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.


Bromeliads: Edible & Therapeutic
  Michael Spencer147
Ecuador 1979 and 1981
  Jeffrey Kent152
Theory of Bromeliad Pups
  Maurice J. Kellett160
Nomenclature, Again?
  Charles E. Dills162
The Many Faces of Tillandsia fasciculata164
Organic Horticulture
  Vernon Stoutemyer166
Photographing your Bromeliads
  Victoria Padilla169
Aechmea correia-araujoi172
Herbarium Studies #1
  Wilhelm Weber173
Aechmea chantinii 'Checkmate'
  Tracy L. Jones176
Errata! Errata! Errata177
Two Hybrids of Exceptional Merit192

PICTURE ON THE COVER — Guzmania musaica var. concolor. Photo by Prof. Dr. W. Rauh, Heidelberg.

Bromeliads: Edible & Therapeutic


Many people have eaten the pineapple and can readily call to mind its luscious taste. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have within our grasp the many different forms of bromeliads can greatly enhance this culinary experience by delving into the unknown, past the glory of the pineapple, and into the realm of the truly exotic by trying the many different types of bromeliad fruit. Their often subtle taste makes them unusually difficult to compare and describe. This can only be done by personal trial. According to Dr. Lyman Smith there are no known toxic principles in the Bromeliaceae. So with due caution these trials can be made with relative impunity.

My first clue to the possible edibility of these wild berries was at Mr. Julian Nally's estate where I noticed large numbers of bluejays, cardinals, and mocking-birds squabbling over the ripening fruit of Ae. distichantha. In the following months I observed that the birds went systematically from plant to plant snatching this tropical fruit as it matured in the Florida sun. Like my winged friends I couldn't resist these free treats and thus began my feast on this surprisingly delicious fruit.

In general only the baccate fruits of the Bromelioideae are worthy of note. All are brightly colored and give the alluring appearance of palatability. Aechmea, Ananas, Bromelia, and Neoregelia are usually the most abundant suppliers of good edible fruit. Many are large like Ae. mexicana, Ae. distichantha, Ananas bracteatus, and Bromelia balansae, but the majority are smaller and raisin-like such as Ae. lueddemanniana, Ae. nudicaulis, and Ae. angustifolia. The South American natives recognize the bromeliad fruit as a food source, but many of these are eaten only in the most desperate of conditions and even then sparingly.

One exception to the baccate rule is the plumose seeds of tillandsias and vrieseas. These wind swept seeds can be used as a natural chewing gum, which surpasses man's poor copy, lasting longer and having fewer or no harmful chemicals. It is perplexing to think that man overlooks the simple abundance of his natural surroundings for a second rate gum, especially since his copy is made out of the same things rubber tires are. You might as well be chewing your steel belted radials. So next time you have to chew on something you might want to give bromeliads a second thought.

The pineapple was the first bromeliad to be discovered by 'civilized man' and was brought from the new world to Europe by Christopher Columbus in 1493. In 1516 it was first mentioned in print in Peter Martyr's book Decades of the New World. After this, in 1535, the first illustration of the pineapple appeared in Gonzalez de Oviedo's book Historia General de las Indias. But probably the most well-known illustration is the painting of King Charles II accepting one from his gardener John Rose. The references to the pineapple in literature are probably the most extensive of any new world fruit.

Almost as numerous as its historical accounts are the beneficial elements the pineapple contains. Among these are calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, sodium, the B-vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid, niacin, panthothetic acid, malic acid, citric acid, and tartaric acid. As if these were not enough the pineapple also contains bromelain, a proteolytic enzyme. This digestive enzyme is related to papain (from the papaya), but unlike papain it does not decompose as the fruit ripens. This enzyme is not only present in the pineapple but in the fruits of other species of bromeliads as well.

Dr. R. M. Heinicke, director of chemical research for the Hawaiian Pineapple Co., who first extracted bromelain, says " digests dead tissue without touching live tissue, removes scabs to aid in burn treatment, and has been successful in treating painful or difficult menstruation. It also cleans teeth." Pharmaceutically, the bromelain is marketed under the name of Ananase, and the Physicians Desk Reference states that it "is designed to supplement and augment standard therapeutic procedures for reduction of inflammation and edema, to ease pain, speed healing, and accelerate tissue repair." This ability to help repair tissue is thought to be caused by the breakdown of fibrin deposits which block small blood vessels and pores. Once this fibrin block is removed tissue repair can begin.

One extraordinary use of bromelain, although unknown at the time, came to light recently when it was learned that the Spanish Moss (T. usneoides) used as a substitute for bandages during the Civil War was having a beneficial effect on the soldiers' wounds due to the bromelain in the moss. My great grandmother has told me that when she was a young girl her family used Spanish Moss and house-hold cob-webs on open wounds, and thought them much better than conventional bandages. Not only were they absorptive, but if not too bad, would stop the flow of blood completely, a quality the American Indians knew well before the coming of the white man and retained after his subsequent introduction of 'civilized methods.'

Once only available by prescription, bromelains are now sold in most health food stores. A small amount, whether in raw or pill form, will greatly aid in the digestion and absorption of foods. Its most widely known use is that of tenderizing meats. Many people use it for this reason without realizing just how good it really is. Probably the least known quality of bromelain is its use as a vermifuge. It seems that most intestinal parasites cannot take its high acidity. What else the pineapple holds in store remains to be seen, but what has already been proven places the pineapple on a pinnacle that few fruits can attain.

The fruits of Bromelia balansae, Billbergia venezuelana, and B. brasiliensis are alike in their orange color, irritable hairs, formidable pulp, and citrus-like juice. But these similarities vanish when compared to the native uses of Bromelia balansae. The fully mature inflorescence is often sold in street markets where the fruit is eaten either raw or cooked. There is also a cough medicine made from the syrup of this fruit. The South American natives make an intoxicating drink from the strained juices of Bromelia balansae and Puya hamata, much like the mescal of the Mexican Indians which they make from the Agave.

Some of the lesser known bromeliads with good tasting fruit are Aechmea mexicana, A. nudicaulis, A. bracteata, A. lueddemanniana, A. distichantha, A. tillandsioides, Araeococcus flagellifolius, Neoregelia cruenta, N. carcharodon, N. melanodonta, N. concentrica, N. johannis, Quesnelia marmorata, and Portea petropolitana var. extensa. While reaching down to pick the ripe fruits of a neoregelia you may have to stick your hand in smelly water, but don't let this discourage you, even though at times it is quite repulsive. This decaying matter is part of the plant's life blood and should be looked at with wonderment and not disgust. Wash out the plant's center or the fruit itself and proceed. There are so many good bromeliad fruits that it would be practically impossible for me to list them all, and besides, all the fun is in trying them for yourself.

The avid grower may scoff or even be disturbed at the wanton destruction of so many potential plants, but nature did not intend for bromeliads to be as abundantly grown as man would like to have them; and I being like the birds, prefer to eat them and let nature take its course.

There are considerably fewer bromeliads with edible leaves. The most notable of these are Tillandsia rubella and T. maxima. In Bolivia the natives peel off the outer leaves of these two and eat the heart much like we eat celery. The tender young leaves of Puya hamata are also used as a pot-herb and highly prized by the natives. In Puerto Rico the young inflorescence of Bromelia pinguin is used as a vegetable. Here in Florida I have eaten the young inner leaves of T. recurvata. There isn't much but what there is, is quite good. The most amazing use of a bromeliad is in north Brazil where the Indians boil down the leaves of Bromelia laciniosa (which they call 'macambira') and make a flour very high in calcium. There are undoubtedly many more edible bromeliads but these have not yet come to my attention.

Pollen is one of the most miraculous nutrients that we know of. It contains all of the essential elements needed for human survival, making it the most complete food supplied by nature, so complete that an average person can survive on from 20 to 35 grams daily. It is also one of the highest sources of protein. At 35% it is believed to be higher than meat, fish, eggs, and milk products. There have been many studies to document the high concentrations of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and hormones in plant pollens. Bromeliad pollen is no exception! By instinct the bees collect only the most nutritious pollens, by-passing the rest. So the fact that the bromeliads are frequented by the bees speaks for itself.

Not only is the pollen nutritious it is therapeutic! Scientists have shown that daily doses of pollen increase hemoglobin and erythrocyte production, making it a valuable aid in treating anemia. It has also been used successfully in lowering high blood pressure. The most important aspect of pollen is that of being anti-biotic. The South American Indians have long used pollen on open wounds. Here in America, pollen is prescribed by some doctors for external as well as internal infections. A good example of this anti-biotic quality is the many small insects and animals preserved in a mixture of pollen and honey and have yet to decay.

Not all bromeliads make their pollen readily available to the human predator. The billbergias and vrieseas with their often exerted stamens are the easiest to harvest, especially those with reflexed petals like Vr. 'Mariae', Bill. distachia, B. elegans, B. brasiliensis, B. venezuelana, and the ever present B. pyramidalis. Those without reflexed petals are more difficult to harvest, but definitely worth the effort. Many times when the pollen is hard to get I eat the petals along with the stamens. By eating the corolla in this manner I am sometimes rewarded with an extra treat of nectar. This nectar is very good and explains the abundance of predators that flock to it.

Mrs. Racine Foster once told me how her husband, during his many pollinations, was unknowingly consuming this natural source of vitality by washing his brush off in his mouth. She attributed his tenacity and longevity to this consumption of pollen, and in turn has directed me to its use. Anyone who knows Mrs. Foster can say that she, too, is healthier than most. One of her secrets is the daily intake of pollen!

One afternoon while working at Bromel-La, I noticed the numerous Billbergia distachia in bloom and promptly ate the pollen laden anthers. I was amazed at the boost of energy I received and how much quicker the day passed by. Now I am constantly foraging the grounds for these precious morsels, often competing with my natural companions, the bees. This brings me ever closer to the simple truths of life hidden in the consciousness of plants, simple truths that have inspired men for ages. One such inspired man has said "Take a lesson from the flowers of the field…..that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed like one of these." Ah! Sweet bromeliads, so much to give, yet they ask so little in return.


  1. The Nutrition Almanac. John Kirschman. 1975
  2. The Merk Manual. Martha Windholz. 1976
  3. Physicians Desk Reference. 33rd ed., 1979
  4. Brazil, Orchid of the Tropics. Foster. 1945
  5. The Encyclopedia Brittanica. 1937
  6. The Complete Handbook of Nutrition. Null. 1972
  7. Bee Pollen and Your Health. Wade. 1978
  8. Natural Health Bulletin. Wade. 1980
  9. Bromeliad Bulletin. Vol. II, 3,4,6. 1952
  10. Bromeliad Bulletin. Vol. VI, 3. 1956
  11. Bromeliad Bulletin. Vol. VIII, 6. 1958

The Corpus Christi Bromeliad Society will host the World Bromeliad Conference and Show on June 10th through the 13th, 1982. A new Convention Center was dedicated on March 21, 1981, in the "Sparkling City By The Sea." This beautiful bayfront building will house the Conference.

Our show theme is, "Bromeliaceae Ole!" You can Ole! through the show, the bayfront, through greenhouse and garden tours, and interesting seminars. School will probably be out by then, so plan on bringing the entire family. They'll love our beaches and casual atmosphere. We'll have plenty of room for lots of individual and Society displays, so start planning now. Commercial growers who plan to sell at the show will need to reserve their prime booth location. Our mailing address is P.O. Box 8705, Corpus Christi, Tx. 78412. See you in June '82, in our "Sparkling City By The Sea."

For those of you who are eager to obtain all the material pertaining to bromeliads that you can get for your library, browse around your second-hand book shop and pick up two back issues of The National Geographic Magazine. In October, 1950, issue is a fascinating article with 18 illustrations by Mulford B. Foster entitled "Puya, the Pineapple's Andean Ancestor". The second article, published in March, 1975 is "Hidden Worlds in the Heart of a Plant" written by the National Geographic senior scientist Paul A. Zahl who describes the life to be found in the heart of a bromeliad. This, also, is illustrated in brilliant color.

Ecuador 1979 — 1981


Aechmea retusa

Less than 48 hours after arriving in Quito, we were bound for the oil rich Amazonian Basin of Ecuador. Traveling in 2 Japanese pick-ups, we were led by our guide, Alexander Hirtz, along the narrow, winding dirt road which parallels the oil pipe-line. January is the dry season in this part of the world and yet one could imagine many unfortunate happenings while traversing the 13,000 foot pass which separates the west from the Oriente.

As we descended towards the town of Baeza we began to see at the 8500-foot level many large brilliant red candles of Tillandsia buseri v. nubicola. These were present on the few remaining trees of this destroyed cloud forest. Also in evidence were the many smoking fires which man had set to clear land for his homesites. As the dry season progresses, these oftentimes grow into huge conflagrations (a la, the California chaparral) consuming millions of acres of valuable timber and watershed. We could also see huge quadrapinnate specimens of T. hirtzii, named after our guide. Though not spectacular in color, their 5-foot tall inflorescences were notably visible above the tree tops. Drab spikes of T. ionochroma and T. tetrantha were also adorning numerous trees in this region. We could not spend too much time, however, since our destination was 150 miles east, at the Texaco Oil outpost of Lago Agrio.

As we traveled farther from Quito and farther from man, the forest became quite lush. Huge 250-foot trees could be seen with many thousands of epiphytes which were alas unreachable except by helicopter. The problem of obtaining these genuine beauties from their lofty thrones would plague us throughout our trip. Occasionally we were able to secure small specimens that grew in the roadside cuts. The road we were traveling on was about 5 years old. In a few years when the brush would reach several feet, these fine seedlings would be choked to death for lack of available light and air circulation. We did manage to collect plants of Vr. rubrobracteata and the omnipresent pitcairnias which grew everywhere. We left behind the orange flowering T. asplundii as we were told that it was too delicate for the trip to the Amazon area and back.

When we reached 3000 feet in elevation, the trees were crowded with plants of a beautiful aechmea. This species came in both red and green leaved forms. Resembling a hybrid between Aechmea penduliflora and Aechmea ramosa, it appeared to be a new species (see article by Herman Prinsler in previous JBS). Also to be found here was a beautiful Guzmania gloriosa form, its flowers of dayglow red and yellow. The splashes of color could be seen from a 100 yards away! Another thousand foot drop in elevation brought flashes of brilliant red from high in the trees. Plants resembling A. chantinii, but with green leaves, were in flower everywhere! The temptation to stop and collect was suppressed by the coming dusk, as we still had another 2 hours to drive before we reached Lago Agrio. If we could not enter the Texaco compound, our only hotel would be a rat infested hovel, which would ruin a good night's rest.

The last hour of light was spent speeding on a wide but dusty road in the basin of Lago Agrio. Everywhere could be seen 8-foot tall specimens of Streptocalyx longifolius hanging as "grass reeds" from the crotches of many trees. Tomorrow we said would be a day of new discoveries.

Arising from our air conditioned rooms, we faced the humid 100 degree jungle with great eagerness. The warm beer was cooler than the surrounding air, yet I still managed to lose 15 pounds in a few days. We had gathered information from the camp superintendent that along certain roads fallen trees could be found. At these locations we were able to collect a pink bracted form of Aechmea zebrina. Normally this plant is found only at the top of tall trees, thus making it difficult, if not impossible, to collect. We also found a smaller aechmea of green leaves and pink bracts which resembled Ae. mooreana. Everywhere could be seen a red form of Aechmea woronowii. The four-foot tall spikes were truly a sight to behold. Alex's incredible ability to spot plants while driving recklessly at great speeds saved much time in our travels. He would shout, "New Neoregelia", and we would stop suddenly. 100 yards away and 50 feet up in a palm tree would be small clusters of stoloniferous plants. On one of these occasions we found N. myrmecophila and Ae. abbreviata in the Lago Agrio area. The variety of genera found in a 12-hour period here is incredible. We found aechmeas, guzmanias, neoregelias, streptocalyx, vrieseas, and perhaps a new genus in this "Air Plant Kingdom". The lovely 8-foot tall Vr. alborubrabracteata with its red and white spike was a new addition to our collections. However, the most exciting find was a plant which at first glance resembled an Anthurium. The long petiolate leaves were serrulate, however. The inflorescence was in the berry stage and consisted of several large billbergia-like berries sunk in the center of the leaves. To top it off, the berries were surrounded by a large serrate floral bract of 4" in length and shaped like a bay leaf. This strange plant has survived transportation and now lives in our Vista nursery. Growing in the darkest location possible on the lateral roots of a fig tree, it does not quite fit the description of any genus in the Bromeliad family.

The next day on our return to Quito, we stopped at the waterfall of San Rafael. As it is not accessible by car, we descended by foot down a steep and wet trail to an area overlooking the river below. The falls resemble those of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. We collected a new guzmania species of considerable merit growing on limestone and moss, Guzmania rubrolutea. On the return hike a large multibranched pink tillandsia resembling wagneriana was collected on the trees. The pink spikes were a sight to behold.

Once in Quito, we cleaned our plants and put them in Alex's greenhouse for safekeeping. We then traveled south to Banos to begin the next leg of our journey.

The road from Banos to Puyo is famous for its orchids and its bromeliads. We collected T. barbeyana and V. incurva not far from Banos. We also found thousands of G. weberbaueri growing as terrestrials in swampy locations. We had to step carefully to avoid smashing these 4-foot tall candles of yellow and red. The lovely pendent T. rhodosticta was also seen growing along with the diminutive T. adpressa. T. adpressa was full of seed whereas the T. prestiosa, its flowers not pollinated by insects or hummingbirds, was completely absent of seed. To find anything of great interest in this area required hiking a considerable distance away from the roadside. On one trek we found numerous plants of G. conifera and a pink form of G. gloriosa. They were always in dense areas of the forest and difficult to spot until you almost walked over them. Everywhere, however, we saw pink torches of G. melinonis in flower. These as young non-flowering plants are most difficult to discern from G. conifera. More exploring produced additional plants of a lovely pink tillandsia which resembles wagneriana and many new guzmania species.

Neoregelia pendula

The town of Puyo is the largest in the Oriente of Ecuador. Joe Brenner, an American from Chicago, runs a very clean hotel there with quite good food. His botanical garden also offers plants for all to enjoy. We spent two nights in this area chatting with Joe and collecting bromeliads and orchids. We found here the strange P. bakeri, an ugly brown corn cob graced with iridescent orange flowers. Also numerous plants of the spectacular red Aechmea hoppii were to be found. We also managed to find one plant of a white albino form of Ae. hoppii. Together these should be quite exciting additions to anyone's bromeliad collection. Unfortunately, this area will soon become pastureland, as natives are very busy destroying this forest area so they can raise cattle and grow tea. Only small pockets of the native vegetation remain. With the passage of time, long hikes will be required to reach areas where epiphytes can be harvested. We traveled away from Puyo for considerable distances before encountering anything exciting, but the strenuous traveling was more than worth our efforts.

Tillandsia buseri

Plants of Streptocalyx biflorus and Streptocalyx pallidus were to be found towards Macas. Also large plants of the terrestrial Aechmea strobilacea were also collected. Heavy rain and sheer exhaustion ended our collecting in this region.

Our next and final leg before returning to Quito was the road from Puyo to Tena. Continuing, this would then lead us to Baeza and finally to Quito. This stretch of "New Road" was already cleared for pasture many years before its opening. Consequently, it was difficult to collect as no new trees had fallen for several years. Alex recalled a cluster of neoregelias at about 60 kilometers from Puyo. Somehow the tree was still there when we arrived! We paid about 4 dollars for a local woodsman to cut the tree down, and a few minutes later we were busy separating the Neoregelia pendulas from their nest of ants and termites. This neoregelia is shaped like Ae. recurvata, and propagates itself by long 3-foot stolons. The piece de resistance to this glorious plant is its fire-engine-red center at blooming time!

Farther up the road, and not to be undone, we collected a truly spectacular form of Ae. retusa. Imagine 50 digitate spikes of the chantinii complex contained within a 8 ื 14 inch area of brilliant red and white! The seed of this plant has produced many plants in our nursery we are fortunate to say.

The final leg of our journey took us south towards the third largest city in Ecuador, Cuenca. Renowned for thieves and its pristine beauty, Ceunca is the gateway for the Amazonian outpost of Macas. The road to Cuenca from Quito is quite good, being a paved highway. We collected many unusual plants at about 3000 feet in elevation above the town of El Triunfo. Here the forest is slowly being destroyed for pasture and farmland.

Traveling in areas where much of the countryside is denuded requires a sharp eye for discerning those areas which are still fruitful for bromeliads. Many hours can be wasted in fruitless searches, as epiphytes do not normally grow in areas of secondary growth. Secondary regeneration of the jungle is always much denser and quite different in plant species than the original primary growth. The lack of air circulation and sunlight in this type of forest precludes the growth of epiphytes, i.e., bromeliads and orchids.

Likewise, the species which survive the denuding of the virgin forests are quite hardy. You oftentimes find only 2 or 3 varieties growing on isolated trees in pasture land, whereas if the forest is uncut, several times more species can oftentimes be found. Man's "natural selection" of only those species resistant to extremes in sunlight and temperature has all but brought about the extinction of some of the most fantastic guzmanias and vrieseas in Ecuador. We re-collected in this same area two years later and found only one third of the species had survived. Plants of Guzmania xanthobractea which require shade and moisture, are now found only in a narrow strip of land ฝ by 1 mile in size. Everywhere else this spectacular species' habitat had been destroyed!! The list goes on and on including the near extinction of Guzmania minor, Tillandsia cornuta, Guzmania teuscheri, and Guzmania scherzeriana. In other areas of Ecuador, especially the areas on the Pacific side of the Andes, the mass execution of the native flora proceeds at an astronomic pace. Instead of restrictions of plant importation and the ridiculous endangered species nonsense that Washington Bureaucrats have fabricated, one must place emphasis on the preservation of the natural habitats which are disappearing in the South American jungles.

As we continued on the road to Cuenca, whole mountainsides were absent of plant life. Scars due to erosional forces were prevalent everywhere. Evidence of man's meddling in the affairs of nature was quite obvious and we climbed higher and higher into the more fragile areas of the environment. The region above 10,000 feet now boasts a forest of Eucalyptus throughout much of Ecuador and Colombia — unfortunately not good bromeliad collecting countryside!

From Cuenca we passed still more barren hillsides and valleys until we crossed over a precipitous pass at about 12,500 feet. Our first trip over the pass was in a cloudbank and quite eerie. Two years later when the sun was shining, this Alpine setting was quite beautiful. Imagine your favorite North American mountain range complete with blooming puyas and odontoglossom orchids!

In front of us loomed the pristine Amazon basin once again; however, we were now about 200 miles further south of Puyo. At near the top of the pass we collected plants of the genus Greigia. These strange bromeliads possess their inflorescences between the leaf axils. Another unusual characteristic is that they are not monocarpic as are most other bromeliads, but instead they continue to flower year after year without dying. Descending for perhaps 5000 feet we passed through a very wet cloud forest laden with brightly colored tillandsias. We did not collect anything in this region because the plants require cool nights to survive, and our greenhouses are always kept above 63 degrees. At about the 4000-foot level, above the town of General Plaza (Limon), we started to collect plants once again in earnest.

In this area grows the small stoloniferous Neoregelia aculeatosepala. Flashing a red center with white flowers when blooming, these 4 inch tall gems prefer shady and wet environments.

Growing in the same general area we found the pendulous Vriesea longiscapa (brilliant pink when in full color), Tillandsia adpressa 'Minor', Tillandsia confinis (brilliant orange flower), Tillandsia aff. rusbyi, Tillandsia pendulispica, and on our second trip here we found a new species of guzmania resembling Guzmania conifera, the latter resembling a huge 4 ื 6 inch pine cone. Of note were the small brownish flowers (1 cm) which separate the plant from Guzmania conifera. We pictured ourselves as English Royalty when holding our jeweled orbs to the sky!!

Proceeding northward, we entered the Amazonian plateau and headed towards our destination, Macas, Ecuador. The jungles here are converted mostly to pastureland for cattle, making accessibility quite a strenuous hike. Along the way we managed to collect Tillandsia rhomboidea and Tillandsia barthlottii. The other species of bromeliads apparently were not adapted to the open jungle which confronted us.

Upon entering the town of Macas the jungle became more interesting for our purpose. It had now been over 12 hours by car from Cuenca, and we decided to wait until the morning to begin plant collecting. Our dinner consisted of canned tuna fish, canned fruit cocktail, coconut cookies, and a bottle of Chilean wine. A true epicurean feast!

The Author with G. xanthobractea

The next morning, we explored many side roads leading to dead ends in the jungle. We unfortunately did not find any new species. We saw Streptocalyx biflorus in full bloom, its brilliant yellow cone nestled amongst blood red leaves is a sight to behold! Also, we found a different form of Aechmea retusa, or perhaps Aechmea tessmannii, as only the retuse petals distinguishes between the two. Regardless, the brilliant scape bracts were dazzling in the sunlight. We were also surprised to find Guzmania monostachia growing this far south. Apparently the range of this guzmania is the greatest in the entire genus. We also managed to collect Aechmea drakeana, Tillandsia rhodosticta, and tiny form of Tillandsia spiculosa which my wife, Maggie, named "Thumbalina Polka Dot."

Collecting became very difficult as the rains increased in intensity. We would wait inside our jeep until they subsided and then rush outside to collect as much as possible until they once again became intolerable. During all this rushing about, we managed to collect seed of a rather large guzmania with leaves resembling Vriesea imperialis. Altogether the plant must have been 7 feet in height, a true giant in the bromeliad world.

Returning to Quito took almost 24 hours' driving. On the return home we reflected upon our adventures in Ecuador. We were fortunate to have been able to collect so many fine species before the entire jungle ecosystem became pastureland. The cutting of the coastal jungles has produced a terrible drought. Now the central valleys are experiencing prolonged dry seasons, perhaps also caused by the extensive cutting of the forest throughout the mountain regions. If this trend continues, not only will the survival of the epiphytes be threatened, but perhaps man's livelihood as well.

Vista, California

Theory of Bromeliad Pups


Idea: That by counting the number of leaves remaining on an adult bromeliad plant and deducting thirty percent the result should equal the possible number of 'Pups' that may be reproduced before the plant expires. In order to explain this theory it is necessary to study the plant growth from seed stage to maturity.

Seedling: Seedling plants start as one single leaf quickly progressing to three leaves. At this stage damage to one of the leaves will quite often produce miniature pups. Similarly if surplus quantities of fertilizer are available some species (Guzmania) will form small rosettes of plants.

Plants grown from seed on Agar where lighting is overhead and food is readily available develop in a branched manner similar to a small tree. It is possible to take cuttings from this sort of growth.

In summary the Meristem cells must be developed at an early stage and there must be a large quantity of them.

Juvenile Growth; As the plant develops the baby leaves sometimes disappear and the plant goes through a formative stage. As each new leaf appears a new growth ring is added to the stock and a growth bud is established somewhere around the ring. These buds are similar to the 'Eyes' on a potato or orchid bulb. While they are dormant they may remain concealed just under the plant surface or buried in the scar tissue caused by leaf removal. Damage to the plant at this stage or even a surplus of plant food will quite often produce pups.

Some plants of the Vriesea family produce pups prior to adult growth as a natural occurrence to insure continuity of the species. The pups are produced around the base only and are quite different in appearance to the offsets produced after flowering.

Adult Group: The plant has now formed its adult leaves and is passing through the flowering stage. Pups may be produced during flowering or just after. Pups may even be produced from the stock long after the adult leaves have died and all that is left is just the center core. The quantity of pups produced from the center core will depend upon several factors:

A. The length of the core. Many plants produce elongated growths that may be a meter or more long. (e.g. Tillandsia, Stolon type plants). Each growth ring can produce a pup given the right conditions.

B. The vigor of the plant. A planned feeding program right from seed to flowering will insure that enough food is available to generate a quantity of pups.

C. The treatment of the plant when removing pups. Re-potting may damage the root growths and so slow down pup generation. Likewise if pups are not removed at the right time the plant may fail to produce more pups.

Summary: 1. The Meristem pattern is only established by growth rings arising from leaf growth.

2. The ability of the plant to produce pups is controlled by available food and the period of decline.

3. By deducting 30 percent of the quantity of leaves this allows for the last few leaves which have not established a growth ring. The remaining 70 percent allows for pups that may not be stimulated from the live section of stem and for dormant pups that may be stimulated from the older part of the stock.

Hurstbridge, Victoria, Australia

(Reprinted from Bromeletter, the Official Journal of the Bromeliad Society of Australia for January/February, 1980)

SPHAGNUM MOSS — This is very useful to have around. Moistened, it holds enough water to keep roots damp over long journeys. Living sphagnum moss may be used to stimulate root development on bromeliad offsets. It is also useful when chopped and placed in a one-half inch layer over a shallow bed of charcoal for the germination of many bromeliad seeds. Sphagnum is not always easy to obtain. It grows in isolated bogs, usually alpine and generally inaccessible. If you have a supply, the problem is to keep it alive. If placed in a polythene bag in a bright spot but out of full sunlight it will grow. Don't let it pack down or it will soon turn into a soggy mess, but keep it moist and aerated and it will continue to grow.

A useful tip when removing offsets from your plants is to allow them to dry slightly. A fresh cut plant put immediately into damp soil after separation may cause wet rot. Some growers loosely wrap the wound with a wisp Or two of sphagnum moss and then plant. Antibiotic qualities are attributed to sphagnum moss and it is used too when used in the potting medium on plants that have received a set-back.

Nomenclature, Again?


Yes, a name is a name is a name! with apologies to Gertrude Stein. But a name is important. If you don't think so, try signing someone else's to a check.

We have what seems to me a rare opportunity in bromeliads. We have not gone so far down the path of trivial, incorrect, cultivar and cross names that we can't sort out most of the mess. It takes a little effort in getting the correct identification and keeping that identification with the plant and its vegetative offshoots. If it is a species, it should come true from seed. I still try to indicate if a plant was obtained from seed. We must restrain the imagination and/or whimsy that allows us to see differences that are simply due to what corner of the greenhouse it grew in.

I have bought plants from reputable sources, and I'm sure they thought the labels were correct. I have had several cases, however, where the name was grossly incorrect.

I don't have the background to be able to name things properly, although I fancy that I can recognize some things. I have embarked on a program to straighten out the names of my plants. I am making use of Mr. Harry Luther and the Bromeliad Identification Center at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens at 800 South Palm Avenue, Sarasota, Florida, 33577. Send in the inflorescence and an entire long leaf and get his analysis. The $5 fee has to be considered minimal if you are truly interested in correct identification. Once it has been identified, keep this BIC number with the plant and its offshoots and seeds.

Let me tell you of some of my experiences. I acquired a plant from a reputable and well advertised dealer, labeled Androlepis skinneri. It bloomed before the BIC was operating. I began to suspect that it was not labeled properly. Later I sent some slides to Mr. Luther and he confirmed that it was indeed incorrectly named and appeared to be an Aechmea, probably lueddemanniana or mexicana. He will get the material he needs the next time I get a bloom.

Later I sent some samples of a plant that was labeled Hohenbergia ridleyi. It came back as Aechmea aquilega var. chrysocoma. The seeds should produce this not too common variety and anyone getting my seed from the Society's seed fund may be getting seed from my BIC 0040. With these two experiences behind me, I have embarked on a program of trying to send at least one plant a month. Putting two in one package does save a little on mailing.

I sent one labeled Aechmea eurycorymbus and it came back Aechmea mulfordii. I had several plants with no identification. One came back as probably a cross Billbergia ื Theodore L. Mead. Another was Aechmea nudicaulis var. capitata and another was Billbergia cf. vittata. My Vriesea rauhii came back Vriesea cf. cereicola. My Tillandsia polystachia was confirmed with reservations since it differed somewhat from the Florida specimens and the type specimen is in France. He will probably straighten that out at some convenient time in the future, assuming the type specimen still exists. Four others were confirmed as correctly labeled. About a third of my samples were correctly named! One sixth were even in the wrong genus!

If the rest of my plants are in this bad a condition, I have my work cut out for me. Perhaps it will cause some worry in some of you.

If the Bromeliad Identification Center interests you (and I hope it does), you may be interested in how I pack mine. I cut up a corrugated box to get pieces about 12" by 18". I crease it along the 18" length at about 3" intervals. This allows me to fold it into a triangular tube and tape with good tape (glass strapping tape or ducting tape). I include a letter with as much information about the plant as I can. I am far from being an artist, but I usually include a sketch showing the plant habit. I have sent them by UPS 'Blue Label' service. While they do not accept "cut flowers" they do accept botanical specimens. I do not think these specimens could be considered "cut flowers" by any reasonable definition. They say 2 days from California to Florida for about $2. I have also sent some via the Post Office with similar results.

I always find myself waiting for the reply, with anticipation. Mr. Luther has always been very quick in reply. I strongly recommend the service.

If we can have correct names as well as pretty plants, why not? As has been said, "Try it, you'll like it!"

San Luis Obispo, California

The Many Faces of Tillandsia fasciculata

T. fasciculata var. convesispica
Native to Mexico and Central America growing at low altitudes.

Of all the tillandsias native to North and Central America and the West Indies, none is more commonly seen than Tillandsia fasciculata. This species has had a long and varied history, first being noted by Jaquin in 1763 who collected it in Cuba and cultivated it in Vienna. It was later properly described by Swartz in 1788.

It is a highly variable epiphytic species found growing in forests in a great range of altitudes from Florida — where it is the most conspicuous and widely distributed bromeliad in the southern part of the state, throughout the Caribbean and Mexico, to South America.

T. fasciculata var. densispica
Epiphytic from near sea level to 6000 feet — Florida Mexico, Central America, West Indies.

It is a medium-sized rosette with tapering gray green leaves which vary from 10 to 40 inches in length. The flower stalk is usually erect and may reach 20 inches. However, it may show a tremendous variation as to size and shape of the inflorescence. Lyman B. Smith in his Monograph lists and described ten varieties: clavispica, convexispica, densispica, fasciculata, floridana, latispica, laxispica, pendulispica, rotundata, uncispica, and venosispica. One of the most common is var. densispica, pictured above, which is noteworthy for the brilliance of its bracts.

Organic Horticulture - Mycorrhizae and Nitrogen Fixers


Apparently little or nothing is known about the microbial flora which are present in the leaf tanks of epiphytic bromeliads or the part which they play in the nutrition of these plants. Fungi of the genus Rhizoctonia play an important part in the nutrition of many orchids, and also in orchid seed germination in nature. However, the introduction of the non-symbiotic method of sterile germination of seeds by Knudson was an improvement which revolutionized the orchid industry.

Probably the foresters were the first to recognize the new plantings of certain forest trees would not thrive until certain symbiotic soil fungi called mycorrhizae were introduced to the soil. There are three different types of these fungi. One grows on the surface of the host root, another grows within the cells of the roots and a third, somewhat rare group, has features of both. These symbiotic fungi absorb and make available to the host plant certain nutrient elements, particularly phosphorus. The uptake of zinc, copper and sulfur is also involved and possibly also other elements such as calcium, magnesium, manganese and iron.

Soil management has much to do with the efficiency of these symbiotic fungi. Excess water and fertilizer are very detrimental. Shading or pruning of the host plants may depress them. The micronutrients should be available in the soil in adequate, but not excessive amounts.

After soils have been fumigated, it has been noticed that certain fruit trees and other plants do not grow normally until the appropriate fungi are introduced. This has been noticed with avocado trees grown in nursery containers. This field of investigation is now expanding rapidly and certain pot plants grown by florists have had improved growth in the presence of certain fungi. Certain soil fungi are now known to be antagonistic to certain plant disease organisms. In these and other ways, conventional agriculture is beginning to adopt some ideas which are sponsored by leaders in the organic movement, often with a very inadequate factual background.

The great value of certain leguminous crops as soil builders, if inoculated with certain species of Rhizobium, has been known by agriculturists for a long time and is the basis of many crop rotation systems.

Many of the biodynamic preparations are supposed to be stimulants of the microflora is soils or in compost heaps. Another approach is to spray the soils or compost heaps in advance with cultures of desirable microorganisms. A fair number of these are advertised in journals devoted to organic gardening or agriculture, such as ACRES USA, P.O. Box 9547, Raytown, Missouri 64133. The soil microflora, in a healthy productive, well managed soil consists of bacteria, fungi, actinomycetes and algae, some of which are sun-symbiotic nitrogen fixers. English soil scientists have calculated that an acre of soil might have about 3000 pounds of such organisms. These organisms are useful in decomposing plant and animal residues, thus completing the cycle of nitrogen and other elements in the soil. These organisms may secrete substances which stimulate plant growth and materials which improve the texture of the soil.

The seeds of leguminous plants are customarily inoculated with the appropriate strain of a Rhizobium unless the crop has been recently grown in the area. This organism forms nodules on the roots of the legumes which participate in the symbiotic fixation of nitrogen. This usually eliminates the need for nitrogen fertilizers and the plant residues supply much nitrogen to the following crop which often does not fix atmospheric nitrogen.

There are also some non-symbiotic nitrogen fixing organisms such as Azotobacter. Soil management practices should be adopted which will encourage the growth of these organisms. The best growth of these organisms is promoted if the soil pH is close to neutral, about pH 6.5 or 6.8 to 7.5. Lime or soil sulfur can be used to create greater acidity or alkalinity.

A high level of soil organic matter is very important for the development of the best microflora. This level is more difficult to maintain in warm climates. Tillage also helps to break down organic matter. Many soils have a very low content of organic matter. Two percent is good but three percent or more is much better, especially for intensive gardening.

Preparations of various beneficial soil organisms, including the non-symbiotic nitrogen fixers are usually marketed in an inert carrier. The shelf life is usually not long and they should be stored in a dry, cool place. It is claimed that these products are most effective when on or near seeds or on or near the roots in the case of transplants. With organisms such as Azotobacter around 100 million organisms per gram of carrier is about the standard for this type of preparation.

A number of commercial preparations of nitrogen fixing and various humus forming organisms are available to the small scale gardener.

Several BIO-CON preparations are available from the maker, BIO-CON, P.O. Box 5377, Bakersfield, CA 93388, or from a distributor, Materials Science Company, P.O. Box 3391, Santa Barbara, CA 93105. In these preparations, the organisms are cultured separately and are blended in fixed proportions. They can furnish the preparations with lignin and cellulose destroying organisms for use in composing in soils with considerable amounts of crop residues. The latter firm has test marketed small packets of their preparations for home gardeners in several states, but their product has largely been marketed to large scale agricultural businesses.

A mail order firm has catered to the small scale gardener and has some preparations of soil microflora. It is Ringer Corporation, 6860 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie, MN 55343. Another mail order source of preparations of this type is: Dr. Bargyla Rateaver, Pauma Valley, CA 92061.

The response from such preparations is somewhat unpredictable as it will depend on the soil reaction, the level of soil organic matter or humus and the availability of the very important minor or trace elements. These are such elements as zinc, iron, boron, molybdenum, copper, manganese and possibly others. Many of these are being supplied in garden fertilizers, often in chelated forms. An abundant supply of organic matter in the soil tends to form chelates with the minor or trace elements.

The value of some of these microbial preparations for large scale agriculture has not been demonstrated clearly, and a fair number of negative tests have been reported by state agricultural experiment stations. For this reason, we recommend small scale trials and a cautious approach, since the various factors involved are not well understood.

University of California at Los Angeles

Our Australian member, Peter Paroz, not only grows bromeliads as a hobby but works as a chemist with the processing of the commercial pineapple, Ananas comosus. In tests carried out to get the perfect pineapple for canning he roots the offsets in a glasshouse. The mix used to start these off is made up of peat moss with a little vermiculite added. This mix is kept just moist and the offsets are mist sprayed. The base of the offset is trimmed back until you can see the beginning of the root formation; the cut end is then dusted with a fungicide powder. The offset roots move quicker when trimmed than when the woody part of the stolon is left untrimmed.

The Central Florida Bromeliad Society will present its annual show entitled "Bromelia Fest" at the Winter Park Mall, Winter Park, Florida on September 25-27, 1981. The event is a judged show and will feature a spectacular display of individual and commercial exhibits, including orchids, ferns, and other tropical plants. There will also be an art and craft show of "Bromeliad Art."

Photographing Your Bromeliads


When the poet Keats wrote "A thing of beauty is a joy forever," he did not have in mind the transitory loveliness of the bromeliad in flower. Although the owner of the plant may long carry with him a mental image of the inflorescence, he cannot adequately describe its beauty unless the plant has been faithfully reproduced in color. And here is where his camera comes in. A grower can have no better record of his bromeliads than an album of color photos or a library of color slides.

Nearly everyone today possesses a camera of one sort or another capable of taking good black and white or color pictures. Why these are not always as good as they might be is not the fault of the camera so much as it is with the would-be photographer who shoots at random, blissfully unaware of the most rudimentary rules of photography.

To cover all types of 35 mm cameras and situations the readers of this journal may have would require a complete course in photography, and presented here are just a few hints that might be of help. This article, too, presupposes that the owner of a camera knows how to use it and how to read a light meter.


The basic equipment necessary for photographing your bromeliads is a fairly good reflex camera, a tripod, an exposure meter (if not contained in the camera itself), a reflector, and a backdrop. The sun is your primary source of light and is generally used with excellent results. If a more controlled lighting effect is desired, photo flood lights are the best. A flatter and harsher effect is obtained with flash or strobe light.

If you can afford a good camera, such as a Nikon, Pentax, or Exacta, etc., that is fine; however, any single-lens reflex will do. After all, some of the worst pictures that this editor has seen were taken with the most expensive cameras, whereas the opposite has often been true. The tripod is necessary to keep the camera in place and steady, especially when long exposures are involved. Helpful, also, would be supplementary or interchangeable lenses, a lens adapter, and extension tubes. Extension tubes, used with a lens, will provide a greater magnification for very tiny flowers. In these closeups it is almost essential that the reflex camera (which composes and focuses through its lens) be used. With this camera you can be sure that the slides will be just what you see in the camera.

A cable release will help to eliminate camera movement when the shutter is released. For daylight pictures you will also need a foil reflector, which you can make yourself by attaching aluminum foil on to a piece of board.


There are four main types of lighting which a photographer may consider: daylight, photofloods, strobe, and flash. For the beginner, natural sunlight is probably the best and the easiest, and until he is an expert is probably the only light he should consider. It imparts an excellent tonal quality — so important in bringing out the true coloration of an inflorescence — but it can be variable in intensity and quality and thus difficult to control. Pictures should never be taken in the middle of the day — from 8 to 11 in the morning and from 2 to 5 in the afternoon are the best times. Too high a sun will top light your plant and cause dense shadows, strong highlights and lack of well-balanced color. Sometimes a striking effect can be obtained by a low sun backlighting the plant, but in this situation a reflector must be used to fill in the shadows. Be sure the lens is shaded.

If one must use artificial light, two photofloods and one small spot light are necessary to give the best results, placed where they bring out the best characteristics of the plant. Basically, the lighting that looks the most natural is the kind that appears to originate from a single light source, such as the sun in outdoor photography.

The use of a flash is not generally recommended for color photography, since it usually gives a harsh and flat lighting. However, if a flash is necessary, carefully placed reflectors will help to smooth out the dark shadows.


The background can make or break the picture. For outdoor photography, foliage (out of focus) is excellent, as this looks the most like the bromeliad's natural habitat. To keep the background out of focus it is necessary to open up the F stop and use a faster shutter speed. The brilliant blue of the sky is often effective, as is the shimmering blue of a swimming pool. What must be kept in mind is that the background should not be patterned, cluttered up with other objects, or distracting in any way, and should be far enough behind the plant so as not to cause shadows. Where a studied plant portrait is desired, the photographer should provide a backdrop. Black velvet is often used with great success, as it assures the greatest contrast and gives the plant a bold "cut out" appearance.

It is a good idea to have on hand several pieces of heavy cardboard, approximately 3 by 4 feet in size, painted in blue, aqua, green, etc., to be used as color backgrounds. The best rule-of-thumb for a background is to use a color that will best complement that of the inflorescence. For example, a greenish flower looks best with a red or magenta background. A light pink inflorescence can appear almost white next to a black background, but will be pink in front of an aqua setting. Usually a green background will bring out the magenta and red in an inflorescence, a blue background will bring out the yellow, and blue-green or aqua will bring out the red and pink. Pay attention to your background — it is all important for a good picture. How many times has the editor received films and had to discard them because the background was an old sheet (and it did not fill the picture), a back door, or a group of distracting objects. Another thing is to keep the composition of the plant within the frame bold and full.

Taking the Picture

After the bromeliad has been posed against a suitable background, the lighting checked to see that there are no distracting shadows, the camera properly placed and focused, it is good to proceed slowly and check before snapping the picture. Check the image of the bromeliad in the camera for shadows, pose, sharpness, and general composition. Look away and then look again into the camera, checking for anything that might be amiss. Just before taking the picture check the light again with your exposure meter. Today most good 35 mm reflex cameras now have built-in meters and automatic shutters so that your exposure problems are at a minimum. Correct exposure should be measured by light falling upon the plant itself. Be careful when photographing very light or very dark plants. Your light meter can be fooled by these extremes. The meter can't tell the difference between a light-colored plant (Ae. orlandiana var. 'Ensign' or Billbergia 'Fantasia') with very little light on it or a dark colored bromeliad (Vriesea splendens 'Nigra') or any one of the dark red leaved aechmeas with a lot of light on it. If the plant is very light in color, close down ฝ stop less than the meter shows. Light foliaged plants are better photographed against dark backgrounds and dark plants against light backgrounds — this is especially true in black-and-white photography. Incidentally, with extension tubes, be sure to allow for the extra amount of exposure necessary for the increased lens to film distance.

Take several slides of your plant. Without changing the general setup, change the exposure slightly up and down on some of the pictures. Keep a record of your exposures and study your finished films to see which exposure is the best. With a little care you can take very professional-looking pictures.

The author has found it is a good idea to have two cameras — one with colored film and the other for black-and-white photos for use in the Journal. She had found a Polaroid satisfactory for black-and-whites. Really good black and white pictures cannot be made from color films, as they usually lack sharpness and do not make satisfactory illustrations. Color prints are also not so good as color transparencies. Reproductions from color prints are too costly for use in the Journal, as the process for color separations is an involved one.

Aechmea correia-araujoi Pereira & Moutinho

L. Gurken

This interesting new aechmea species was discovered by the eminent landscape architect Dr. Roberto Burle Marx during one of his excursions in southern Bahia, Brazil. It was described by Edmundo Pereira in Bradea, in October 1980 who named it after Luiz K. Correia de Araujo.

It is a epiphytic species, growing high in trees where it gets good light. It is a medium-sized plant, reaching a height of 3 feet when in bloom. Its inflorescence somewhat resembles that of A. bambusoides, and its foliage would make one believe that it is related to A. fosteriana and A. orlandiana. It is a highly attractive species and apparently easy to grow.

Herbarium Studies — #1

The Riddle of Tillandsia erubescens Schldl. has been solved!


For many years Tillandsia ionantha Planch. 1855 was considered to be identical with Tillandsia erubescens Schldl. 1845 ("1844") and was cultivated under this name in collections. Carl Mez in his bromeliad monograph of 1935 in Engler's Pflanzenreich indicated that Tillandsia ionantha was synonymous with Tillandsia erubescens Schldl., and also in the first edition of Walter Richter's Bromeliaceen — Zimmerpflanzen Von Heute und Morlgen the well known Tillandsia ionantha was still called Tillandsia erubescens.

But already in 1941 L.B. Smith determined that a study of the original description of Schlechtendal in LINNAEA Vol. 18, 1845 ("1844"), p. 427-429, indicates that Tillandsia erubescens cannot be identical with Tillandsia ionantha. He wrote in his Studies in the Bromeliaceae XIII in LILLOA VI; 1941, p. 384:

Tillandsia ionantha Planch. in Fl. des Serres X, 101, t. 1006 (1855).

T. erubescens Schlecht. sensu Mez in Engl. Pflanzenreich, IV. Fam. 31, 496, fig. 98 (1935).

In his treatment of Tillandsia erubescens in the Pflanzenreich, Mez nowhere cites any Schiede material which was the basis of the original description. Schlechtendal's description contains the following phrases: "Eine nur ฝ Fuss hohe Art," ... "etwa พ Zoll dicken Aehre" ... "die Blumen erscheinen getrocknet gelb"; and none of these are easily reconciled with Tillandsia ionantha. Yet Mez reduces T. ionantha to the synonymy of the T. erubescens.

It is probably best for the present to place T. erubescens on the dubious list and hope for the appearance of the type later. Judging from the description there is some possibility that T. erubescens is the same as T. benthamiana.

Since that time the plant so well known to all of us and widely found in collections again bears the valid name Till. ionantha Planch. 1855; on the other hand Till. erubescens Schldl. is still in the new monograph of the Tillandsioideae in the FLORA NEOTROPICA by L.B. Smith in the list of dubious species.

But which species was it that Schlechtendal actually described as Till. erubescens? The original description in LINNAEA 1844 (the last pamphlet of this year with the bromeliad descriptions did not appear until 1845) runs as follows (original text and spelling):

S. Angel, S. Bartolo (Schiede). Eine nur ฝ Fuss hohe Art, dicht mit breitrandigen und am Rande etwas zerschlitzten Silberschuppen bedeckt, die nur auf Kelch und Blumenkrone fehlen. Die Blatter, unten nur ฝ Zoll breit und 3-5 Zoll lang, gehen allmahlig und dadurch, dass sie sich mit ihren Randern Einrollen, scheinbar noch schneller in die dunne, wie pfriemformige Spitze aus, meist sind sie gekrummt, und zwar sind die ausseren oft nach einer Seite gewendet, stark herabgebogen, Nerven bemerkt man an ihnen wegen der Schuppen nicht. In ihrer Mitte erhebt sich der bis zur Aehre etwa 3 Zoll hohe Stengel, der aber wegen der ihn bedeckenden Blattscheiden nicht zu sehen ist, diese Stengelblatter sind den untern Blattern ganz ahnlich, nur etwas kurzer, sie gehen nach oben allmahlig in die Bracteen uber, von denen die unteren keine Blumen bringen, ihr scheidiger Theil ist schon bedeutend vergrossert und rosenroth gefarbt, und ihre Lamina, welche bei den hohern Bracteen sich nur als eine immer kurzer werdende Ausspitzung zu erkennen giebt, ist noch langer, und bringt besonders das Aussehen hervor, als waren die Blatter wohl langer, als der bluhende Stengel, wahrend dieser eigentlich etwas langer, als die untern, langsten Blatter ist. Diese rosenroth angelaufenen Bracteen sind auf ihrer Aussenseite mit zerstreuter stehenden Silberschuppen besetzt, die nach dem Rande hin auch wohl dichter stehen und an diesem selbst etwas grosser sind, was nebst der zarten Textur und den dunnen, weisslichen Randern der im Ganzen etwas lanzettlichen, in der Mitte etwa พ Zoll dicken Aehre etwas sehr zartes giebt, wodurch sie an T. vestita erinnert, deren Aehren aber viel schmaler und langer aus den Blattern hervostehendsind. Der Kelch, welcher etwa 14 Linien lang ist, wird ganz von der Scheide verborgen, er ist daher auch ganz dunnhautig, weisslich und kahl, seine 3 Theile sind beim Bluhen ineinander gewickelt, und umgeben den untern Theil der Blumenkrone, sie werden von mehreren Nerven durchzogen, welche sich durch kurze Bogen mit einander vereinigen, so dass nahe der Spitze nur drei, zuletzt aber nur 1 ubrig bleibt, welcher auslauft. Die Blumen ershceinen getrocknet gelb, und die Staubgefasse, wie fast bei alien, geschlangelt, was wohl Folge des Trockenwerdens ist und dann nicht in den Beschreibungen erwahnt werden durfte; die schwefelgelben Staubbeutel sind schmal elliptisch, daum mehr als eine Linie lang. Der Griffel ist mit seinen 3 spiralformig, dicht gedrehten Enden um mehrere Linien langer, als die Staubgefasse. Kapsel und Saamen sah ich nicht. Auch diese Art wachst mit T. usneoides zusammen.

The good offices of Inspector Juergen Roeth of the Botanical Garden at Halle and the cooperation of the custodian of the Herbarium of the University of Halle, Dr. K. Werner have made it possible for me to borrow from the Bromeliaceae collection of the herbarium of Schlechtendal, and I am now in the process of examining this interesting and valuable material. The complete results will be published later. Here follow only preliminary findings on some necessary name changes of species that are commonly found in collections.

Among Schlechtendal's specimens I found the long missing type specimen of Tillandsia erubescens, recognized by the hand written label of the collector Schiede: "101. Tillandsia, S Angel, S Bartolo." The accompanying photograph shows the three type specimens. The subsequent description did indeed show Tillandsia erubescens Schldl. 1845 identical with Tillandsia benthamiana Klotzsch ex Baker 1888 described later, as L.B. Smith already assumed. Therefore the priority rule makes the following name change mandatory:

Tillandsia erubescens Schlechtendal in LINNAEA 18 ("1844") 1845, p. 427-29 non Wendl. 1854 nec sensu Mez 1935
Syn.: Till. vestita sensu Bentham 1840 Non Willd. 1830 nec Schl. & Cham. 1831 Anoplophytum vestiturn Beer 1857 e.p.
Till. benthamiana Klotzsch ex Baker 1888
Till. hartwegiana E. Morr. ex Baker 1889
HOLOTYPUS: Schiede 101, Mexico, S. Angel, S. Bartolo; HAL 45608

And that solves this old puzzle. But how did a mix-up occur in these two species that are so different? In 1854 H. Wendland, probably not knowing of Schlechtendal's earlier description of the same name, described in Otto & Dietrich's Allgemeine Gartenzeitung, Vol 22, p. 153 a Tillandsia erubescens which was in cultivation under this name in the Hortus Herrenhausen (Hannover). In the book Die Familie der Bromelien (1847) the Austrian botanist J.G. Beer presented the genus Pityrophyllum and on page 79 said (original text and spelling):

Pityrophyllum erubescens Beer
Tillandsia erubescens Hort. Herrenhausen
Till. ionantha Planch. Flore van Houtte 1855 tab. 1006

Diese schone kleine Pflanze bildet durch die mehreren Seitensprosse zierliche Rasen. Vor der Bluhtezeit ist die Pflanze ganz gleichmassig dunkel olivengrun, mit weiss kleiigem Anfluge; die Oberhaut der Laubblatter sehr fein warzig, fast rauh, besonders an den stumpfen Randern mehr weisslich erscheinend, mit spitzem Ende. Blattflache dicklich, am Grunde umfassend, 2 ฝ" lang, in Mitte ผ" breit. Zur Bluthezeit farben sich die sammtlichen Herzblatter lebhaft roith an den Spitzen, sonst schmutzig lilaroth. Bluthen einzeln, rohrenformig, mit etwas zuruckgeschlagenen Zipfeln, bei 1ฝ" lang, 3" dick, lebhaft violett gefarbt. Staubblatter aufrecht, etwas vorragend. Griffel aufrecht, am Ende dreitheilig, mehr hervorragend als die Staubblatter ....

This description clearly depicts the well-known Tillandsia ionantha Planch. 1855. Even then it must have been grown commonly in botanical gardens, because Beer also mentions that he owned several specimens of this "cute form." Thus the spread of the name Till. erubescens instead of Till. ionantha started in European gardens, and Mez used this name in his monograph while mistakenly assuming that Schlechtendal's erubescens was identical with Wendland's.

German Democratic Republic

Please note that on page 122 of the last issue of the Journal May-June, 1981, the names were reversed. T. ponderosa should have been T. laui, and T. laui should have been T. ponderosa.

COMING EVENTS — Show and Sale by the San Diego Bromeliad Society will be held on September 19 and 20 in Balboa Park in Room 101 of the Casa de Prado. Hours will be from 12 to 5 on Saturday and from 11 to 5 on Sunday.

The River Bend Bromeliad Society show and sale will be held on October 23 and 24 at the Oakwood Mall, Gretna, Louisiana. The show will open at 2 o'clock on Friday and will close on Saturday at 5.

Aechmea chantinii 'Checkmate'


E. McNulty

This new form of A. chantinii was picked out of thousands of seedlings, all of which exhibited many forms, sizes, shapes, colors, and markings. This particular seedling was set aside because of what appeared to be as distinct linear breaks in the normal cross-banding. As I watched this seedling develop, I saw that each new leaf retained the original aberrant behavior it was exhibiting.

The picture shows the original plant which has since bloomed and pupped. I removed the spike to stimulate several propagations. The first pup seemed to be at a standstill for a few months after removal, but then started to grow. I have also removed two additional offsets and have a fourth on its way. The latter two have grown rapidly. All pups so far have kept the linear breaks in the trichome structure, and I see no reason why they won't continue to do so as they develop.

Orlando, Florida

Errata! Errata! Errata!

Tillandsia rupicola

In a letter addressed to the editor, the following errors were pointed out. The communication is from Dr. Werner Rauh of the University at Heidelberg in Germany. He writes:

"I hope that you will not be cross with me, but I must tell you there are some mistakes in the Journal No. 2 for this year. The cover picture is not Pitcairnia nigra, although the picture on the last page is correct. The cover may be of Pitcairnia puyoensis, but I am not quite sure. I have also collected this plant, but have not been able to identify it.

"On page 77 of the same issue is a photo by Dr. Hemker, supposedly of Tillandsia rupicola. The pictured plant comes from the garden at Heidelberg and was determined by Dr. Lyman B. Smith to be Tillandsia geminiflora var. incana. But this is also wrong! This bromeliad might be a special form of T. sucrei. In any case, the picture in the journal is not T. rupicola.

"I enclose a black-and-white photograph of the type plant. I myself believe that T. rupicola is nothing else than T. tectorum. A notation on the picture indicates that the plant was collected in front of the village of Ona forming dense clumps of considerable extent.

"In times past I have searched for T. rupicola for days and days in the vicinity of Ona, Ecuador. I know very well every cliff and rock in the area and have found only T. tectorum in all varieties, but never T. rupicola. Nobody has it in cultivation. I would be very glad to have a plant."

Entrance to the editor's greenhouse.

Two New Hybrids of Exceptional Merit

NeoregeliaPainted Lady

Guzmania 'Golden King'Guzmania lingulata minor 'Red'

Send comments, corrections and suggestions to:
© 1951-2012 Bromeliad Society International, All Rights Reserved.
All images copyrighted BSI.