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 $15.00; Sustaining $20.00; Fellowship $30.00; and Life $750.00. 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


1979-1981: 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, Carl Bronson.

1981-1983: Eloise Beach, Nat De Leon, Charles Dills, Edgar Smith, John F. Utley, Leslie Walker, Wilbur Wood, Robert P. Wright


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 $2.50


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

Copyright 1981 by the Bromeliad Society, Inc.

MAY — JUNE 1981

What's in a Name?
  Alice H. Quiros99
Vriesea patzeltii
  Werner Rauh101
The Moirs on My Mind
  June Bennett104
Bromeliad Hybrids
  W. W. G. Moir107
Organic Horticulture
  Vernon Stoutemyer109
Tillandsia streptophylla112
Low Temperature Tolerances and Cold Hardiness in Bromeliads
  Howard H. Converse, Jr.115
Notes from Down Under
  Peter R. Paroz119
Neoregelia lilliputiana121
Two High Elevation Tillandsias from Southern Mexico
  Sue Gardner123
A Shock of Color
  Racine Foster124
Growing Bromeliads in an Inhospitable Climate
  Lee Anderson126
Billbergia pyramidalis concolor
  Debra B. Fisher129
In the Mailbag131
  Tillandsia montana144

PICTURE ON THE COVER — Tillandsia lehmannii — Photo by Dr. W. Rauh.

What's In A Name?


The bromeliad family has been a privileged one — at least in the English speaking world. With very few exceptions, the botanical names given to its members are the names by which they are known: Aechmea, Billbergia, Tillandsia, Hechtia, Guzmania, etc.

One appreciates the system of botanical nomenclature even more when confronted with the problem of securing a particular plant in a foreign country. Common names of plants create an exasperating confusion — everywhere. Costa Rica is no exception. There are probably more common names per plant, and even more plants per common name here in Costa Rica than there are in the United States. Sometimes, a common name in Spanish translates into about the same one for the identical plant in English. An example would be Euphorbia millii's popular name, "Crown of Thorns". Here in Costa Rica it is known in Spanish as "Corona de Cristo", Christ's Crown. (Incidentally, E. millii is used extensively here as barrier hedges, growing profusely and beautifully with exuberant blooming.) The common name, "Flame of the Forest" for Spathodea campanulata is the same in Spanish — "Llama del Bosque". But the same tree also has another common name: "African Tulip Tree", in English; while "Llama del Bosque" is also applied here to some other plants. And in English, "Flame of the Forest" is also attached to Butea monosperma.

Examples of even greater confusion could easily be cited in either Spanish or English common names as used in the United States and Costa Rica. Add to those the different common names used for these same plants in other Spanish speaking countries, and the nomenclature is totally out of hand!

In the United States, with the great mushrooming of nurseries and plant shops selling ornamental plants for the home, an unfortunate trend has developed. Commercial plant vendors (not dedicated, knowledgeable nurserymen) have labeled plants with cute names, or fanciful names, or just easy-to-say names. "Creeping Charlie" (an ugly name for an attractive bit of hanging greenery) has been given to three different plants, none of which are even in the same genus as the other: lysimachia, pilea, and in California only, a plectranthus.

The bromeliad family, having a more recent introduction into ornamental cultivation in the United States, got off to a reasonably untarnished start. You could ask for an Aechmea fasciata or a Billbergia pyramidalis and know that there would be no confusing it with any other plant by the same name.

Commercialism, though, has begun to muddy up our nomenclature in the world of bromelculture. We are now finding such contrived names as "Pheasant Leaf", "Zebra Plant" and "Heart of Flame" — all of which have been applied to plants in other families as well.

All of this is not to say we disapprove of a little wit, whimsy, or imagination in the naming of new hybrids. For instance, Aechmea "By Golly" is the correct, registered name of that beautiful hybrid by Ervin Wurthmann. Nobody should call it anything else. (But just try pronouncing it in Spanish!)

Any plant lover seriously interested in the bromeliad family should at least learn the correct names of the bromels in his own collection. It's as easy and logical as learning the names of people — your friends and those whom you respect and admire. Vendors should label plants with their correct botanical names.

Botanical names open up a world of information to you, too, because they often tell you something descriptive about the plant. For instance, Guzmania sanguinea: the genus was named for a person by the name of Guzman, and the species name tells us it is reddish — "washed with blood." So you see, there's much in a botanical name.

Some member societies are discovering that the study of botanical names and their meanings is a popular program with local members. South Bay Bromeliad Associates (California) distributes "lesson sheets" with their monthly publication to their membership. These sheets not only describe a plant of the month, including botanical drawings, but include a dictionary type list of botanical Latin words with their meanings and correct pronunciation. It is proving to be a very worthwhile project.

Let's keep our bromeliad family's nomenclature pure — unconfused and uncontaminated with phony, childish names that could apply to dozens of unrelated species.

(In addition to V. Padilla's BROMELIADS, the INTERNATIONAL CHECKLIST OF BROMELIAD HYBRIDS, published by the Society, should be part of every Society member's horticultural library; and hybridists should properly register their NEW introductions.

Alajuela, Costa Rica

Vriesea patzeltii RAUH, An Interesting New Species from Ecuador1


In her book, The Bromeliaceae of Ecuador, (1972), A. Gilmartin mentions only 2 Vrieseas for Ecuador with lingulate leaves and lax inflorescences, V. sanguinolenta COGN. & MARCH and V. rubra (RUIZ & PAVON) BEER (= Tillandsia rubra RUIZ & PAVON). The former teacher in Quito, Erwin PATZELT, wellknown in Ecuador as a good friend of all Indian tribes of the rain-forest, made in early summer 1980 an excursion into the valley of the Rio Pinda, eastwards of the Vulcan Pichincha. He was fascinated of the richness of bromeliads there; but he collected only a young, not developed inflorescence probably of Guzmania fuerstenbergiana (Kirch. & Wittm.) and one living plant with an inflorescence-bud, which he assumed was G. fuerstenbergiana. In the meantime the inflorescence-bud started to develop and was in full flower in October this year. As we cannot determine the plant, we consider it as a new species. Following is the English description:

Plant stemless, flowering up to 80 cm high; the numerous green, nearly glabrous leaves form a flat, funnelform rosette of about 60 cm in diameter and a height of 25 cm; the leaf-sheathes are broad-ovate, inconspicuous, pale brown on the upper side and metallic-silver-white beneath; the blades are ligulate, up to 30 cm long and 7 cm wide and are contracted into a short, sharp, dark tip; they are nearly glabrous on both sides, and become smaller to the center of the rosette, the inflorescence scape is erect, green, about 1 cm in diameter, up to 25 cm long; the scape-bracts are green, glabrous, longer than the scape-internodes, have a long sheath and a short acute blade (fig. 2); the erect inflorescence is laxly bipinnate, up to 30 cm long and 10 cm wide; the rhachis is slightly angled, green and its internodes 1-1,5 cm long; the primary bracts are broad-cymbiform, apiculate, up to 3 cm long, glabrous, much shorter than the short stipitate, about 15 spikes; these are horizontally spreading, but the slender (diameter 2-3 mm), slightly geniculate rhachis is curved upwards before anthesis (fig. 2); the 5-6 short pedicillated flowers are laxly arranged, erect before flowering, horizontally spreading when open and somewhat second after anthesis; the bright-green, sharply keeled, 18-20 mm long floral bracts are apiculate and much shorter than the sepals; these are narrow triangular, acuminate, about 25 mm long, glabrous and slightly carinate at the tip; the cream white petals are broadly obtuse, 2,5 cm long, 0,5 cm wide and bear at their base 2 separate, 6 mm long ligulae; the filaments and the style are deeply included.

The habitat of this new taxon is the Pinda-valley near Bancos, in an altitude of 1000 m.

The holotype is under the number B.G.H. 54 337 in the Herbarium of the Institute of Systematic Botany Heidelberg (HEID).

Vriesea patzeltii is, as all the Vrieseas of the same group, a night-bloomer; the flowers open themselves in the late afternoon and are closed in the forenoon of the next day; they are surely pollinated by bats. The most striking features of V. patzeltii are the metallic-argenteous-lepidote leaf-sheathes (beneath). The upwards curved rhachis of the spikes before anthesis and the enormous secretion of nectar; the whole inflorescence becomes therefore glutinous.



1) The Latin diagnosis will appear in "Bromelienstudien X".

THE PICTURE ON THE COVER — Tillandsia lehmannii Rauh

This attractive tillandsia was first described by Werner Rauh, who found it growing in deciduous forests near Loja, Ecuador, in 1970. It is a stemless plant, reaching 16 inches when flowering, its arching, recurved leaves with their many appressed scales, measuring up to 20 inches in length, and its curved ascending scape to 4 inches.

The Moirs On My Mind


My enthusiasm for landscape gardening began way back in the 50's when my husband Geoff became a keen collector of native orchids and later moved into the miscellaneous imports such as Cattleyas, Miltonias, Oncidiums, and Dendrobiums, just to mention a few which provided a lot of scope. We both derived so much pleasure from the Orchidaceae family that we decided to obtain a license and import our own, which we displayed throughout our garden in the same manner but on a much smaller scale as did the Moirs in Honolulu.

We always looked forward with great interest for any articles written by W. W. G. Moir concerning orchids and his garden and I always wished I could pay a visit and stroll with the Moirs through what must surely be a little piece of paradise. Prior to moving to North Queensland in November of 1969 we broke up our miscellaneous collection and distributed part of it among friends. We sold some plants, and the remainder consisting of approximately 300 orchids traveled with us "north to the sun." Each plant that we kept had its own personal meaning. Many of them had been traded with friends, some who are no longer with us.

I remember one little gem that was given to me by Herman Slade, a man who is not only a keen orchid collector but who is also a bromeliad enthusiast — in fact, he gave us our very first bromeliad, Portea petropolitana, which we humped, and I mean humped, to four different places of abode distributing pups to various friends along the way. That's one thing with bromeliads — they can often produce an abundance of offshoots which in turn give pleasure to so many people. Eventually all the orchids were established in their new environment among the rocks, some attached to trees, while others swung happily in hanging baskets under the spreading mangoes. The plumeria offered summer shade only to those requiring winter sun. Suddenly, the orchids were with us no more. Returning home from an adventurous holiday on Cape York Peninsula we were confronted with empty spaces throughout the garden. All the rare and difficult-to-obtain species had been removed, leaving us with a very depleted collection indeed.

At this particular stage we were spending weekends and any other spare time on the construction of our present home, which I have previously described in the journal. We decided to shift the remainder to that site. Unbelievable as it may seem someone absconded with that lot as well, leaving only odd bits and pieces which must have been dropped on the forest floor during a quick getaway. After that second shock I completely lost interest in the garden until Geoff suggested we start again — this time with bromeliads. We still had old faithful propped against a tree. The thief apparently did not want to tangle with a portea.

As I recently wandered through the bromeliads — I now have over one thousand planted out along the edge of the rain forest — I recalled an article by Goodale and May Moir in the November-December Issue for 1975 of the Journal concerning germination of bromeliads in their garden. For a very long period I was beginning to think it couldn't happen to me, but now at last I can boast about my very own seedlings. Three Vriesea splendens germinated on a local tree which forms a back drop for the mother plant growing on a bed of sticks which I constructed. Three more seedlings which have not been identified decided to start their life as saxicolous plants and have taken residence on a large rocky outcrop. Several cryptanthus are showing themselves tucked securely away in little rocky crevices. I'm hoping that we will experience the same success as the Moirs did with our Tillandsia cyaneas. Over one hundred are planted throughout the garden. These we obtained from a lucky buy of several clumps which we divided, and although over half were lost because of sun burn (the hearts of the plants were burnt out when they were relocated last summer), the remainder, although many are quite small, look promising. Who knows, in a few more years they could be seeding all over the place. I know we have a long way to go, but I'm looking forward to the day when like the Moirs we will have created the right conditions for our plants, that is, conditions similar to their native habitat in proper micro climates.

Already seven different growing areas have been established and as our "mothers" continue to reproduce we continue to construct more gardens. Goodale Moir's article on Darwinism has certainly given us food for thought. Living in Australia as we do, it is impossible for us to make frequent overseas trips to view bromeliads in their native habitat, so it seems to me if we want to do any research into variations in environments we will have to create our own — to quote Mr. Moir "A patchwork quilt of environments in both micro and macro sized areas!"

At the present moment we have ready for planting before the big "Wet" starts 500 seedlings, followed by around six thousand later on in 1981. With the help of our son Dean we hope to plant these up the side of the mountain. They will have to rely completely on Mother Nature to provide them with moisture, as it would be impossible for us to supply them with water, as we operate only from a well ourselves.

I would imagine Hawaii offers a more conducive climate. We are sure to incur high losses, not only from the elements but from feral pigs and the native rats. Mice will certainly take their toll, along with the grasshoppers, crickets, slugs, etc., that will no doubt contribute to the destruction of some plants, but there will be those that will hang on and establish themselves.

Aechmea angustifolia, A. aquilega, A. pubescens, A. bracteata, and A. bromeliifolia will be the first batch to be planted out, as these are found in nature growing epiphytically or as terrestrials. Some will be attached to trees. Aechmea lueddemanniana, Portea petropolitana, Billbergia zebrina and B. brasiliensis will follow later in 1981. I consider these plants to be quite hardy although B. brasiliensis may not stand up as well as the others. A. mexicana and Wittrockia superba should be suitable, but they are still quite small. Our mountain is granite rock and I find the bromeliads seem to attach themselves quite quickly to this formation.

Well, after having just reread Moir's article "The Time Factor in Evolution" (Journal for May-June 1979), I know we have a lot to look forward to in the years ahead.

Cairns, North Queensland, Australia


The pitcairnias generally produce very small seed, with an appendage at each end, and being dry, like those of all the sub-family Pitcairnioideae, will remain viable for longer than most of the seed obtained from berries. It is best to sow this seed, however, as soon as possible after harvesting for best results. It should be sown on the surface of the compost, in the usual way, and kept continuously moist. In such a large genus there will be some variation in the time taken for each species to germinate, but in most cases the seed is very slow; it may take 4 or 5 weeks for germination to commence. One exception has been found here so far, P. mirabilis, which came up in a few days and grew rapidly. No doubt there are other species with similar characteristics. Once the seedlings are up they should be treated very carefully and given plenty of air, and not too much water. Many varieties resent being disturbed while the plants are small, and in most cases I have found it preferable to leave the young plants until they are 2 or 3 inches high before transplanting. They will grow quite well to a larger size than this if necessary and are much easier to manage at this stage.

Once the plants are established in pots, growth is quite fast for a bromeliad and they can be potted on into larger containers as they grow. Being terrestrials, they appreciate an occasional dose of fertilizer and a larger pot than the most epiphytic species. A well drained sandy compost has given good results, with plenty of water in summer and much less during cold weather. I have not yet grown any of the deciduous varieties, but assume that these would be dormant after shedding their leaves. It is necessary to remember that the loss of leaves does not mean the plants are dead; it is part of their normal growth cycle.

Bernard Stonor. West Australia

Bromeliad Hybrids


For several years people who visit Lipolani, our garden, have been bringing us plants with labels on them which looked a bit different to the plants we had growing. We have grown them for some time under our conditions and now find that these new plants change and look very much like what we already have or are just a slight variant of our original plants.

Let me discuss the small neos as an example of what we mean. We received about a dozen different small ones as single plants and in clumps. All had come from quite different locations, and so we put them all down next to our big clumps of ampullacea, pauciflora, 'Fireball', punctatissima, tigrina and some hybrids. They have been there in the same environment and same media now for many months and slowly have grown to look less and less different. Among these were ampullacea with varietal names of 'Midget', 'Speckles', 'Empressa', 'Pixie' and a few without any names, plus a few very different ones not like any of the species we have. It has been fascinating to see these change as summer changed to fall. It is now winter as I write this and most have been here two years. All of these were in different heights of growth and different intensity of color when brought here but now have changed. All are in strong light and none have ended up looking like ampullacea, but then they never did from the start. These new plants do not grow like ampullacea. All except one are not as vigorous as the species, nor do they have that basic yellow green with brown bars across the leaves or even shape of ampullacea. These new ones are more blue green or grey green and with purple to maroon spotting, not like bars. On top of this the leaves were not as wide nor as flat, except the one from Los Nietos that is a very fast grower with flatter, more open spread of leaves but still in grey green, with pale blue flowers. This one never, at any time, looked like the rest and it may be a new species or a natural hybrid.

I wrote to Luis Ariza in the Dominican Republic about these differences I had observed and he sent me a leaf of his tigrina which was entirely different to our form and four times larger, very dark green and well barred. This leaf looked like it could be a dark mutant of ampullacea. So we have sent the leaves of our tigrina and ampullacea, plus a leaf of 'Midget' to Luis but have not had a reply as there is hardly time for him to reply. Five of the separate plants were like variants of our tigrina and all were much larger (from two to four times bigger). But all had the same markings and general appearance of our tigrina. 'Midget' was among these. This plant came to us from George Anderson of Metaire, Louisiana, as did 'Los Nietos' and I would suspect it is the same as that used by Caronne and called ampullacea tigrina.

We expected we would get a lot of different forms or hybrids but have grown them to look alike except for the ones marked as definite hybrids or from the wild. We have concluded that none, except the hybrids, had any ampullacea in them. No species can so completely dominate a cross as to take over 100% of the other parent's characters.

The plant from Los Nietos just might be something new and someone should look into its selfing to see if it breeds true and therefore a species. It is a valuable plant, a profuse bloomer and looks like it will seed freely.

If the crosses registered with ampullacea tigrina were made with the form called 'Midget' there definitely needs to be a revision of the list for I am sure there is no ampullacea in the plant.

The smaller grower, Neo. tigrina should be a valuable parent to use for its smallness and floriferousness as well as the beautiful leaves and compact growth. All these characters count if one is troubled with shelf space or garden space and the high price of heating a greenhouse. Even the form from Los Nietos is most desirable and better than ampullacea in some respects. Its growth is like punctatissima — open and prolific.

These small neos are fine on pillars of tree fern logs; planted on top they soon cascade downward and make a fine mass of growths. Put a length of pipe or iron rod down through the center of the log and drive it into the ground to hold the stump in an upright position. This type of planting is good for many many years. The weight of plant plus the water they hold will often make them lean too much in one direction, especially towards strong light but trim it back and give the pieces away or start another pillar. These pillars are very useful in deflecting wind and can be placed to create good air circulation about the garden. The pillars can be moved and rearranged like furniture. It is interesting to see how different the plants will look when moved to a different environment. In different microclimates variants arise but if the plant is moved back to the original environment the variants mostly return to their original type. Occasionally a real variant or mutant happens and will retain its difference.

I fully realize that few people grow bromeliads in the mass formations we do because they either lack space or have the problem of bringing plants in for the winter. But the people who are in tropical areas I hope can be stimulated in doing more with their plants. Many people in Hawaii have followed our experiments and are now creating their own versions of landscaping with bromeliads.

No group of plants can equal the bromeliads for rapid adaptability to changes in environment and it seems that the more you crowd them the better they like it and they seem to compete to show off. Also crowding helps to hold each other up but there comes a day when you have to thin them out but there are always benefit plant sales or eager amateur collectors to take the cuttings, and we readily find a home for them.

Organic Horticulture — The Bio-dynamic Movement


Several divergent tendencies are evident within the organic agricultural movement. The most interesting of the minority groups is the bio-dynamic movement which is fairly well established in German speaking countries but which is not well known in the English speaking world. The basic principles of bio-dynamics were formulated over a half century ago by the Austrian educator and philosopher, Rudolf Steiner. The present leaders of this group recognize that they are minority thinkers and also believe in the need for further development of their system of soil improvement and plant culture. I do not accept all of the theories of bio-dynamics as proven fact, but they unquestionably offer a novel and stimulating approach to these problems. Some of their procedures seem strange, but some recent developments in plant physiology seem to have been predicted by some of their ideas.

Rudolf Steiner was probably an authentic genius who left a legacy of 40 books and thousands of transcribed lectures on many subjects. His first great success was in the education of retarded children. He established the famous Waldorf schools and some of these may be found in the United States. He was a notable Goethe scholar and the famous Goetheanum at Dornach, Switzerland, was established under his direction. This institution included scientific laboratories and the chemist Ehrenfried Pfeiffer worked out the present procedures of bio-dynamics there. His writing presents the clearest exposition of the system.

Steiner's interest in agriculture was stimulated by an appeal from some farmers in Silesia who were plagued by steadily decreasing yields in spite of continued use of N-P-K fertilizers. He gave a series of lectures to this group which initiated bio-dynamics. Those who wish to look into the writings of Steiner and Pfeiffer may obtain English translations of their works from the Anthroposophic Press, Inc., 258 Hungry Hollow Road, Spring Valley, New York 10977.

Pfeiffer emigrated to the U.S.A. and established a laboratory for the formulation of the bio-dynamic preparations which are the compost starters and the plant and soil sprays. This has been continued after his death as a non-profit foundation, and those who wish to try these preparations may obtain them from The Pfeiffer Foundation, Inc., Laboratory Division, Threefold Farm, Spring Valley, New York 10977. A quarterly journal devoted to bio-dynamic agriculture is published by the Bio-dynamic Farming and Gardening Association, P.O. Box 253, Wyoming, Rhode Island 02898. There are a number of local groups in the U.S.A. devoted to the study of bio-dynamics and occasional national or regional conferences are held. A very active group is located in the San Fernando Valley in California.

Some of the procedures used in the preparations of these plant stimulants have been described, but it has been admitted that there are many difficulties and that they should be attempted only by experienced persons. It has been claimed that some of the organisms in the Pfeiffer preparations are improved selected strains, but we know of no comparative tests by impartial authorities. Many of the plants used such as yarrow, stinging nettle, chamomile, dandelion and valerian are harvested at the time of flowering. It is possible that they would have a special hormonal status at this time. These materials are intended to stimulate the bacterial action of compost piles or manure and quite sweeping claims have been made regarding the increase in the bacterial count. Other preparations are sprayed on the soil in spring or fall or are applied to the foliage of plants. The low dilutions used remind one of homeopathic medicine and have been the occasion of much ridicule. However, the recent research of Dr. Stanley K. Ries at Michigan State University has shown that TRIA (KTriacontanol) used in incredibly low dilutions will often give substantial increases in the growth of various agronomic plants. TRIA is a constituent of some plant waxes.

It has been said that bio-dynamic farmers in Germany used to steep the foliage of stinging nettles in barrels of water for several weeks and apply this to the foliage of crop plants as a stimulant. Years ago the orchid grower of a large nursery in West Los Angeles had a barrel of rain water into which he threw discarded orchid plants and prunings of non-functional parts. After the material decomposed, he watered his orchid plants with this as a fertilizer. I suspect that he also spread considerable virus disease and bacterial rots by this procedure. A local grower of gesneriads on a small commercial scale made a similar preparation out of spent begonia flowers. This required several months to prepare and was used for watering gesneriads. She claimed that the growth and branching of the plants was considerably improved. Another person was quite enthusiastic over the results which he claimed to obtain from a formula which he obtained from a chemist. This preparation was made by homogenizing ripe bananas including the skins. An equal amount of water was added and the mixture was inoculated with yeast and set to incubate for a whole year. The plants were watered with quite low dilutions of this preparation.

The bio-dynamic preparations are regarded as plant tonics or stimulants and are not considered to be fertilizers. They may contain trace elements of value in plant growth and may contain TRIA or still unidentified plant growth regulators. Composting, mulching crop rotations and many of the features of conventional organic gardening are found also in the bio-dynamic system. They emphasize shallow tillage in order to keep the best soil near the surface where microbial activity is greatest. The bio-dynamic group were early advocates of the idea of feeding the soil rather than the plant itself and in maintaining a healthy soil flora and fauna. Some rather radical ideas along this line are being exploited by the state agricultural experiment stations. One of the controversial ideas of this group is that they observe moon phases in their agricultural operations.

Some of the bio-dynamic ideas seem to be cropping up in books and articles written by those who are not identified with this particular movement. One important idea in bio-dynamics is the idea of companion planting. It is based on observations that some plants have beneficial plants closely adjacent and that others have quite detrimental ones. Some plants have been observed to repel insect pests. Monocultures are usually the most vulnerable to insects and diseases.

A number of books have been written on the subject of companion planting. Ehrenfried Pfeiffer claimed that the presence of a weed, camomile, in small quantities in a wheat field improved the milling quality of wheat. In Australia, bananas growing in an avocado planting heavily infested with root rot prevented the loss of the trees. Plants, especially certain legumes which form nitrogen fixing nodules, have been used to furnish nitrogen to the main crop.

The addition of certain microbial organisms to soils to stimulate the growth of certain plants is another idea which was pioneered by the bio-dynamic group. This idea is being exploited with success in a number of the state experiment stations in the U.S.A.

A rigid scientific study of bio-dynamic methods may modify some of their procedures. Nevertheless, we must admire the pioneering efforts of this group. We hope that plant chemists of the stature of Pfeiffer can be attracted to the movement, which deserves more attention than it has had in this country. It may possibly make a contribution to the agriculture of the future which will probably include ideas from many sources, including the present day organic groups.

Errata — Vol. XXXI, No. 1, page 5, title should read: Bromeliads of Mount Diablo in Jamaica; p. 17, the name Heide Gosler should be spelled Hedi Roesler.

The last paragraph of the first article on p. 17 of Issue No. 1 should read: Through contrasting, brilliant colors of the scape and flower bracts serve as showing organs to attract the pollinators and last not least the flower leaves serve as stamens and carpels (micro-macrosporophylls) for generative propagations and thus preservation of the species.

Tillandsia Streptophylla

Fig. 1, Lepidote scale from a leaf: — much enlarged; 2, a flower complete except the calyx:—Life size; 3, front view of an anther;
4, back view of an anther; 5, pistil:—all more or less enlarged.

The above picture and following description appeared in the May 1, 1894 issue of the Botanical Magazine, the commentary being that of J. G. Baker. It was submitted by Wilhelm Weber, who believed it to be of particular interest, the drawing probably being one of the first of this plant.

Tillandsia Streptophylla.
Native of Mexico and Honduras
Nat. Ord. Bromeliaceae — Tribe Tillandsieae
Genus Tillandsia, Linn.; (Benth. et Hook. f. Gen. Pl. vol. iii. p. 669.)

Tillandsia (Platystachys) streptophylla; foliis dense rosulatis lineari-lanceolatis acuminatis insigniter spiraliter tortis semipedalibus et ultra utrinque dense persistenter albo-lepidotis basibus oblongis erectis ventricosis, pedunculo brevi foliis bracteiformibus rubellis imbricatis apicibus squarrosis, spicis pluribus densis distichis, bracteis oblongo-lanceolatis navicularibus lepidotis valde imbricatis, calyce triplo longioribus, genitalibus exsertis.

T. streptophylla, Schweid, in Hortic. Belg. 1836, vol. iii. p. 252, cum icone; Schlecht. in Linnaea, vol. xviii. p. 427; E. Morren in Belg. Hort. 1878, p. 296, t. 18, 19; Hemsley in Biol. Cent. Amer. Bot. vol. iii. p. 322.

T. circinnata Schlecht in Linnaea, vol. xviii. p. 430.

T. tortilis, A. Brong. MSS.

Vriesea streptophylla, E. Morren Cat. Bromel. 1873, p. 17.

This Bromeliad, from its remarkable habit, is quite a botanical curiosity. Like its neighbors, it grows on old trunks of trees. The bases of the leaves form a large pitcher round the base of the stem, and from this rise their long tapering leathery blades, which are rolled up spirally, and twisted in all directions in the most irregular fashion. The spikes and individual flowers do not show any striking difference from some of the best-known West Indian representatives of this large genus, such as T. polystachia and T. fasciculata. There is a specimen at the British Museum, gathered in the Mosquito territory as long ago as 1744 by Captain Miller, but it was not described and named till a century later. It has long been cultivated sparingly as a curiosity in the Belgian, English and French conservatories, and it has been found wild in Mexico by Schiede, Bourgeau, and Hahn.

Our drawing was made from a plant that flowered at Kew last April.

Descr. Whole plant a foot or a foot and a half long. Leaves in a dense basal rosette, their rigid ventricose erect dilated base two or three inches long and broad; blade six or nine inches long, an inch broad at the base, tapering gradually to a long point, very much twisted spirally from low down, firm in texture, densely lepidote on both surfaces. Peduncle short, quite hidden by its numerous amplexicaul red-tinted lepidote imbricated bract-like leaves, with short free linear recurving tips. Spikes four to eight in a short panicle, distichous, three or four inches long, under an inch broad; bracts oblong-lanceolate, much imbricated, densely lepidote. Calyx half an inch long, hidden by the amplexicaul bract, glabrous, cut down nearly to the base. Corolla cylindrical, bright lilac, an inch and a half long. Stamens exserted. Style-branches overtopping the stamens, short, twisted spirally, flattened towards the tip. Capsule an inch and a half long.

Cultural Hint — To force a billbergia to flower without the aid of chemicals, etc., let a fairly well developed plant dry out, even to the point of leaf curl to the center from dehydration. The plant can even be taken out of the pot for this period. Then soak the plant well, repot and water in the normal way and watch the results. This may help the beginners to flower a stubborn plant and the grower who doesn't want to experiment with chemicals.

Association with Ants — In Trinidad Aechmea mertensii and Araeococcus micranthus are not seen except in "ant gardens." In both species there is a functional root system penetrating the ants' nest and on which it would seem they are dependent in some way for nutrient. Wittmackia lingulata, Tillandsia bulbosa and T. flexuosa are also associated with ants, but in these the ants live within the leaf structure of the plant. These leaves are arranged so that they retain little or no water and it seems likely that the ants' excreta and the material of their nests in some way offset the lack of nitrogenous detritus which is incurred by the poor development of the tank.

WHY NOT START A ROUND ROBIN? If you are living in an area devoid of bromeliad growers and you would like to get in touch with other bromeliad enthusiasts, why not join a Round Robin? For many years there were several very successful robins flying around to various parts of the country and even abroad. All the members enjoyed themselves most heartily and gained many new friends as well as plants. If you would be interested in starting such a group, drop the editor a note to this effect and she will put a notice in the Journal so that others may get in touch with you. The first Bromeliad Round Robin made its first flight in the summer of 1959; several months later there were twelve robins flying — the interest was so great.

Mr. Harry Zulkarnaen of 16 Karang Latung, Bandouna, Indonesia, would like to correspond with interested members.

Low Temperature Tolerances and Cold Hardiness in Bromeliads


In Florida the winter of 1980-81 sorely tested bromeliad growers. In many areas night temperatures plunged down into the twenties. On January 13th, a trough developed in the central United States and funneled what today is known as a Siberian cold air mass well down into the southern peninsula of Florida. The low night temperature in the area of this report reached 10 °F, destroying nearly all of the citrus crop and trees. Ornamental plants in Florida alone suffered over 61 million dollars worth of damage during this freeze.

Due to the rising high cost of heating fuel, solar energy has been used for the past two years at the Springhill Bromeliad Nursery located in Alachua, Florida. Alachua is a small country farm town located on the northern border of Alachua County, approximately 15 miles north of the City of Gainesville and situated in the extreme north central part of Florida.

By relying on the normal greenhouse effect and maintaining a tightly sealed greenhouse, high temperatures can be reached during the late afternoon hours, enough to heat the water in the thousands of bromeliad vases. This heat is retained in the growing areas and emitted during the night keeping temperatures well into the safe levels of good bromeliad growth, including seedling germination. Usually the growing areas will remain between 10 and 15 °F higher than the outside temperature. The normal winter low temperatures for this area range from the mid to low 30's. However, the temperatures occasionally drop into the upper 20's just before daylight. As soon as the sun comes over the horizon, the temperature rises rapidly and the greenhouse must be vented to prevent overheating. When a hard freeze warning is posted by the U. S. Weather Bureau, the operation uses a mist system backup. The water misting system maintains a constant temperature envelope around the plants. The ground water temperature is 72 °F and this rapidly increases the temperature environment around the bromeliads. Even when air temperatures are quite low, the temperature of the misted area ranges from 50 to 60 °F.

This was the situation during the evening of the Siberian freeze. Night temperatures plunged to 10 °F outside, but a comfortable environment was maintained in the three major growing houses at the nursery. At 7:30 A.M. the outside temperature had increased slightly to 14 °F. One bank of misters in the main house was not performing properly and adjustments were attempted at the system valve. When the valve was turned, the water pipe joining the valve to the mainline broke sending water spraying over the growing areas under 60-pound water pressure. The air temperature within this greenhouse was 28 °F, so the water froze as soon as it reached the plant leaves. The entire orchid collection and most of the bromeliads were encased in ice. Before the main water valve could be shut off, nearly all of the water lines running between the three houses had frozen, cutting off all of the misting systems in all three houses.

In all three growing areas the water in the bromeliad vases began to freeze instantly. All leaves above the water line of these plants suffered damage. They either turned black and drooped or turned pure white as if they had been severely sunburned. The area below the waterline remained green or the natural color for the plant and showed no sign of damage. In most cases plants having water filled vases ultimately survived the hard freezing temperatures.

To explain the physics involved one need not get very technical. The vase filled with water provides two desirable effects. First, water has a very high specific heat that cools slowly. Secondly, as the water begins to freeze, it actually gives off heat. This is the heat of fusion which gives off 80 calories of heat for each gram of water that freezes. As ice forms at the top of the vase, the water below warms up. As long as there is still liquid water within the vase, it protects adjacent parts of the plant from freeze damage. Above the ice leaves rapidly lose heat and suffer severe freeze damage, a process called radiant cooling.

By not maintaining the recommended higher winter growing temperatures, the possible conditioning or development of cold hardiness apparently has contributed to the high survival rate of this collection of bromeliads at hard freeze temperatures. Any plant that is able to endure subfreezing temperatures is termed hardy. Hardiness is fundamentally an inherent characteristic of different species. This is subject to considerable modification by various environmental conditions. Manipulation of the environment may increase hardiness of many plants, including bromeliads. In the following survey of Springhill's frozen collection are many interesting clues to producing hardiness in many species.

From the 1200 species and hybrids growing in Springhill Nursery, a complete evaluation of plant damage showed that many bromeliads are hardier than expected, while others are quite sensitive (Fig. 1).

Species that were the hardest hit included; Aechmea bracteata, Aechmea dealbata, Aechmea fasciata, Billbergia pyramidalis, Cryptanthus (all forms), Aechmea pubescens, Guzmania lingulata (all forms), Guzmania monostachia, Orthophytum saxicola, and Streptocalyx poeppigii. The hardiest forms were many species of Tillandsia, Quesnelia, Aechmea, Billbergia, and Neoregelia. Figure 1 illustrates the degree of frost survival in many species in the more commonly grown genera of bromeliads. The degree of damage is measured on a scale of one to ten. A rating of one represents little or no damage and ten is severe or total destruction. Still other genera were too few in number to diagram, but also sustained little or no damage. These additional hardy genera include: Canistrum, Catopsis, Cryptbergia, Deuterocohnia, Dyckia, Fosterella, Nidularium, Pitcairnia, Pseudananas, Puya, Quesmea, Neophytum, and Wittrockia.

One of the primary concerns of bromeliad growing is providing the proper temperature control for ideal plant growth and balanced transpiration from the leaves. If the temperature is too high, the plant can be severely damaged by excess transpiration (emission of watery vapor from the surface of the leaves). This report investigates problems at the low end of the temperature range. Most literature mentions that bromeliads are found growing from sea level to high in the mountainous Andes and can endure temperatures from over 100 °F to temperatures very near freezing. As previously mentioned, high temperatures favor more rapid transpiration, not only because evaporation and diffusion occur faster in warm air but also because warm air is capable of holding more water vapor than cold air. During cold weather this watery vapor condenses on the inside of the greenhouse covering where it can get very cold and drop on the bromeliad leaves causing tissue damage. At moderate or low temperatures the rate of bromeliad transpiration is less than it is when the temperature of the surrounding air is high. These low temperature and low vapor conditions more nearly approximate natural conditions in the Andes and some other mountainous parts of bromeliad ranges.

When the external atmospheric air is very humid, the evaporation of water from bromeliad leaves is reduced, for the difference in water vapor concentration in the inner spaces of leaves and in the outside air is so slight that the net outward diffusion of water molecules from the bromeliads is very slow. The greater the atmospheric humidity, the lower the rate of bromeliad transpiration and the greater the amount of water retained within the bromeliad. The soft living tissue of bromeliads and most other plants is 80 to 90% water. Biological systems of all types are easily damaged by rapid fluctuations in body temperature, even when the temperature extremes are not particularly great.

The bromeliad leaves exposed above the water line that were affected by radiant cooling were damaged by the high volume of water they retained, and suffered chilling injury when this water cooled too rapidly. The energy released from the ice freezing in the bromeliad vases prevented tissue damage and the main growing portions of the plants survived.

Most bromeliad growing instructions state that the water should be emptied from the vases of bromeliads during a hard freeze to prevent the chance of freezing and damaging the plant. From the experience of this freeze and events that occurred during the 1976-77 freeze at Mulford Foster's in Orlando, the water that filled the vases of most of the bromeliads saved their lives.

Florida State Museum, Gainesville, Florida

Notes from Down Under



Pathogenic fungi, commonly Phytophera or Pythium species can cause severe losses in bromeliads by way of root rot and crown rot if undetected and untreated. The following methods of leaf and root baiting have been borrowed from commercial pineapple culture as a quick and reliable means of screening soil and water for these organisms.

Leaf Baiting
This procedure depends on the ready attack by Phytophera sp. on the basal white tissue of a pineapple leaf, with the production of visible mycelium and a characteristic unpleasant odour. The procedure is as follows: Select a glass bottle, 5-6 ins. tall and 2-3 ins. diameter. If testing a water supply, fill the bottle with the water to be tested. If testing soil or potting mixture, place Ό to 3/8 inch of soil in the bottom of the bottle and gently fill with water. If there is any doubt as to the quality of the water, run a separate test on the water or use recently boiled and cooled water. Phytophera organisms are highly motile in water and it is not necessary to stir the mixture; not is it desirable, as this sometimes gives false positive results.

Pull a young leaf from any plant that has a distinct basal white tissue and trim, retaining the bottom 3 to 4 inches including the white tissue. Suspend the leaf on a wire so that the white tissue is just under water and set aside in a cool area. If phytophera is present, the characteristic symptoms will appear within a week. If no change is apparent after seven days, the sample may be considered negative.

Root Baiting
This is a more sensitive test, but requires a little more preparation. In the original method, a pineapple top is suspended in clean water until a good out growth of white roots is visible, but any quick rooting expendable offset will suffice. Preparation of the sample is as above using the rooted cutting in place of the leaf. If phytophera is present, the cottony mycelium will quickly become apparent around the roots along with the offensive smell. If there is no effect after a week the sample can be considered negative.

This method will also detect Pythium sp. which appear as brown lesions on the white roots. If both are present, the effects of phytophera will probably obscure those of pythium.

Phytophera is a highly invasive and destructive organism and should he tracked down and eliminated from water or potting mixtures. Pythium is not invasive (in pineapples; Ananas comosus cv Cayenne), but can cause severe losses by secondary infection following root damage by symphylids or nematodes.

Bromeliad Society of Queensland

We congratulate the members of the Bromeliad Society of West Australia, who held their first meeting in Perth in April, 1979, and since that time have steadily grown and done much to interest plantspeople in their faroff state in bromeliads. They hold monthly meetings, field days, give demonstrations and hold exhibits. Bernard Stonor, well known to the readers of this journal, was awarded honorary life membership in the Society for his contribution in promoting bromeliads within Australia and abroad for over two decades. Mr. Stonor, a dairy farmer, lives in Margaret River, which is located in the southwest section of the continent.

Neoregelia lilliputiana E. Pereira


L Gurken

This tiniest of all neoregelias was discovered by Roberto Kautsky in 1973 growing as an epiphyte in a devastated small forest in the municipality of Dominguez Martins, State of Espirito Santo, Brazil.

This species somewhat resembles Neoregelia ampullacea, but is much smaller — a mature plant reaching only 1 to 2 inches in height. It is propagated by pendulous 2-inch-long stolons. The small, fleshy leaves, approximately 1 inch long by inch wide, are dull green, purple banded beneath and purple spotted above. The inflorescence has 6 to 8 little flowers with violet petals. Luis Carlos Gurken, who has collected and grown this neoregelia, writes that it is very sensitive to drought and can be only grown successfully if given plenty of moisture and in a bright, humid environment.

Two High Elevation Tillandsias from Southern Mexico


Tillandsia ponderosa Tillandsia laui

In July, 1980 we had the opportunity to collect Tillandsia laui which was described by Dr. Eizi Matuda in Vol. XX, No. 4 of Cactaceas y Suculentas Mexicanas, (1975). Dr. Matuda compared this new species with T. imperialis Morren and described it as differing mainly in its larger size, green inflorescence and ochreous yellow flowers. While I find it indeed closely related to T. imperialis, it seems to resemble even more closely T. ponderosa L. B. Smith. It differs from T. imperialis in having more linear triangular leaves which are somewhat lepidote; a character which is shared by T. ponderosa. Tillandsia laui and T. ponderosa are also more similar in size, both being approximately twice the size of T. imperialis.

Tillandsia laui is epiphytic in a moist pine and oak forest at 5,000 feet in elevation in the southern portion of the state of Oaxaca. A heavy mist was hanging in the cool air at mid-day when we collected our specimens. Abundant treeferns gave evidence that rainfall in the area is distributed throughout the year. Although the plants were primarily green as described, the lower primary bracts and the upper leaves were suffused with bronze.

Tillandsia ponderosa is also epiphytic in pine and oak forests but in the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico's southern most state, and occurs southward into Central America as far as El Salvador. We have found this species at elevations between 6,000 and 7,500 feet in elevation. Here too the temperatures are low the year round and frequent rainfall and heavy fogs or clouds assure a constant supply of moisture. While T. laui, in spite of its large size, is not an especially ornamental plant due to the lack of coloration, T. ponderosa which has orange-red primary and floral bracts, is a highly ornamental species. It is collected by the local Indians at Christmas time for decoration.

Corpus Christi, Texas

A Shock of Color


Reprinted from the BULLETIN of the Bromeliad Society of Central Florida, Vol. VI, No. 3, March, 1980

A few years ago shocking pink was a "new" color widely glamorized in lipstick, nail polish, clothes and decorative items of all descriptions. Well, it wasn't new at all; bromeliads have flaunted that luscious color for probably a thousand years!

In Florida, at this time of year, mid-winter (Jan.-Feb.) Quesnelia testudo is shouting shocking pink all around the garden. A little later Q. arvensis will show a similar head of color with those same watermelon-pink bracts covering almost hidden blue flowers. Soon thereafter will come the longer, thinner head of Q. quesneliana, a torch of glowing pink bracts, wrinkled along the edges like crepe-paper.

I remember the utter astonishment and stunned shock we felt when Mulford and I first came upon Q. quesneliana on the beach out from Bahia in northern Brazil. We were quite familiar with the inflorescences of Neoregelia, Vriesea and Billbergia, but here was a new form for us.

Throughout our collecting trips in Brazil we had observed and noted with considerable elation the startling pink bracts of several Billbergias, especially those in the Helicodea group whose long petals recoil like a spring. This includes B. zebrina, B. venezuelana and B. Meyeri, all of these sport loose-hanging scape bracts in that special color which Mulford and I referred to as "bromeliad pink", a color not predominant in other plant families. It is a sharp, bluish-pink which now is more aptly named "shocking pink".

Among the Aechmeas, Ae. Marie-Regina and Ae. Nallyi show this color in the long, ribbon-like bracts on the scape. Quesnelias, on the other hand, display their shock of pink in a tight head of bracts enclosing blue flowers.

Hummingbirds have an eye for the colorful bromeliads. Many times in our collecting around Brazil we encountered the little hummers hovering around a bromeliad trying to get a snack of pineapple-flavored nectar. Come to think of it we did not see them dipping into a Neoregelia or a Nidularium, plants too near the ground (and danger!); we saw them hovering around Billbergias with the pendent inflorescences high above the ground, the bright colored scape bracts acting as a signal to the hummers. Although the red bracts of Aechmeas and Billbergias attracted, the shocking pink was more of an attraction to them.

Among many precious Brazilian memories, one episode I will never forget. A large, pink head of Quesnelia testudo was lying on the table awaiting a sketch. Suddenly a whirr of wings and through the screenless window flew a little hummer. He had seen the splash of shocking pink which meant sweet nectar, but he was stymied. This pink thing was not upright so he could not hover to obtain the nectar. Poor thing was confused but this was to our advantage; he settled down long enough for Mulford to make a sketch of him. (p. 161 in our book on Brazil.)

A sensitivity to color helps us all enjoy and distinguish the endless color variations in bromeliads, and although I enjoy all the other splashes of color found in bromeliads, I'm going to concentrate on a list of bromels that wear shocking pink.

PINE NEEDLE LEAFMOLD — Having a large pine tree in our garden which very generously supplies large amounts of needles, I am able to use these in several ways. Firstly, the top layer of needles is raked up and used to put a 6" deep cover on the earth floor under the benches in the glasshouse, on which are placed the pots of bromeliads suitable for shady conditions and then more needles are placed over the tops of the plants leaving on the plant visible. As the needles rot down more are added. The second way I utilize the needles is to put in plastic bags the lawn clippings and the needles cut up with the mower; this mix soon rots down into a nice mulch, which is incorporated in the potting medium. I have found that any bromeliads which make long stolons do very well with the floor treatment.

Helen Sinclair, Sydney, Australia

ATLANTA BROMELIAD SOCIETY, INC. Atlanta, GA., February 16, 1981 — The Atlanta Bromeliad Society, Inc. is sponsoring the third annual Georgia Bromeliad Show on Saturday and Sunday, June 20-21, 1981. The show will be held in Cumberland Mall on US 41 at I-285 in Atlanta, Georgia.

Growing Bromeliads in an Inhospitable Climate


The little town of Moraga, California, is located in a small coastal valley just behind the Berkeley Hills, about 22 miles east of San Francisco. It is an area not conducive to the growing of those plants indigenous to the warm, humid conditions of the tropics, for the temperatures range from highs of over 100 degrees with very little humidity in the summer and fall to lows of an occasional 26 degrees with a great deal of moisture in the winter. Averages in the summer are from the mid 80's to the mid 90's with winters ranging from the 50's to the 60's during the day and the 30's and 40's at night.

When Jim Larsen and I decided to go into the landscaping business here in Moraga, we decided to be adventurous and experiment on a scale which no one in the area has done. For the most part we are very pleased with our results.

Our main forte is palms, flowering subtropicals, orchids, and bromeliads. What we are trying to do away with here in the San Francisco Bay area is the "Juniper, Ivy, Pyracantha Syndrome" and get people to use a little more imagination in their landscaping.

We decided to use in our landscaping Trachycarpus palms with bromeliads and the idea has been quite a success. We are interested in what bromeliads will do well in our northern California climates, the bromeliads look naturalized growing on the palm trunks, and lastly, the "hair" found on the Trachycarpus trunks is a great medium for growing bromeliads.

PARTIAL LIST OF BROMELIADS GROWN BY L & L LANDSCAPE SERVICE in their Gardens in the Moraga Valley, California. (All as epiphytes, unless otherwise noted).

A. fasciata
A. comata
A. dichlamydea (var. trinitensis) — does fairly well.
A. mulfordii
A. orlandiana
A. pineliana
A. mariae-reginae
A. recurvata var. ortgiesii)

A. comosus (var. variegatus) (Grown terrestrially)

B. distachia
B. nutans (grown as an epiphyte and in the ground)
B. pyramidalis
B. zebrina (grown as an epiphyte and in the ground)
B. "Themla Hodge" (grown in the ground)

C. "Rubra"

N. carolinae (grown as an epiphyte and in the ground)

T. balbisiana
T. exserta
T. fasciculata
T. guatemalensis
T. duratii (var. decomposita)
T. streptophylla
T. stricta
T. tenuifolia
T. tricolor

F. bicolor (grown as an epiphyte and in the ground)
F. pitcarnifolia

P. petropolitana (var. petropolitana)
P. leptantha (both do fairly well)

V. incurva

All of the bromeliads grown on our grounds have experienced temperatures ranging from 102°F in September and October, to lows in the mid-20's in December and January.

We are members of the Bromeliad Society and the Palm Society, and we would welcome any additional information which will aid us in our experiments.

Billbergia pyramidalis concolor — A Hardy Bromeliad



For the bromeliad collector who wants a plant that fills the pot with offshoots and blooms profusely (albeit quickly) every year, Billbergia pyramidalis is the answer. This plant seems to thrive on neglect and mistreatment, and sudden changes in growing conditions don't bother it a bit. I collected several of these hardy plants while in Dominica, West Indies, several years ago; each plant has put out several offshoots a year, all of which bloom every August. Wild plants are usually terrestrial and can be found growing in leaf litter between the above-ground roots of trees and in the wild. They have broad glossy green leaves and a showy inflorescence, with a large cluster of red flowers tipped purple with red bracts and blue stigmas on a mealy-white stem. These plants are not particular as to water, light, and temperature, and seem to thrive anywhere in the house or greenhouse.

Being a reliable bloomer, this species has been used extensively in breeding and some beautiful hybrids have been produced. Hybridizations are simplified by the fact that plants are easily grown from seed, maturing in several years with only minimal care. Hybrids include B. pyramidalis 'Striata', which is an attractive winter-flowering plant first raised by M. B. Foster in 1950. B. pyramidalis Χ buchholtzii has an inflorescence with red bracts and purple flowers. B. pyramidalis var. Kyoto has leaves with white margins and a pink scape with blue-green flowers. All of these plants are well suited to home culture and are among the most agreeable bromeliads found anywhere.


Bromeliads: Tropical Air Plants. Bill Seaborn, Gick Publishing, Inc., California, 1976.

Bromeliads for Modern Living. Merchants Publishing Co., Michigan, 1977.

Exotica: Pictorial Cyclopedia of Exotic Plants, 9th ed. Alfred Byrd Graf, Roehrs Company, Inc., New Jersey, 1976.

OSMOSIS — The absorption of one liquid into another.

When two different liquids are separated by a thin membrane, the flow is not, as many would suppose, from the denser to the lighter liquid, but from the lighter to the denser. Thus the soil solution carrying plant food in weak solution is absorbed through the walls of the root hairs, because it is not so concentrated as the liquid sap inside the root cells.

On this same principle, soluble plant food such as a concentrated commercial fertilizer should be applied in small quantities at a time, not too close to the plant roots, and in connection with prompt generous applications of water; otherwise the solid solution around the fine roots may be made more concentrated than the liquid in the roots, which, as it is drawn out by osmotic pressure, ruptures the cell walls.

Bromeletter, Australia

Have you given up in despair trying to keep the snail bait from being washed away by the rain? Well, how is this for a good idea? Get several plastic margarine containers with the lids on, cut a small door in the side of the receptacle and put some snail bait inside. Place these about the garden and see how many snails you can catch.

In The Mailbag —

June Bennett, P.O. Box 1135, Cairns, Queensland 4870, Australia, writes: I have decided I need some top grade parent plants for my hybridizing program, but after losing so many tillandsias that we imported (in the first shipment we saved only 66 plants out of 220 and in the second shipment 36 out of 66) we feel that we must grow the plants ourselves. We have thought about tissue culture, but we can't obtain the buds we need here in Australia. Would you be able to suggest anyone who may sell us buds and pass them on to someone who does tissue culture, then we can bring in the plants in flasks and save losses and also save money.

Fil Peach, P.O. Box 6051, Waco, Texas 76706, writes: In October 1976, the writer took a quick trip to Mexico to collect bromeliads and orchids. Many of the collected plants were mounted and sold from time to time. One T. caput-medusae was much too small to mount. It was shuffled about the greenhouse from bench to bench until one day, while wet and quite small still, it was plucked up to be moved again. At a glance, it appeared to be variegated. One close examination, it WAS variegated. It was promptly mounted and given the care and attention befitting a rare gem, which it seemed to be.

As the plant grew larger, the variegation intensified and became more visible. The plant finally bloomed. The pink coloration of the spike has spilled over into the variegated leaves . . . interesting and pretty. It remains to be seen whether the pups will be variegated. Should the pups be solid green, they will be grown on for another generation or two in an attempt to get variegated progeny.

In asking around, the writer has not been able to find anyone who has seen T. caput-medusae variegata.

Glenna Simmons of Mt. Dora, Florida, gives an interesting description of a recent trip she took: We have returned from our trip to Honduras — we had quite a collecting trip with Sr. E. G. Kamm of Valle de Angeles who has advertised in the Journal in 1979. We climbed a rugged mountain road in his little truck to as far as we could, then after another climb on foot to the top — about 6,000 plus feet, we saw many beautiful blooming bromeliads, mostly Tillandsias — T. Stanleyi (gorgeous hanging red blooms), T. makoyana, T. punctulata, T. tricolor, T. fasciculata rotundifolia. At lower altitudes we had seen T. seleriana, T. butzii, T. magnusiana, T. juncea, T. polystachia, T. caput-medusae, etc. These had seed pods rather than blooms.

We had arranged to go out the day after arrival in Tegucigalpa, however we were handicapped because our luggage was lost for two days, not only our big bags, but our carryons were taken away from us just as we were to step on the plane, all because there had been so many highjackings that week in Florida by disgruntled Cubans. These bags had our cameras, binoculars, sunhats, rain clothes, insecticides (luckily got only three painless ant bites), Tourista medicines (had no trouble the whole trip), maps and notes on Honduran bromels, and what I hated most to lose — copies of some Journals. Our old clothes and boots were in our big bags. They all turned up together from Miami intact though unlocked, the next day. Climbing mountains in traveling clothes and shoes wasn't the easiest way to go but we managed. Fortunately it was a beautiful day and we had marvelous views in all directions. The open pine cloud forests are easier than tropical rain forests to see the plants as well as to walk in.

We had two local helpers with us with machetes, saws, etc., and Sr. Kamm cleaned, fumigated, and packed each plant in newspaper, sealed them in a carton and got us the needed export permits. We brought them back with our luggage, turned them over to the USDA who sent them to us by Greyhound three days later. In all they traveled about with us in Honduras in buses and after ten days were still in good shape when we opened them.

TO ALL AFFILIATES: This is to announce that the new Chairman for the Affiliated Societies is now Mr. Robert Wright, 2701 Longley Way, Arcadia, California 91006. Please send him your latest information as to officers and meetings.

A NOTE FROM THE NEW ENGLAND BROMELIAD SOCIETY — This year at the Boston Spring Garden and Flower Show in March, this affiliate was presented with several honors. It received First Prize, a Gold Medal, and an Educational Certificate from the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. It also received a special commendation for a clump of Tillandsia bergeri, that was in bloom. This plant was treated with Florel in January 1981, which perhaps initiated the flowering.

The Sacramento Bromeliad Society announces its annual show to be held on June 20 and 21 at the Shepard Garden and Arts Center, 3330 McKinley Boulevard, Sacramento, California. The theme will be Bromeliads: Plants of the Future.

Tillandsia montana Reitz



First described in 1962 by the eminent Brazilian botanist P. Raulino Reitz, Tillandsia montana is native to southern Brazil, where it is found growing as a epiphyte in forests at altitudes ranging from 2,500 to 3,000 feet.

It is a medium-sized plant, when in flower measuring from 8 to 12 inches in height with leaves 6 to 8 inches long and a scape to 6 inches bearing a roseate inflorescence. This is a charming species with its muted coloring. It is comparatively rare, but is listed in the trade.

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