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, 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


Victorial Padilla
647 S. Saltair Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90049.


A Natural Paradise, the Fakahatchee Strand
  R. D. Bartlett243
Tillandsia lymanii Rauh
  Werner Rauh247
Plant Growth Substances, The Vitamins
  Vernon Stoutemyer250
Dr. Hemker, A Bromeliad Grower from Germany
  Hermann Prinsler252
The Englishwoman Who Paints our Flowers253
A New Streptocalyx from Eastern Ecuador
  Harry E. Luther256
A New Book on Bromeliads259
Born in a Hurricane
  Sue Gardner260
The 1980 World Bromeliad Conference
  Michael P. McMahon262
Bromeliad Philosophy
  Michael Rothenberg268
A New Brazilian Species: Neoregelia amandae
  Wilhelm Weber269
Collecting Highlights
  Glenna Simmons272
Portrait of a Special Man
  H. Alton Lee274
For A Touch of Class276
Tillandsia candelifera288
PICTURE ON THE COVER — Vriesea erythrodactylon Morren. Photo by Dr. Hemker, Germany.

A Natural Paradise, The Fakahatchee Strand


The long walk along the fern bordered path had been a welcome change after the even longer drive southward from Tampa Bay. The woodlands were still cool, the day new. Droplets of dew, bejeweling the bushes, had not yet been evaporated by the intensity of the sun. Ground doves marched imperiously in the few widened, open areas while an occasional warbler flitted through the shrubbery in search of succulent caterpillars and spiders. One armadillo, a baby with a still soft shell, was surprised while he snuffled deeply in the leaf litter, rooting out whatever it may be that armadillos root for. As we continued, the voices of the marsh became more and more apparent, the insistent quacking of a squirrel treefrog, the guttural grunts of pig frogs, an occasional "jug-o-rum" of a distant bullfrog being heard. The path became ever narrower, the bushes and trees interlacing over our heads in spots. The sloughs closed in on the path, joining with each other between decrepit bridges, bridges that had been built in long ago logging days. From a hole in a towering snag a pileated woodpecker emerged, cascading into the forest in undulating flight, uttering its harsh, repetitious "Kuk-kuking" call.

The Fakahatchee Strand! The very name conjures up tropical illusions for the botanist and zoologist alike. Once an immense tract in southwestern Florida it has now been largely destroyed by land "improvement" projects. Roads criss-cross the once impenetrable thickets, surface drainage has been deflected into man-made canals, the virgin bald cypress largely logged out. But in spite of this a few isolated areas retain surface water over much of the year, some deep holes for virtually the entire year. And in these, where not totally vandalized, remain the orchids and bromeliads.

The slough that we now approached had been known for a number of years as the northernmost area in which the attractive Guzmania monostachia could be found. Added to the excitement of seeing this species in its natural habitat was the possibility that a variegated specimen might be seen. Rumors had it that a fair number had been located by other persons. Of course, the other bromeliads, the various members of the genus Tillandsia, as well as a number of epiphytic orchids were certainties.

Well, we were there now, our entrance to the hammock barred only by a fairly deep canal, this certainly no deterrent to such an ardent team. My companion on this and many other field trips was Dennis Cathcart, a genial person whose once comparative indifference to bromeliads had become an all consuming interest. In fact, it was he who had first ascertained the precise position of this hammock and had lauded its possibilities until a trip was all but impossible to resist. So, through the canal (who says that Florida water doesn't get COLD!?) and back up onto the high ground on the other side (aw heck, that wasn't so bad…..only waist deep!) and on into the luxurious gloom of the Fakahatchee.

We found ourselves amidst a forest of maples, cypress, gums and myriad other species. Although we were still on high land the increased humidity of the area was noticeable. Overhead, hanging precariously to a tiny twig were a number of Ionopsis, a beautiful orchid with reddish-green leaves and a pinkish-white flower with a prominent lip. Proceeding inward towards the hammock center, we noticed along with increasing humidity and the presence of standing water, correspondingly more of the orchids that are restricted to such areas. While we were gazing in awe at the various Epidendrums and Encyclias which were present in profusion, Dennis noticed and pointed out several Tillandsia pruinosa clutching tightly to a prominently exposed limb of a small tree. This, then, was my formal introduction to this small, hoary, reflexed species. On surrounding trees were numbers of the more common species, such as T. setacea, T fasciculata, T. balbisiana and the two ubiquitous types, T. recurvata and T. usneoides.

All of the while we had been observing, we had been working our way over fallen logs and between fern laden trees, until now we were in water fully a foot in depth. AND THERE THEY WERE! Guzmania after Guzmania, from inches above water level to 25 feet above the surface, set firmly upon branches and tree trunks, sometimes singly, sometimes by the dozen. It was a spectacle that I shall long remember. At this time they were not blooming, but subsequent trips would show us hundreds, and sometimes even thousands, in bloom simultaneously. We were soon to notice that where the Guzmania were abundant, they seemed to exclude other bromeliad types, the interspaces between them on the host plants being shared instead with such orchids as Epidendrum nocturnum and Encyclia cochleatum.

I believe that Dennis was the first to locate a variegated Guzmania. If we had been delighted to find that the normal color form was, in some select areas at least, an abundant plant, we were ecstatic at this latter find! Further searching disclosed numbers more, some being barely striate, others decidedly so, some on one side of the plant only, others in their entirety. Of interest was the fact that those plants that were striate on but one side produced "pups" that were variegated from the striate side and solid green from the normally colored side.

Tillandsia fasciculata growing in the Strand

Close scrutiny of the pond apple and maple trees brought to light quantities of all three of the "ghost" orchids, these being Polyrrhiza lindenii, Campylocentrum pachyrrhizum, and the tiny Harrisella porrecta. The three types are characterized by having no leaves (Campylocentrum may bear a few on young plants), photosynthesis occurring in the extensive root systems which are provided with chlorophyll. The latter two also bear insignificant flowers, but from the heart of the first emerges a ghostly white flower some one and a half inches across with two long projections from the lip. These may be up to three inches in length, a display totally unexpected from what would otherwise be a relatively obscure plant.

While we were walking out of the hammock after several hours of marveling at the tropical splendor of this hidden Fakahatchee paradise, one last Tillandsia species was happened upon, this being valenzuelana, a silver-grey plant which, quite unlike others of the genus, has brittle, easily broken leaves.

During the day we had also come across one small plant of the cigar or cowhorn orchid, Crytopodium punctatum, which was seemingly quite out of normal habitat, growing in quite dense shade. Too, several plants of Peperomia and a number of the vining orchid Vanilla planifolia were located.

In retrospect, being shown this remarkable hammock has been a highlight in a lifetime of interest in the flora and fauna. I can hardly remember a more enjoyable experience either domestically or in a foreign country. The knowledge that in spite of rampant development a tiny piece of the 'Glades' continues to exist in a comparatively original form is, and will continue to be, a comfort.

Ft. Myers, Florida

First Australian Bromeliad Conference

The Victorian Branch of the Bromeliad Society of Australia will act as host for the First Australian Bromeliad Conference to be held 17th to 20th April 1981.

The Venue will be the Melbourne Town House, a centre well suited for conferences and seminars.

The Conference will be conducted during Saturday and Sunday leaving time available during the holiday (Easter) weekend to visit members' collections and for sightseeing.

Speakers will include many Australian Bromeliad Specialists and subjects to be covered will include cultivation techniques and genera studies.

A limited number of billets will be available and we have been able to arrange a group tariff at the Town House.

This Conference will be open to members of Bromeliad Societies and to those interested in Bromeliad culture.

Inquiries can be directed to either the Conference Co-ordinator:

Mrs. Yvonne Kellett
P.O. Box 115
Hurstbridge 3009
PH. (03) 718-2887
or Conference Registrar

Mrs. Faye Sibley
23 Wills St.
Balwyn 3103
PH. (03) 80-3677

Tillandsia lymanii Rauh, A new species from Northern Peru



In 1973 the author discovered in the Valley of the Rio Chancay in Northern Peru a very decorative, big, epilithic growing Tillandsia, which was named in honour of Lyman B. Smith, the most famous specialist of bromeliads, as T. lymanii.

The Rio Chancay Valley, a small, deep gorge in Northern Peru, is very rich in plants, but only few botanists have visited it. We found there not only a new locality of Tillandsia heteromorpha, which had disappeared for a long time, but also many bromeliads: a beautiful new variety of T. latifolia (var. leucophylla1), a new variety of T. rauhii, T. teres, T. floribunda, T. coerulea, T. latifolia var. divaricata, T. purpurea, Vriesea cereicola, V. cylindrica, Deuterocohnia longipetala, Puya lanata and others. The valley is also rich in succulents and cacti.

Closeup of inflorescence.

T. lymanii, growing in an altitude between 800 and 1000 m, forms stemless rosettes, up to 80 cm high and 80 cm wide, which produce at their rhizonate bases (before flowering) numerous adventious offshoots. In the young stages the blades are densely lepidote, in the adult stages the lingulate leaves (50 cm long and 7 cm wide) are glabrous and covered with a thick layer of wax2 and look therefore greenish-whitish, in full sunshine the color turns a dark wine red. The inflorescence is about 1,2-1,5 m long and pendant; the very thick (2 cm and more) scape is erect, covered with subfoliate bracts; the horizontally or pendant inflorescence is bi-(rarely) tripinnate, about 60 cm long and 40 cm wide; the rachis is glabrous, green or carmine red and waxy; the 10-20 short stipitated spikes are horizontally spreading, narrow-lineal, 8-15 cm long, 1,5-2 cm wide and mostly more than 20-flowered. The distichous arranged floral bracts are erect at anthesis and postfloral spreading, ecarinate, up to 2,5 cm long, densely imbricate, carmine red, waxy and sparsely lepidote, exserting the sepals; these are only 1,5 cm long, the posterior ones carinate and connate for 3mm; the darkbrown-violet petals are only a little longer than the floral bracts; stamens and style included.

The relationship of T. lymanii to any other Peruvian Tillandsia is not cleared up. In any case, it is not related to Tillandsia rauhii, which grows in the same region, although the vegetative rosettes of both species are very similar.

The collection-number of the type plant is: RAUH 35 345 (Oct. 1973)

University of Heidelberg, Germany

1) see: "Bromelienstudien" IV, in "Tropische und Subtropische Pflanzenwelt" 13 (1974)
2) In T. rauhii we have the appearance: the leaves of young plants are densely lepidote, the leaves of old plants are glabrous and grayish waxy.

Plant Growth Substances - The Vitamins


Vitamins are essential for the functioning of certain metabolic cycles in both plant and animal cells. However, since many of them are easily produced by green plants, their horticultural uses are comparatively limited. However, the situation is quite different with lower plants such as the fungi which often must have a particular vitamin, often thiamine, in the substrate or they cannot grow. Much of the earlier experimental work on vitamins was performed with various fungi.

James Bonner and co-workers at the California Institute of Technology found that thiamine (vitamin B1) was an important growth factor for roots in sterile culture and also for root growth on intact plants. The widely used treatment of newly transplanted plants with thiamine is derived from these studies. Proprietary preparations of thiamine are available at most seed stores or garden centers. Some investigators were unable to record any benefits from such treatments. However, since the material is used in very low concentrations, the cost is low and the treatment may often be worth using, especially when plants are divided or when the root system is poorly developed. Many orchid growers apply thiamine routinely when orchids are divided.

One reason why healthy intact plants often do not respond to applications of vitamins is that these substances are found in well aerated soils with high levels of organic matter. They are abundant in animal manures and are produced by the microflora and microfauna of good soils. Nevertheless, several of the most sophisticated of the completely soluble hydroponic type fertilizers, designed for liquid application are now formulated with thiamine. These can be recognized by a strong but not unpleasant characteristic odor. If the fertilizer is applied at the recommended rate, the concentration of thiamine in the liquid is nearly at the level (0.4 mg per liter) of thiamine in the standard Murashige and Skoog medium widely used in plant tissue culture. Doubtless the manufacturers of these fertilizers believe that the extra expense is warranted by ability of the product to aid the growth of plants with damaged or inadequate root systems. These fertilizers also contain trace elements, often in chelated form, and represent knowledge based on recent highly sophisticated research. Personally, we believe that fertilizers of this type are well worth the somewhat higher cost.

Some other vitamins of the B complex have been shown to promote root growth. The author once published data showing increased heaviness of rooting of cuttings following treatments with pyridoxin (vitamin B6). Nicotinic acid (niacin) is included in some formulas for plant tissue culture. These two are not essential as is thiamine, but can promote extra growth. All three of these are often used in combination in some of the media for plant tissue culture.

Some of the growth factors from yeast such as inositol are often also used. Biotin at 0.25 mg/liter is used in orchid media by one laboratory in southern California. Thiamine and other vitamins are particularly important for tissue culture media in propagation procedures where embryogenesis is desired. Inositol at the rate of 100 mg per liter is added to many formulations. Most health food stores carry 100 mg pills of inositol, but using the pure chemical in powder form is much less expensive.

Sometimes media for plant tissue culture are formulated with natural substances rich in minerals, vitamins and growth factors. These include coconut milk, malt extract, yeast extract or pulp of fruits such as banana or papaya. Chemically defined media are usually preferred for experimental work.

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) has sometimes been used as an antioxidant in plant tissue culture media or in handling explants of plant tissues to prevent damage by oxidation. It is often combined with citric acid for this latter use.

The writer is not aware of any published data on the use of vitamins in the culture of bromeliads with the sole exception of some published information on the propagation of Aechmea fasciata by tissue culture in which Murashige and Skoog medium was used. This includes a vitamin additive.

Newly potted offshoots of bromeliads often do not root and become established as rapidly as would be desirable. The use of some of the growth promoting substances of plants, including vitamins, is worth trial. The use of the auxins to increase rooting has not been rewarding thus far.

There is considerable latitude in dosages allowable with the water soluble or B vitamins, both when used with animals or with plants. White, Nitsch and Murashige have published formulas with quite wide differences in the concentrations of vitamins in culture media for various purposes.

The present status of vitamins in horticulture practice is very limited. Thiamine is absolutely essential for some types of plant tissue culture and some other vitamins are sometimes beneficial although not essential. The addition of thiamine to certain specialized fertilizers seems to be justified although it would probably be a waste of money for large scale agronomic field use. Unquestionably some of the vitamins are still undiscovered. Predictions are unsafe and we do not venture to guess the place of vitamins in horticulture in general after another half century.

University of California at Los Angeles

Dr. Hemker — A Bromeliad Grower from Germany


Translated by Harvey L. Kendall

In spite of the disadvantage of the climate in northern Europe (we can only envy the temperatures in Florida, California, and other states in the U.S.A., where bromeliads can be grown the year round outside) we also have a number of private bromeliad growers and collectors who have beautiful collections to display. Many of these collectors have dedicated themselves completely to tillandsias, since a great number of these plants can be grown in a small greenhouse and can be hung outside in the summer. On the other hand usually only the smaller species and hybrids of the vase-shaped bromeliads are collected.

An exception is Dr. Hemker from Burgsteinfurt, Germany. He has brought back many bromeliads from many trips to Mexico, Brazil, and several trips to Ecuador, and has bloomed these plants at home. Dr. Hemker cultivates bromeliads and other rare plants in two greenhouses. One house is set up as a warm house, where many tillandsias, vrieseas, guzmanias, aechmeas, and orchids are kept. The other greenhouse is a cool house, where he winters tillandsias, succulents, and other bromeliads from cool regions. During the summer the tillandsias are hung on a wire fence outside (May to October). In his residence he has a large window sill with a bed of xerophytic bromeliads. Also he has built into his living room wall a tropical window with a gigantic epiphyte branch. Here are many bromeliads, which can be seen from the living room through a large glass pane. Under the epiphyte branch is a water basin with tropical frogs, lizards, and turtles. It gives the impression of being in the middle of the jungle. In his garden Dr. Hemker tends various other animals such as a giant turtle, several monkeys, and owls, from which he has raised several generations, which have in turn been released into nature.

He was one of the first in Germany to grow Pitcairnia nigra and bring it to bloom. In 1976 Professor W. Rauh in Heidelberg named a little tillandsia after him, which Dr. Hemker had collected in Ecuador. He gave it the name Tillandsia hemkeri (original description: Bromelienstudien I 5th issue, 1976). This little tillandsia's habitat is near Puyo in Ecuador. But it is very rare there. Also the plant is not easy to cultivate and is thus still very rare. Since room in Dr. Hemker's greenhouse is very limited and new plants are constantly coming in, he frequently gives away plants that have bloomed for him. Before he passes the plant on, he photographs it in full bloom and thus has acquired a collection of very interesting bromeliad photos in the course of years. Every collector and photographer has his or her own idea of how a plant should be photographed. Dr. Hemker usually photographs the inflorescence with the first open individual flower. In enlargements the viewer can then see the full beauty of the flower. In his collection there are still some plants that have never bloomed and which will surely prove to be new species. In the future they will certainly provide material for more articles.

The Englishwoman Who Paints Our Flowers

Margaret Mee makes periodic invasions of our Brazilian forests. She goes armed but seeks only flowers and plants to paint.

When she goes forth on her invasions of the Amazonian forest, she gives the impression of one who enters the jungle including the 32 revolver which always accompanies her. The weapon, however, is almost useless equipment: more important are her paints and brushes. From each visit to the forest, which may last two or three months, Margaret Mee brings back delicate gouache paintings of tropical plants — the majority of them still unknown to botanists.

And the revolver? She explains: "You know how it is, up to now it has not been necessary, but some day it is possible that one will meet a jaguar and it will be necessary to shoot."

"Dona Margalete", as the Indians call her, has traversed the interior of Brazil since 1958 to seek unknown plants or those threatened with extinction. She has already published an album of these designs: Flowers of the Brazilian Forests (Flores das Florestas Brasileiras) and is preparing another on just the Amazonian flora.

"It is horrible what is happening in Amazonia," she says to justify her activity. "Innumerable species of plants and animals are becoming extinct. People have an obligation to reproduce those that survive, so that their memory will not be lost. It was for them to be known that they existed."

IN THE FIRST ADVENTURE A NEAR TRAGEDY — Margaret's vocation started by accident. In London, she had studied painting, but never thought to depict plants. "When one is young one thinks that flowers are a subject for old artists." In 1958, six years after arriving in Brazil — where she came to visit an ailing sister — she made acquaintance with the forest. And, from there on, she dedicated herself to exploring it.

To begin this exploration was not an easy task. In 1962, on the invitation of Harold Schultz of the Museu Paulista and a disciple of Marshal Rondon she had her first contact with adventure, on the Rio Juruena in Mato Grosso.

The voyage began well but soon turned a bit disastrous, she reminisces. "Schultz came down with malaria and had to return, leaving me in camp with his adjutant and a 7 year old Indian boy. Soon afterward the adjutant also fell sick. I was virtually alone. We then decided to seek help in a camp of rubber gatherers. It was a four hour voyage by canoe on a river full of rapids. But all turned out well, although all the food had disappeared."

The disastrous first experience did not discourage her. Two years after her excursion to Mato Grosso, Margaret was already going up the Rio Curicuriari in Amazonas with only two Indians for company.

"When we arrived in the Indian settlement, they went out to hunt and left me alone. Soon after a group of drunken prospectors appeared. It was the only time I had to show my revolver. But fortunately the Indian who was piloting the prospectors' canoe threatened to leave them without a guide if they did not leave at once. Curiously, how I do not know, the Indians of the settlement soon knew what had happened. Less than an hour later they were returning, although usually they arrived only at the end of the afternoon. They came with other Indians quite strong and determined. Apparently they knew everything without being told anything."

LIVING IN THE FORESTS IN FEAR OF THE WHITES. For Margaret the providential appearance of the Indians was the first of a series of incidents that convinced her that in the forest the only dangerous savages are the whites. "On that occasion the Indians regarded me with a certain suspicion. A traveling vendor, one knows not of what, they were told I was a spy. Only after the encounter with the prospectors did they begin to have confidence in me. They flooded me with presents, fruit and fish. From then on they have always been my friends."

The adventures, however, appeared to her to be the least fascinating part of her voyages. To tell the case of the surucucu snake that lay in wait near an Aechmea globosa, or the spiders and scorpions that are generally hidden in the midst of "parasitas" (epiphytes) are for her only a detail of the activity that really interests her. And it is to paint with increasing precision the carefully collected specimens that she has developed a special technique for the work in which she puts all her love.

The first phase of this work consists in discovering the rare plant, preferably an unknown one. "I am not a botanist" she affirms, "but with time one comes to know which are the rare specimens." Already they have named three species after me. I have discovered many more. The majority have other names — one of them that of my friend, the architect Rino Levi, who died during one of the expeditions that we made together. Some are still not baptized."

Once the plant is collected, Margaret tries to preserve it in the best shape possible. Some, the most delicate, are left in missionary camps where frequently they bloom only months afterward. Others are taken to Rio to the Jardim Botanico and to the landscape architect Roberto Burle Marx, one of her best friends. When the plant flowers, Margaret begins the artistic part of her work. She prefers to use gouache which gives a more exact reproduction of colors. "The most difficult thing," she confesses, "is not to paint. It is to wait until the model is in ideal condition. Often a year goes by without knowing what flower is going to appear from a tropical "parasita". Sometimes they ask me why I do not photograph my models. I tried to do this but a photo almost never gives an exact reproduction of details. Often it is necessary to examine a flower or a leaf with a hand lens or even with a microscope. Too bad that it is so difficult to work with a microscope in a canoe."

IN THE FOREST, THE WORST ENEMY IS THE MOSQUITO — On her latest voyages, Margaret Mee perfected an ideal model of canoe 9 meters long but narrow enough to navigate small rivers. To facilitate the expedition she takes with her one or two Indians besides the pilot. During the night the crew stays on shore and she alone in the boat. "I always carry a revolver with me. In case of emergency I need only fire into the air. The one thing I do not like is when I have to hunt. I prefer canned food. Furthermore, in spite of what is believed, it is almost never necessary to fire in self-defense. The animals usually are afraid of people. And I do not hunt. I find it simply impossible to eat a bird or a monkey."

She was fascinated by Brazil since as an eight-year-old she spent hours reading of voyages to tropical countries. Margaret Mee declared that she never hated the inconveniences of the forest, since the fascination of the environment is always greater. "There are so many things to see that one scarcely has time for other sensations. The worst of all are the mosquitoes, but with time one gets used to them."

Translated from the Portuguese by Dr. Lyman B. Smith from an article in Realedade, August 1974.

Dr. Smith and Mrs. Mee examining a nidularium.

A New Streptocalyx from Eastern Ecuador


Among the novelties received at the Mulford B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center (BIC) is the Streptocalyx species described below. Because it is already in limited cultivation it seems wise to publish the description where it will reach the greatest number of bromeliad growers.


Streptocalyci geminifloro Harms affinis, sed bracteis primariis integris, spicis 3-5-floris, et sepalis majoribus differt.

Leaves densely rosulate, to 8 dm long, the inner red when flowering; sheaths elliptic, castaneous, to 25 mm wide; blades linear, acuminate, 8 to 12 mm wide, coriaceous, rigid, serrate with antrorse, 1 to 2 mm long spines; scape very short; scape bracts subfoliaceous, serrate, red in life; inflorescence densely bipinnate, ovoid to ellipsoid, 8 to 12 cm long, 6 to 10 cm in diameter; primary bracts entire, nerved, lanceolate to lance-ovate, acute with a small terminal mucro, 35 to 55 mm long, 15 to 25 mm wide, farinose-lepidote, very pale pink in life; spikes dense, distichously 3-5-flowered, the upper flower usually aborted; floral bracts entire, nerved, broadly ovate, navicular, apiculate, obscurely carinate, to 20 mm long, 30 mm wide, much exceeding the ovary, sparsely lepidote, pale green in life; sepals free, entire, asymmetrical, alate-carinate, 20 mm long exclusive of the 4 mm long mucro; petals naked, to 27 mm long, lavender-blue; ovary ellipsoid, 7 mm long, alate, pale green; epigynous tube short.

Gary Hendrix

TYPE: Ecuador: Napo: Collected near Puyo, 500-800 m, by Jeffrey Kent, flowered in cultivation. BIC 0019. H.E. Luther s.n., Nov. 2, 1979, SEL herb. 032400. (Holotype: SEL) Additional material examined: Ecuador: Napo: Collected near Puyo, 1973, by Gary Hendrix; flowered in cultivation in 1978. Bunny Hendrix s.n., 1978, specimen received at SEL April 12, 1980, SEL herb. 032389. (SEL)

From the related Streptocalyx geminiflorus Harms this new species differs in having larger sepals, 3-5-flowered spikes and entire primary bracts. Streptocalyx pallidus superficially resembles the widespread and variable S. longifolius (Rudge) Baker on account of its numerous, narrow leaves and low inflorescence but can be easily separated by its entire primary and floral bracts and lavender-blue flowers.

The specific name refers to the very pale, almost white, coloration of the primary bracts which is in sharp contrast to the bright red of the inner leaves. The effect is quite ornamental.


I would like to thank Jeffrey Kent of Kent's Bromeliad Nursery, Vista, California, for first providing material of this species. I also thank Bunny and Gary Hendrix of Homestead, Florida, for supplying additional material and information and Kerry Herndon of Kerry's Nursery, Homestead, Florida, for contributing a living plant (a descendant of the Hendrix collection) to the research collection of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Harry E. Luther, Director, BIC

The third and last volume of Dr. Lyman B. Smith's monograph on the Bromeliaceae is now obtainable. This brings to a close the great work that Dr. Smith started a number of years ago to bring up to date the work of Carl Mez, whose monograph was last revised in 1935. Whereas Mez's volume covers but 640 pages, Dr. Smith's monograph covers 2,142 pages, which gives some idea of the great advances that have been made in the study of bromeliads. The study of plants is an endless, albeit delightful occupation, and already a number of bromeliads could be added to Dr. Smith's great compendium; but the three volumes should be in every bromeliad grower's library. The three volumes are most accurately and artistically illustrated by Robert Jack Downs, botanical artist.

To obtain a copy of Volume 3, send check for $66.00 to the New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York 10458. The work is part of Flora Neotropica, Monograph, No. 14, Part 3. (see Ad in Journal for the first two volumes.)

COMING — A New Book on Bromeliads

A publication of the Bromeliad Society, Inc. to be released in early spring, 1981.

This book is a continuation of Padilla's book published in 1973, which already has had six printings. This will be a very beautiful book, size — 9×11, with 50 pages of brilliant color. Over 130 species and hybrids are described and each is accompanied by a colored illustration. The book will be hard back with a vivid dust jacket. It will make a splendid addition to any coffee table as well as a mine of information for the grower.

See the next issue of the Journal for special pre-publication price and reservation blank.

Born in a Hurricane


As bromeliad growers in south Texas' "sparkling city by the sea", and surrounding towns, celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Corpus Christi Bromeliad Society this fall, memories of hurricane Celia were inevitable. Celia was the small but powerful storm which hit the Corpus Christi area on an early August afternoon of 1970, and left the central Gulf Coast of Texas residents with a new respect for hurricanes. By now you are probably wondering what hurricanes have to do with bromeliad societies.

In the early months of summer, 1970, several Corpus Christi plant hobbyists began to discuss the possibility of organizing a society dedicated to the study of bromeliads. Telephone correspondence with Pat Mitchell in Houston, the affiliates chairman for the Bromeliad Society, Inc., encouraged and assisted us, and plans to organize were formulated. C. W. Carpenter, garden editor of our local newspaper, was contacted, and he agreed to photograph some bromeliads in my garden for an article which he would write about bromeliads. This article would also carry the announcement of our organizational meeting. An appointment was scheduled for 2:00 P.M. Monday afternoon, August 3.

During the weekend we became aware that a storm was in the Gulf. Having weathered several past hurricanes, and tracked many more, little real attention was given this nuisance. As Celia approached the Corpus Christi area on Monday many local residents held their customary "hurricane parties". By 2:00 P.M. on Monday, August 3, we were beginning to feel the winds as the storm moved inland. Before dark the storm with gusts up to 161 MPH had passed. Celia played no favorites. Many homes were destroyed, some fine, well constructed, others more modest. Office buildings and churches suffered massive damage and most apartment complexes were heavily damaged or destroyed. The entire city, and the towns immediately north, looked as if they had been the target of bombing raids. The initial shock wore off quickly as the massive clean up job began. Now our attention turned to salvage. Celia left few trees and fewer fences standing. Sally Thompson reports that she became interested in bromeliads after the fence which separated their yard from that of Rosa and Charlie Mielleur blew down and she saw the strange plants in the rubble of their greenhouse.

Wednesday afternoon, as we waded through the debris of broken trees, broken plants, pots and greenhouses, not to mention a neighbor's patio roof, in an effort to clean up the mess, C. W. Carpenter arrived. After apologizing for missing our earlier appointment, he asked if we were still interested in the story to announce the organizational meeting. Why not! I picked through the debris and found an Aechmea fasciata which was in flower and had relatively little damage. It was photographed. A full page story on bromeliads and our announcement appeared the following weekend.

The clean-up was far from complete when we held our organizational meeting on September 16. Pat Mitchell and Lynn Cook came from Houston to assist and brought boxes of plants which were auctioned off to start our treasury. (It also started Charlie Mielleur on his now 10 year old career as official auctioneer). To our surprise about 20 people turned out and we were soon charted with 30 Charter Members.

With "the hurricane" all but forgotten, the members of the Corpus Christi Bromeliad Society, in cooperation with the other groups in the Southwest Bromeliad Guild, are looking forward to hosting a memorable World Bromeliad Conference in July of 1982.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Although some members seem to have difficulty growing high Andean bromeliads, I do manage all right with the high altitude plants, even growing Puya raimondii slowly but well. In my location I have almost constant wind, which, for the most time of the year comes from the southeast Atlantic where, at this time of the year (April), the pack ice is again creeping north resulting in distinctly chilly drafts! The days are still fine (autumn) but the nights drop down to 50°F. and will drop down to 40°F. in midwinter. This constant air movement is combined with a watering schedule: early morning misting, and watering just before the sun sets so that everything is dripping wet at night. This insures that the high altitude plants get at least cool to cold nights, and I think that this is the deciding factor, as is also a large day-night temperature differential, as is felt above 2000 M. in the Andes.

Rolf Rawe, Cape, South Africa

The 1980 World Bromeliad Conference


The 1980 World Bromeliad Conference in Orlando had everything that has come to be expected in a World Conference. There were tours of local growers' gardens, evening festivities, seminars, plant sales to satisfy the acquisitive urge of bromeliophiles, and the various business meetings that the conferees would finally force themselves to attend. A new and well-received addition was a bromeliad art show, which drew praise from all quarters. We can expect to see art displays become an established fixture of world conferences. In the middle of the activity, and at the center of attention, was the judged show.

In Orlando in May, hundred of Neoregelias, hundreds of Aechmeas, hundreds of Vrieseas and Guzmanias, and scores more filled the vision of all who stepped onto the exhibition hall floor. With a spirit of good cheer, growers entered their choice plants into competition. The plants did the competing, however. They competed for everyone's attention. And, all agreed. The judges had an impossible job.

When the judging was over, out of the hundreds of entries, 26 plants of eleven growers had gained places of distinction on the two awards stands. There was more than an adding of points and placement of silver, however. There were sights to be seen.

In the center of the show floor a circular multi-level stand held the hierarchical award winners, the best of the genera. To the side, standing apart from the other entries, a long stand held the winners of awards outside the traditional hierarchy: the outstanding new hybrid, the cultural excellence award winner, the best...The silver, the brass and the crystal glittered. But, the plants outshone all of it.

There was Nat DeLeon's re-make of his well-known Neophytum 'Ralph Davis'. This time, Nat crossed Orthophytum navioides with a meyendorfii cultivar of Neoregelia carolinae. This re-make surpasses the original. With leaves a full ¾" at their base, it has the broadest leaves of any of the DeLeon Neophytum crosses. An outstanding plant, it took silver as the Best Multi-Generic.

Rising more than 20 feet above the floor, the Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society had grown a bromeliad tree, filled with beautiful specimens. From the dozen or so colorful society displays, it was selected the best, winning the brass loving cup Chairman's Award. It set a new standard of excellence for future society displays.

There was the delightful horticultural display taken directly from Racine Foster's Bromel-la. An oak twig to which the omnipresent Spanish Moss clung. The curly silver strands were a background though. The delight was in the rarely seen beauty of the soft chartreuse flowers, and their scent.

There were hundreds of entries in the 1980 World Bromeliad Conference judged show. Despite the high level of competition, one grower nearly stole the show, Eloise Beach of Apopka, Florida.

Eloise entered 79 plants in the competition. They took 56 blue ribbons, 15 Best In Class ribbons and 10 awards. Herb, with Neoregelia hybrids a specialty, was right with her, taking more than a score of blues. His seven awards included ones for the Best New Neoregelia Hybrid (a cross of N. Green Apple and N. Fireball), Best Vriesea, and the Cultural Excellence Award for a giant Guzmania 'Symphonie'. When the counting was done, however, Eloise Beach had taken the Sweepstakes Award.

A computer programmer who amassed a perfect 4.0 grade point average at Florida Technological University (now the University of Central Florida), Eloise gave up computers in 1974 to devote her working hours to the hobby with which her work kept infringing. Throwing herself into bromeliad culture, Eloise became a mainstay of bromeliad organizations. Now on the board of the Bromeliad Society, Inc., Eloise is a frequent speaker at bromeliad societies across the country. When she began devoting full time to her collection, Eloise took on the challenge of earning a 4.0 in bromeliads. In Orlando in May, she came extremely close.

The Best Aechmea was her A. macvaughii, which she acquired in 1977 from Racine Foster. The Best Cryptanthus was her C. acaulis cv. Variegata, which previously was selected the Best Cryptanthus at the Thanksgiving, 1979 Sarasota Bromeliad Society show. The Best Nidularium was one which Eloise has found to be a very robust clone of N. procerum. The Best Other Bromelioideae was the rarely seen Ronnbergia columbiana, which to Eloise's delight came into bloom shortly after the conference. The Best Tillandsia was her T. xerographica, with a beautiful rose flush throughout its leaves. The Best Other Tillandsioideae was her gracefully blooming Catopsis floribunda. The Best Neoregelia was a darkly colored clone of N. eleutheropetala, which Eloise described as her favorite among her winners. It was a favorite of the judges also, and was selected the Best Bromelioideae. The only hybrid to win an award for Eloise was for Best Canistrum, a specimen of C. Leopardinum which Eloise had acquired from Ralph Davis seven years ago.

Eloise has a special interest in adding species to her extensive collection. Whether able to acquire a desired species or not, she devours all literature on her favorite plant family. Believing that there is such an emphasis on hybridizing that the loss of many species for future generations is being risked, Eloise has done only limited hybridizing. She has usually destroyed her crosses, however, because they were not superior to the parents, even though different from any known species or hybrid.

Her love of species is reflected in the fact that she took the Best Neoregelia Award with a species, not one of the many colorful hybrids which have come to dominate shows in Florida, including the display tables at the 1980 World Bromeliad Conference.

Her scientific perfectionism being nearly all pervasive, Eloise has taken a very unusual approach to raising bromeliads. She practices cleanliness. Her interconnected trio of huge, quonset-style, metal frame greenhouses are covered with an inflated double layer of polyethylene. No plants are hung. Except for a wide wall of mounted Tillandsias, nearly all plants are potted and set in neat, well-spaced rows on raised single-shelf benches. No plant ever touches the ground without being isolated, dipped, sprayed and otherwise sanitized. New acquisitions get the same treatment and are frequently kept in isolation for several months. The dirt floors of the greenhouse are kept totally weed-free and are raked regularly. All dead leaves are removed from plants as quickly as possible and destroyed. No potting mixture is ever reused. Pots are reused only after being sterilized.

Eloise did experiment with her watering practices, and with great success. Using a capillary mat system in addition to once weekly overhead watering, Eloise believes she has hit upon a nearly perfect method. The capillary mat system consists of a felt-like material fitted to the benches and kept constantly moist by means of special tiny and slow-flowering watering tubes. The moisture in the mat is drawn up into the pots, which are set directly upon the mat. The moisture in the potting mix is even, constant, and never "too wet". Moreover, the mat creates a constant high humidity micro-climate around the plants. The plants certainly love it. A feature of a Beach bromeliad is a healthy root system. Indeed, one must use a little effort to pick up a pot from those capillary mats. The roots hold onto the felt material with a passion.

Fertilizing is a scientific matter too. All plants are fed every two or three weeks with Peter's water soluble blend. However, it is used in a weak solution of one tablespoon of the dry fertilizer per five gallons of water. (Of course, the fertilizer holds in the capillary mats and is drawn up in the mix at a constant rate, as well as being sprayed into the cups of the plants.) In the summer growing season, a 20-20-20 formula is used. During the short low light days of winter, a 10-30-20 formula is used to prevent overly soft growth. Species or varieties liking more nutritional supplements also receive a top dressing of a little time released fertilizer. Eloise favors Choice 10-10-10 over Osmocote because it is slower in releasing the fertilizer and has trace elements in it.

Lighting is rather scientific as well. Approximately 3000 foot candles (70% shade) is the goal. Light meter in hand, a shading paint is applied to the outside of the plastic quonsets until the proper light level is reached. The Beach greenhouses are not climate-controlled structures, however. Fans provide constant fresh air, but temperatures in excess of 100° Fahrenheit are common in the summer, and even in winter the high 90's are not unusual. Cooling pads are a luxury which Eloise foregoes.

Guzmania 'Cherry'

As for the potting mix, two formulas are used. The first, and more costly, uses 9 parts of coarse tree fern fiber mixed with 6 parts of sphagnum peat moss and one part sharp builders sand. The second uses three parts perlite and three parts sphagnum peat moss, with one part sharp builders sand. Both mixes are long lasting, airy and capable of holding fertilizer and moisture.

That is a look at Eloise Beach and her extraordinarily successful method of growing bromeliads. A scientist at heart, and a true lover of the Bromeliaceae, she is a true winner.


The Ghent region of Belgium has a tradition of horticultural excellence. In an area approximately 20 miles long and 10 or 15 miles wide, it is an international center for horticultural genius. Hundreds of greenhouses operated there by family businesses gratify the needs of the world for horticultural beauty. Family pride in horticultural achievement is a cultural norm. Specialization in a particular group of horticultural plants is likewise a family affair. In the small village of Heusden, the DeMeyer family raises, hybridizes and creates gorgeous bromeliads.

Henry DeMeyer, the third generation of his family to be so engaged, sought to avoid confusion with other DeMeyers by incorporating his wife's maiden name, DeRouck, in the family's trade name. The trade name DeMeyer-DeRouck means outstanding Guzmanias. In Orlando in May, the "Q" Gardens Award for the Outstanding New Hybrid was conferred on DeMeyer. He had matched his 1977 World Bromeliad Conference introduction of Guzmania 'Orangeade'. He released the brilliant Guzmania 'Cherry'.

Henry and Denise should be proud. Their family should be honored. Watching Henry in Orlando, pride was not apparent. He carried himself with the manner of a humble aristocrat. An aura of expertise surrounded him. There was no need for overly broad smiles or beaming expressions. True success in a task undertaken with professionalism is a quiet thing.

The DeMeyer-DeRouck firm is used to horticultural shows. Regularly participating in the Floralies of Ghent, the famous horticultural exposition held every five years in facilities the size of several football fields, and several other of the great European horticultural shows, international honors are not new to DeMeyer-DeRouck. Welcome when they come, the honors and awards recognize and confirm what the public already knows. Great plant varieties can not be created by Madison Avenue. It takes work and a touch of genius.

Guzmania 'Cherry' is much like the popular G. 'Orangeade'. Deeper green foliage with a hint of red, increased size and the rich red bracts are the major distinguishing points visible to the viewer denied opportunity for close examination and comparative measurements. The name "Cherry" aptly describes the red bracts. They are the deep red of a fully ripened bing cherry. There is just enough of a hint of purple in the bracts to make the color rich and unforgettable. Fully one-fourth larger than the blooming specimens of G. 'Orangeade' found in collections and commercial outlets, the foliage of G. 'Cherry' is full, lush, and exudes healthfulness. Indeed, thinking back, this writer wonders if his notes are accurate. It may be that the plant is not so much larger than G. 'Orangeade' as it is more lushly leaved. Nonetheless, the appearance of size is a true measure. The parentage of this beauty, alas, is a DeMeyer-DeRouck trade secret. To that extent, at least, European horticultural traditions still survive.

Jean Merkel of Alberts and Merkel Bros., Inc. is once again the distributor of Henry DeMeyer's creation. To his chagrin, and that of Guzmania fanciers everywhere, G. 'Cherry' will not be commercially available until August, 1981. However, Jean advises that the delay has no relation to cultural difficulty. G. 'Cherry' has the same cultural requirements as most Guzmanias. A moisture-holding, well-drained potting mix, with airy and shaded conditions, are the key. Jean Merkel recommends a potting mix of equal parts of sphagnum peat moss, tree bark nuggets and either coarse sand or perlite. Naturally soft rainwater is also preferable, but not essential. (Never use artificially softened water on bromeliads as such water contains lethal salts.) Fertilizing should be regular and frequent, but a weak solution of a 20-20-20 water soluble formula at a rate of one teaspoon per gallon is fully sufficient. Direct sunlight is to be avoided, but bright indirect light is perfect.

The family enterprise of Henry DeMeyer and the former Denise DeRouck has given the bromeliad world another in a long line of fine presents. Hopefully, 1982 in Corpus Christi will see another excellent hybrid introduced, and this growing tradition continued. Whatever the future may hold, however, one point is clear. Henry DeMeyer is a winner.

We have a wonderful thing that happens here every year in July, August, and September. Our yard has many pine and palm trees as well as citrus, and mocking birds are year-round residents in them. They sing up a storm and raise their young, but in the summer months when my clumps of Aechmea bracteata have finished blooming and the seeds are forming the mocking birds all know that this is the time for a free meal. Every year the 20 or so Aechmea bracteatas bloom and put out their pups and every year my collection of them gets bigger and bigger because of the offsets. It is possible that the large bright red bracts are a signal flag for the mocking birds. This is really "Mother Nature" in action.

Frank R. Cornelison, N. Ft. Myers, Florida

Bromeliad Philosophy


In recent months, some of us have learned that research is being done with a certain species of Catopsis. This research suggests that this particular plant may be carnivorous. I have noted some negative reaction and skepticism to the idea of a bromeliad being carnivorous. This negative reaction alarms me. It reminds me of my own objections when I was just beginning to grow bromeliads. My objection was that V. espinosae was not a Vriesea, but it was a Tillandsia. "It looks too much like a Tillandsia!" I was, of course, wrong. I swallowed my pride and confessed I was not a taxonomist and from that embarrassing moment on, I swore to myself that I would not make a final judgment — at least until I had ALL the facts.

Mis-identification is an easy mistake to make, whether you are a novice or an "old pro", but my major mistake was my desire to be "In the know", whether I was right or wrong. I realized that when dealing with any subject, whether it be bromeliads or ball bearings, I would be more receptive to learning if I could say, "I don't know" or "That's possible".

Whether the Catopsis, above mentioned, is carnivorous or not is at present a matter of speculation and is indeed interesting. I am, in fact, excited to know that anyone at all is still speculating on the functions and evolution of bromeliads. Whether the plant is carnivorous or not will not affect diversely my attitude towards the Bromeliad Family as a whole!

The lesson I learned about being presumptuous is not limited to function, evolution, or taxonomy. When considering culture and care of bromeliads, it is important to remember that all things are possible. Each individual has his own recipe for soil mix, watering, cooling, heating, fertilizing, etc., and with the increasing popularity of this fascinating plant family, recipes for culture and care will become more diverse. The growth habit of a bromeliad may vary from greenhouse to greenhouse and in nature the same species may vary from habitat to habitat. It is indeed frustrating to have the plant you love nameless and to be assaulted with a myriad of suggestions on care. But these are the limitations and possibilities we must be content with in order to encourage experimentation, research, speculation and to increase our general knowledge of bromeliads.

Pacifica, California

A New Brazilian Species: Neoregelia amandae WEBER 1979


When you import bromeliads directly from collectors in the tropics, there are two possibilities. Either you order species which you would like to grow in your collection (you sometimes get them correctly named), or you request an assortment of unidentified plants. If you enjoy surprises you choose the second course, because you thereby have a chance to acquire some unusual and seldom cultivated species along with a majority of common forms. You may even get a species heretofore unknown to science. In such an unidentified collection which I got in 1974 from Lotus Osiris in Brazil I found a few new species, of which I will here present a little neoregelia which I described in Bradea vol. III (1979), pp. 26-28 and named Neoregelia amandae in honor of the collector Amanda Bleher.

The plant in question is one of the stoloniferous forms and is approximately as large as or a little bit larger than Neoregelia ampullacea. The few leaves form an upright, tubular rosette, but the upper third is somewhat flared. The color is comparable to that of the leaves of N. cyanea, although the leaves are wider and the tips are rounded and apiculate. The sheaths are olive to brownish red on the outside and have closely adpressed scales; the scale cells are arranged in barely detectable cross bands.

As in all neoregelias the inflorescence is hidden deep in the rosette. Probably for this reason several similar species have been overlooked in the past, because we often do not notice the inflorescence or do not look at the flowers closely. In July, 1978, I found the first blooming specimen in my collection, and I first noticed the pure white flowers, whose petals were each decorated in the middle with three light green longitudinal lines. I found that suspicious and therefore used a scalpel to remove the inflorescence from the tube-shaped vase and sketched the plant and the parts of the flower.

Attempts at identification brought no results, and that strengthened my suspicion that I had an unidentified species. I sent my sketch and the diagnosis to Dr. L. B. Smith for his opinion. Dr. Smith confirmed that it was a hitherto unidentified species.

You bromeliad fans can see from this tale that you can discover new species without having to make an expedition into the tropics personally.

Neoregelia amandae

Neoregelia amandae does not exactly belong to the spectacular species, but because of its small size and the fast stoloniferous growth it is especially suitable for hobbyists with little room for their collection. N. amandae is not difficult to grow. It grows vigorously and withstands rather low temperatures — a further advantage in these days of increasing energy costs and shortages. Because of the stolons you should select a flat dish for a pot or else attach the plant to some contorted branch with an epiphyte planting medium — if possible along with other small species such as N. ampullacea, N. pauciflora, or N. 'Fireball' and small epiphytic ferns, for example. Thus you can conjure a little epiphytic garden.

If you want to increase your holding of such stoloniferous neoregelias quickly, it is best to plant them in rather large flats. I use flat styrofoam containers of the type used to pack instruments and small apparatuses. They have the advantage that they do not deteriorate in the greenhouse as fast as wooden flats; unlike clay dishes they produce no cooling through evaporation and thus keep the roots warmer and thereby speed growth.

When the pups are large enough and are well rooted, I cut the woody stolons midway without removing the plants and replanting them. Thus the mother plants are encouraged to produce more pups. The reproduction rate increases. Regular weak fertilizing speeds the growth considerably. Not until the plants fill the flats and are crowded do I remove them and plant them in new flats ca. 10 to 15 cm. apart.

Translated by Harvey L. Kendall

ERRATA — Vol. XXX, No. 4, p. 176. Photo credit should be given to Herb Hill, Jr., instead of author.

Vol. XXX, No. 5, p. 219. Neoregelia serratosepala should be Neoregelia culeatosepala, a recent discovery of Dr. W. Rauh.

Harry Luther, of The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, the Bromeliad Identification Center, writes: "You might advise Alexander Hirtz that his plant pictured on P. 173 of No. 4 is not A. tillandsioides. It may be A. retusa or A. tessmannii, photos are rather hard to dissect. Also Streptocalyx subnuda (P. 214, No. 5) is correctly Aechmea woronowii. I still find plants of this species labeled as "S. holmesii" in a few collections!"

To All Affiliates — Please send information regarding your shows or special events for 1981 to the Editor as soon as possible, so that it can be put into the Calendar for the Year in the first issue of the new year.

Collecting Highlights


G. Cole
Tillandsia incarnata growing on a palm in a garden in Quito.

On an August day in Ecuador we were on a trip down to the Pacific lowlands from Quito. This interesting city is situated at nearly 10,000 feet altitude surrounded by very much higher snow capped peaks. Since it is very close to the equator the climate is mild with occasional touches of frost.

The mostly unpaved road we were on plunged downward through the forests with many sharp hairpin curves from which we could see waterfalls in some of the bends. As we got lower we saw hundreds of tall Euterpe palms, Cecropias, and tree ferns. Since there were plenty of washouts from unusually heavy rains in the past months, men were working along the road clearing out rocks and trees. Just as we got to the outskirts of a small town at 5,000 feet, we spied a tall recently felled tree by the roadside which was covered with smallish bromeliad rosettes. Luckily this was a gas and rest stop for the tired bus, where those who wanted could fill up on boiled ears of corn with enormous white kernels, fried bananas, and empanadas. Some of us hurried back to collect the bromeliads. Gertrude Cole was with us as were other bromeliad fanciers — one from Hawaii and one from Iran. We were thrilled to see the big 2" skyblue flowers with white eyes on the plants which had wide soft pale green leaves. We later were able to identify them as Tillandsia hamaleana.

When you are traveling without special equipment or a tree climber you are lucky when you find bromels on the ground. The day before in a park in Quito we found many Tillandsia incarnata — a grey-green twisted plant with pretty pink stalks and bracts and rose colored flowers. These were being swept into a trash bin by park employees! They were so high in tall leafy trees we could not have seen them otherwise.

In spite of the difference in altitude these plants are still alive in Florida three years later, though the T. hamaleana succumbed in less than a year. This is the experience of many collectors of high altitude plants.

Mount Dora, Florida

Portrait of a Special Man


Every plant society — indeed every organized group — seems to have a handful of people who do all of the work. A lucky group also often has one member whose enthusiasm and willingness to work motivates the others. The Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society lost such a member recently in the death of Henry J. Rahmlow (April 25, 1980).

Henry "retired" to Florida in the late 50's. Although he had had a lifelong interest in plants and worked many years as a horticultural agent in his native Wisconsin (after a career in teaching), bromeliads were an unfamiliar plant to him. That situation did not last long.

As recently as the early 60's, bromeliads were not all that common, even in Florida. After interest was sparked, Henry started searching for plants and people who shared his interest in them. This brought him to the Florida West Coast Society.

Although Florida West Coast is the oldest society in Florida — organized by Mulford Foster himself — and one of the two or three oldest societies in the country, like most societies, it has had its ups and downs over the years.

As soon as Henry joined, his organizational mind and penchant for detail and follow through began to benefit the society in a lot of ways.

While his own bromeliad collection grew and was refined, Henry worked tirelessly to interest new members in the group and to spur older members to stay active. Incredibly, Henry was among the three oldest members in the group when he joined and the only really active of the three.

It was very soon after Henry became active in the bromeliad society that he saw the need for a publication that would offer a rallying point for members. Incredibly enough, his suggestion was not initially received with anything approaching enthusiasm. Some members said it was unnecessary to have a newsletter. Others fretted about the costs. Most were too apathetic to have an opinion. Henry was not apathetic. He buttonholed members one by one until his will prevailed. The society voted to have a newsletter with Henry as the editor. There were not lines of competition for the job. But Henry didn't mind. He had plenty of leisure time, financial security and editing and writing gifts. He made the newsletter uniquely his own.

Immediately, the publication caught on. The Tampa Bromeliad Guild (just across the bay) decided to share expenses and a joint newsletter came into being with a slightly different front page for each group. The newsletter was soon reaching several hundred members in the two groups. Henry rarely missed meetings of either group.

Through it all, Henry did most of the writing himself, occasionally getting a contribution and often pulling information from the experts via a series of time-consuming phone calls.

He shared his own experiences with the novice and sophisticate alike. Some disagreed with his methods, especially his potting medium of Canadian peat, cypress mulch and lots of cow manure and used for everything. But no one denied that Henry consistently had some of the biggest and best looking plants around. Even his vrieseas grown in the mix — to the horror of some local experts — flourished. Blue ribbons at local shows and fairs were a common event for Henry.

Henry sold his plants to other members at give-away prices at the local meetings and sales. The low prices often angered some of the greedier sellers, even though the range of plants Henry offered was fairly limited. His prices won the wide approval of new, younger and sometimes not very affluent members. Scarcely a newcomer to the Florida West Coast Society failed to buy Aechmea fasciata, Neoregelia 'Catherine Wilson', Neoregelia carolinae tri-color and Nidularium 'Casmir Morobe' from Henry. They got glorious, blooming plants at bargain prices, and their bromel fever had begun. The value and far-reaching effects of Henry's generosity in this area was not always fully appreciated.

Henry's interest in plants was hardly limited to bromeliads. He was active in the rose society and grew the plants expertly, though roses are alleged to be difficult in Florida. Henry dabbled with orchids and gesneriads and had become very interested in aroids in recent years.

One morning while puttering in his garden, Henry had a bad dizzy spell, which proved to be a stroke. Although it was a slight stroke it greatly slowed and impaired him.

But Henry didn't give up. It would have been utterly unlike him. Four days before his death, he attended the Tampa Guild meeting and happily sold his plants. He was busy planning the next newsletter and intending to attend his class of 1915 reunion in Wisconsin when the end came.

Henry's death is not just a major blow to the Florida West Coast and Tampa Guild Societies who have lost at least 50% of their work force with his passing. It is a loss to all who love bromeliads. In time a half-dozen others may be able to accomplish some of the work Henry did, even putting out a newsletter (that largely thankless task).

But Henry's warm friendship to everyone, his contagious and irresistible enthusiasm for life and all things horticultural are gone. They will be greatly missed for they are so rare. Henry was a special person. And how rare they are, too.

Gulfport, Florida

For a Touch of Class

To add a note of distinction to your greenhouse, why not try growing orchids among your bromeliads. The orchids in this case are not the usual varieties, such as Cattleyas or Phalaenopsis, but species imported from the Orient — kinds that have been revered in Japan for centuries. These are species native to Japan and China — Dendrobiums, Angraecums, Cymbidiums, and others. Most of these are miniature and many are variegated with white longitudinal stripes. They are enchanting plants, whether in flower or not, the blooms coming as an extra bonus.

As far back as the tenth century, the growing of these orchids has been an integral part of classical Japanese culture. They have received for generations the same reverent care as bestowed on the bonsai. Although many orchids were grown in gardens, most of them were house plants, grown in exquisite tall, thin containers and given a special place of honor in the home. For years they were the plants of the well-to-do, for the propagation of these species, especially of the variegated kinds, could be made only by offset. However, recently with the formation of specialized orchid societies in Japan, these oriental gems have become reasonable in price and also available to overseas growers.

One of the members of the Bromeliad Society, Hiroshi Nakatani of Tokyo, raises these plants among his bromeliads with great success. Most of his plants come from the mountainous regions in China and so are fairly hardy.

A Candle for Christmas

Tillandsia candelifera

Photos by Werner Rauh

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