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 41261
Los Angeles, Calif. 90041
PresidentTim Lorman
Vice PresidentW. R. Paylen
Recording SecretaryJeanne Woodbury
TreasurerJoyce Lorenz
Corresponding Sec.Elmer J. Lorenz


1977-1980: William Kirker, Leslie Walker, Eloise Beach, Fritz Kubisch, W.R. Paylen, Amy Jean Gilmartin, Edgar Smith, Thelma O'Reilly.

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

1980-1982: Doris Curry, Morris Dexter, Sue Gardner, Tim Lorman, Valerie Steckler, Harold W. Wiedman, Charles Wiley, Dale Williams.


Adda Abendroth, Brazil; Luis Ariza Julia, Dominican Republic; Olwen Ferris, Australia; 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, USA; W.W.G. Moir, Hawaii.


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

Individual copies of the Journal $2.00

Copyright 1980 by the
Bromeliad Society. Inc.


How Does One Cope with a Cassowary and Other Garden Guests?
  June Bennett147
Heat, Light and color
  Bernard Stonor150
Guzmania garciaensis
  Werner Rauh152
Notes from Down Under
  Peter R. Paroz154
The Winds of South Texas
  Betty Fausey155
Tillandsia chiapensis Gardner
  Sue Gardner156
Phytogeography, Physiological Ecology and the Costa Rican Genera of Bromeliaceae
  Kathleen Burt-Utley & John Utley159
Questions, Any One?
  Charles Wiley171
Two Aechmeas of Compelling Interest172
The Pendent Flowers
  Mulford B. Foster174
Report from Selby: Aechmea moorei
  Harry E. Luther176
Changing the Federal Policy of gassing Bromeliads at U.S. Ports of Entry
  Paul T. Isley, III178
Vriesea incurva182

Picture on the cover Tillandsia brachyphylla. Photo by Werner Rauh, Heidelberg.


Office: 647 S. Saltair Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90049.

How Does One Cope with a Cassowary and Other Garden Guests?


Common Cassowary, a running bird allied to the ostrich.

A windy valley on the edge of a tropical rain forest with natural rockeries and larger rocky outcrops, with a 800-meter mountain as a backdrop which entices showers and the occasional puffs of mist, a creek winding its way only 400 meters from our doorstep, and the sea within easy reach such is the setting for my bromeliad garden.

This little piece of paradise is situated in tropical Queensland, Australia, where in mid 1976 our first broms settled into their new home. We bought our collection from Robert Tucker.

Robert has had several of his articles on broms published, some of these articles having appeared in the Journal of the Bromeliad Society. Robert wanted his plants to go to a good home and asked if he might be able to come along and see just where we intended to grow his plants. Of course, he was more than delighted with the location and has been back several times to say hello to old friends which have multiplied since '76 but suffering a setback between December, 1978 and August 1979 during our 12 months' absence. There have been new additions, of course, which have been obtained mostly by exchanging with other brom enthusiasts.

In May, 1979 we decided to commence growing from seed which we obtained from the society seed fund and had good success with aechmeas, neoregelias, puyas, and pitcairnias, but had no luck with guzmanias, and although we germinated 30 species of vrieseas we have lost most of these.

Recently as I was busy weeding the bromeliads there appeared out of the rain forest a young cassowary, who meandered over to my biggest Aechmea bracteata and proceeded to drink from it. He was a well grown cassowary (Casuanus casuarius) chick with his brown immature plumage already flecked with the black of an adult. His helmet and throat wattles were still not developed. When adult the bare skin of the head, neck and wattles is bright blue and red. It takes three years for the plumage to develop. These birds stand 1 to 2 meters high when fully grown. They can be aggressive and are armed with formidable, though seldom used, weapons. The claw of the inside toe of each foot is a large spike. When these birds attack, they charge leaping from the ground and kicking with both feet at once.

However, I was quite thrilled to have such a visitor until I discovered his distaste for bromeliads. First, he ripped the top from Guzmania splendens, followed the next day by Guzmania lingulata var. minor, which I was wanting to cross pollinate. Several days later the berries were torn from Aechmea fulgens var. discolor. This called for immediate action. We decided to run a wire around the perimeter of the garden about what we considered to be the cassowary's chest height, thinking this would be a deterrent, but still plants were being damaged regularly. Guzmania sanguinea was trampled by the big feet and another guzmania was torn to ribbons. Our only wittrockia was also severely damaged.

Now we were compelled to erect some type of fence which was going to be difficult as we would somehow have to get around the rain forest trees. Finally we came up with a suitable construction, and for several weeks we had peace in the garden. But I still had to cope with the usual scorpions which grow to three inches, centipedes which often live in colonies with their eggs. I have found as many as 16 in one colony. They grow to 8 inches. I have been lucky so far, having been bitten only once by a small fellow.

So far I have managed to avoid the deadly adders which live in the valley, but there are several other snakes roaming around amongst the broms. Sometimes I see a brilliant blue tree snake, which to my knowledge is not widely distributed. The brown tree snake is relatively harmless. The black whip Lyodon olivoceus and the common red bellied black species I keep an eye out for, but always enjoy coming across a python, such as a carpet snake or an amethistinus.

The bandicoot, which is a marsupial, loves rooting around and digging tunnels all through the garden. Some time each week is spent righting up turned broms and filling in holes but who could dislike these friendly little creatures. One of the shy rodents of the rain forests is the tree rat. I often find his collections of nuts at the bases of trees hidden by a clump of Aechmea orlandiana or 'Bert' which I am trying to encourage to climb up the trees. The white tailed tree rat is much larger and can kill a chicken. He loves eating our tropical fruits as they ripen.

Looking from my window this morning I saw sitting as large as life in my makeshift garden pool of black plastic surrounded by rocks that bird again giving himself a bath, if you please. I chased him up the garden path but at a safe distance, as he is now as large as I am. As he trotted along, making a series of rumbles and booms, he turned occasionally in my direction and upon reaching a large clump of Portea petropolitana he suddenly ripped off a great hunk of berries as much as to say that will teach you to chase me away.

Then he reached the wire. Down he went on bended knees and wriggled under and upon reaching the fence he made a kind of hop, skip, and jump approach and over he went. I felt like giving him a leg up to help him over.

Cairns, Queensland, Australia

The cassowary is still around! A note from Olwen Ferris, our trustee from Australia, reads as follows:

In the coastal hills, south east of Cairns, we spent a most enjoyable morning viewing the Bennetts' lovely jungle garden. On the hillside, between the trees, the natural rocks have been rearranged to make a pond and paths that wander under the jungle growth. In one place a rope was strung between trees to deter the cassowary from taking short cuts over the bromeliads that grew in profusion on and between the rocks, on logs and on made-up beds of leafmold, sticks and twigs. The many genera represented were all growing well; neoregelias were outstanding, but I was rather surprised to see vrieseas growing equally well in their twiggy beds on the stones. The perfect drainage would be one reason for this.

SOME OBSERVATIONS In the March/April 1980 issue of the Missouri Botanical Garden Bulletin is an interesting comment by Dr. Peter H. Raven. Early this year he was invited to discuss the problem of the gradual disappearance of the tropical rainforest and other primitive areas with the World Bank in Washington. He writes that every week an area of rainforest about the size of the state of Delaware is destroyed or converted for use into agriculture. The tropical forests throughout the world have been reduced to about one half of their original size and in thirty years almost none will be left.

Nothing can be done to stop this rampant destruction of forest lands, as the economic and social pressures in the countries involved are too great. The issue that is faced by the World Bank and other concerned groups is what to do to alleviate this situation in the time remaining before the tropical forest, which is the home of about two-thirds of all kinds of plants and animals on earth, disappears.

We, as bromeliad lovers and growers, must cherish those plants which we know are indigenous to these regions. We must learn all we can about the natural tropical ecological system, so that these plants will survive under our care.

Heat, Light and Color


In the Journal for January/February 1980, Joseph Carrone contributes a very interesting article on color in the genus Neoregelia. The theme of his article is heat and light, and I hope Mr. Carrone will not think I am poaching on his preserves if I try to introduce a few variations on this theme.

Not all the neoregelias are capable of developing color in the leaves, whatever the growing conditions may be, and obviously the facts given in the article will only apply to those species and their hybrids which are capable of forming red pigment in the leaves. I am not sure just what species have been used for producing these colorful hybrids. I have very few red leafed plants growing here and admit that I know very little about them.

The genus may be divided into several groups; plants which color in heat and light, as described in the article, form the first group which we might investigate. I assume that these plants would have some red color under most conditions. The only plants I grow which have a uniformly red leaf are labeled N. fosteriana hybrid. Our summer days over here are hot enough for most people, 80 F to 95 F being the rule. I hardly like to look at the thermometer in the glasshouse. Night temperatures in this area are, however, much lower, a minimum of 50 or even less being quite common. So we have the hot days and cool nights mentioned by Mr. Carrone, and I quite agree that these conditions will put a lot of color into those plants capable of responding to these conditions.

There are a few queries, though. For instance N. fosteriana hybrid flowered and turned plain green, under all conditions, while its offsets remained red. My own opinion is that these highly colored plants need unnatural conditions to bring out the color and that this is detrimental to the plants. Perhaps this is why we never see a photo of one of these red plants with more than a single growth.

Our summer of 1979/80 has been particularly hot, though there is always a considerable drop in temperature at night, and under these conditions the species which color in the center on flowering have certainly put on a brilliant display. Heat appears to be the reason for this.

To my mind, this type of plant is far more attractive than one which has pink leaves year in, year out. A clump of neoregelias growing in the garden with five growths showing bright rosy-purple centers pleases me far more than of the colored leaf types.

Next we come to those plants which need strong light to produce color, but will not color with heat. I would include in this group N. marmorata and N. chlorosticta and their hybrids. They include many of the finest of the colored varieties with their marbled and mottled foliage. Some of these plants, originally grown in Eastern Australia, have shown much more color over here, either due to stronger light or temperature fluctuations.

These plants must have plenty of light in order to develop the leaf markings; heat, alone, is not sufficient. In fact they may become greener with high temperatures. N. carolinae var. tricolor is one such plant. The Journal for January/February 1977 contains an illustration of this species grown in strong light, with the entire plant red. This treatment destroys the contrast between the green and white leaves and the crimson center, which is one reason why I grow this species in nearly full shade. The deep green leaves retain all the variegation and the center colors just as well. My plant has produced an exceptionally well-colored center this season, perhaps due to the very hot conditions.

There must also be many species which do not form any red color in the leaves under any conditions. It is useless placing these plants in a hothouse or in the sun and expecting them to color. All you will get is a roasted plant, and fond though I am of bromeliads, I draw the line at having one served up with my Sunday dinner.

Margaret River, West Australia

IN THE MAIL BAG It was good to hear from Mabel M. Maas, who has been a loyal member for over 25 years. She writes: A note to thank you and our fellow bromeliad Society members for many years of pleasure. Many happy years of good growing! In memory of a faithful oldtime member could you add the name of Mrs. Beryl Allen. She was a good and wise "mother robin" to those of us "out in the sticks." Best wishes on the Thirtieth Anniversary! Tacoma, Washington. (Mrs. Allen headed the Round Robin for many, many years.)

Farther away from home, we have an interesting communication from Joyce Carr, who resides in South Australia. She writes: The Bromeliad Society of South Australia has a membership of just over one hundred and is very active. We have just begun our fourth year and feel that we have promoted bromeliads in this state to a high degree. This month we are having our second annual exhibition. I have been growing broms for about 15 years. Is there anyone you know who could sell me seeds of cryptanthus?

7 Liberty Grove, Woodville Gardens, South Australia.

Guzmania garciaensis RAUH, a new species from Northern Peru 1



Together with G. victoriae RAUH (see "Bromeliad Journal", XXX, 2) we found in a humid mist-forest in an altitude of 1200 m in Northern Peru near the military camp Garcia (new road from Florida to Rioja) a new Guzmania, which resembles, when flowering, the Ecuadorian G. xanthobracteata, but G. garciaensis differs from it by the very short floral bracts. In G. xanthobracteata these are longer than the sepals.

Plant with elongated stems, flowering up 1 m high; leaves numerous, forming a funnelform rosette; sheathes broad-ovate, up to 9 cm long and 6 cm wide, light-brown, with dark stripes, bearing in their axis many adventive roots; blades narrow-lingulate, acute, up to 60 cm long and 3 cm wide, dark green on the upper side, sparsely lepidote beneath, strongly nerved; scape 45 cm long, erect, 8 mm in diameter, straw-colored, laxly lepidote; scape bracts subfoliate, green, long acute, longer than the internodes; inflorescence erect, up to 30 cm long, 10 cm in diameter, laxly bipinnate, with about 12 horizontally spreading spikes; primary bracts narrow-lanceolate, bright-red at the base, green in the upper part, the basal ones longer, the upper ones shorter than the spikes; these short stipitate, cylindric, flowered, 5-6 cm long with about 10 densely spirostichous arranged flowers; floral bracts exserted by the sepals, 1,7 cm long, 1,3 cm wide, obtuse, yellow, but red striped, soon drying up; flowers yellow, polystichous, postfloral secund, spreading at anthesis; sepals 3 cm long, 8 mm wide, nearly free, greenish-yellow, obtuse; petals 4 cm long, 5 mm wide, yellow, their obtuse tips recurved; stamens and style included.

Like many other Guzmanias G. garciaensis forms also a lot of mucilage, which embeds the flower buds.

As already mentioned G. garciaensis resembles the Ecuadorian G. xanthobracteata, but it differs from it by the much shorter floral bracts; there are also some affinities to G. andreana, but in this species the floral bracts must be strongly nerved, but in G. garciaensis they are even.

Collection-number: RAUH 38 613 (Sept. 1975)

University of Heidelberg

1) The Latin diagnosis is published in "Bromelienstudien" VIII, Tropische and Subtropische Pflanzenwelt 27, p. 434-436, 1979.

Congratulations to the S. E. Michigan Bromeliad Society! Although few in members, this affiliate is very active and this March had a very exciting bromeliad show, impressing the many visitors who attended. Bill Vilders deserves the credit for getting the group together. Also very active in the society is Paul Wingert, who when not tending his plants is a cellist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

Notes from Down Under


Tillandsia complanata is one of the more unusual of the green leafed tillandsias. With its multiple inflorescences emerging from between the leaves and its nonoffsetting habit of growth, it is both a challenge and a fascination to the serious tillandsia collector. Published descriptions and photographs indicate that the species is very variable in size, shape, and color of both plant and flower, not surprising in a species with collections listed from Costa Rica to Brazil.

The form which I have in cultivation has many plain green leaves in a dense rosette to about 8 inches in diameter. The inflorescence consists of a small lanceolate spike of 3 to 5 flowers with pale orange bracts and rose petals. I received the seed from Ecuador in 1968 and flowered the first plant in 1973. The plants have flowered regularly with a major flush of 5 to 8 spikes in autumn, and occasionally a lesser flowering of 2 or 3 spikes in late spring. The inflorescences arise from the axils of the oldest leaves, and not surprisingly relate to the number of new leaves produced in the last but one growing period.

My plants grow in an open bushhouse under 50 percent shade cloth. They are mounted on shredded treefern fiber on a wooden raft and watered to keep water in the leaf axils, leaving the fiber relatively dry. I have also grown this species in fiber in a pot but find a great deal more care with watering is required to prevent stem rot. A regular spraying with a weak solution of a balanced fertilizer promotes good growth and flowering.

Since Tillandsia complanata does not offset, it can be propagated only from seed, and my limited experience indicates that it is more difficult than most tillandsias. Seedling conditions similar to that required for vrieseas, or a little drier, are indicated; but I am waiting harvest of my next crop of seed so that I can continue my investigations of this topic.

Brisbane, Australia

The Winds of South Texas


Spring comes early to the Texas coast. In February the south-easterly winds begin their gusts from the Gulf at a variable 25 to 45 mph, bringing warm temperatures and high humidity. Live Oak trees are bent by this force into picturesque formations that have been photographed and sketched by artists from around the world.

Rockport, on the Texas coast, 40 miles north of Corpus Christi, is a small wildlife paradise. It is also fine bromeliad country.

Our bromeliads are grown in pots under the Live Oak trees. Bright sunshine filters through these trees, humidity hovers at 90 percent, and air circulation is excellent.

Spring flows smoothly into summer and temperatures rise to the 90's. Even with an occasional 100+, there is a cool breeze, at all times, under the trees. The bromeliads thrive.

In August the winds lay a bit and all eyes are focused on the Gulf. Hurricane Celia, with winds clocked over 200 mph, completely devastated our area 11 years ago. Bromeliad damage was great.

October brings the first hint of approaching winter. The south-east breeze is replaced by a mighty blast from the north, dropping temperatures as much as 40 degrees in a few hours. Plants must come into the greenhouses now as even the hardiest will be burned. Only the hechtias and a colony of Tillandsia baileyii in a Youpon tree will be left to endure the 40 to 50 mph winds of the "norther".

It does freeze occasionally. Then, cryptanthus hover near the heaters and neos which had stubbornly refused to color in the bright light of summer, take on remarkable hues with the temperature drop.

"Northers" are of short duration. Winters do not last long. As the winds again shift to the south-east, windows can be opened and spring is just around the corner.

Rockport, Texas

The Corpus Christi Bromeliad Society is sponsoring the fifth World Conference and show in Corpus Christi, Texas, on June 3 to 6, 1982. The new Bay Front Plaza site and 800 motel rooms have already been reserved. The Plaza is a magnificent new modern structure in a picturesque setting overlooking Corpus Christi bay.

Tillandsia Chiapensis Gardner


Figure 1: A, habit (flowering); B, habit (post flowering, showing clumping); C, inflorescence parts, 1, ovary, style and one stamen; 2, one of two anterior sepals; 3, posterior sepal; 4, petal; 5, complete flower; 6, flower with bract; 7, floral bract; 8, stigma, and stigma with 2 lobes cut away; D, calyx; E, leaf; F, foliar trichome; G, pair of stomata from abaxial surface of blade; H, anther; I, pollen grain.

In 1976 Michael and Natalie Hughes introduced a new and unusual Tillandsia to Texas Bromeliad growers through sales at the Bromeliad show in Corpus Christi, and soon after at the Southwest Bromeliad Guild Show in Austin. Michael and Natalie have been living in Veracruz in a cabin behind the Posada Loma Motel at Fortin de las Flores, where they collected bromeliads for importation into the U.S. While they never gave the location of the collection, other than "growing on steep cliffs", assumptions were made that they were in the state of Veracruz. Many attempts were made by various individuals to "key out" or otherwise identify this lovely and easy to cultivate Tillandsia.

In the summer of 1977 Erna Baker, of Corpus Christi, and family were bromeliad hunting in southern Mexico and accidentally found this mysterious Tillandsia on a steep canyon wall in the state of Chiapas. We learned of the location from Erna and made a collection. One plant was given to Dr. Matuda who considered it a new species. A specimen was then sent to Dr. Lyman Smith who verified that it was indeed an undescribed species. I described the species and the original publication of the description appears in Selbyana Vol. 2, No. 4, 1978.

The plant is a stemless rosette which offsets freely from the base and eventually forms a large clump. The densely lepidote leaves are about 30 centimeters long and are numerous. The blades are narrowly triangular and subinvolute. The sheaths are suborbicular and pale castaneous. The inflorescence is usually simple, but occasionally has a single lateral branch. It begins as suberect, becoming pendent as it matures. The imbricate, slightly inflated floral bracts are densely lepidote and rosy pink. The petals are long, blue-lavender and form a tube. The sepals are free, glabrous and coriaceous, the posterior ones are keeled.

The habitat of this Tillandsia is in the region of Chiapas known as the central depression, and is an area of thorn woodland. It grows on steep canyon walls which rise about 350 meters above a river, and occurs on both sides of the canyon in full sun. The elevation is approximately 600 meters. Flowering is in late fall to winter. The other bromeliads which grow in the area include a Hechtia which also occupies the canyon walls.

A Billbergia species and Tillandsia concolor, T. juncea, T. caput-medusae, T. fasciculata, T. schiedeana, T. ionantha and what appeared to be T. capitata were found in the trees above the canyon.

Numerous specimens have been introduced into cultivation, including some at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. This Tillandsia is related to T. carlsoniae L. B. Smith and appears to be also related to T. schatzlii Rauh which was described in Vol. XXIX, No. 6 of the Journal of the Bromeliad Society.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Phytogeography, Physiological Ecology and the Costa Rican Genera of Bromeliaceae


Vriesea nephrolepis in the central mountains of Costa Rica.

(Continued from last issue)

Physiological bromeliad ecology

The vast majority of Costa Rican bromeliads are either facultative or obligate epiphytes. Both morphological and physiological considerations have been important in their adaptation to different environments. Tietze (1906) first recognized the significance of different morphological forms or ecological types within the Bromeliaceae; Pittendrigh (1948) studied the ecology and distribution of bromeliads in Trinidad with respect to morphological form. The tank habit is well-developed in many Costa Rican species distributed throughout lowlands and mountainous areas where rainfall is abundant and humidity is high. Where these factors become limiting, as in the Central Valley or the dry Pacific lowlands, morphological forms adapted to the drier climate predominate. Species such as Tillandsia schiedeana and T. caput-medusae have leaves in which the ratio of leaf surface to leaf volume is much less than that encountered in more mesic species such as Vriesea gladioliflora with broad, flat leaves. The reduction in surface area greatly reduces the potential for water loss.

In both tank and atmospheric species, the leaves are covered by epidermal trichomes which are believed to be important in water and nutrient absorption. (Schimper, 1888; Mez, 1904, Benzing and Burt, 1970). With the development of trichomes as nutrient absorbing organs, the roll of root systems in these species in nutrient procurement has diminished and they may function largely to anchor plants to their substrata. In atmospheric species, it was thought that the root system lost its absorptive potential (Pittendrigh, 1948; Tomlinson, 1969; Benzing, 1972). Thus, through absorbing trichomes, epiphytic species have gained a nutritional independence of their substrata; this, then, is one factor enabling these species to colonize nutrient-poor epiphytic habitats.

The scales of atmospheric species are further important as factors in resisting desiccation and reflecting incident light. Biebl (1964) recognized the importance of scales in reducing water loss in T. recurvata and T. usneoides when he studied the water relations of these species. The presence of a well-developed layer of epidermal scales can reduce water loss through transpiration by creating a layer of air between their surfaces and the cuticular leaf surface. Thus, they can offer resistance to the potentially desiccating effects of high wind and very dry air. Many atmospheric species demand full sunlight or are exposed to full sunlight for many months during the dry season. High tolerance of light is probably dependent upon the dense trichome cover characteristic of these species. By reflecting much of the incident light, the trichomes are able to protect the leaves from potential heat build-up. High temperatures within the leaves would quickly cause irreversible damage to enzyme systems. By helping to maintain lower leaf temperatures, this trichome function also helps to reduce water loss, since losing water is a way of regulating internal leaf temperature. Thus, in atmospheric species, scales have potentially three functions: to reduce water loss, to reflect excessive light, and to absorb water and nutrients, all characteristics necessary to colonize xeric, or epiphytic habitats.

Atmospheric species (e.g. Tillandsia schiedeana) further reduce water loss by maintaining their stomata closed during the day. This inhibits both gas and water exchange during hours when temperature is high. In the evening the stomata open and gas exchange occurs. Since temperatures are lower at this time, less water is lost than would be lost during the day, if stomata were open. The carbon dioxide which is absorbed during the night is fixed into an acid form and stored until daylight when it is utilized in photosynthesis. This series of reactions was first observed in the Bromeliaceae in pineapple plants (Joshi, et al, 1965). This pattern of carbon dioxide fixation (Crassulacean Acid Metabolism or CAM) is another adaptation to xeric habitats and occurs in a number of species, epiphytic, atmospheric and terrestrial, and includes Aechmeas, Billbergias, and Bromelias (Medina, 1974; Coutinho, 1963, 1965). While Aechmeas are tank species, they often colonize exposed habitats in the canopy. Even in rain forests, such an exposed habitat may be physiologically xeric. Medina (1974) tantalizingly suggests that some species are potentially CAM. Indeed, it is highly probable that some species are facultatively CAM species depending upon environmental conditions or stresses. As a result of this, when a factor like water becomes limiting, the species may switch to fixing carbon dioxide at night to reduce water loss. Another interesting possibility, which has yet to be investigated, is the pressure of CAM in juvenile forms of mesic tank species. To the juvenile form, without a well-developed tank to impound moisture, even wet habitats may appear xeric. For example, Tillandsia multicaulis produces side shoots which, in form, resemble atmospheric species. It is not unrealistic to think that these young forms or those of other species may possess expressed physiological adaptations such as CAM until they are more mature and develop a more adult foliage and habit.

Epiphytic species inhabit a nutrient poor environment. They must rely on the canopy for many of their nutrients. The tank habit in many of these species has been important in impounding not only water, but also debris and leachate from the canopy. Leachate contains carbohydrates, a large number of organic and amino acids and all required mineral nutrients (Tukey and Mecklenburg, 1964) and may be an important source of nutrients for both tank and atmospheric forms. Aside from leachate, many atmospheric forms must rely on rainwater containing dust and dissolved minerals. The accumulation of dead leaves and other detritus provides tank species with their own nutrient supply, and some of these species may be restricted to their tanks for all nutrient requirements. As a result of the detritus and water, tank species attract aquatic flora and fauna, some of which may be endemic to the tanks. The associated tank flora is probably responsible for some of the decomposition of organic debris to forms that can be absorbed by the trichomes, and may also form the base of the food chain in tank plants exposed to full sunlight. In specimens from shaded locations, the biomass within the tanks is reduced and the associated fauna may utilize accumulated detritus (Laessle, 1961).

Closeup of an inflorescence of Vriesea nephrolepis

The fauna of tank species is diverse and includes both invertebrate and vertebrate organisms (McWilliams, 1974). The tanks also serve as the breeding grounds of Anopheles, and this has resulted in intensive studies on the interrelationships of bromeliads and Anopheles mosquitoes. The tank fauna may be largely dependent upon the tanks for their nutrients, but they also contribute nutrients to the tanks, decompose detritus and may represent an important source of nitrogen for tank species. The tank habit with its associated biota also represents a facet of the adaptation of tank species to nutrient deficient habitats.

Some xeric Tillandsia species (e.g. T. caput-medusae, T. butzii, T. bulbosa, and T. capitata) are commonly associated with ants (Benzing, 1970; Pittendrigh, 1948). The ants form nests in "bulbs" formed by enlarged, overlapping leaf sheaths; and they transport detritus from the outside environment to their nests (personal observations). This detritus and that from the ants themselves represent a significant nutrient source for these species and it may be very important for its nitrogen content (Pittendrigh, 1948). In these Tillandsia species, ant debris may be an effective soil substitute which enables them to function in xeric, epiphytic habitats.

Morphology, physiology and the associated biota have all been important in the evolution of species into epiphytic habitats, and it is highly possible that the evolution of some bromeliad species has occurred concomitantly with the evolution of their associated biota.

A survey of the Costa Rican bromeliad genera

The Bromeliaceae are subdivided into three subfamilies: Tillandsioideae (seeds with plumose appendages, leaves lacking spines, and ovary superior), Pitcairnioideae (seeds with an entire appendage, leaves with or without spines and the ovary superior or partially inferior) and the Bromelioideae (seeds unappendaged, leaves with spines and the ovary inferior). The 13 genera of Bromeliaceae found in Costa Rica include representatives of all three subfamilies; the Tillandsioideae is the largest with respect to number of species but the Bromelioideae with 8 genera exhibits the greatest generic diversity. It bears mentioning at this point that 3 of the genera previously reported for Costa Rica are no longer recognized; Gravisia Regel and Wittmackia Mez were transferred to Aechmea, and Thecophyllum was distributed among the genera Tillandsia, Vriesea, and Guzmania with the bulk of the species going to Vriesea.

The following artificial key to genera is intended for use with Costa Rican material; however, it is likely that it will serve equally well for adjacent Nicaragua and Panama. The short discussions which follow the key are not intended to be descriptions but only to mention interesting aspects of the genera in Costa Rica and in a few cases to emphasize outstanding characters which serve to set the genera off from their neighbors.

Key to the bromeliad genera of Costa Rica

1. Ovary half superior to completely superior; fruit a capsule; seeds variously appendaged ... 2
2. Leaves usually with spines; seeds with a flat appendage but never plumose; ovary half to entirely superior ... 3
3. Ovary superior; plants of upper montane and paramo regions ... Puya
3. Ovary not entirely superior, up to half inferior; plants usually of middle montane regions, not encountered in paramo ... Pitcairnia
2. Leaves lacking spines; seeds plumose-appendaged ovary entirely superior ... 4
4. Seed appendage apical and folded; inflorescence a polystichous spike or spikes; bracts green throughout ... Catopsis
4. Seed appendage basal, straight at maturity; inflorescence of distichous or secund spikes, or if polystichous then the bracts brightly colored and/or the leaves variously marked with darker lines or bands ... 5
5. Petals and sepals free over their entire length or two of the sepals fused for part of their length; inflorescence a distichous or secund spike or spikes ... 6
6. Petals bearing scale-like appendages near the base ... Vriesea
6. Petals lacking appendages ... Tillandsia
5. Petals or all three sepals fused over part of their length; inflorescence always polystichously flowered ... Guzmania
1. Ovary totally inferior; fruit baccate; seeds without appendages ... 7
7. Ovaries fusing and forming a compound fruit at maturity; fruit terminating in a distinct leafy comma ... Ananas
7. Ovaries distinct at maturity; scape rarely, if ever terminating in a leafy comma ... 8
8. Terrestrial; anthers coherent into a tube for part of their length; petals fleshy ... Bromelia
8. Epiphytic or occasionally terrestrial anthers free from each other; petals membranaceous ... 9
9. Inflorescence simple ... 10
10. Inflorescence dense strobilate, the rachis hidden by the flowers and accessory bracts ... 11
11. Inflorescence axillary ... Greigia
11. Inflorescence terminal ... 12
12. Petals with reduced lateral folds or scales; leaves, scape bracts and floral bracts serrate to serrulate ... Aechmea
12. Petals lacking folds or appendages; leaves, scape bracts and floral bracts unarmed ... Ronnbergia
10. Inflorescence neither dense nor strobilate, the rachis largely exposed ... 13
13. Leaves subpetiolate, petals lacking appendages ... Ronnbergia
13. Leaves never subpetiolate, petals with 2 scale-like appendages near base ... 14
14. Flowers longer than 4 cm; sepals unarmed; petals spirally recurved; pollen sulcate ... Billbergia
14. Flowers shorter than 4 cm; sepals usually armed; pollen porate ... Aechmea
9. Inflorescence compound ... 15
15. Spikes dense, strobilate or distichous, the rachis largely obscured post anthesis ... Aechmea
15. Spikes lax, the rachis largely exposed post anthesis ... 16
16. Anthers each with 2 dorsal scales; spikes subfasciculate to shortly 1 to 5 flowered ... Androlepis
16. Anthers unappendaged; spikes elongate ... 12
17. Ovules 10 or fewer in each cell; floral bracts finely serrate; leaves to 2.5 cm wide ... Araeococcus
17. Ovules more than 10 in each cell; floral bracts entire or, if serrate, then the leaves wider than 5 cm ... Aechmea
(all photos by the authors)
Vriesea ororiensis Vriesea ororiensis, a family portrait

Aechmea. Chiefly lowland epiphytes with A. mexicana Baker and A. veitchii Baker extending up to 1400 m to 1500 m; leaves spiny; ovary inferior and fruit berry-like. Represented in Costa Rica by 19 species. The Costa Rican species of the genera Gravisia Regel and Wittmackia Mez have been transferred to Aechmea.

Ananas. Represented in Costa Rica only by the cultivated A. comosus Merr.

Androlepis. A genus of the Atlantic lowlands, represented in Costa Rica by A. skinneri Brongn.; separated from Aechmea by the appendaged anthers.

Araeococcus. Represented in Costa Rica by A. pectinatus L. B. Sm., a lowland epiphyte of the Pacific coast. Its occurrence in Costa Rica represents the northernmost extension of this South American genus.

Billbergia. A lowland epiphyte of the Pacific coast, represented in Costa Rica by the single species B. macrolepis L. B. Sm. which is easily separated from the other Costa Rican spiny-leaved bromeliads by the whitish areas on the lower surface of the leaves and the spirally recurved petals.

Bromelia. Terrestrial, frequently found in cultivation as hedgerows; represented in Costa Rica by 3 species.

Catopsis. Epiphytes of low to middle elevations, represented in Costa Rica by 12 species. The genus is easily distinguished from the remainder of the smooth-leaved Tillandsioideae by the totally green leaves and the polystichous inflorescence with green floral bracts.

Greigia. Represented in Costa Rica by the terrestrial species G. sylvicola Standt., which is restricted to the Cordillera de Talamanca. The genus is easily separated from the remainder of Costa Rican spiny-leaved taxa by the lateral inflorescences.

Guzmania. Represented in Costa Rica by 16 species chiefly found on the Atlantic slopes at low to middle elevations. The genus is easily distinguished from the remainder of the Tillandsioideae by the connate petals or sepals. The genus is fairly easily recognized in living material by the polystichous, highly colored inflorescences.

Pitcairnia. Represented in Costa Rica by 11, usually terrestrial species, which are found from the coastal zone (P. halophila) to about 1500 m.

Puya. Terrestrial in paramo or high montane bogs. Represented in Costa Rica by two species.

Ronnbergia. et Andre. A genus of low to middle elevations with an undescribed species found at about 1700 m. The genus is primarily terrestrial and is distinguished from Aechmea by its lack of petal appendages. The genus is represented in Costa Rica by 2 species and the undescribed taxa already mentioned.

Tillandsia. Almost exclusively epiphytic, ranging from sea level in mangrove swamps to the upper montane regions. The genus is represented in Costa Rica by about 44 species. The more xerophytic members of this genus can be easily recognized by their dense covering of cinereous trichomes (although there are two species of Costa Rican Vrieseas which have this type of indument), but the smooth leaved species can be confused with Vrieseas if petal material is not examined. The only character which consistently separates Tillandsia from Vriesea is the more or less arbitrary one of nectar scales on the petals of the latter genus and their absence in the former.

Vriesea. With more than 60 species this is the largest bromeliad genus in Costa Rica. It ranges from the coastal zone to at least 3100 m in the Cordillera de Talamanca. The majority of the species of the genus Thecophyllum were transferred to Vriesea by Smith and Pittendrigh (1963). Thanks to these recently acquired species, Vriesea now contains some of the most spectacular plants in Costa Rica. The genera Tillandsia and Vriesea can be separated with confidence only when petal material can be examined.

Vriesea pedicellata Aechmea mariae-reginae one of most spectacular of the genus to be found in Costa Rica.

Literature Cited

Benzing, David H. 1970. An investigation of two bromeliad mymercophytes: Tillandsia butzii Mez. T. caput-medusae E. Morren, and their ants. Bull Torrey Bot. Club 97:109-115.

__________. 1973. Mineral nutrition and related phenomena in the Bromeliaceae and Orchidaceae. Quart. Rev. Biol. 97:277-290.

__________ and Kathleen M. Burt. 1970. Foliar permeability among twenty species of the Bromeliaceae. Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 97:269-279.

Biebl, R. 1964. Zum wasserhaushalt von Tillandsia recurvata L. und Tillandsia usneoides L. auf Puerto Rico. Protoplasma 58:345-368.

Burt-Utley, Kathleen and John Foster Utley. 1975. Calcium translocation in Tillandsia balbisiana Schult. (Bromeliaceae). Brenesia 5:51-65.

Coutinho, L. M. 1963. Algumas infomacoes sobre a ocorrencia do "Efeito deSaussure" em spifitas e erbaceas terrestres da mata pluvial. Botanica 20:81-89.

__________. 1965. Algumas informacoes sobre a capacidade ritmica diaria de fixacao e acumulacao de CO2 no oscuro em epifitas e erbaceas terrestres da mata pluvial. Botanica 21:397-408.

Gilmartin, Amy Jean. 1973. Transandean distribution of Bromeliaceae in Ecuador. Ecology 54:1389-1393.

Holdridge, L. R. 1967. Life zone ecology. Tropical Science Center. San Jose, Costa Rica. 206 pp.

Joshi, M. C., J. S. Boyer, and P. J. Kramer. 1965. Growth, carbon dioxide exchange, transpiration and transpiration ratio of pineapple. Bot. Gaz. 126:174-179.

Laessle, Albert M. 1961. A microlimnological study of Jamaican bromeliads. Ecology 42:499-517.

McWilliams, Edward L. 1974. Evolutionary ecology. In: Lyman B. Smith and Robert Jack Downs, Eds., Pitcairnioideae (Bromeliaceae). Flora Neotropica Monograph 14:40-55.

Medina, Ernesto. 1974. Dark CO2 fixation, habitat preference and evolution within the Bromeliaceae. Evolution 28:677-686.

Mez. C. 1904. Physiologische Bromeliaceen-studien I. Die wasserokonomie der extrem atmosphaerischen Tillandsien. Jahrb. F. Wissensch. Bot. 40:157-229.

Pittendrigh, Colin S. 1948. The bromeliad-Anopheles-complex in Trinidad. I. The bromeliad flora. Evolution 2:58-89.

Schimper, A. F. W. 1888. Epiphytische vegetation Amerikas. In: Botanische mitteilungen tropen. Heft II. Gustav Fischer, Jena. pp 162.

Smith, L. B. and Colin S. Pittendrigh. 1953. Realignments in the Bromeliaceae subfamily Tillandsioideae. Jour. Wash. Acad. Sci. 43:401-404.

Tietze, M. 1906. Physiologische Bromeliaceen-studien II. Die entwicklung der wasseraufnehmenden. Bromeliaceen-trichome. Zeitschr. Naturwiss 78:1-50.

Tomlinson, P. B. 1969. III. Commelinales-Zingiberales. In: C. R. Metcalfe, Ed., Anatomy of the monocotyledons. Oxford at the Clarendon Press.

Tosi, Joseph A. Jr. 1969. Republica de Costa Rica. Mapa ecologico. Centro Cientifico, San Jose, Costa Rica.

Tukey, H. B. and R. A. Mecklenburg. 1964. Leaching of metabolites from foliage and subsequent reabsorption and redistribution of the leachate in plants. Amer. Jour. Bot. 51:737-752.

Werckle, Carlos. 1909. La subregion fitogeografica Costarricense. Tipografia Nacional. San Jose, Costa Rica. pp 55.

The Indianapolis Bromeliad Society will be having its second annual show on Saturday, August 23, 1980. It will take place at Castleton Square Shopping center located on the northeast side of Indianapolis.

Judges for the show will be Elissa Hafsten, founder of the Indianapolis Bromeliad Society, Louis Wilson, author of Bromeliads for Modern Living and Eloise Beach from Apopka, Florida. Ms. Beach will also be presenting a slide program at a dinner following the show.

Show hours will be from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with judging starting at 10:30 a.m. Affiliated Bromeliad Societies and individual Bromeliad enthusiasts are invited to participate. For more information contact Show Chairmen: Bob and Nancy Watson, R.R. 17, Box 366, Brazil, Indiana 47834.

THE FLOWERING PLANT INDEX OF ILLUSTRATION AND INFORMATION. Compiled by Richard T. Isaacson, Boston: G. K. Hall, 1979, 2 vols. 760,772p $400.00 Published by the Garden Center of Greater Cleveland.

This is a significant reference work, containing over 55,000 entries arranged alphabetically by botanical name. Each entry gives access to plant illustration and will also lead the user to such plant information as plant use, history, culture, plant lore, habitat and other data. There are 182 entries under Aechmea, 44 under Neoregelia, and 169 under Tillandsia.

Questions, Any One?

Do you have a problem that is bothering you? Do you have questions regarding your plants that you would like answered? If so, send in your question to the editor, 647 South Saltair Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90049, and it will be answered by an expert.

Question: Should I always keep water in the cups formed by the leaves of my bromeliads?

Answer: The short answer is NO. Sometimes instructions that come with your bromeliads say it is a must to always keep water in the cups. Many times when these instructions are followed to the letter the center rots out. The reason for this is, unless the bromeliad is in active growth it is not able to breath properly, or it may become congested with too much fertilizer. Temperature is probably the most important ingredient in the determination of growth. In any event, most if not all bromeliads do enjoy rest periods. A drop in temperature or a dry period will tend to induce dormancy or a rest period, and at this time it is beneficial to have the cups go dry. This is a needed cyclic change that is essential for many bromeliads to initiate the blooming phase. This is certainly a much more desirable condition than to have the center of the plant rot out.

In nature, even at somewhat elevated temperatures, there are times when there is a no-rain condition which allows the cups to dry out completely and they survive. Tropical rains, on the other hand, sometimes come down in such torrents that the cups are completely flushed out.

If we take a leaf from nature's book, the following guide lines should be helpful:

  1. When you water, do a lot of it; be sure to flush all of the water from the previous watering from the cups.
  2. When temperatures are much below normal, do not water.
  3. Do not be afraid to let your bromeliads dry out completely between waterings.

Charles Wiley

Questions, Any One?

Aechmea dichlamydea var. trinitensis pictured above was photographed by Mr. W. W. G. Moir in his beautiful garden in Honolulu, living as a terrestrial amid other bromeliads. This excruciatingly lovely bromeliad is not too often seen in collections, for it is a tender subject, resenting frost and doing best in a warm, tropical garden.

It is indigenous to the island of Trinidad where it grows in the forests along the northern coast at elevations to 3,000 feet.

It is always an imposing specimen, a mature plant in flower reaching over three feet with leaves up to three feet long.

This aechmea has been hybridized with marked success. Howard Yamamoto of Kauai has crossed it with A. fendleri and A. weilbachii, and produced crosses of great beauty. Several years earlier Ralph Davis of Florida crossed it with A. dealbata. All are listed in the trade.

Ecuador has proven to be a bromeliad fancier's paradise, as every expedition into its hinterlands brings back many rare and unexpected delights. One of these is the aechmea shown here and collected by Alexander Hirtz of Quito, Ecuador. He has identified it as a superb form of Aechmea tillandsioides. When most of us think of this species, we picture the variety kienastii, a charming small bromeliad commonly known as the "red, white, and blue plant." In every way this is a far different plant, being larger and more brilliant.

The Pendent Flowers


The greatest number of bromeliads have upright or slightly leaning inflorescences, and even species with side or lateral inflorescences have a stiff flower stem that either curves upward or comes out at right angles.

In the minority, however, are the species with the pendent flower spike, a few of which have their flowers arranged on a very thin or thread-like scape and may sway in the soft jungle air even as a pendulum counting the beats of Mother Nature's timeless efforts to decorate her tree forms.

Aechmea filicaulis (thread-like stem) with its six-foot inflorescence is possibly the most delicate of these swaying pendulum flower stems. However, a recent new species Aechmea lasseri, discovered in the Venezuelan mountains by the writer in nearby regions to A. filicaulis is its close cousin and rival in delicacy.

Most pendent inflorescences are on a stiffer and more rigid stem, such as Tillandsia prodigiosa, and generally carry larger and a greater number of flowers. Possibly one of the most outstanding examples, at least in massive weight, is the giant Tillandsia demissa (hanging down) discovered by the author in Ecuador. This bulky flower stem, five feet in length, hanging far below the plant defies credulity. Perhaps this size makes up for the lack of flamboyant color, for the bracts are pale green; the petals, however, are an attractive lavender with darker edges, if you can see them between the many close fitting flower heads. These giant tillandsia plants, clinging to perpendicular rock walls, weigh, when in flower, as much as fifty pounds each.

The cause of, or the reason for, the pendent inflorescences would be difficult to determine because one might find species such as the small Vriesea simplex or Aechmea racinae with their pendulum-like flower spikes, growing only a few feet away from a magnificent specimen of Vriesea hieroglyphica which has a three-foot upright multiple branched head. With all of these species growing in similar semi-shade conditions and with such a difference between the weight of the smaller and larger species, it can be neither the weight nor the light exposure element. Not far distant in this same Brazilian forest from these three species I found a striking vriesea (V. retroflexa) which although starting out with a pendent inflorescence, seems to change its mind and then turns upward with the flowerhead thus giving a reverse curve to its curious beauty.

Occasionally we find a small plant with a very voluminous inflorescence and the sheer weight will carry the flower head downward, but we may find another species of similar size with a small inflorescence, such as Vriesea incurva with both the plant and the inflorescence bending over as though attempting a headstand on mid-air.

Possibly a greater proportion of the species of billbergias are pendent or semi-pendent than of any other of the larger genera. The completely upright inflorescence as in B. pyramidalis or B. horrida is the exception, as most of the billbergia species are either nodding or completely pendent, such as B. porteana, B. zebrina, B. venezuelana, and others.

There are a number of bromeliads such as Quesnelia liboniana or Aechmea marmorata that may exhibit their inflorescences in almost any degree from upright to completely pendent, and in such individual cases the reason would be almost entirely the amount of light in which the plant is grown.

Whatever the reason for these out-of-the-ordinary methods of producing their flower heads, the results are always curious and always strikingly decorative, and they add enough to the varietal interest of our plant collection that we may enjoy, at eye level, a look up or down, viewing grace in all its many forms (Reprinted from Vol. IV, No. 6)

NOMENCLATURE NOTE If the layman feels that the present day Latin names of plants are difficult to remember, he should try to memorize the first Latin names that were attached to our common Spanish Moss which we now know as Tillandsia usneoides.

The first attempt at a scientific name was made by Piso et Marcgr. in the National History of Brazil in 1648, and they called it Camanbaya caryophylloides teniussimum. Also, in the same year, in the Plug-Almag. 1696, it was called Cuscuta ramis arborum innascens.

Since these early dates this strange and ubiquitous bromeliad has been scientifically listed under at least twenty-three different names such as Renealma, Dendropogan, Phytarrhiza, Fucus, Rhizomorpha, Oldsmans, Strepsia.


Report from Selby - AECHMEA MOOREI



For the past several months I have been involved in a study of the species of Aechmea subgenus Platyaechmea with particular emphasis on those species established in horticulture. It was a surprise to find out that a rather showy plant in general cultivation had remained undescribed since its introduction more than 15 years ago.

AECHMEA MOOREI Luther, sp. nov.
Aechmea tessmannii Harms affinis, sed sepalis asymmetricis oblongisque, bracteis primariis superioribus abrupte perminoribus differt.

Plant flowering ca. 60 cm high; leaves about 12 in a spreading rosette, ca. 65 cm long; sheaths elliptic, to 15 cm long, entire, dark purple above, subdensely lepidote; blades lingulate, subacute and pungent, bright green in life, ca. 5.5 cm wide, nearly flat, very obscurely pale lepidote, laxly serrate with dark spreading 3 mm long spines; scape erect; scape bracts about equaling to much exceeding the internodes but the upper bracts reflexed, lanceolate with an acute apex, serrulate, to 12 cm long, bright pink in life; inflorescence bipinnate or tripinnate, the lower primary bracts similar to the upper scape bracts and much exceeding the long, naked bases of the branches, the upper primary bracts abruptly much reduced; branches of the inflorescence erect to spreading, up to 40 cm long, strongly complanate, sparsely flocculose but nearly glabrous with age; rhachis green, drying dark brown, geniculate, excavated and winged; floral bracts distichous, suberect and exposing most of the rhachis, elliptic, entire, acute, to 22 cm long, even to slightly nerved, obscurely carinate, coriaceous, pale yellow-green in life, drying brown, much exceeding the ovary; sepals free, asymmetrical, oblong, each with 1 broad and 1 narrow wing, to 16 mm long, ecarinate, faintly nerved; petals ca. 19 mm long, pale yellow in life, bearing 2 fimbriate scales at the base; epigynous tube distinct, to 4 mm high; placentae apical. TYPE: Peru: Loreto: Collected near Iquitos by Lee Moore and Jack Holmes. Flowered in the collection of Herb Hill Jr., Lithia, Florida. H. E. Luther s.n., Oct,. 10, 1979, SEL herb 028794. (Holotype SEL) Additional material examined: Peru: From the Amazonian collections of Lee Moore. Flowered in cultivation by Jeffrey Kent, Vista, California. H. E. Luther s.n., Nov. 3 1979, SEL herb 028797. (SEL); Peru: Loreto: Collected near Iquitos by Lee Moore and Jack Holmes. Flowered in cultivation by Herb Hill Jr., Lithia, Florida. Clone of the Holotype. H. E. Luther s.n., Jan,. 26 1980. (To be deposited at US); Peru: Without specific locality: Flowered in cultivation. Vivian M. Johns, July 1968, US herb. 2542130-31. (US)

The specific name honors the discoverer, Lee Moore, a plant collector formerly working around Iquitos, Peru. Moore was responsible for the introduction of a number of ornamental bromeliads into the trade including Aechmea retusa L. B. Smith, A. nallyi L. B. Smith, Neoregelia mooreana L. B. Smith and for the rediscovery of A. chantinii (Carr.) Baker. Aechmea moorei was distributed in the early 1960's as "A. Mooreana" (a name that was never validly published) by Moore and Jack Holmes, a nurseryman from Tampa, Florida.

Aechmea moorei has become confused with A. nallyi, a plant from the same general region also described from cultivation. Although these two species do share certain characteristics (bright green foliage, large pink scape and primary bracts) they have little else in common. Aechmea nallyi can be easily separated from A. moorei by its nearly sessile spikes, slender terete rhachis (cf. subgenus Aechmea) and relatively small floral bracts. Aechmea nallyi apparently has become extinct in cultivation and is known only from the type collection. This is a great loss to horticulture as A. nallyi is a spectacular species.


I would like to thank Mr. Herb Hill Jr. of Hill's Raingreen Tropicals and Mr. Jeffrey Kent of Kent's Bromeliad Nursery for providing fresh material for this study; the Curators of the U. S. National Herbarium for the loan of critical specimens; the members of the staff of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens for their helpful comments and guidance; and the family and friends of the late Mulford B. Foster, the Bromeliad Society Inc. and its affiliates for their support of the Mulford B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center.

Harry E. Luther

IN MEMORIAM William E. Seaborn of Escondido, California.

Not only Californians, but all those who ever had contact with him will miss Bill Seaborn who died on June 4 after several years of failing health. Those who were fortunate enough to visit his fascinating Seaborn del Dios Nursery came away with memories of not only a keen horticulturist but also of a warm, genial personality.

Bill established his nursery in 1946 after his retirement as a pharmacist in the U. S. Navy. Determined to have a nursery of his own, he made himself knowledgeable in the field by practically memorizing the three thick volumes of Bailey's "Encyclopedia of Horticulture," as well as attending Palomar College and working in a nursery in nearby Carlsbad.

He became an authority on bromeliads, and people came from all over the world to see his collection of succulents, palms, cycads, bromeliads, and other exotics. He made annual collecting trips to Mexico until ill health forced him to stop two years ago.

Nurserymen from Southern California are planning to donate plants to Quail Gardens at Encinitas as a memorial. Mr. Seaborn was one of those who started the park and had long been interested in increasing the variety of plants there.

Bill will be sorely missed.

Changing the Federal Policy of Gassing Bromeliads at U.S. Ports of Entry


In the September-October '79 issue of the Journal, I wrote an article on fumigation which dealt with the disastrous effects of methyl-bromide gassing on bromeliads. I also digressed briefly on the research being done at the University of California at Riverside under the direction of Dr. Frank Morishita. The effort was to determine the toxicity level of five different tillandsia species to certain pesticides that the University of California Department of Agriculture felt would be able to effectively deal with the pests that are commonly associated with bromels.

The phytotoxicity tests have now been completed and it has been ascertained that the plants are not damage-susceptible to the pesticides used. That data was submitted to the Federal Government with the result that they are now willing to change the treatment policy from the gas to a dip, provided acceptable efficacy trials have been conducted. The protocols for the trials have not been established yet, and the whole process will take time.

Having brought the effort this far, I have now reached the point where funding is going to be necessary. UCR was very kind in performing the research to date gratis, but they have allowed that it will cost a few thousand dollars to get the research completed, get USDA approval, get the chemical industry to register the pesticides and put the treatment schedule for bromels on their packages. There is no guarantee that the effort will be successful, but Dr. Morishita and I are quite confident that it will. We have already completed the hardest part of the program.

Therefore, to get the necessary funding, I have gone for support to the Board of Directors of the Society, Inc., written to other commercial interests in the industry, and not least importantly, I am asking for contributions from you, the members of the Society. It is very much in all our interests to get this national policy changed, especially anyone who goes on a collecting trip and wants to see his plants escape "the treatment".

It is true that the main entry ports of Miami and Los Angeles are currently the only ones that are extremely tough on the plants. But...the Feds have long claimed that inspection and treatment procedures in all the ports are equal. You can imagine what would happen if someone went to them and showed them the disparity in the inspection and treatment records of ports such as San Francisco and Brownsville versus Los Angeles. Do you think the Feds would change the procedures at LAX to equate with the other two, or would they change the procedures at San Francisco and Brownsville to be like Los Angeles. Someday this will undoubtedly happen. If the treatment procedure is a dip, then it won't make much difference, but if it is the gas, then anyone who collects will be hurt, and likewise so will anyone who cares for the bromeliads themselves.

All money contributed and all money spent will be accounted for in writing, and any excess funds will be contributed to the Mulford Foster Memorial Fund at the Marie Selby Identification Center. Please, with your help I know we can do it. Thank you for your consideration.

1927 Rosecrans Ave., Gardena, California 9024

It is with great regret that the announcement is made of the passing of Dr. Donald Rock of Manhattan Beach, California. It was just four short years ago that Dr. Rock made his spectacular entrance onto the bromeliad scene in So. California by winning almost every first place award in the Southern California Bromeliad Council Show. He and his lovely wife Margaret were especially proud of the Grand Prize Winner, the rare Neoregelia 'Medallion', a difficult plant to grow and pup.

A private man, he never sought the spotlight. For those of us fortunate enough to be close to him, the rewards were great because he gave so unselfishly of his time and experience, not to mention the plants he loved so enthusiastically. We're going to miss you so much Don, and the shows won't be the same without you.

Paul T. Isley

The Picture on the Cover Tillandsia brachyphylla Baker

This attractive little species was introduced into European horticulture in 1879 and was first described by Baker in 1888. Considering that it has been in cultivation for so long, it is rather surprising it is not more often seen in cultivation.

It is a stemless plant measuring only 5 to 6 inches when in flower. The many gray tapering leaves, which are covered with coarse spreading scales, seldom exceed 2 inches in length. The lax simple globose spike is 2 inches long.

This tillandsia is native to the states of Rio de Janeiro and Guanabara, Brazil, where it grows on rocks at an elevation of approximately 2,500 feet.

The term brachyphylla refers to its short leaves.

Connoisseur's Corner

Vriesea incurva

In recent years a number of bromeliad species have been transferred from the genus Tillandsia into the genus Vriesea based upon the presence of scales on the inside near the base of the petals. This has been the case with V. incurva. It was first described by Grisebach in 1865 as Tillandsia incurva because it resembles a tillandsia rather than a vriesea. However, Dr. R. W. Read, after considerable study, put it into Vriesea in 1968.

This attractive epiphyte is native to cloud forests from Costa Rica to Venezuela, Bolivia, and the Greater Antilles. Unfortunately, it succumbs to fumigation.

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