 1 Sanibel Island off the coast of Ft. Myers, Florida.

While driving toward the western portion of the Reserve, Dan shouted, "Look there's some Spanish moss," and pointed to a large festoon in a short tree. It was the largest clump I'd seen anywhere on the island.

"This looks like bromeliad country," I said, and turned the boys loose.

Almost immediately Scott shouted, "Here's a big one like those we'd seen near Tampa."

"It's utriculata," I said, "and a beauty." It was well formed and stood like a sentinel on a curving branch. We probed deeper into the scrub buttonwood and sea grape and more utriculata appeared in all sizes, including many clusters of seedlings. This was indeed an excellent habitat for bromeliads.

Dan's eagle eyes spotted the next kind. "Dad, here's a 'twist plant', he yelled excitedly, referring to T. flexuosa. It was a fine specimen in spike with a small robust pup attached. Nearly purple it perched in full sunlight on a buttonwood twig. We soon found a greener one lower in a nearby bush. Then my eyes greeted a large clump of T. circinnata on the same bush and soon we were enthusiastically searching for more.

"That's four kinds," I remarked. "I knew there had to be more kinds than just Spanish moss on this island. And, there must be more," I added.

"Here's one of those grassy kinds," Dan broke in. Sure enough, discovery number five was a small clump of T. setacea clinging to a slender twig and richly reddened by the sun.

Enthralled by our discoveries we searched more diligently and soon came to where the trees became almost impenetrable. Aerial roots were everywhere. We fought our way over and through them; Glenn, my youngest, scurried under them. The utriculata were plentiful there but large and green in this dense 'jungle' and their long leaves arched earthward. Dan, who was in the lead made the next discovery.

"Here's a new one," he called, "I haven't seen it before." Stumbling over the masses of roots I finally came to his side.

"That's balbisiana," I said beaming, "chalk up number six." It had a reddish spike and long recurved dark green leaves, no doubt due to its shady habitat. Later we located more compact reddened forms in nearly full sunlight on some upland shrubs.

We finally exhausted the area and moved further west toward the edge of the Reserve.

"That looks like ball moss," yelled Scott. Sure enough several small clumps adorned a short shrub.

"That tallies number seven," I said, feeling pleased with our adventure.

We searched for two hours more and saw more of the same species as before and nothing new. Finally, we went back to our beach home prodded by the setting sun.

"Ought to be a few more kinds," I thought on the way home. "Perhaps T. pruinosa might occur in the wetter areas." We had seen it in the Fakahatchee. "What about T. valenzuelana?" I mused. It often grows with flexuosa and circinnata."

We returned several times in the next two days and probed new areas near the Reserve and in the adjacent residential areas in search of new species. We were about to give up when we made our last discovery on the way back to the car. There in full view, but somewhat out of character on the ground, was a full-grown T. fasciculata. We had passed it up as a utriculata at first, but the short dried spike was a certain give away.

"Sanibel has at least eight kinds of Tillandsias," I told the boys, "and that's more than half of those reported for Florida."2 The kids agreed this was a great place to hunt for bromeliads.

Our systematic search of much of the island later revealed the greatest concentration of bromeliads was in the Reserve and in a small adjacent residential area nearby. As the little remaining undeveloped land near the Reserve will soon give way to civilization, I was pleased to find this out. The Reserve will remain a Sanctuary that will help preserve Sanibel's fascinating bromeliads.

East Lansing, Michigan


1 Cornelison, F. 1975. Fakahatchee strand. J. Bromel. Soc. 25:138-140.

2 Craighead, F. C. 1963. Orchids and other air plants of the Everglades National Park. Univ. of Minn. Press.

Plant Growth Substances


One of the most revolutionary developments of the present century in both plant and animal science has been the study of hormones and of substances which may substitute for them. Since some of these compounds may depress rather than enhance growth, the term "growth regulators" might be preferable. However, the term "growth substances" is widely used in the literature of the subject. Also, the organization which sponsors international conferences at about three-year intervals is the International Plant Growth Substance Association.

A plant hormone has traditionally been defined as a substance produced in minute quantities in one part of an organism and transported or diffused to another area, producing a specific response. Plant hormones have also been described as chemical messengers. Some plant hormones do not quite meet these conditions. For instance, the cytokinins may be utilized near or at the point of origin. The term "plant hormone" is little used today because so many chemicals which produce hormonal effects are not known to occur naturally in plants.

The mode of action of some of these substances has been clarified by sophisticated laboratory experiments, but much remains to be done, particularly with the auxins. Each specific process of plant development can be influenced by more than one plant hormone. There is a complex interplay of these substances. Sometimes the presence of one hormone will enhance the action of another. The interaction of auxins and gibberellins is an example. The action is antagonistic in some other cases. For example, callus will be formed in plant tissue cultures when auxins and cytokinins are in balance. An excess of auxin will favor the formation of roots and inhibit bud formation. Conversely, an excess of cytokinin will promote bud formation and inhibit rooting.

Possibly the earliest recorded horticultural use of a plant growth substance was in ancient Egypt, where a drop of olive oil was often applied to the eye of a fig fruit to hasten maturity. Olive oil consists of lipids, some of which have recently been demonstrated to be growth substances.

The story of the discovery of plant hormones illustrates how the gradual addition of bits of knowledge suddenly permits great advances in science and technology. The story begins with the publication of a book by the famous naturalist, Charles Darwin, "The Power of Movement in Plants" in 1880. He described the curvature of a dark-brown grass seeding when exposed briefly to light, and recognized that something produced in the tip caused the curvature.

Another pioneer experimenter with plant hormones was Hans Fitting, who early in this century found that something in orchid pollen caused swelling of the ovary and also rapid senescence of the flower. However, his work led to no progress, in contrast to the experiment of Darwin, which was again studied intensively early in the present century by Boysen-Jensen, the Danish plant physiologist who conducted very extensive experiments. Paal conducted similar investigations around 1919 and came even closer to the discovery of auxin. He believed that he was dealing with a chemical substance produced in the tip and translocated downward to produce the curvature. He found that excised coleoptile (seedling leaf sheath) tips placed on one side of a decapitated oat seedling caused increased cell extension below the tip on that side and thus produced a curvature, due to unequal growth.

The conclusive experiment was performed by F. W. Went in Holland a few years later for his doctoral dissertation. He was in the army, but performed these experiments in the evenings. He diffused the unknown hormone from excised oat coleoptile tips into agar or gelatin blocks and found that these then had the growth-promoting activity of the excised tips. Very cleverly he calculated the molecular weight of the unknown compound from diffusion rates and it was rather low. Thus it had to be a simple compound and probably easy to identify. His doctoral dissertation was a landmark in plant science. Went formed a team with two chemists to work out the structure of this auxin. Knowing that human urine can contain animal hormones, they discovered auxin in supplies of urine from a nearby hospital. The unknown plant hormone, termed auxin, was found to be beta indole acetic acid. The experiments of Went were simple and could easily have been done by his predecessors. Auxins could have been discovered a quarter of a century earlier. Went settled in America and the writer was present at the meetings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, when he announced this discovery. The program was shared with a plant anatomist who ridiculed the idea of the existence of plant hormones and claimed that it was inconceivable that chemicals present in plants in such minute quantities could exert any effects! Radically new ideas in science often arouse the opposition of the science establishment of the time. Went built the famous phytotron at the California Institute of Technology. For a time, this was an important center for research in plant hormones. Went later became director of the Missouri Botanic Garden, where he built a radically new type of glasshouse, the climatron. He is now at the University of Nevada, where he conducts research on desert plants.

Some chemicals closely related to indole acetic acid, such as indole butyric acid (IBA), naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) and others were found to produce typical hormonal responses, although not found in plants. Surprisingly, some of them were more active than indole acetic acid (IAA). Many horticultural uses were soon discovered for these substances. They improved the rooting of cuttings in many species. They were found to improve fruit setting and sometimes also to cause the formation of seedless or parthenocarpic fruits. Premature dropping of fruits was prevented, an application which is still important in the apple and citrus orcharding industries. The chlorinated phenoxy and similar acids were found to be the most potent of all, and these formed the basis of a large chemical industry. Several were found to be unusually valuable selective herbicides and the forest defoliants used in the Viet Nam war belonged to this group of chemicals.

Another group of plant hormones which has become prominent in recent years is the gibberellins. Around 1920 several Japanese scientists studied a disease of rice plants caused by Gibberella fujikuroi (sometimes classified as a Fusarium) which caused a weak, tall or spindly growth of the plants resulting in lodging of the grain before harvest. This group, headed by Kurosawa, found that an extract from the fungus would produce the same type of growth. By about 1935, they had crystallized an active compound from the fungus and soon determined the empirical formula, but not the structure. Western scientists knew almost nothing of this important scientific development, due to the language barrier and the outbreak of war. After the cessation of hostilities, British and American scientists worked out the chemical structures for almost 50 gibberellins. These are diterpenoid compounds, and not all of them are active. The different forms now known differ greatly on their effects on plant processes. Perhaps the most striking effect which the gibberellins produce is internode elongation, and this has been used horticulturally. Some commercial preparations have been available, and camellia fanciers have used these to increase the size of flowers. Special classes have been made at flower shows for treated specimens. Gibberellin treatments can produce flowering in some, but not all, plants. One of the early discoveries was that gibberellins would cause genetic dwarf plants to grow to normal size. Gibberellin is abundant in many immature fruits and is one of the very important natural plant hormones.

The cytokinins are another important group of plant hormones. They were used to a limited extent before they were isolated and characterized chemically. Several experimenters were able to obtain growth of excised plant embryos or to obtain embryogenesis in plant tissue cultures if coconut milk or similar plant extracts were used. Cytokinins were found in both plant and animal tissue. Folke Skoog, plant physiologist at the University of Wisconsin, autoclaved salmon sperm and obtained and characterized a substance, kinetin, which caused the proliferation of buds in tobacco tissue cultures, Kinetin, per se, has not been found in plant tissue, but in a relatively short time, a number of related cytokinins were found in plants. The cytokinins, both natural and synthetic, promote cell division, bud formation, and outgrowth, and they tend to delay senescence in plant tissues. Cytokinins made possible modern techniques of plant propagation by tissue culture.

One of the major plant hormones has had an odd history. It was widely used commercially to ripen bananas or tomatoes and some of its deleterious effects were known long before it was considered to be an important naturally occurring plant hormone. Sometimes in cities where artificial coal gas was circulated in the mains, leaks would occur and trees would be damaged or nearby glasshouses would find that carnations or orchid flowers would senesce and become unsalable. The culprit was ultimately found to be ethylene. Ethylene is produced by mold fungi and a few moldy lemons in storage would produce sufficient ethylene to ripen large quantities of fruit prematurely. This could be removed by circulating and scrubbing the air. Several scientists working on fruit storage and ripening problems have enlarged our knowledge of the role of ethylene in plant processes. Several scientists at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research did much to establish ethylene as one of the natural plant hormones. Ethylene and ethylene producing compounds have been applied to pineapple plants and other bromeliads to produce flowering and fruits.

One of the important natural plant hormones is not yet used horticulturally or in agronomy. It is expensive and difficult to obtain at present, but it should be mentioned because of its importance in the physiology of plants. This hormone, abscisic acid, was first discovered by Frederick Addicott, of the Davis campus of the University of California, who was studying the mechanism of abscission in cotton leaves. Defoliation is a necessity for the efficient use of mechanical harvesters of cotton. A little later a British scientist, Wareing, announced the discovery of a natural plant hormone causing dormancy in buds of woody trees and shrubs. He called this substance dormin. The chemical structure was investigated and found to be identical with abscisic acid. Since the latter name has priority, the term dormin is not used now. Abscisic acid is also important in the mechanism of seed dormancy.

These five types of plant growth substances are the major groups of present importance, and four of them are now in wide commercial use. However, the list of natural plant hormones and synthetic growth substances continues to grow. Two different types of growth inhibitors are being produced commercially and are in extensive use. One type inhibits the apical meristem or is an auxin antagonist. An example is maleic hydrazde. The other group contains the gibberellin antagonists and these inhibit stem internode elongation. Growth inhibitors are widely used by florists to produce sturdier more compact pot plants. One wound hormone, traumatin, has been described. Some of the lipids have recently been recognized as plant hormones. Some phenolic compounds are known to influence root formation in cuttings and to interact with auxin. Certain vitamins are essential growth factors for root development and are essential in some plant tissue culture media. Phytochrome is an unstable light sensitive pigment-protein which is involved in photoperiodic effects and interacts with several of the hormones. For a time it was thought to be the flowering hormone, but it is now agreed that it is not. It is also involved in the germination of some light sensitive seeds. Phytochrome has recently been shown to interact with the gibberellins. There is now some reasonably convincing evidence for a flowering hormone or hormones in certain plants. Some investigators seem to have prepared extracts of this unknown substance which induced flowering when applied to non-photoperiodically induced plants. However, these experiments have been difficult to repeat.

U.C.L.A., California

Something Different


Bromeliads sometimes do peculiar things. The above is a multi-headed pineapple.

Bromeliads are full of surprises; many a plant which has behaved in a perfectly orthodox way for a long time will suddenly show us that it has some most unexpected tricks up its sleeve. The ordinary edible pineapple can give us some examples of this erratic behavior.

Possibly the intensive artificial culture of the species has been responsible for upsetting its balance is some way. The appearance of variegated plants in commercial pineapple plantations is hard to explain. There have been some startling theories propounded concerning variegation. If I have understood the articles on the subject correctly, the suggestion is that variegation may be caused in the first place by a virus, which subsequently retires from the scene of its activities a very interesting theory which explains a number of the problems involved. Commercial growers, it seems, like to grow their plants from offshoots obtained from the base of the fruit. I have grown a number of pineapples here in pots, mostly the variety "Smooth Cayenne," but have never been able to induce them to pup, so have been obliged to grow them from the tufts on top of the fruit. Some fruits help us by producing more than one "top-knot." I have three plants now which all came from the top of one pineapple. Another plant, after ripening the fruit, produced an offset alongside the old stem of the fruit, which, of course, soon rotted away, leaving an unusually tall plant which is growing well and should be nearly ready to produce its second fruit from the same plant.

Another curious happening concerned a plant of Aechmea lueddemanniana. It was apparent that during the early stages of its development the inflorescence was damaged in some way, the flowering part being lost altogether. The primary bracts continued to develop but in an altered form, finally growing into a rather attractive flower-like rosette. I cannot recall any other instance of deformity in a bromeliad flower. This, of course, does not refer to damage by crickets, slugs, grasshoppers, and the like.

The unwelcome discovery that one of our best plants has rotted in the center is an experience which befalls most growers at some time or other. All manner of treatments are suggested to overcome the trouble, but often these are applied too late. If the rot is discovered in time, it is sometimes possible to save the plant without much difficulty, but naturally there is a long delay before the plant is back in production. Any unhealthy appearance of the leaves in the center needs prompt attention.

By gently pulling the leaves it can be seen whether any rot is present, in which case the leaves will come away and the dead base can be seen. In two cases here the plants were saved by carefully removing the dead or dying leaves and keeping the center of the plant quite dry. One was a small pineapple plant, and this soon grew a new center. The other is a strange little plant with light yellow-green leaves which looks rather like a small hechtia but prefers shady conditions. The result here was the production of about nine offshoots formed in the axils of the lower leaves. These are the only offshoots produced by the plant, so in a way the near disaster proved to be a blessing. I do not recommend this method of inducing pupping.

Aechmea pineliana can be dull or attractive according to the treatment we subject it to. My plant was not really a success when grown in a pot, but planted out in the garden it soon made a dense clump, flowering freely in the winter. It must be admitted that the actual flowers are nothing to boast about, but the shiny red bracts which cover the scape are most colorful. It is strange that this plant should produce such brightly colored stems with an inflorescence on top which almost seems to be designed to repel insects, with its almost dingy flowers and numerous bristles.

It is the remarkable ability to change the color of the leaves that really puts the bromeliads in a class of their own. Some of the billbergias, for instance, may be any color from green to purple, just depending upon the amount of light received. Cryptanthus fosterianus, too, can be either green or orange, depending on the light, changing from one color to the other as it is moved about. Dyckias are also able to assume brilliant colors in dry, cool conditions. Aechmea nudicaulis was to me a plain green plant until I planted a few pieces on the branch of a tree. Being nudicaulis they grew without any fuss, but why did one variety remain green while the other produced red-brown markings on the leaves.

Quesnelia liboniana is not a plant which one would, at first sight, select as being something different, but it is in fact full of interest. The curious manner in which the plant can propagate forming a group of individuals connected by stolons which rest on the surface of the ground but form few roots is now well known. This, I thought, would be an ideal plant for growing on a tree. A plant was duly tied to the branch of an apricot tree and grew slowly, flowering quite nicely and forming offshoots on fairly long stolons. These stolons, so several unwary visitors told me, are provided with extremely spiny bracts. The plants have not taken the trouble to make any roots to speak of, apparently regarding them as superfluous. The real surprise is in the leaves of the offshoots which have developed attractive crimson markings on both upper and lower surfaces. The next step will be to remove an offshoot and grow it in a pot in the glasshouse to see what happens.

Margaret River, Western Australia

A Cold Alarm for Your Greenhouse


One necessity for anyone owning a greenhouse is an alternate source of heat. A failure of the primary supply on a cold day should convince anyone of that. I prefer the portable kerosene type which is both inexpensive to purchase and simple to operate. Unfortunately, a failure of the main heating system may well go unnoticed until frost damage has already been done. The answer is to build yourself a "Cold Alarm," as described below. The total cost of this unit, if all parts are purchased, should not exceed $20.00

The simple idea behind this device is a separate thermostat set approximately 5 degrees below the greenhouse thermostat. Should the temperature fall below the setting, the thermostat energizes a buzzer or other annunciator. The circuit diagram is shown below.

Since the thermostat is merely a passive device, its rating is unimportant. Only the battery and buzzer need have similar ratings, typically 6 or 12 volts. The 2 conductor wire can be the type used in telephone installations. To test the system, short out the two terminals of the thermostat with a short piece of wire. When this is done, the buzzer should ring. The battery can be located at either end, and polarity is unimportant. Since the system is normally "dormant," battery life should be for years. Note that a doorbell type transformer system is not as safe to use, as an electricity failure could knock out both the heating system as well as the alarm!

As with any new piece of equipment, this one must be calibrated, preferably in place. Allow the greenhouse temperature to drop, and while observing the temperature with an accurate thermometer (most aren't), check to see when the alarm goes off. If the alarm setting doesn't agree with the greenhouse thermometer, it can usually be adjusted to do so by turning a small screw inside the thermostat.

And while you are at it, fire up that emergency heater. Don't wait for a power failure to occur to find out whether your backup heater is in operating condition.

Levittown, New York

You've Got A Date in '78!

May New Orleans, May 6th and 7th. Seventh Annual Competitive Show and Associated Plant Sale.

Austin, Texas, May 20th and 21st. Southwest Bromeliad Guild 7th Annual Show, hosted by the Bromeliad Society of Austin in Zilker Park.

June Culver City, California, June 3rd and 4th. Bromeliad Bonanza. Annual Competitive Show, Educational Exhibits, Lectures, Displays, Banquet, Plant Sales.

November Altamonte Springs, Florida, November 3rd through 6th. Annual Show of the Bromeliad Society of Central Florida.

Those of you who grow orchids along with your bromeliads might be interested in the 22nd West Orchid Congress and Spring Meeting of the American Orchid Society to be held in Seattle, Washington in March, 1978. It will consist of seminars, workshops, tours, and an orchid show and sale. Participation is open to all.

Neoregelia 'Fancy Free' A New Hybrid Of Great Beauty


J. Elmore
N. 'Fancy Free' Sweepstakes winner at New Orleans Show, 1977.

It often happens that I will desire to make a certain cross but will be prevented from doing so because the blooming seasons of the two proposed parent plants will not coincide, or because one plant will not yet be mature enough to bloom when flowers are already available in the cup of the other. It was precisely because of these problems that this cross was only contemplated for nearly two years before it was made.

In 1973, as the blooming season of Neoregelia carolinae, 'Extra Special' was approaching, I treated with calcium carbide the lovely Neoregelia marmorata hybrid that I refer to as 'Red Variety'. The treatment was timed beautifully both plants bloomed simultaneously, and I pollinated dozens of flowers on each plant with pollen from the other.

On July 23, 1973, I planted the first lot of seeds. I believe that every seed germinated and grew like grass. Indeed it could be seen from the start that this was a happy union! And within a year, over 150 plants with leaves over a half inch wide were planted into individual 2 inch pots. No two plants seemed to be the same color!

As the months passed, I noted that there were reds and red-purples of every shade and intensity, hot orange-reds, reds, and red-purples with green or orange spots in the leaves, etc. There were also several plants that were barred with green and red. Others were red to red-purple with distinct black or green edges on the leaves. There was no end to the variations.

As the cross approached two years of age, I noticed that many of these plants showed what I began to refer to as "total color". By this term I mean color from the very base of the plant right up to the leaf tips and this color remained both winter and summer. Those marked with "total color" constituted nearly 40% of the whole cross. At two years old in May, 1975, six plants bloomed. Two were marked "total color" and varied only slightly in color. They were deep purplish red all over with a very deep fuchsia cup that seemed to blend into the overall leaf color without any clear line of demarcation. One plant was a clear rose-pink with a deeper rose-colored cup. Another had leaves of a hot orange-red color with the oldest leaves bleaching to pale green. Cup color was most unusual in that it had irregular white and yellow areas spread throughout the scarlet cup. Another was a lovely soft rose-colored plant with a deeper rose cup with many white dots throughout, just as if a light snow had fallen onto it.

By May, 1976, over 75% of these plants were in bloom. Because there were so many variations within this cross, I was perplexed at having to decide on a name that could embrace so wide an array of differences. Under the present rules for registering this or any cross, all plants resulting from the same two parents must be given but one name. If I am to follow the rules, rather than do the prevailing wrong of giving only cultivar names to individual selections, I had to find a name that would be valid for every plant in the cross, After much thought, I finally arrived at the name, Neoregelia 'Fancy Free'. This name has been well accepted.

Selections have been made, of course, to be given distinct cultivar names. We have such cultivars as Neo. 'Fancy Free', cv. 'Full Reward'; Neo. 'Fancy Free', cv. 'Pink Chiffon'; Neo. 'Fancy Free', cv. 'Strawberry Ripple'; Neo. 'Fancy Free', cv. 'Copper Queen'; etc.

Plants are very full-leaved and they range from an eight-inch spread to nearly fifteen inches across. Leaf width is from two to two and one half inches.

I do believe that color selections from this one cross could be used in a decisive breeding program to arrive at just about any color in the spectrum. Within two generations, I do believe, plants with leaf color in clear orange, yellow-orange and even the deepest of blue-violet and true purple could be bred from this cross without adding to its gene pool from among outside sources.

Presently, a repeat cross of Neo. 'Fancy Free' using the exact same parents is in small pots and ought to bloom by the summer of 1978.

Metairie, Louisiana

I truly believe that more damage is done to bromeliads in the ordinary home by the ubiquitous advice "Keep the cups filed," than is realized. Often a couple of spoonfuls of water splashed from time to time in and over the center is quite adequate. It really seems necessary for most cups to dry out from time to time to stay at their healthiest. Perhaps it works to rinse and dump the centers regularly, but most of us don't have the time to do this. And water in the centers of certain young detached pups is dangerous; far better to have airy damp compost and plastic bag over the top loosely for a short time. Of course, the cool rains and fresh air of summer seem to be splendid, but for house plants, watch out.

G. H. Butt, Nebraska

The Bromeliophiles of Greater Philadelphia won the "Pennsylvania Horticultural Society 150th Anniversary trophy for the best in show in the plant society category" at the 1977 Harvest Show held in Philadelphia last September 24th and 25th. The group was also awarded the "Silver Award of the Garden Club of Pennsylvania." The exhibit, which was called "Bromeliad Culture" was educational with all aspects of culture and propagation being demonstrated. Almost 100 species in prime condition were also exhibited again in large, colorful backdrop.

Bromeliad Hybrids

P. 'Mexican Blondes'

Work is under way on the compilation of a list of the bromeliad hybrids that have come to public notice since the making of the first cross by Edouard Morren in 1879. This is a task that will require not only a tremendous lot of research but also the assistance of all growers who have made hybrids and who desire to have them listed. Wherever it is possible, the list should include the name of the hybrid, the parentage (pollen plant by seed parent), year of making, and name of hybridizer. Special forms may be obtained from Wilbur Wood, 1621 Irving Ave., Glendale, California 91201.

Portemea 'Luis Ariza-Julia' growing in the garden of W. W. G. Moir in Hawaii. A large and colorful plant, it makes an excellent garden subject.

It is hoped that such a list can be compiled by 1979 which will mark the centennial of the first bromeliad hybrid. Of course, it is realized that such a listing can never be complete, considering the confusion which reigns concerning bromeliad hybrids, but it is hoped that eventually some order can come out of the chaos that now exists. But everyone should help. All information should be sent to the editor, 647 South Saltair Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90049, or to Mr. Wood.

The Society is pleased to announce the registration of the two new hybrids made by Luis Ariza-Julia of the Dominican Republic. Both are pictured here. One is a bi-generic hybrid, which is called a Portemea [???], being the cross of Aechmea mulfordii with Portea leptantha. Made in 1972, it flowered for the first time in 1977.

The second hybrid is Pitcairnia 'Mexican Blondes,' a cross between P. xanthocalyx and P. chiapensis, made in 1973 and flowering for the first time in 1977.

Just Off the Press

The New Monograph on the Tillandsioideae

FLORA NEOTROPICA, Monograph No. 14, Part 2, Tillandsioideae by Lyman B. Smith and Robert Jack Downs, Published by Hafner Press, 866 Third Avenue, New York, N. Y. 10022. Price $45.00

In 1935 Carl Mez published his Bromeliaceae, a volume of 667 pages purporting to describe all the bromeliad species in existence at that time. Although it has become outdated and far from complete, it remained the definitive authority on this plant family until Dr. Lyman B. Smith started his research a life time work culminating in 1974 on his monograph on the Pitcairnioideae. (See Journal, Vol. XXIII, #4, p. 127). This was to be the first of a three-part study the Tillandsioideae and the Bromelioideae to follow in due course.

Volume II on the Tillandsioideae made its appearance in September, 1977. It is truly a monumental work of 1492 pages, and the amount of time and labor which must have gone into its making is staggering to contemplate. Bromeliad growers, whose numbers are growing rapidly, owe Dr. Smith and his able assistant Robert Jack Downs, their deepest appreciation in giving them this serious scientific study of the Bromeliaceae which has been so badly needed and which no doubt will be the authority on the family for many years to come.

The book follows the organization of Mez's monograph; for each species are given all its synonyms, a botanical description (in English), and distribution as to habitats with names of discoverers and dates. Keys are given for each genus, as well as maps showing the distribution of each. Also included are lists of the excluded names and taxa. Over 250 line drawings superbly supplement the text and define better than any photograph the details of the plant described. These are the work of Mr. Downs and show him to be not only a botanist but an artist of not inconsiderable merit. Some of the drawings are so charming that they would make interesting subjects for framing.

True this book is not for everyone. For the novice, whose knowledge of botanical terms is limited and whose interest in bromeliads does not extend beyond the living room, this book would have little value as the material would be, to a large extent, incomprehensible. But for the serious grower, it definitely is an essential addition to his library, for where else would he find a key to the varieties of Tillandsia lindenii, or descriptions of the many varieties of T. fasciculata, with localities cited where each may be found.

V. P.

Wanted: Information on Tillandsia utriculata L.


I am involved in a study of ecotypic variation in Tillandsia utriculata. This species is known to occur in Southern Florida, northern Mexico, through the Yucatan peninsula, Central America, northern Venezuela and throughout the Caribbean.

Ecotypic variation has been defined as "infraspecific variation of plants in relation to environment" (Heslop-Harrison, 1964). Variation, rather than uniformity characterizes most plant species. Bromeliad growers are aware of some variations which have caused taxonomists to apply "varietal" or "forma" classifications to certain intraspecific groups, but not all variations are great enough to warrant taxonomic classification. Often variation is so graduated that only the extremes are recognized, if the variation is recognized at all. These variations are often the result of adaptation to the prevailing habitat or climate in which the population lives. It is to be expected that the more geographically wide-spread a species, the more variable it is likely to be. While some variation is more or less discontinuous and easily defined, other variations are more subtle and may be complicated by the variations between individuals within each population. Within species variations have resulted in cases where different specific names have been applied to separate populations of the same species.

Some of the characters which are under investigation in my study include overall size of plants, amount of offsetting or pupping, whether pups are produced in leaf axils or are tiny grass-like offsets formed at the base of the plant, or both. The number of seed capsules per plant and noted insect damage are also of interest. I would appreciate receiving information regarding location of natural populations and observations on the above characters or others. Habitat notes, such as prevailing type of vegetation, host (type of tree, rock, etc.) are also needed. I am seeking the same information on the following species which I believe to be closely related to T. utriculata: T. makoyana Baker, T. dasyliriifolia Baker, T. flexuosa (Swartz) L. B. Smith, T. albida Mez & Purpus, and T. Karwinskyana Schult.

Please address replies to: Sue Gardner, Department of Horticultural Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843.



Heslop-Harrison, J. 1964. Forty years of genecology. Advances in Ecological Research 2:159-247.


The Step Child of the Bromeliad Family.

Although they are second only to tillandsias in number, pitcairnias are seldom seen in collections. Perhaps this oversight is due to the fact that because of their grasslike foliage, they do not resemble the average bromeliad. Many have inflorescences of striking beauty and certainly should be cultivated.

P. atrorubens

P. nigra
P. corallina

P. heterophylla
P. undulata

P. morelii

Mutants and Variants


Mr. and Mrs. Moir in their Hawaiian garden.

I have been reading several discussions on evolution and following particularly the comments in Natural History magazine by Stephen Jay Gould, a professor of biology at Harvard. He has been discussing whether evolution was in small steps as Darwin claimed or in big jumps as discussed by Goldschmidt. He gives the impression that it was one way or the other. It is all relative and in the mind of the observer and discusser, for little steps lead to big and big to little. If a few more ivory-tower occupants would grow plants and visit nature in the raw, they might save a lot of time and magazine space. I enjoy Gould's articles for one gets a bibliography of who else has written on the subject.

For seventy years I have collected both mutants and variants. I distinguish between them in that mutants are asexually reproduced while in my terminology variants are from seed. At the age of 12 I collected some 15 to 20 mutants off of several hedges of Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and grew on its own roots. Several of these, if found in nature, might easily have been described as new species for they were so different. Others were made degenerate forms whereby some character of the species had been lost. I did the same with panax now called polyscia. It amuses me to see all the names given to these mutants as if they were species instead of listing them as var. for variety. Some of these are huge jumps and others very small and mostly degenerates.

An excellent example of a big jump is the grapefruit from pomelo in the West Indies and not in the Orient where citrus mostly comes from. The pompelmous in Tahiti is a similar but lesser jump from the pomelo. The navel orange is another shining example of a big jump and no end of other examples could be listed.

The native Hawaiian sugar canes brought here from the south in the first few centuries A.D. are a remarkable set of canes that have mutated and mutated and returned to the original with a dozen different intermediate stages, some large and some small. In the early years of this century the research at Riverside, California, on improving citrus crop yields by removing the degenerate mutants from the trees and top working the branches to superior strains attracted the interest of the Hawaiian Sugar Industry. The result of their similar research was to gain very large increases in yield from superior mutants that were qualitative and quantitative mutants without any color or other visual traits that gave them any difference in appearance.

I had much to do with all this work and know how nature can vary when conditions are ideal for such changes. But on the whole the mutants are far more on the degenerate side than on the upper side but the selection of the good ones have paid off. Since these crops are asexually reproduced it paid to remove the degenerate forms as well as remove virus diseases that were even worse and connected to these mutants.

We have had many discussions on variegations in the Journal and these are but one of the degenerate forms that arise and can arise in various designs which appeal to some people. But how does one know whether they are not virus as well and so they should be very closely watched.

At the age of 14 I started breeding hibiscus and also found one could get great variation in plants raised from selfing species. These variants were often bigger variations than the mutations and made excellent new parents. I later went into other plant breeding and got very much involved in orchids. This family of plants is prone to mutate and make variants but the mutants were far fewer than the variants. Other than a few variegated ones, one seldom saw a mutant on an orchid plant but great variation occurred in selfed or sib crossed plants. These variations occur more in different clones of a cross, yes, even in a primary cross. There are variants of considerable jumps even in mericlones of any orchid, some horrible, others excellent.

Bromeliads are even more prone to both mutate and create variants from seed. I have written on these in the Journal but would like to add another few comments to those on Aechmea chantinii, especially the plant of the 'Pink Goddess' form growing at our front door. The amazonica form arose from a very small green stripe down one leaf of the 'Pink Goddess'. Then zebrina arose from amazonica so all three grow on one root stalk. I thought at first it was only the type form coming up but it grew twice as big as the type form with narrower leaves and without the distinct bars on the upper surface and more intense bars on the lower surface of the leaf. All these steps are big jumps and I am surprised no one had concluded, before this, that zebrina is chantinii. I had always wanted a zebrina and now have it. So all these forms are chantinii with varietal names and why not give 'Pink Goddess', which has vermillion bracts, not pink, a name comparable to the others. The little green stripe down the midrib really started something with its little step and like all these changes they have to start small to get big later. So why all the discussion on this subject unless the ivory-towers have not found it out.

But bromeliads love to do big jumps. Right along side of the above chantinii - amazonica - zebrina clump are Nidularium innocentii var. lineatum and striatum mutating back and forth on each new growth. It is a big jump from Nid. innocentii var. innocentii in deep purple leaves to these with green and white stripes. The other mutants of this species are also big but fortunately have not been given species names. It is amusing what taxonomists do.

But in the hybrid bromels the variants are great in their ability to grow huge or small clones and in the color of their inflorescences. Crossing two sun lovers can come up with a shade lover and vice versa.

But it is only by growing all these plants in ideal microclimates does one get these variants in seed and mutants. When you speak of this to visitors they look at you as if to say "what's wrong with you? you cannot do that". You sure can, and on top of that the mutants often come with the seasonal changes. We are fortunate to live with our plants in the garden all year round and with many microclimates to experiment with.

If a few of these reviewers of others' work would go to the jungle for a period of time or come to see us they could find their eyes opened to see big and little jumps in evolution taking place right before them. Even the Spanish Moss, Tillandsia usneoides had great variation and a few years ago got so lush in the garden that the whole lot of them died off suddenly. A few years later a new strain appeared that is a tough grower and not at all lush.

I could go on discussing other plants in the garden or in the many tropical areas we have studied repeatedly to see how mutants and variants arise. In a recent article in the Orchid Review I discussed two orchid species and the tremendous variation in them, partly brought on by elevation in one case and in the other only a few feet above high tide in a mangrove swamp. In another article "What is a Species" I discussed others.

I believe reviewers of others' work in such matters should be well acquainted with nature and not put up a discussion over something a good plantsman has known well all his life if he used his eyes properly. I always read these discussions for they do make you think and reanalyze your own observations and made you more certain you are right.

An earlier article by Gould covered the variation in organisms according to the stableness or unstableness of the environment. The more stable and better the environment the greater the variation and vice-versa. But one does not find all these reviews of others' work done as well as Goulds, and some you can tell immediately the writer is away beyond his depth. Such a one was in a recent issue of this Journal. Also any article like these in a horticultural magazine should cover the subject in terms for the beginner as well as the advanced grower, so that all can understand the definitions of unusual terms used but maybe this may be the fault of the editor in borrowing the article from a technical magazine.

I read aloud to my wife the book put out recently on the Amazon by Time-Life and read in fine print, just inside the cover, that Nicholas Gupy,[sp? See below] the writer of "Wai Wai" was a consultant. Had the public relations man reprinted Guppy's marvelous descriptions he could have had a far greater book or even added parts of Lt. Herandon's book on the Amazon published in 1852. It is difficult to see nature completely unless you are thoroughly acquainted with plants and animals. Jean Aubert de la Rue, a geologist, had marvelous eyes and wrote in excellent terms in "The Tropics". If you are interested in plants do read "Wai Wai" and "The Tropics". The pictures in the latter are worth the turning of the pages, they are superb. Both books have been out of print for years.

Yes, nature does things in all manner of steps big and small, and whether you call it Darwinism, Goldschmidtism, or just evolution, it matters only that you see these properly. You should also understand how to use environments and microclimates to the best advantage to get these big and little jumps in evolution.

It behooves every plants person to do this to save the species he now has after the very foolish Endangered Species Act has been passed. This act makes it difficult to get the aid of nature in your further progress. You must learn to self your species and exchange them with others so they can live under different environments as they do in nature and so mutate to the great benefit of all. Growers with small greenhouse collections can have environments not really adaptable to these species and so variants are reduced to a minimum. Let each of you be your fellow plantsmen's other environment unless you live in paradise as we do.

I was really amused at Rabinowitz's article on Selby Gardens. If he said they had the biggest or best epiphytic garden in the temperate zone he might have been right but not in the world. There are others that must be better and do not have frost. Florida keeps bragging about their state, maybe we should do the same.

3311 Kahawalu Dr., Honolulu, Hawaii, 96817


I realized that there had to be a plain leaved form of Aech. chantinii as all barred and variegated or striped leaf plants have such forms. Immediately I thought of Aech. tessmannii. The flower heads are just like A. chantinii and described as like that species. As usual the green form has much less colorful flower heads and the description of tessmannii confirms this. So we have amazonica, zebrina, tessmannii all varietal forms of chantinii since this latter name was the first described.

The very same thing is true of Aech. miniata and fulgens and the latter name has preference because of priority of date of description. Thus A. 'Maginali', the hybrid between them, is but a clonal sib of fulgens.

Yes, some steps in mutations are large and others are small and if you know plants you can look for them and find them. Someone was a keen observer with Nid. innocentii and saw all its varieties but others were much less observant and did not see the similarities in the Aechmea.

W. W. G. Moir

How Tillandsia got its name

The genus Tillandsia was named by Linnaeus after Elias Erici Tillandz (1640-1693), a professor at the University of Abos, Sweden. Tillandz was perhaps a minor botanist, best known for making a catalog of plants in the area around Abos, but has come down through history as a notorious landlubber.

As a student, he went on an ocean voyage and was so seasick that he walked more than 1600 km by land rather than take the watery return trip. From that time he was known as Tillandz (also spelt Tillands), which means "by land".

Linnaeus erroneously assumed the genus Tillandsia was xerophytic, i.e., disliked water, and thus gave what he thought was an appropriate name.

D. C. Speirs

Tillandsia rosea vs. Tillandsia brachyphylla


Tillandsia rosea

Tillandsia brachyphylla

The identification of two very different miniature tillandsias from Brazil seems to be rather confusing I am referring to T. rosea and T. brachyphylla. This is the story of how this confusion came about.

About fifteen years ago, Professor Markgraf collected four T. rosea (Syn T. langsdorffii, T. recurvifolia, T. regenelli) in the Organ Mountains in Brazil at an elevation of approximately 1,000 m. Those were the first T. rosea to be sent to Europe in the 20th Century and which are still alive in the Botanical Garden in Munich, Germany. Only one of the four plants flowered, and then about ten years ago, at which time it was erroneously name T. regnellii. This name is discontinued today and was used only as a synonym for a form of T. gardneri, but the name regnelli remained in use for many years. Only recently was the error corrected and the plant finally renamed T. rosea.

Tillandsia rosea is extremely rare, as it is very hard to find and it seldom blooms in cultivation. As far as I know, one plant flowered in cultivation in 1964 and another one in 1973 in the Botanical Garden in Munich. I had two flowers in my collection in 1976, but none of the flowers developed seed. The plants are found on steep slopes in the Organ Mountains in Brazil, where a grey form of T. sprengeliana is also to be found. To my knowledge, there are only two very small areas where T. rosea can be collected, one at an elevation of 450 m and another one approximately 500 m. higher.

The stiff and dense leaves, which always turn to one side, give the plant the appearance of a closed fist. The leaves are long, have a fine tip, and are lightly covered with grey scales. It is a slow grower, producing seldom more than one offshoot after blooming. T. rosea has been found in recent years by only one European collector, and to my knowledge, Mr. Jack Roth of California is the only grower in America who has a true T. rosea in his collection.

In comparison with T. rosea, the beautiful T. brachyphylla is another plant entirely, as the latter can be found in the wilds rather frequently in a large area and is often represented in private collections. This plant was originally collected by Mrs. Adda Abendroth in the forests near Teresopolis in Brazil. Fifteen years ago it was sent to my good friend Dr. Richard Oeser in Germany under the name of T. rosea. Even today nurseries in Brazil ship this species under the completely wrong name of T. regnellii. It is true that some young seedling plants of T. brachyphylla have leaves that are tightly pressed together, but this represents only a very superficial resemblance to T. rosea. There is a probability that T. brachyphylla is closely related to T. gardneri, which is found in the warmer forests of Brazil and Venezuela. T. brachyphylla has a very showy orange colored inflorescence and the flowers are dark violet. All in all, it is not a rare plant, but a handsome miniature tillandsia that is easy to grow.

West Germany

(Translated by Walter Goddard)

Elvin McDonald. Plants As Therapy. Paperback. 174 pp. Popular Library, New York. Sept. 1977. $1.50.

This is a book not so much about what you can do for your plants as what your plants can do for you or for your friends who are in search of a satisfying plant hobby. It would be hard to find a better guide for orientation. The book is written in a breezy anecdotal style and is partly autobiographical. The author started to grow houseplants on a bleak Oklahoma farm in the Dust Bowl days of the Depression and got into the field of horticultural journalism and book editing at an early age. Plants aided the author through various traumatic experiences and, by inference, they can help you too. Horticultural therapy is still a promising pioneer field and various aspects of the subjects are treated briefly but this is not a technical book on the subject. In other words, do not expect to find out how to construct potting benches for paraplegics or wheel chair patients.

The list of plant societies is particularly good, but naturally this section will need frequent revision if the book stays in print. The author gives a fairly complete list of institutions offering professional training in plant therapy and in horticulture. One other list which would have been useful would have been that of community colleges, university extension departments, and botanic gardens and arboreta which offer adult education courses in subjects related to plants. We liked the philosophy of this author and we noted with interest the publisher currently has seven other titles by this author in print, all on subjects related to horticulture.

V. S.

Regional Reflections


January and February in Florida are glorious months for bromeliads. I have wondered whether house-grown plants in my atrium and around the swimming pool where there is no frost and where they are protected from chilling winds although surrounded by freely circulating air. Whether it is the longer nights or the cooler temperatures or a genetic characteristic I don't know, but red leaves become more vividly red and all plants with any tendency toward red or pink coloration become more rose or bronze. Green and white variegation is more beautiful the greens are more intense and the whites more completely lacking in color. Spotting is more exaggerated, with a sharper demarcation between background color and areas of variegation.

My plants have come from many growers either by purchase or gift, with many of the most beautiful from Ervin Wurthman[sp?]. Knowing my fondness for red coloration in leaves, he has provided me with many of those that have the most beautiful leaves. Probably none is richer red or a more symmetrically growing plant than Neoregelia 'Oh No,' although N. 'Dr. Oeser,' also from him, and N. 'Valencia' and N. 'Avalon' from David Besst are strong contestants for first place. Another plant so red as to be almost black is N. 'Dexter's Pride'. A year ago it won me a silver tray; in the intervening time it has neither blossomed nor had a pup, but each day has become more beautiful and a week ago won me a blue ribbon in another flower show.

The group of large, wide-leaved, spreading neoregelias with red-tipped leaves are more interesting in January and February than they are a few months earlier even though then in blossom. The red tips are in sharp contrast to the pale green leaves in Neoregelia concentrica, while in N. spectabilis they are in contrast to the darker green leaves which have irregular narrow gray bands on the underside. The neoregelias generally designated as marmorata, although sometimes subdivided into several groups, show considerable variation in leaf pattern in relation to the amount of sun they receive as well as to the clone from which they are derived. In some the leaves, although primarily an olive green, are variably overcast with a red-brown coating having circular spaces where the green background shows through. One listed as a Foster hybrid has glossy leaves with sharply circumscribed round green areas in contrast to a brighter red background and is not too different from N. chlorosticta except for being somewhat larger.

In another clone, one I bought as Neoregelia 'Fireball' but very different from the one generally so designated, the entire leaf is suffused with varying shades of red and has darker red irregular short longitudinal markings. In another, sometimes designated as 'Marcon' or 'French hybrid,' the large pale green spots are so dominant that only small red intervening areas can be distinguished. In all, the red color is more prominent and the demarcation between red and green areas more distinct than at other times of the year.

A few of the other plants in my collection that have their reddish color accentuated at this time are Billbergia amoena viridis, B. horrida, B. 'Muriel Waterman,' Orthophytum saxicola, Nidularium burchellii, N. innocentii purpurescens, Aechmea lasseri, Ae. lueddemanniana, Ae. 'Burgundy,' Ae. 'Red Wing,' Cryptbergia meadii and Neoregelia 'Fireball.'

A dwarf form of Neoregelia pineliana assumes a soft pale pink color, both the green background and the white spots of Billbergia saundersii become more rosy, and the diagonal chocolate bands of Aechmea fosteriana and Ae. orlandiana become such a deep brown that at times they seem almost black.

The most faithful of the winter blossomers are Aechmea 'Royal Wine,' Ae. miniata var. discolor, Ae. 'Maginali,' and Ae. fulgens var. discolor. Similar to Ae. 'Royal Wine' is Ae. 'Exotica' except that the inflorescence is often somewhat more branched and the petals are a deep aqua instead of dark blue. When several pups are left in the pot, the arching inflorescences with their bright orange berries rising above the shiny purple-backed smooth green leaves make spectacular showpieces. The upright inflorescences composed of closely branched clusters of red-orange berries in Ae. fulgens var. discolor, Ae. miniata var. discolor and Ae. 'Maginali' show off to better advantage when only a single plant is left in a pot. Aechmea fulgens var. discolor is not quite as outstanding in its color as the others because the purple undercoat is covered with fine dustlike powder.

A more delicate plant with glossy pale green leaves that may be counted on to bloom at this time of year is Ae. racinae. It has a drooping inflorescence made up of 10 to 12 red-orange berrylike blossoms with protruding yellow petals that, when mature, have a black zone adjacent to the orange portion. Aechmea 'Foster's Favorite,' also more of a feature when several plants are present in a pot, is a delicate plant that is showy not only for the drooping inflorescence with dark blue petals emerging from dark red berries but also for the increased red coloration of the semitransparent leaves.

Many of the neoregelias whose hearts turn red at blossoming time stage their performance in midwinter, although not limiting it to this season as closely as some others. One of the great favorites, exciting even when not in blossom, is Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor. Its longitudinally striped green and white leaves are suffused with pink at all times when they receive slightly filtered sun, but the pink of all leaves deepens and the center becomes vivid red when blossoms are about to appear. If this happens in December the florists ask fantastically high prices when sold for Christmas presents. The non-variegated form of N. carolinae is a beautiful plant too. When grown in some sun the leaves will turn a delicate reddish brown which makes them attractive, but when grown in somewhat less light and the leaves are green, the red heart, at blossoming time, is in sharper contrast. Neoregelia farinosa, the center of which becomes a somewhat more violet red, is also in blossom now.

Individual plants of Aechmea pimenti-velosoi have been blossoming for several months but some are just now coming into bloom. The same is true for Billbergia 'Fantasia' and B. amoena. These have typical billbergia blossoms and the petals are light green or green edged with blue.

In contrast to the small size of both the leaves and blossoms of Aechmea pimenti-velosoi is Quesnelia testudo. The latter is a large plant with heavily spined pointed leaves two or more feet long, and the large solid inflorescence has scalelike rose bracts with emergent light blue blossoms that quickly turn black. It rises above the leaves on a stout white stalk.

Two plants of Aechmea orlandiana are in blossom at present. The inflorescences rise only a short distance above the leaves; they are slightly branched and have red flower bracts with yellow blossoms. These plants do not need blossoms to make them beautiful, but it is great fun to have this extra dividend.

Two aechmeas that are such favorites of mine that I always keep several pots of each and that are both in bud or blossom now are Aechmea gamosepala and Ae. blumenavii. Both are small pale green plants with no touch of red in their leaves and each has an arching inflorescence that rises above the spreading leaves. The flower bracts of both are pink; the petals of one are blue, of the other, yellow. While the earlier display lingers, March brings blossoms on Hohenbergia stellata, Aechmea calyculata, Hechtia glomerata. Billbergia tillandsioides, B. 'Theodore Meade,' B. horrida, Tillandsioides ionantha, and so on. Surely there is no other family of plants that gives such great satisfaction from the seasonal change and the kaleidoscopic range of color in both leaves and flowers.

Dr. Edith Potter, Fort Myers, Florida


Most bromeliad collectors want to know the names of their plants. Some of these collectors take their unnamed plants to some one supposed to be knowledgeable; others try to identify their plants with available keys. In doing this, they quickly find that a special vocabulary is essential, and the formation of a study group is the most effective way to proceed.

Such a study group was formed more than three years ago by members of the South Bay Bromeliad Associates at the South Coast Botanic Gardens in Palos Verdes. Meetings are held every week, with a few exceptions, for an average of 40 meetings a year. Since that time, a second group was started by members of the Bromeliad Society of La Ballona Valley in Culver City.

Some of the members of the San Fernando Bromeliad Study Group in North Hollywood travel to Culver City every week to join their group. Consideration is being given to activate their own group. More recently members of the Orange County Bromeliad Society have also started a group. The purpose of these groups is to understand and be able to read bromeliad keys and then to supplement these keys when necessary as a result of the examination of plants from different localities.

In the Bromeliad Society's 1977 issue of the Cultural Handbook an article by Amy Jean Gilmartin, "Identification of Bromeliads," has sparked an interest for many bromeliad collectors. The Society is now publishing an identification handbook in somewhat more detail. This, together with the Society's Glossary, will make it possible for other identification groups to get off to a successful and very enjoyable experience.

Charles Wiley, Palos Verdes Estates


This past summer Lincoln, Nebraska saw its first bromeliad exhibition. We hope it will become an annual presentation. In June the Lincoln Garden Club sponsored the show which was housed in the modern glass-walled building of the Art Department of the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. We displayed 309 varieties in some 22 different genera. Several dozen plants had been treated with acetylene solution four weeks in advance, and approximately 50% of these were in bloom for the showing.

The displays of species, varieties, and hybrids were classified and arranged by genera, each genus having its color-coded background. A reading area of tables and chairs displayed literature and photographs, and a section of unidentified plants invited the viewer to test his knowledge. Another display offered assorted planters using bromeliads in combination with other appropriate plants: ferns, episcias, setcreasea, jewel orchids, chlorophytum varieties, begonias, dietes, and other tropical exotics.

G. Butt, Lincoln, Nebraska

Tillandsia aeranthos, "Var. nov. alba?"

Some years ago I received from Paraguay a stemless tillandsia of snow white appearance which was covered all over with white scales. The plant was still rather small and I thought it might be either a T. duratii or T. streptocarpa. In the meantime the plant grew and has flowered many times, which makes me believe that it is an unknown form of T. aeranthos. It differs from the type form and also from T. aeranthos, var. grisea, as it is not caulescent and also with regard to the extremely heavy and nearly white covering with scales. The inflorescence is of a light grey/pink color and the petals are light blue. This tillandsia is easy to grow and flowers easily, really something to please every Bromeliad enthusiast.

Alfred Blass, West Germany

Wittrockia superba

J. Bogner

This handsome bromeliad is a native of southern Brazil growing as a terrestrial or an epiphyte on trees, in the ground, or on rocks at elevations up to 5,000 feet. It seems to prefer full sun.

It has gone through several' name changes, being in turn called Nidularium superbum, Nidularium Karatas, Nidularium Wawreanum and Canistrum cruentum, for in a way it resembles these genera, having an inflorescence that nestles deeply in the heart of the plant. It is a large plant, with very shiny, lacquered foliage, and when well grown can have a spread of over three feet. It is definitely not a plant for everyone, for its leaves to 24 inches long are armed with hard red teeth and are tipped with a sharp spine, so the plant should have plenty of room. Fortunately it is a robust specimen and can withstand garden conditions where it does not get heavy frost.

The inflorescence, which resembles that of a nidularium, is slightly raised above the heart of the rosette. The many white-petaled flowers are well guarded by spiny, red bracts.

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