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.


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.

1978-1981: Jeanne Woodbury, Ervin Wurthman, Victoria Padilla, David H. Benzing, Louis Wilson, Joseph F. Carrone, Jr., Timothy A. Calamari, Jr., Roger Vandermeer.


Adda Abendroth, Brazil; Luis Ariza Julia, Dominican Republic; 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


Florida Interlude
  Victoria Padilla195
Puya raimondii: Wonder of the Bolivian Andes
  Benjamin H. Waite200
Plant Growth Substances: The Gibberellins
  Vernon Stoutemyer209
Cryptanthus from Seed to Seed
  Aria Rutledge & Harvey Kendall211
The Botanical Garden Halle
  Wilhelm Weber214
D P A and Methyl Bromide Fumigation
  W. W. G. Moir218
November A Month of Special Events
  Lucile B. McMichael219
Vrieseas and Trichomes
  Bernard Stonor220
Growing Tillandsias in Central Florida
  Glenna Simmons224
Aechmea x Maygood Moir
  Luis Ariza Julia226
An Editorial228
Available Back Issues for Sale230
Vriesea ensiformis var. ensiformis240
COVER PICTURE Puya raimondii Harms. Photo by Benjamin H. Waite, Bolivia.

Editor: Victoria Padilla

No article is to be reprinted without the expressed consent of the editor.

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.

Florida Interlude


Bromeliads at the Parrot Jungle in Miami

It is well known that California and Florida have long been rivals for the affection of those unfortunate Americans forced to reside in less temperate states. Both have an allure that cannot be denied a beneficent nature has given them a climate which northerners dream of when wintry winds force them to seek the protection of their homes. Days in the sun in the garden, along the beach, on the open road these are to be enjoyed almost year round in these two states. However, Florida and California differ widely in many respects.

This past February, at the invitation of several of the local affiliated societies in Florida, I had the opportunity to see at first hand the differences between these two states. But, there is one thing they seem to have in common, and that is the unpredictability of the weather. California has rain only in winter, at which time it is cold; the summers are long, warm, and dry. In Florida it rains mostly in the summer when it is very hot. The winters are generally mild, allowing for a luxuriant tropical growth. When I departed from Los Angeles, the day was unusually warm and bright; when I arrived in Florida it was cold and rainy. I was colder in Miami and Orlando and Tampa than I had been the whole of the previous winter in Los Angeles but that is another tale.

We should talk about the lovely gardens, the bromeliads, and the fine people who grow them. Aside from Hawaii, there is no section of the United States that can grow better bromeliads in the open garden than southern Florida. It is usually warm and humid a condition that brings out the most vivid coloration and promotes the optimum growth. Whereas southern California is often beset by desiccating winds blowing from the desert, making humidifying systems necessary for growing bromeliads, Florida's sun is tempered by a moisture-laden air. It is for this reason that many of the bromeliads that come from high, dry places do better in California than in Florida. Tillandsias are probably the most popular genus in southern California, while there are few to be seen in the Southeast. This is also true of the xerophytic types, such as puyas, dyckias, and hechtias, which are grown to perfection in the Desert Garden of the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California, On the other hand, many of the warm jungle plants thrive outdoors in Florida, guzmanias being an example. Picture to yourself a large planting of Guzmania lingulata, all with brilliant inflorescences, under a large spreading tree or a row of Guzmania wittmackii three feet tall used as a hedge. In the West, guzmanias must be grown in a greenhouse. I shall long remember the Cryptanthus 'It' growing, almost like a ground cover, under a palm in Gertrude Cole's charming garden in Fort Lauderdale.

The dominant figure in bromeliads in southern Florida is Nat DeLeon, hybridizer, grower, and manager of the colorful Parrot Jungle, a private park open to the public where roam hundreds of exotic birds. He has used all kinds of bromeliads throughout the magnificent plantings their brilliant hues blending well with the colorful foliage of the parrots.

Lucky are those who are privileged to view Mr. DeLeon's personal garden, which is closed to all but a chosen few. Unfortunately, I saw it in a torrential rainstorm, but the brilliance of the hundreds of bromeliads, which form the bulk of the plantings, shone through to create a scene of unforgettable loveliness. Against a jungle-like backdrop of palms, sagos, and cycads, neoregelias are planted everywhere. N. 'Fireball' and N. compacta, not content with being ground covers, climb the surrounding trees. N. 'Vulkan' and N. concentrica also cover large areas. Mr. DeLeon's hybrids are much in evidence he has made fascinating crosses with guzmanias, vrieseas, and aechmeas. His newest and most dazzling cross is Orthophytum vagans O. navioides, a large, dazzlingly red plant, certainly displaying the best characteristics of both parents.

Although residing in southern Florida only six months of the year, Bob and Jean Burstrom are able to maintain one of the finest bromeliad collections in the state. His large collection is housed under lath and in the open in his rear garden covering every available spot, but when the plants are in bloom they are displayed along side his pool. Protected as they are by an overhead screen, his plants are all perfect specimens. Mr. Burstrom's interests are wide and cover every member of the bromeliad family. He is also a hybridizer of note, especially of fine vrieseas, and keeps a detailed accounting of all his plants.

V. 'Red Rocket' one of Bob Burstrom's fine hybrids and recently registered.

One of the largest commercial growers in southern Florida is Kerry Lee Herndon of Homestead, who grows his plants under screening that covers an area of over 20,000 square feet. His collection is large and varied, as he obtains his plants not only from native sources but also from growers in Europe. He was able to obtain Mr. Foster's famous collection of neoregelia hybrids. Kerry is a knowledgeable young man and promises to be a force to be reckoned with in the bromeliad world.

Time, being the fleeting thing that it is, did not allow for a longer stay in the South, and my next destination was the St. Petersburg area, where I spoke to a joint meeting of the 3 groups in that area. The weather was far from warm and many of the plants grown in the open showed evidence of the cold. There are a number of fine collections here, the most diversified being that of Dr. Morris Dexter of Clearwater. Having been a world traveler and an avid collector for many years, he has contacts far and wide and so has been able to amass a notable number of outstanding species and hybrids. He has also tried his hand at crossing, and his beautiful Neoregelia 'Dexter's Pride' is a fitting tribute to this fine gentleman. But the foremost hybridizer in this area is Ervin Wurthmann of Valrico a description of his hybrids and garden will appear in a later issue.

Jean Burstrom and her bromeliad display.

For those who like neoregelias, a stop at the home of Charles and Bernice Coolbaugh of Lakeland will prove to be a revelation. Their entire backyard, which is under lath, is filled to overflowing with neoregelias of every conceivable color, shape, size, and brilliance. The Coolbaughs are genial, warm-hearted people, who like nothing better than to show their beautiful plants. Mr. Coolbaugh has a number of fine neoregelia crosses to his credit N. 'Alpha' and N. 'Beta' being outstanding. Like Joseph Carrone of Louisiana, he is working toward smaller plants, his N. 'Little Cherub' certainly living up to its name.

Everywhere in Florida the most desired plant is Neoregelia 'Takemura' of which there appear to be several forms. Its origin is debatable, but it would seem that is originally came from Japan and was grown on by the late Ralph Davis. Dr. Patrick Logue of Clearwater has a stunning form of this plant which he grows adjacent to his pool. It is a hardy, brilliant plant, over 2 feet wide, the original specimen yielding 30 offsets.

Following in his father's footsteps, Bert Foster had included many fine bromeliads with the plants he grows for his landscaping business. His cryptanthus are certainly among the finest to be seen anywhere. Of every imaginable hue and color combination, his plants attain huge proportions, often reaching a width of 2 to 3 feet.

Of interest is the growing technique used by Eloise Beach in her woodland home in Apopka, a few miles north of Orlando. She has two large greenhouses in which she grows bromeliads for the trade. Instead of overhead watering, her plants receive moisture from being placed on a surface that is at all times damp. Miss Beach had selected her homesite with the idea of growing plants outdoors, but, unfortunately, she has discovered that the area, lovely as it is with a forest of trees, is subject to intense cold. Most of her outdoor bromeliads had been severely injured by the drop in temperature experienced during the past winter.

However, such was not the case with the bromeliads in the garden of Edward and Glenna Simmons in Mt. Dora, a few miles to the north. They have used their bromeliads as a part of a semi-wild landscape around their charming home, which they built themselves.

My stay in Orlando was as the guest of the Thomas Linehams (he is the president of the Bromeliad Society of Central Florida). Their lovely lakeside home is typical of many which I visited with gardens facing either a lake or a canal. Jim Lessley in Fort Lauderdale and Elaine Speer in Miami, both are able to grow their bromeliads along the water's edge, a most attractive backdrop.

This trip to Orlando brought back memories of my first visit to Orlando. Then I had the good fortune to be shown around by the old Maestro himself, Mulford Foster, and to visit such notables as Julian Nally and Wyndham Hayward. Today, with the passage of time, Mr. Foster has become so fragile that he can no longer enjoy his garden, and many of the original growers have departed to more fertile fields. However, these pioneers in bromeliad growing in Florida would be proud of the great advances being made by the dedicated men and women throughout the state who are carrying out their work Bob Burstrom, Charles Coolbaugh, Morris Dexter, Nat DeLeon, Ervin Wurthmann, to name just a few.

My special thanks go to Mareen Frazel, who made my trip possible.

A comment on Edgar Smith's article "Bromeliads in Big Bend National Park." He mentioned that he was surprised to learn that Ball Moss was found as far west as the Chisos Mountains of Texas. Diane Cross of Tucson, Arizona, writes that Ball Moss occurs as far west as south eastern Arizona as relicts in isolated canyons and is Arizona's only bromeliad.

PUYA RAIMONDII: Wonder of the Bolivian Andes


A solitary specimen of P. raimondii in bloom, outlined against the Andean sky.

When I first came to Bolivia in early 1977 I was impressed (and somewhat surprised) by the knowledge that so many people had of the giant Puya raimondii which grows only in isolated areas of the higher Andes mountains. So it was with great expectations that I anticipated the flowering season of this unique bromeliad during the months of October and November. The initial sight of the puya in full bloom can be compared to the emotional reaction felt at one's first view of a grove of giant redwoods in California or a forest of saguaro cactus in Arizona. The impact is all the more intense when one realizes that he is observing the final culmination of over hundred years of growth under the most adverse of environmental conditions and that flowering occurs only once, to be followed by a rapid death of the entire plant. Although species of Puya, including P. raimondii, have been cultivated as ornamentals in drier areas such as southern California in recent years, it can probably be stated with considerable certainty that no one has ever seen a Puya raimondii in flower outside its native habitat. Who would have the privilege of living so long?

Undoubtedly, the most knowledgable botanist in Bolivia with many years of experience with the puya was the late Martin Cardenas. According to his botanical dissertations, the first man of science to observe the plant in this country was Alcide Dessalines D'Orbigny. In October of 1830 D'Orbigny came across a colony of puya while riding a mule through mountains over 4,000 meters in altitude in the political Department of Cochabamba. Suffering from "soroche" or mountain sickness, he believed his eyes were playing him tricks when he saw from a distance a small forest of what he thought were agave plants. However, since the flower stalks had not yet formed to maturity it was impossible for D'Orbigny to classify them taxonomically. A second description was made by Theodor Herzog who visited a large colony of puyas in 1911 in a remote zone south east of the capital city of La Paz. This colony, more than a half a square kilometer in size, remains as one of the most impressive in Bolivia, as it is situated in a spectacular setting of rugged snow capped peaks.

It was Antonio Raimondi who assigned a technical name to the puya during his explorations in Peru. He described it as Pourretia gigantea in 1894, but it was not until 1928 that Dr. H. Harms of Germany invalidated the genus Pourretia and renamed the plant Puya raimondii Harms. Cardenas states that since Raimondi never published an illustration of the puya the photographs of Herzog are the first to appear in the literature. In subsequent years various botanists, nearly all of them from Germany, visited colonies of P. raimondii in both Peru and Bolivia. According to Cardenas, these once extended in a continuous distribution from the Department of Ancash in Peru to the area of the Lagunas de Las Vacas in Bolivia. Today the puya colonies are found only in isolated areas in these countries with wide gaps in their geographical distribution.

P. raimondii is by far the largest of the bromeliads, reaching up to 10 meters in height to the tip of the flower spike. The yucca-like leaves are supported by a trunk of 50-60 centimeters in diameter and 3-4 meters in height. The spiny-edged leaves are about a meter in length and form a dense cluster. The inflorescence is a spike composed of 8-10,000 flowers. It is about 4 meters in length and 50 centimeters in width at the middle. The greenish-white flowers are borne on short spikes projecting laterally from the central stalk.

The flowering spike of P. raimondii. Somewhat less than half of the flowers are still fresh while the petals lower down have wilted and dried and the seed pods are being set.

Young puyas and cacti on a rocky ledge overlooking the valley of Comanche.

The puya plays an important part in the cultural life of the Aymara and Quechua Indians which inhabit the high, rocky and extremely arid regions of the Andes where the bromeliad grows at altitudes of approximately 3,800-4,200 meters. It is no stranger to frost and snow, and the old dry leaves at the base of the large leaf cluster are often burned by the Indians to sustain them from the cold, especially during the winter days in June, July and August. One of the popular activities of the feast of San Juan on the night of June 24 is to hike to a puya colony and set fire to the plants. Older, more resistant puyas are able to resist the burning but younger plants are immediately killed or eventually die. This feast falls on the shortest day of the year the winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere and is reported to be an ancient custom. It corresponds with the Incan ceremony of the Yntip Raymi, the sun festival which is still performed in the Peruvian highlands. Where the plants grow near small clusters of Indian houses in Bolivia those dried leaves which escape the San Juan fires are sometimes cut for kindling or for thatching to make low fences. Among the Indians of Bolivia the popular name of P. raimondii varies according to locality. In the Department of Cochabamba one hears the name "Chukikayara", which according to Cardenas means a giant, old, or tough "Kayara". The latter is a Quechua word used for all Andean terrestrial bromeliads with tough, spiny leaves. Kate Wilke, who wrote a short account of the puya in the extreme southern part of Bolivia says the name for the plant there is "Yaquispala" while in the Comanche area near La Paz the Aymara Indians call it "Ticatanka". Spanish speaking people usually refer to P. raimondii as simply "la puya" or "la Raimondi".

A mother llama and her calf graze in the valley near the Cerro de Comanche which can be seen in the distance.

A particularly fine specimen of puya flowering within the granite quarry. Note its size compared to the persons standing at the base.

Aside from the features of the plant itself, P. raimondii is of considerable interest for the animal life which is associated with both the leaves and flowers. The Andean bare-faced dove (Cymnopelia ceciliae) appears to be particularly attracted to the plant as are several species of sparrows and other passerine birds. If one is lucky (as I have been), the giant of all hummingbirds, Patagonia gigas (locally called "Burrokentis") may be observed sucking nectar from the flowers. And not only do hummingbirds seek the nectar. In some areas the Indians lean ladders against the flower stalks to collect the nectar in clay containers. Jean Dorst, in his beautifully illustrated book on South American natural history, reports that the bodies of as many as ten small birds may be found impaled upon the spines of a single plant of P. raimondii, victims of too hasty a take-off or return to perhaps avoid an enemy bird of prey.

While the great majority of puya colonies are located on almost inaccessible ridges or mountain peaks which can only be conquered by the hiker who arrives at the site half dead from fatigue and lack of oxygen, there are fortunately some groups of the plant in Bolivia which can easily be reached directly by vehicle or after a short walk from the road. The visitor from the United States is able to arrive after a night flight to either La Paz or Cochabamba and within no more than two hours from the airport be walking through a colony of puyas.

Undoubtedly, the most accessible colony is located on a small rocky hill, the "Cerro de Comanche", less than two hours by automobile from downtown La Paz and even less time from the airport. Leaving the city one drives to the Altiplano at an elevation of over 4,000 meters and soon crosses a picturesque stone bridge of Spanish colonial days which leads into a narrow river valley paralleled by low hills. The white salt deposits along the edge of the river contrast brilliantly with the blue of the Andean sky and the muted browns and greens of the landscape. The road skirts through or around small scattered Aymara Indian settlements and herds of sheep and llamas tended by colorfully dressed shepherds are passed along the way. Cerro de Comanche rises steeply from the valley floor at its widest point and its colony of puyas may be seen silhouetted against the sky from the road at a distance of over a kilometer. Probably three hundred or more mature or nearly mature plants are in the colony although less than 50% of these may be reached on foot. During October and November between 25-50 may be expected to bloom.

Cerro de Comanche serves the city of La Paz as its main source of building granite. Unfortunately, numerous puyas have been sacrificed to the rock removal equipment. The removal of the granite, however, has resulted in the construction of a road to the very edge of the puyas. To my dismay, I was unable to detect any very young plants of the bromeliad growing in the area near the quarry, but undoubtedly they are surviving on the higher cliffs and the summit of the hill. Every blooming or nearly mature plant shows evidence of burning, a result of the San Juan festivities. On two occasions in recent years the Bolivian tourist bureau has sponsored a puya festival during the blooming season, complete with Aymara Indian instrumental groups and native dancing. To accommodate them, a small plaza has been created at the base of the puya colony, and it is quite a sight to observe hundreds of country people perched on the rocks around the puyas while the Indians perform below on the plaza.

Mature flowering puyas are scattered at the base of a cliff on the Cerro de Comanche while younger immature plants grow between the rocks above.

There are a few other colony sites which the traveler would certainly find worthy of visiting. All are located in areas highly attractive in a scenic sense and most are not too inconveniently removed from a highway or country road. One of these is at Quirusillani near the interesting Incan ruins of Incallajta, Department of Cochabamba. Another colony is located in the same department in the area of Coloni and near the Laguna de Corani. Taking the highway from the city of Cochabamba one reaches a turn-off to the lagoon in about 40 km. and it is some 10 kilometers farther to the lagoon itself on a rough dirt road. On this same highway from Cochabamba to Santa Cruz, at about KM 80, there is a small colony of puyas located just off the road near the rural school "Cayarani". Martin Cardenas took Mulford Foster to visit the puya colony at the "Cuesta de Huakanki" between Sacaba and Colomi in the Department of Cochabamba in 1948. Photographs of these plants later appeared in a National Geographic Magazine article published in 1950. Other areas mentioned by Bolivian botanists include Pisco Mayu on the road from Arani to Mizque (Department of Cochabamba) and those of the Province of Bilbao near San Pedro de Buenavista in the Department of Potosi. Senora Wilke wrote of a puya colony between Tupiz and Villazon in the Provincia Sud Potosi at a location called "Montana Mochara". However, this colony has apparently been completely destroyed by fire in recent years.

Blooming puyas on the edge of the Cerro de Comanche granite quarry overlooking the valley below.

Immature puyas on a rocky ledge in association with the cactus Trichocereus bertramianus.

According to Cardenas, the largest colony of P. raimondii in Bolivia (to his knowledge) is the one located in the Cordillera de Vacas, near the town of Rodeo and on a trajectory from Arani to Mizque. It covers an area of approximately one square kilometer and was the site first explored by D'Orbigny 148 years ago. Although the preservation of all the other puya colonies through legal action by the Bolivian authorities has failed, Dr. Cardenas before his death a few years ago expressed the hope that at least the Vacas plants could be saved from eventual destruction at the hands of man through the creation of a national park. I am informed that regretfully this has not come to pass. Thus, for those who would come to South America to see de Puya raimondii, I suggest you visit the Cerro de Comanche or one of the surviving colonies of plants near Cochabamba before these disappear forever as one of the natural wonders of the Andes.

La Paz, Bolivia

From G. Martinelli of Rio de Janeiro we get this interesting note: Neoregelia carolinae grows only in Rio de Janeiro, mainly in Serra do Mar Forest. It lives on rocks or on trees, though it is not a parasite. Due to its extraordinary beauty and its need of a highly favorable ecological environment, it is suffering a double threat: on one hand unscrupulous ornamental flower salesmen pick them in forests and on the other hand the progressive destruction of the forest extinguish their natural habitat.



The gibberellins are one of the five main groups of natural plant hormones recognized at the present time. They are remarkable for their chemical diversity. Over 50 forms are now known and the list will doubtless be extended. They are designated by the abbreviation GA with appropriate subscript numbers. They are often used commercially in mixtures of several different forms. GA3, GA4, GA7, and GA9 have been much used in such formulations.

The gibberellins are fairly complex tetracyclic diterpene carboxylic acids. They are known to be synthesized in plants through an isoprenoid pathway from mevalonic acid. Gibberellin synthesis may be regulated in plants by a pigment found in minute amounts called phytochrome. They are produced in various parts of plants from roots to stems, but chiefly in areas of rapidly dividing cells. They are readily translocated to various parts of the plant.

The gibberellins are also notable for the wide range of effects which they can produce in plants. The gibberellins and the auxins both cause cell extension and elongation. Gibberellins are more active in producing parthenocarpic or seedless fruits than the auxins. They are in common horticultural use to increase the size of such fruits as grapes, cherries and cranberries. They will substitute for cold in the vernalization and flowering of many rosetted biennial plants. They are involved in the flowering of a great many, but not all, plants of various types, but plant physiologists do not consider them to be flowering hormones. They can be used to break dormancy of seeds and buds. Many aspects of their mode of action are not fully understood at present, which is also true of the other natural plant hormones. They can reverse the sex of flowers in some plants and are sometimes used in plant breeding to facilitate the production of hybrid seeds. Gibberellins can activate certain enzymes and thus play a role in seed germination. They are used in brewing to hasten the malting of barley.

Gibberellins can be used to enhance stem growth and yield in certain plants and also enhance seed production. Possibly they could be used to increase the growth rates of certain bromeliads. The level and frequency of such treatments needs to be controlled accurately in order to avoid toxicity or spindling growth.

All camellia fanciers are familiar with the application of gibberellins to flower buds of camellia plants in order to enhance the size of the flowers. Special classes are provided in camellia flower shows for such specially produced flowers. Similar treatments are effective with geraniums and probably many other plants. An additional benefit is that the lasting qualities of the flowers may be enhanced considerably. There are no reports of similar investigations with bromeliads. It is also possible that these or other growth regulators could be used to enhance the leaf colors.

Gibberellins have been demonstrated to have beneficial effects in the media used for the tissue culture of certain plants. Since they are largely destroyed by autoclaving, they must be introduced into the medium by filtration or other sterile methods. The gibberellins tend to enhance the synthesis of RNA one of the nucleic acids which are important in directing the course of protein synthesis in plants.

It is now becoming evident that some of the phyto hormones are best applied not singly but in connection with others. Thus although the gibberellins generally tend to repress root formation in cuttings, they have recently been found to enhance the root forming action of auxins. Gibberellin preparations are now easily available at most garden centers, seed stores or retail nurseries. "Gibrel" is one of the most widely sold preparations.

Various chemical compounds are now widely used to reduce growth rates and to produce more compact and attractive decorative pot plants. Some of these compounds are now known to act as gibberellin antagonists but others act through other pathways in the plant. Many attractive bromeliads are too large for convenient marketing through mass outlets. Apparently some growers are now producing small plants of some bromeliads by inducing premature flowering by treatment with ethylene producing compounds. Plants produced by this system are not particularly good for growing on after flowering and we believe that the various classes of growth retarding compounds should be treated with the more important commercially marketed bromeliads.

University of California, Los Angeles

For those of you who grow your plants in the home or in a small greenhouse it is well to remember that with the onset of darker days to keep all bromeliads close to the source of light to avoid leggy growth. Adequate feeding to keep the plants in good condition should be continued.

Cryptanthus from Seed to Seed


Earth Star is the fitting common name applied to these unusual plants. While in the jungle a number of them are found growing as epiphytes, the majority are found on the jungle floor. The genus name means "hidden flower" and was entered into horticulture in the early 1800's. To a certain degree, the flowers are hidden, in that they grow out from the axis of the leaves. They are pure white with few exceptions. There is one species with yellow flowers, but it is rarely found in cultivation. There is one with lovely pink flowers and dark burgundy foliage. It is uncertain whether it is hybrid or a species. Fortunately one such plant is in the Rutledge collection and has been crossed with a species. We may have a pink flower in a couple of years. Also, for some reason, a Cryptanthus lacerdae produced chartreuse green flowers this year.

Approximately 50 species of Cryptanthus have been recorded. However, the hybrids developed in the last few years far surpass that number.

In cultivation we find the most convenient and successful method of growing cryptanthus is in pots containing mixes using peat, perlite, leaf mold, vermiculite or a good indoor planting mix which drains well. Many times, cryptanthus are found growing vigorously under the benches in the greenhouse. Their two most important requirements are heat and humidity. Many of them have succulent leaves which quickly burn if given a spot in too much sun. They need to be kept moist to insure healthy growth. Their various leaf markings can deepen in color if given controlled filtered light, and their sizes can range from 3" or 4" up to 36", the majority being 8" to 10" across.


One method of propagation is by offshoots. Many cryptanthus produce pups in the axis of the center leaves; others appear lower on the base. Some appear on stolons. One species in particular, C. pseudoscaposis ('Cascade'), can produce plants at the end of a 2' stolon.

The time for removal of the offshoots, particularly those in the leaf axis, is when the offshoot gently tugged comes loose easily. They are then ready to be planted in your chosen medium.

Another method of propagation is by growing from seed. In order to obtain seed, hand pollinating must be performed. Close examination of the plant in bloom will show two different blooms, male and female. The male or imperfect flower is usually found in the very center of the plant and has no pistil or female part. The perfect flower will bloom from the axis of the plant; however, the pollen from the stamens in this flower is not fertile. Only the pollen obtained from the stamens of the imperfect flower is fertile. Normally the perfect and imperfect flowers in a single plant are not in bloom at the same time, making pollinating difficult. The male flowers usually bloom first, so the pollen from them must be saved until the perfect flower blooms. Pollen can be collected by brushing it off onto waxed paper. Store it in a glass jar in the refrigerator. A more fortunate method is to have two plants alike in bloom at the same time.

The female pistil is a stem with three boat shaped sections at the tip. The pollen is received in the center of each boat shaped section. The pollinating time may vary, depending on the amount of heat and humidity in your greenhouse or house. It is usually around 11:00 a.m. A strong magnifying glass will reveal the drop of honey in the middle of each boat shaped section, signifying that the pistil is receptive.

Success in pollinating is evident in about 2 or 3 weeks, when you will notice the fruit start to show deep in the axis. The berries will grow and remain green, ripening in about 3 to 4 months with no change in the color of the fruit. The fruits will be soft to the touch when ripe but can not be removed whole from the axis of the leaf, where they remain firmly wedged. A pair of tweezers is very helpful. About the only way to remove the seed is to dig it and lift it out with the tweezers. The seeds are about 2 or 3 mm in diameter, brown and not uniform in shape. You can harvest from one to 10 or perhaps 12 in each ripened fruit. It will not be necessary to wash these seeds before planting.


A plastic container with a lid such as a margarine tub is ideal for planting. Be sure to burn holes in the bottom of the container first.

A medium of 1/3 peat, perlite (sponge rock) and a good indoor planter mix is excellent. The planter mix should be run through a sieve to remove larger items in the medium. Moisten the medium and firm it in the container. Place the seeds well apart on the medium, tag, date, place the lid securely on, put the container in a warm, shaded place and prepare to wait, and wait. The germination time is between 6 and 8 weeks. The seedlings grow faster than do most bromeliads.

When all are well germinated and about " across, start hardening them off by moving the lid a little at a time for several days. You may start feeding lightly when watering after the lid is removed. Using rain water or bottled water, you may use your all-purpose fertilizer at strength. Place the germination container in a larger container and let the water soak up. Overhead watering can be fatal to the young plants. Fertilizing may be done each time you water at this strength.

When the seedlings reach about " across, they should be put into a larger container, using the same type medium, pre-moistened, as in the germination pot.

When the seedlings have reached approximately 3" to 4" across, you may step them up into individual pots, a 3" or 4" pot should be used; the planting medium should be the same as used in the community pot. The plants will not have much of a root system, but the larger pot will protect the ends of the leaves from being broken. You are now ready to wait for bloom and offshoots.


Crossing can be accomplished in the same manner as described above. It may be possible to have two different species in bloom at the same time. You can produce several quite unusual plants from hybridizing, or, depending on the plants used, you may get almost 100% of the stronger marked plant. Using any variegated cryptanthus, such as 'It', you may expect more than 50% to germinate pure white, and due to the lack of chlorophyl, they will die shortly. When two hybrid plants are crossed, a certain percentage of poorly colored, weak foliage plants can occur. There will be enough unusual plants to make it worth while; it's sort of like Christmas. You never know what you are going to get.

1. Imperfect or male flower.
2. Perfect flower showing pistil.
3. Pistil showing honey drops.
4. Cryptanthus seed.

The Botanical Garden Halle


Photo by Martin Luther
The great Tropical House at Halle.

Even in the German Democratic Republic there is a boom in plant enthusiasts fascinated by the beauty and variety of bromeliads as they use them to complete and enliven their aquarium or terrarium set-ups, to accompany their orchid or cactus collections in a window greenhouse or in a separate greenhouse. A considerable number of people have compiled interesting collections and have made the care of bromeliads the main aspect of their hobby interests.

This development is primarily attributable to the admirable influence of the grand old master of bromeliad and orchid culture in the GDR, Walter Richter, from Crimmitzschau. Through his inspiring books, through many slide lectures, and through his important role as chairman of the Central Committee for Orchids in the Culture Alliance of the GDR, and probably without exception the greenhouses in his nursery have supplied the initial base of many private collections. His significance for us can only be measured if you bear in mind that we here do not yet have the opportunity to import plant material directly from the tropics or sub-tropics or even to undertake collection trips to the natural habitats.

What Walter Richter means to us in the area of cultivation and nursery propagation is reflected in investigative study and scientific work with true species in the Botanical Garden of the Martin Luther University in Halle. Here is to be found the most extensive bromeliad collection in the GDR, and therefore we can call Halle the Medina of bromeliad enthusiasts.

The Botanical Garden in Halle has an almost 300 year old history. With the founding of the university in 1698, it was established by Georg Ernst Stahl, professor of theoretical medicine. Stahl is known to the historians of chemistry as the founder of the "phlogiston theory of combustion."

During the first decades, the garden was used solely for the cultivation and study of medicinal plants. It expanded only through the untiring efforts of the "Demonstrator of Botany," Philipp Caspar Junghans, who oversaw the garden from 1770 to 1797. The scope was broadened, and in 1788 the first little greenhouses were built. A great number of non-medicinal plants began to be cultivated and they no longer spoke of a HORTUS MEDICUS, but of a HORTUS BOTANICUS in the true sense of the word.

The garden experienced a period of flourishing under the long directorship of Kurt Sprengel, professor of medicine and botany (1797 to 1833). Beginning in 1797, he published a yearly Index seminum, with which he pursued a seed exchange with other botanical gardens and thus increased the plant holdings.

Significant progress in the development of the garden was accomplished by his successor Diedrich Franz Leonard von Schlechtendal. Under his direction from 1833 to 1866, a system was established which organized the collection according to geographical, ecological and systematic considerations. He was the first to describe various bromeliads such as Tillandsia brachycaulos, T. circinnata, T. grandis, T. leiboldiana, and together with Adalbert con Chamisso, described T. filifolia, T. punctulata and T. tricolor. Still today we are tending specimens of T. tricolor which in all probability stem directly from Schlechtendal's time.

The period from 1872 to 1898, in which the directorship was in the hands of Georg Kraus, brought no significant events, but particularly important for the expansion of the bromeliad collection was the work of the great bromeliad researcher, Carl Mez from 1899 to 1910 in Halle. Previous to L. B. Smith, Carl Mez was considered the person most knowledgeable in the field of Bromeliaceae. A significant portion of the bromeliads obtained during this time were rescued from the turmoil of both world wars and now form the nucleus of the present extensive collection.

From 1909 to 1930, Professor George Karsten was director of the garden. He was especially famous as the editor of the collection of works called "Vegetationsbilder", which was published over many years by the Fischer publishing house in Jena and which contained many habitat photographs of epiphytic plant colonies including bromeliads.

Thereafter until 1945 the directorship was in the hands of the famous morphologist, Professor Wilhelm Troll, who, among other things, was the author of the fundamental work "Die Infloreszensen". The plants of the garden were frequently the basis for his studies in the field of botanical structure. The garden experienced a complete reorganization and a comprehensive expansion of the plant holdings. The focus of research became more and more plant geography, plant sociology and ecology.

Troll's successor after 1945 was Professor Hermann Meusel, who created several new growing areas. They are designed to open up further realms of the plant world for visitors and included installations for plants from the steppes and from the highlands, and areas for bushes and plants from the temperate zones of the earth. New greenhouses for evergreens, succulents and water plants were erected and the new tropical house now under construction will make space for the growing holdings. For the past 12 years, the garden has been under the technical guidance of the horticultural engineer, Juergen Roeth. His special interest is the epiphytic vegetation of tropical America, especially bromeliads and orchids. With a great sense of goals and tenacity, he constantly strives to increase the number of species through trading and growing from seed. In recent years, Professor Schubert and Dr. Ebel have conducted research trips and have brought to Halle new bromeliads, orchids and plants from other families, among them, for example, are Hohenbergia penduliflora, Tillandsia canescens, T. fasciculata, T. fendleri and T. flexuosa.

Now the garden grows approximately 400 species of bromeliads, including 150 tillandsias, and 1200 species of orchids.

As one surveys the extensive collection in the various greenhouses, one is impressed by the excellent condition of all the plants. This is attributable to a thorough understanding of the needs of the various species and also to the fortunate fact that the garden has been supplied for several years with water from a dam reservoir in the Harz mountains which is very soft (only 4 hardness on the German scale or 4 mg CaO/Liter). This water is better than collected rain water, which has a much greater hardness here due to air-borne ash.

As an institution of the University, the Botanical Garden at Halle of course acts primarily as a teaching and research facility. But because garden inspector Juergen Roeth also took over the leadership of the Central Council for Orchids in the Culture Alliance of the GDR 9 years ago as successor to Walter Richter, there is an especially good interaction with the many orchid and bromeliad hobbyists. The Culture Alliance of the GDR is the central organization of all fanciers of scientific or artistic hobbies and encourages cooperation between amateurs and professionals in all affected fields.

There is no organization of bromeliad enthusiasts yet. Because of the similarity in interests, they are associated with the Orchid Council.

Around 90% of the more than 1000 organized orchid fans here are also involved in the culture of bromeliads, but naturally orchids hold first position while bromeliads are cultivated more or less as companion plants. But in more than a few growers, the relationship is reversed.

Because of the already mentioned difficulty in acquiring tropical plants, it is a great help to our hobbyists that the Botanical Garden has been able to supply us with many specimens from its collection.

Contributing especially to the growth of our numbers is the garden's yearly orchid and bromeliad show held during Whitsuntide and mounted in cooperation with the Orchid Society in Halle.

Thousands of visitors then stand patiently in a long line in front of the entrance. Because of the great throngs an average of approximately 20,000 people come in a period of 3 days the stream of visitors is admitted to the exhibit only in groups of limited number.

Here they are received by the magic of tropical vegetation. Aides from the society serve as guides and give cultural tips, and through this experience many visitors get that initial incentive to grow their own orchids and bromeliads.

German Democratic Republic

(Translated by Harvey Kendall)

D P A and Methyl Bromide Fumigation


After writing an article "A Plea for Research" and sending it to the Orchid Review I wondered if I would get a reply. However I received one right off and that is discussed in another article. The gentleman who replied, Mr. Robert Miler of Epping, N.S.W. Australia gave me some fine information and enclosed a reprint of an article on "The Use of Diphenylamine to Protect Apples from Methyl Bromide Injury" written by four Australian researchers. The conclusions from that research could be used in protecting plants from Methyl Bromide fumigation and should be used both by the quarantine people and by private or commercial shippers of plants that will have to go through methyl bromide treatment.

If the plants are dipped for 10 seconds in a solution containing 1000 ppm. DPA and then drained overnight at 15-20 C they will be protected from injury. I do not think that this dip will protect any insects that will be on these plants from any methyl bromide fumigation afterwards. It should be of interest to the quarantine authorities to help us get good species in safely when they are sent to us. It should be their duty, for a charge, to do this dipping before the fumigation if they carry out such fumigation.

Just think how valuable this should be for people sending plants into areas using methyl bromide fumigation regardless of everything else. In this day and age when the endangered species is curtailing the movement of valuable species this treatment should be an added requirement of quarantine inspection if fumigation is to be carried out.

Honolulu, Hawaii

It has just been learned from a recent visitor to Mexico that the state of Chiapas has chosen Tillandsia prodigiosa as the state flower. He was also informed that the collecting of bromeliads in this area has been banned.

November A Month of Special Events


During the past few years of collecting and caring for bromeliads I have learned that it takes time and patience to reach the place where some plant is in bloom or at its peak of beauty almost every month of the year. A conservative collector usually picks up plants here and there that are a year or two from maturity. In fact I prefer to purchase mine at that stage in order to learn to grow them under my particular environment. Even with more mature plants purchased much depends on care and growing conditions as to when they will bloom and size and condition of bloom. The beginner knows only that some plants are winter bloomers, some spring, summer or fall. Now and then we find an attractive plant new to us that is marked only "Bromeliad." These become the real mysteries, and when they bloom it is truly a "special event."

That brings me back to the month of November. That is the month I always seem to get involved in cleaning silver, polishing furniture, perusing recipes, checking turkey prices, and, if I'm in a truly efficient mood, making up Christmas lists. A quick glance now and then is all the bromeliads receive. The weather here in Florida is still mild, so fresh air, good light and fall rains have taken care of the necessities. Then comes the day when the Thanksgiving dinner has been gobbled up, friends and relatives have left for the north, and there is quiet and a hint of loneliness. I know then it is time for a peaceful walk through the garden. This year that walk gave me a host of "special events." On the east coast of Florida in Broward County this is what I found.

Aechmea gamosepala - the spikes just beginning to show that special special shade of vivid blue.

A. calyculata - already butter yellow

A. blumenavii - my first bloom on a mystery plant.

A. recurvata calyculata - colors of blue and cerise surrounded by dark green narrow leaves.

A. weilbachii var. leodiensis - rusty red bracts with lavender flowers.

A. recurvata var. benrathii - turning bright red.

Billbergia venezuelana - pink bracts still tight around the stalk.

B. saundersii - a large pot crowded with plants showing at least eight spikes, bracts brilliant cerise.

The neoregelias were brilliantly colored, a sign of celebration for benefits from cool mornings and nights and relief from the hot summer sun. Neoregelia farinosa, johannis, tristis, marmorata and spectabilis and some prized Foster hybrids were never more beautiful.

So for those who may be starting their collections these are the "special events" you can have in November.

Palm Bay, Florida

Vrieseas and Trichomes


A typical bromeliad trichome or scale.

It is unfortunate that the leaf scales which play such an important part in the life of bromeliads should be too small to be seen in detail without the aid of a microscope. But of course they have to be small in order to perform their task of introducing food and water into the plants. The size may vary in different species from 0.8 mm to 0.1 mm in diameter. The smallest scales are to be found in some vrieseas and guzmanias.

Each species has its own scale type, often very complex, with the same scale pattern being found in all plants of any one species. This fact can often be of considerable assistance in the identification of a plant.

Articles on these trichomes have appeared in the Journal, together with some very fine photographs, but these only cover a small part of the complicated study of the trichome. The part of the scale which is seen when viewing a portion of a leaf is naturally the top surface or cover, and it is this cover which shows the distinctive pattern of any particular scale. The lower part or the stalk cells, which connect the scale to the leaf and so are not visible, are a different story. All that is intended here is to describe some of the features of the scales as we see them on the leaf.

The Pitcairnioideae are recognized as being the most primitive of the subfamilies and the trichomes are generally rather ill defined, more or less intermediate between hairs and the fully developed absorbing scale. The scales in this subfamily are most often found on the lower surface of the leaf.

In the Bromelioideae we find the most complex scales in a wide variety of forms, some being concerned with the absorbing nutrients and others, mainly in the lower surface of the leaves, apparently acting as a shield against too much heat. Some of these scales contain several hundred individual cells. There is considerable difference in the degree of development. The billbergias generally form somewhat ill defined scales, while in the genus Aechmea there is a wide variation in type as we would expect in such a varied group of plants. Related plants produce the same general type of scale, for instance, Aechmea orlandiana, Aechmea fosteriana and Aechmea chantinii all form scales of the same general type. Related genera also show their common origin in the scale pattern. Neoregelia, Nidularium, Canistrum, and Wittrockia all have complex scales with the same general arrangement of cells. In some cases we find scales which bear some resemblance to those of the Tillandsioideae, with an outer ring of somewhat elongated cells.

It is in the last subfamily, the Tillandsioideae, that the trichome has developed into its most efficient form, yet the scales are smaller and simpler than those found in the other subfamilies and also show the same basic structure throughout the principal genera at least. The number of species which are available here for examination is rather small, including a few vrieseas and tillandsias with one or two guzmanias and catopsis. The arrangement of cells consists of a circular center, divided into four equal cells, surrounded by one or two rings of elongated cells, eight in the first ring and sixteen in the second. I am not sure whether a third ring might be present in the genus tillandsia. This central part is surrounded by a ring of elongated, often club-shaped, cells arranged radially and with their inner ends connected to the outer ring of central cells.

In the tillandsias, the usual type of scale consists of the four central cells, two rings of eight and sixteen cells, and a wing of sixty-four cells. There are many species, especially the large varieties with broad leaves, which I have not been able to examine, but in some of the smaller types the wing section of the trichome appears to consist of little more than a thin membrane supported by ribs, with no noticeable connection between the outer ends of the ribs.

Now, at last, we come to the vrieseas. This genus, too, is a large one with plants of many different types and sizes. Some species were once classed as tillandsias and there may have been other changes. The basic characteristic which distinguishes a vriesea from a tillandsia is the presence of scales at the base of the petals. Only the floral parts are considered in classifying a species so the scale pattern does not enter into the placement of a plant in a particular genus. The vriesea trichome is small, often no more than a tenth of a millimeter in diameter. The structure follows the usual pattern found in the subfamily, with a central part connected to the leaf and a free wing, loosely connected to the outer ring of the central portion. Two factors combine to make examination of these trichomes less easy than one might wish. They are not by any means flat. The center of four cells, covering the stalk cells, is the lowest part and often the ring of eight cells is inclined at an angle of 45 to the center, while if there is a further ring this may be placed at a still greater angle so that the ring is, seen from above, almost on edge. It is thus very hard to see just how many rings are present. With such a small object a high magnification is necessary to observe the details, with only a limited depth of focus. The next problem is that the trichomes are fragile. The wing section is easily detached from the center and if the scales, which are not always numerous or easy to find, are scraped off the leaf, we end up with a number of wings and perhaps an occasional center.

There is another curious fact, common to the trichomes of all bromeliads I have examined. All scales are normal sized, fully developed, and there never seem to be any partly formed scales to be seen. Vriesea seedlings only a few weeks old, with two or three rudimentary leaves, are often provided with a few full sized, fully developed trichomes before there is any trace of roots.

There are two types of trichomes to be found in the vrieseas. The first of these, generally regarded as characteristic of the genus, is a simple scale consisting, when seen from above, of the usual circular center divided into four, then a ring of longer cells, eight in number, surrounding the center. To each of these cells four wing cells are attached, giving a total of 32 wing cells. Thus the scale has something of the appearance of a daisy, a number of petals surrounding a central disc. Vrieseas with a sword-shaped, or fan-shaped, inflorescence seem to have scales of this type, but only a few of the many species have been examined.

The second type is the typical tillandsia scale with two rings of cells round the central part and a wing of 64 cells. Of the few species examined, V. hieroglyphica, V. regina, and V. guttata produce scales with this pattern, and it seems likely that species with a branching inflorescence might be included in this group. It would in fact be possible to divide the genus into groups according to the scale pattern. All of these are naturally classed as vrieseas on the basis of the floral parts, but to me, at least, it seems that a number of species might be more closely related to the tillandsias than to the remainder of the vrieseas.

Margaret River, Western Australia

Jack Kramer. Plants That Grow On Air. 96 pp. Simon & Schuster, New York. 1975.

Since he started a prolific career as a garden writer (over 40 books thus far) with books on bromeliads and orchids, one might predict that eventually the field of epiphytic plants would be covered. This slender hardcover volume is described by the publishers as an introduction to growing bromeliads, cacti, philodendrons, orchids and other plants that will thrive without soil. Not a great many species of plants are described in each of these categories. The main emphasis is on various kinds of equipment and fixtures needed to grow and display these interesting plants well. The book is, as might be expected from his recent publications, well illustrated by photographs, diagrams and line drawings. Those who grow epiphytes, either indoors or outdoors, can probably glean some new ideas which will be applicable to their individual situations. We would have liked to have seen a longer list of suppliers of plants.

Growing Tillandsias in Central Florida


Tillandsias thrive in Mrs. Simmons' woodsy garden.

Tillandsias are among my favorite plants and have been ever since World War II when we first lived in Florida. My husband was in the Navy and in addition to other parts of Florida was stationed in Key West about three years. We explored the keys thoroughly on days off. It may surprise some people to know there were bromeliads and orchids on the lower keys before the charcoal burners and later the "developers" destroyed the trees. From cut trees I collected my first tillandsias. I kept a small clump alive for some years fastened to a piece of driftwood on a table in the living room. I ran it under the faucet occasionally. That is how I found out how tough tillandsias really are. Spanish Moss and Ball Moss have always been on our property here in central Florida. The others I have collected in various counties of Florida and in foreign countries; some were gifts and a very few were purchased.

All my tillandsias are fastened to trees, hanging driftwood, or tree fern slabs with no soil or sphagnum. Some never do put out clinging roots; even so they live for years and increase and bloom though I never fertilize them. To hold the plants to the wood I use ungalvanized staples of various sizes. Bigger plants need to be fastened in several places and some can be tied with nylon stocking strips. I choose the airiest and brightest spots and find that a fishline swivel will keep them moving about.

They all seem to do well here in Central Florida, no matter that some originally came from high mountains or were picked off desert cactus. Those not native to the state probably need protection from freezes, so I move them into the greenhouse for those periods. I can't do much about those that seeded themselves about the yard.

The tillandsias I like especially and would not want to do without are:

T. brachycaulos for its flaming long-lasting color.

T. bulbosa for its shape and fine red and purple bloom.

T. butzii for its shape and spotty color.

T. fasciculata for its beautiful long-lasting bloom.

T. ionantha for its cute prickly shape and fiery color at blooming.

T. plumosa for its silver feathery leaves.

T. pruinosa for its queer, twisted form and its silver dust.

T. schiedeana for its odd shape making complete balls and its rose and yellow bloom.

T. simulata for its reddish color in light and its long-lasting bloom. T. stricta for its shocking pink bloom.

T. streptophylla for its shape and lovely mix of colors at bloom time. T. utriculata for its graceful form and silver color.

T. xerographica for its twisted shape and gray color.

Mt. Dora, Florida

Aechmea Maygood Moir


Aechmea Maygood Moir






Photos by Luis Ariza Julia

This cross between A. Mariae-reginae and A. dichlamydea var. has turned out to be not only an interesting plant but apparently very variable, also. Below are two descriptions of this cross:

Plant No. 1, first to flower:

Large flat rosette, leaves yellow-green, to 68 cm long, 9 cm wide, finely serrate. Scape angled low, scape bracts imbricate, inflated, pink, entire convolute at apex, long pointed, with more or less yellow at the tip. Inflorescence sharply erect from end of scape, 38 cm long; lower one third has 12 ascending spikes closely placed along the rachis, upper two thirds simple, flowers sessile, tubular, well separated. Ovaries large, ovoid 15 mm long, green, sparsely lepidote. Sepals 12 mm long, basally green, pinkish above, winged, ending in a small mucro, sparsely lepidote. Petals 20 mm long, 4,5 mm wide, short acuminate, basally white, blue above. A few flowers open at a time, not in order. Anthers not developed, style present.

Plant No. 2. second to flower a week later:

This plant is very different from No. 1, the rosette is more closed, leaves are to 70 cm long, somewhat narrower, finely serrate, darker green. Scape is erect, 40 cm long, covered with much smaller imbricate bracts, the lower slightly inflated, all straw colored. Inflorescence is 54 cm long with a purplish cast all over; axis is purple, sparsely lepidote, much branched with 39 many flowered spikes. Flowers sessile, tubular. Ovaries 10mm long, purple sepals 8 mm long, winged, green with purplish tips, both sparsely lepidote; petals 15 mm long, white at base, blue above. Anthers not developed, style present.

I presume that the lack of anthers is due to the nature of the parents, but as the pollen parent used was Ae. mariae-reginae, a male plant, it should be that anthers were present and the style undeveloped.

Dominican Republic

Of cabbages and kings, directors and other things.

The Board of Directors of the Bromeliad Society, Inc. is composed of 24 members elected by the members at large for a period of 3 years. The terms of 8 members expire each year. The position of director, though it is an honor, is primarily a working one, and each is expected to contribute in some definite way to the Society. In this instance, activity in a local affiliate is not to be construed as work for the international society. The directors elected for the period 1978-1981 are as follows:

Jeanne Woodbury, incumbent, for many years the recording secretary.

David H. Benzing, incumbent, not active in the international society during the past year.

Ervin Wurthmann, incumbent, contributor to Journal, chairman of Identification Center.

Victoria Padilla, incumbent, editor of the Journal since 1960.

Louis Wilson, professor and author, contributor to the Journal.

Timothy A. Calamari, Jr., not at present active in the international Society.

Roger Vandermeer, not at present active in the international Society.

It is with regret that three of the hardest working directors are no longer on the board. It will be difficult, it not impossible to fill their posts. It is with a genuine sense of sadness that we bid a fond adieu to Thelma O'Reilly, chairman of the affiliates; Charles Wiley, who was responsible for the revision of the handbook; and Wilbur Wood, chairman of hybrid registration. What the affiliates will do without their leader is a question to be pondered, for Mrs. O'Reilly worked far beyond the call of duty to further their activities and in two years organized 19 new affiliates.

Besides getting out the past two revisions of the Cultural Handbook, Mr. Wiley has put on a number of shows in the name of the Society, conducted classes in plant identification, and organized the South Bay Bromeliad Associates. Mr. Wood came to The Bromeliad Society after years of activity in the Orchid Society, and so brought with him a knowledge of hybridization. To these three members we owe our thanks and a debt of gratitude.

As the head offices of the Society are in southern California and the quarterly board meetings are held in Los Angeles, it goes without saying that most of the work of the Society has to fall on the shoulders of those directors residing in the area. However, it should behoove each director who cannot attend the meetings because of distance to keep in touch and submit suggestions, as well as articles for the Journal.

We are able to report a slow but steady growth on the part of the Society. The Journal is presently sent to 36 nations around the world, Australia ranking first in the number of foreign members and has 3 affiliated organizations. Nearly all the states of the Union are represented on the membership roll, with California leading with 603 members and 13 affiliates, followed by Florida with 370 members and 6 affiliates, Louisiana with 275 members and 10 affiliates, and Texas with 270 members and 8 affiliates.

The editor has been hard at work listing all the known bromeliad hybrids. Catalogues, old and new, have been checked, as well as every available piece of literature at her command. The response for help on the part of the membership has been depressing, but a listing of hybrids will come out after the first of the year, probably lacking the names of many worthwhile crosses. The importance of such a record is obvious when one goes over the list, for example, of billbergia crosses. There are so many duplicates with different names. I wonder whether Mr. Foster had checked his library when he named his B. pyramidalis saundersii cross 'Fantasia' for it had already been made in 1887 by Kramer and Wittmack and given the name of 'Gireaudiana.'

A brighter note is our negotiations with the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens at Sarasota, Florida for a bromeliad identification center. Since Dr. Lyman B. Smith has retired, the Smithsonian Institution is no longer available for this service. The Selby Gardens, specializing in epiphytes, is already the identification center for orchids and gesneriads, and so is well equipped to handle bromeliads. The board is quite enthusiastic over the developments so far, and full details will be given in a forthcoming issue.

It is with regret that the feature "Regional Reflections" has had to be abandoned because of lack of support on the part of the members. If the Journal is to continue, there must be better cooperation on the part of the membership and a continuous flow of usable articles.

With this issue, the readers will find a renewal notice for 1979. We earnestly ask each member to renew as early as possible so that his check will be received before the holiday rush. This will also alleviate the work of the Membership Chairman at this busy season.

Victoria Padilla

It is interesting to note that of the original 46 charter members those who joined in 1950, only eight remain as loyal members. They are W. T. Drysdale, Wilber G. Wood, Myron Kimnach, Russell J. Seibert, Alfred B. Graf, Victoria Padilla, and Mulford and Racine Foster.

Vriesea Ensiformis var. ensiformis

Photo by J. Bogner, Munich

This popular vriesea is not only to be seen in many collections but has been used as a parent in a number of notable hybrids. It is easy to grow and to flower and is one of the most adaptable of the Brazilian bromeliads, living equally well on trees, in the soil, or on rocks.

It is a variable plant; L. B. Smith listing 4 varieties:

var. ensiformis leaves concolorous. Floral bracts coriaceous throughout, bright red. Sometimes known as V. conferta.

var. striata leaves striped with creamy yellow. Floral bracts coriaceous throughout, bright red.

var. warmingii flowering plant to over 3 feet. Leaves concolorous, floral bracts yellow with green apices, uniformly coriaceous.

var. bicolor leaves concolorous. Floral bracts red toward base, yellow at apex and soon disintegrating.

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