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.


On the Trail of Flexuosa
  R. D. Bartlett195
A New Billbergia Cultivar
  J. Retkes197
Tillandsia flexuosa
  Henry A. Justice198
How to Grow a Pineapple
  Charles E. Dills199
Tillandsia umbellata
  Werner Rauh201
Bromeliads and Their Fauna
  Bernard F. Stonor203
Tillandsia carlos-hankii Matuda Alias "Flamea"
  Sue Gardner206
Organic Horticulture — The Eclectic Approach
  Vernon Stoutemyer207
A Handsome Giant210
An Excursion to Domingos Martins, Brazil
  Elton M. C. Leme211
Bromeliad Center is Two Years Old216
Guido F. J. Pabst
  Rev. David R. Kinish, O.S.B.220
Herbarium Studies II
  Wilhelm Weber223
Pitcairnia manabiana
  Harry E. Luther227

PICTURE ON THE COVER — Tillandsia globosa Wawra. Photo by Prof. Dr. Werner Rauh, Heidelberg.

On the Trail of Flexuosa


Nothing on that morning had indicated that there was to be anything memorable about the day. We had rolled out of bed somewhat begrudgingly even though we had looked forward to the trip for some time. To reach the hammocks of southern Florida early enough to spend a full day exploring meant arising at 4:00 A.M., something that was easy to discuss but a little more difficult to put into practice. It was a little easier for Dennis Cathcart, my collecting and traveling partner, for he lived some 40 miles closer to the 'glades', hence was able to eke out thirty minutes more sleep than I. It did give me a perverse pleasure, though, to know that when I arrived to pick him up, he would be stumbling around looking every bit as badly as I felt!

Today's trip was to be a little different than usual, for instead of heading into the 'glades' proper as we usually did, we had elected to head for the mangroves and buttonwoods of the southwestern coast. This was a habitat that we had not yet meandered through and hoped to be able to locate such species as Encyclia boothianum and Tillandsia flexuosa. The former is restricted to such habitat, and although accounts show the latter to be of much wider distribution, it had so far eluded us.

Of course, we didn't drive straight through. Here and there along the way we stopped to amble through likely looking areas. Although we were to see all of the common Tillandsias and a number of the more common orchids, the two types that we had in mind were notable in their absence. We located a few clumps of the odd, epiphytic ribbon fern, Vittaria lineata, and one small section of hand fern, Ophioglossum palmatum, these both always being welcome sights.

As we were walking through an overgrown field of dying cypress, Dennis was able to distinguish some Catopsis floribunda high overhead. This discovery led to an active search among the fallen trees and soon we were fortunate to locate a few plants of this species mixed with the ubiquitous Tillandsias.

Spirits buoyed now, we decided it was time to press southward — next stop, Everglades City, the tiny town where we were going to spend the night.

Well, so far we hadn't been particularly fortunate in our bromeliad and orchid quest, but the trip had disclosed numerous birds and other creatures all along the way. Certainly one highlight was the sudden appearance of a pair of swallow-tailed kites, remarkably beautiful birds of prey, which, although not uncommon in southern Florida, are among the most beautiful and graceful of birds.

Everglades City is at the dead end of Florida Route 29. Hardly more than a widening of the road, it is surrounded by mangrove swamps, the very habitat in which we hoped to find the two species for which we had originally set forth. We didn't. But one noteworthy happening did occur, one that will probably be denied vehemently by Dennis. All through the day I had caused much hilarity, tripping over this and that while searching the trees. Surefootedly Dennis plodded along with nary a problem, chuckling at my minor mishaps and guffawing loudly at the more noticeable ones. But no it was my turn! The mud between the willows and mangroves looked bottomless, but Dennis was soon to prove that this was not exactly so. We were carefully picking our way from root to root, avoiding contact with the mire at all costs. A particularly interesting Tillandsia (it proved to be a balbisiana) caught Dennis' eye, and momentarily forgetting his precarious position, off he stepped into the mud. It did have a bottom — but it was some three feet beneath the surface. It certainly didn't take long to ascertain this, because Dennis went straight down. And it is a good thing there was a bottom because once I glanced at the incredulous look on his face and heard his varied exclamations, I became powerless to assist, convulsing with laughter. And it wasn't even a flexuosa that caused this!

Did we find flexuosa? You bet your boots we did! But it was not until late that night and some hundred miles further south on one of the southernmost Keys.

We decided that this species would not elude us any longer and elected to drive all the way to Key West, if necessary, to find it. Stopping here and there in likely looking areas we continued to hunt unsuccessfully. Big Pine Key came and went along with the daylight. We saw a couple of endangered Key deer in the headlights, raccoons patrolled the shoulders for discarded scraps, and Cuban treefrogs called raucously from roadside ponds. But still no flexuosa!

Then on some small key south of Big Pine we decided to try once more. It was necessary to use flashlights now. We pulled up next to a dump on a back road and crawled off into the brush. And there, on a gnarled, breeze bent, turkey oak was our flexuosa! Even in the restricted light available to us, the plant was unmistakable. Gray-green, banded with gray, with twisted leaves and bulbous base, this first specimen made our trip a total success. We soon found that it was not alone in this austere habitat, for as our eyes became accustomed to the darkness we saw plant after plant. Although we never did find Encyclia boothianum we decided to call the end to a long, enjoyable day.

Ft. Myers, Florida

A New Billbergia Cultivar



European collectors and growers of bromeliads seldom have the opportunity to collect these plants in the wild and to find new species or varieties. This possibility may be substituted, however, by the selection of hybrids from new combinations, of which there is still an inexhaustible reservoir for the grower; or, on the other hand, by the selection of unexpected mutants from pure species seedlings.

As most collectors start with billbergias, let me introduce to you a new billbergia cultivar, a mutant, which I found in a seedling population of Billbergia rosea. I name it "Ivory" because of the coloration of the bracts. The plant has the same appearance as the species, except for the color of the bracts, which are greenish-white in the bud, pure white during the flowering, and yellowish-white at the end. The flowers were selfed in order to fix the flower character in the offspring.

Szombathely, Hungary

Tillandsia Flexuosa

This photograph taken by Henry A. Justice, of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, shows his T. flexuosa pupping from the center like a bloom. What he thought at first would be an inflorescence later turned out to be a pup. The new plant is now starting to form roots and is almost ready to be separated from its parent. Mr. Justice wonders whether this is a rare occurrence among bromeliads.

How to Grow a Pineapple


Sketch by Georgia Lee.

I've read many articles on how to get a pineapple plant started from the top of one purchased in the local supermarket. Most people eat the flesh and then either throw the rest of the plant away or take a sharp knife and slice off the top.

When I start out to sever the top from the fruit, I don't want to take any chance of slicing through the growing point of the topknot. Or my finger for that matter. So I grasp the pineapple firmly with my left hand, pushing down against a table or counter. I grasp the top firmly with my right hand and twist. The top will come off perfectly with little or no flesh adhering. I put the top aside for a week or two or sometimes place it in an empty pot with a drain hole and water the cup every week or so. When I get around to it, I place it on top of some well-drained bromeliad potting mix. I make a couple of "Croquet hoops" from some stiff wire and anchor the plant with them. Then I place it with the rest of my bromeliads. I haven't lost a pineapple yet. I'm still looking forward to a bloom and fruit. I expect our conditions will not produce grocery store fruit. It may be small, washed-out and stunted, but it will be all mine!

San Luis Obispo, California

Tillandsia umbellata ANDRE


Tillandsia umbellata

A very nice, but in cultivation very rare bromeliad is Tillandsia umbellata; the vegetative rosette looks like T. cyanea, and the big blue flowers with a white eye in the center resemble those of T. lindenii.

T. umbellata forms groups of several stemless rosettes, which are, when flowering, not higher than 30 - 35 cm; the narrow-triangular recurved leaves have a length of about 25 cm; their lanceolate-ovate sheathes are 3 - 4 cm long, about 2 cm broad, leather brown lepidote on both sides, with dark red stripes. The blades are strongly canaliculate, wine red-striped at the base, and green in the upper part. The thin inflorescence-scape is slightly curved, up to 15 cm long, shorter than the leaves and covered with imbricate arranged scape-bracts; the lower ones are subfoliate, the upper ones only acute, erect, about 3,5 cm, wine red, with green margins, nerved. The inflorescence is simple, about 6 cm long, 3 cm wide (without the petals) and has 3 - 5 distichous arranged, erect flowers. The inflorescence axis is visible at anthesis, transversal flattened, thin, green; the erect floral bracts are up to 4 cm long, acute, inconspicuous carinate, densely adpressed lepidote, wine red with green margins, even, when fresh, but nerved when dry; they are exceeding the sepals, these are free, membranaceous, acute, up to 3,5 cm long, 4 mm wide, green glabrous, with a hyaline margin. The flowers (in full developed bud) are 7 cm long and differentiated in a rounded plate and a narrow nail; the plates are spreading, and a full developed flower has a diameter of 4,5 cm. The petal-blades are of dark, bright, intensive blue color (like a cornflower) with a white spot at the base; therefore the flower has a triangled white eye. The nails are white, about 3 cm long and form a narrow flower tube of 4 mm in diameter. The stamens are deeply included, but longer than the style with the long papillose stigmas. Of all blue flowering Tillandsias, the color of the T. umbellata flowers is the most bright blue one.

The plant was already described by ANDRE and named "umbellata", because mostly more than one flower is open at the same time, forming an umbel.

T. umbellata seems to be rare, located only in the region of Loja (southern Ecuador), where also T. cyanea is growing. A. J. GILMARTIN (1972) lists only 2 localities, between Cisue and Ambocas (Prov. Loja, collected by Poortmar, 1882) and near La Hamaca-Catacocha (Prov. Loja, 2000-4000 m), collected by Acosta-Solis, Nr. 7853 (1944). Our plant has been collected by Alexander Hirtz, also in the Loja region, and is cultivated in the Botanical Garden Heidelberg under the number B.G.H. 54862.


What Kind of Pots are Best for our Plants?

Bromeliad growers use mostly green or white plastic pots with 8 drainage holes. This seems to be a good choice. In Bulletin #793, Container Growing, by the Florida Agric. Experiment Station, we find these interesting excerpts about containers for nursery plants.

CONTAINERS. Selection of containers is important because they have an enormous effect on sales appeal, plant growth and ease. GROWTH is affected by container size, but growth reduction may also be due to poor drainage and poor aeration caused by insufficient drainage holes. A container color can also reduce growth if it allows the build-up of excessive heat within the medium when sunlight falls on the container walls.

Drainage of containers is important since a "perched" water table exists within a container's restricted growing area. Drainage holes should be located on the side and not on the bottom, since holes on the bottom are easily plugged.

Container color has been associated with growth since it was observed that plant roots were damaged in certain containers. Soil temperature inside containers of black or dark green color was five to ten degrees F. higher than for light colored ones when the sun was shining on the side where the temperature was recorded. Therefore, it was concluded that damage noted is due to lethal root temperatures inside the wall of the container (editor's note: Let's keep the pots out of the sun).

Plastic containers are not affected by fertilizers or moisture, but by sunlight for durability. Plastic containers from well known suppliers generally have a life expectancy of up to two years. The main problem is breakage when they become old and brittle, and this is aggravated by cold weather.

Joseph Carrone, Jr., of Metairie, Louisiana, is the grower of many superb neoregelias, and all who visit his greenhouses are overwhelmed by their vibrant colors. He states that the most important ingredient for good color is heat, and that neoregelias, for the most part are heat loving plants. He advises greenhouse growers to let the temperature climb to a bit over 80 degrees during the day and not let it fall below 60 degrees at night. Give your neoregelias plenty of light, heat and above 50 percent humidity and you will be rewarded by brilliant colors.

Bromeliads and their Fauna


A Brazilian frog in a quesnelia

All plants live in conjunction with a number of insects, birds, and other forms of life, some beneficial and many, unfortunately, harmful. Bromeliads, perhaps due to their unique manner of growth, attract a wide variety of life. In Australia, at least, not many of these visitors are parasitic or harmful; our bromeliads seem to have fewer enemies than most other plants.

The principal parasite in this country would probably be one of the scale insects. This species forms flat, papery scales, pale brown in color, and is not always noticed until it has become well established and the plant has begun to look rather sickly. It is nearly always found on plants growing in damp, shady situations, aechmeas and billbergias being favorite hosts. This type of scale spreads very slowly and is not difficult to control. If the whole plant can be immersed in a solution of Malathion for a few seconds so that every part of the plant is covered by the solution, this may be all that is necessary; removing the plants to a position where they receive plenty of fresh air and light is also effective.

Another form of scale insect known to us as the mealy bug can also be a troublesome pest. Although not many bromeliads are affected by this pest, it is often found on pitcairnias, especially on the inflorescence where it may prevent the flowers from developing. The standard remedy seems to be methylated spirits applied with a brush, but sometimes this treatment seems to do more harm to the plant than to the bugs. These insects are often introduced by ants, so control of the ants, if this is possible, might be necessary.

And how about ants? Are they useful, harmful, or just neutral? There are species of bromeliads, notably Aechmea mertensii which are said to need an association with ant nests for successful growth. Obviously it is not the insects themselves which are beneficial but the material contained in the nests. It is quite common to find a flourishing colony of ants in the tube of a plant which has been kept rather dry. There does not seem to be any damage to the plant in these cases, unless the presence of the ants prevents the plant from developing a flower. It might be interesting to conduct a few experiments with ants to see just what effect, if any, they do have. The ants referred to here are a small black species which is abundant in Western Australia, but does not poison or sting, thank goodness. Plants growing in their natural surroundings are said to contain an assortment of livestock, including many ants, but I have never seen any suggestion that these ants are in any way harmful to the plants.

I have no means of telling whether plants growing in their natural land are damaged by other insects such as Coleoptera and Lepidoptera and their larvae. In this country these insects are plentiful enough, but I have yet to find a caterpillar on a bromeliad. Insects can be very selective in their choice of food and of course bromels would not be the natural food plants of our Australian insect species. Even seedlings are generally immune to attack by most insects, though they do have their enemies.

Slugs and snails occur just about everywhere and naturally find their way onto our plants. Seedlings may be eaten occasionally by both these pests, and I have known snails to damage an inflorescence by eating the petals. Snails also find the larger species of tubular plants ideal for sheltering in or even for hibernating quarters. The plants are very seldom damaged directly, but a number of snails can block the tube of a billbergia or similar plant, which might prevent the plant from flowering. It is the hardy species which grow out in the garden which attract the snails. These pests have not proved troublesome here in the glasshouse.

Frogs are, of course, well known visitors to bromeliads, often making their homes in the center of the larger species, especially in hot weather. A large green frog is the usual one found here, sometimes sheltering under the leaves of a Pitcairnia or in a hanging basket filled with plants. A smaller known species is quite common locally but not often seen on the plants. These frogs are generally encouraged because they devour many undesirable insects and are harmless both to the plants and to their human owners.

Spiders must also be included among the visiting fauna, but although they do not attack the plants and may generally be beneficial, they are not always appreciated by the plants' owners. Occasionally, a large spider will take over a tubular plant and lay its eggs down in the center, sealing the top of the tube with a web until the eggs have hatched. Owing to the general absence of suitably succulent insects there is nothing else to attract a spider to the plants. I have not yet found any poisonous species on a bromeliad.

With so much nectar being produced by some species of bromeliads it would be natural to expect the flowers to attract numerous bees. For all I know, this may be the case in their natural habitat, but locally this is not so. It is unusual to see a honey bee on a bromeliad flower, though a few species of native bees will visit them now and then. A few years ago, two plants of Puya alpestris were flowering and one was in fact visited by numerous honey bees while the other was ignored. This puya flowered again this year and once again failed to attract any bees.

Birds, too, are not particularly interested in the plants in this part of Western Australia. We do not, sad to say, have any hummingbirds here; otherwise it might be a different story. One would have thought that the various Honeyeaters which frequent our gardens would be interested, but only rarely have I seen one of these birds visit a bromeliad. The nectar produced by most species does not seem to be very sweet, which might account for the lack of interest by most birds.

The habit of mosquitoes breeding in the tanks of bromeliads is well known in their native land. The local mosquitoes, however, do not seem to have thought of this, for I have never found any mosquito larva in the water from any of my plants. Possibly conditions are too dry when the weather is warm enough for them to breed.

Western Australia

Tillandsia carlos-hankii Matuda - ALIAS "FLAMEA"


In Volume XXVIII, No. 4 (1978) of the Journal of the Bromeliad Society, Charlie Meilleur requested the identification of a color photograph of a plant which he had collected near Oaxaca. In the absence of a correct name he was calling it Tillandsia Flamea. The correct name for this species is Tillandsia carlos-hankii.

This species is an attractive epiphyte that occurs in a moist pine and oak forest on the mountain sides surrounding the city of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Since it grows at elevations of approximately 6,000 to 7,000 feet, it is not easy to cultivate in warm low elevation climates, therefore it is not often seen in collections even though it is common on some well traveled highways. The species was described by Dr. Matuda in 1973 on Vol. XLV of the Cactus and Succulent Journal (U.S.) and was named in honor of Professor Carlos Hank Gonzales, the constitutional Governor of the state of Mexico for his contributions to the scientific exploration of the natural resources of the state and for bringing the plant to the attention of the species' author.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Organic Horticulture — The Eclectic Approach


One of the encouraging developments in the organic movement is the growing tendency to utilize methods developed in many different areas and in different disciplines, choosing the best and most applicable technologies. Hopefully, eventually there will be relatively little difference between conventional and organic agriculture. We have chosen two recent books to illustrate this tendency.

A most interesting book by John Jeavons, How to Grow More Vegetables, has been published by the Ten Speed Press, P.O. Box 7123, Berkeley, CA 94707. This book represents an interesting fusion of ideas from the French market gardeners in the suburbs of Paris, France, around the turn of the century with the biodynamic methods of Pfeiffer and Steiner. Many of the ideas of the book are attributed to the associates of Jeavons in a gardening project conducted over a number of years on the Santa Cruz campus of the University of California.

It is claimed that the intensive methods which this group developed resulted in a yield about four (4) times that of conventional field production methods. Deep double spading is the foundation of the system. This is an old gardener's technique, and it was noticed in ancient Greek times that plants grew very well in landslide areas.

The author of this book gives particular credit to the late Alan Chadwick, who was a well known lecturer and practitioner of biodynamic agriculture. Mr. Chadwick was a remarkably versatile man, Shakespearean actor, opera singer, violinist, painter and athlete. He had studied with Rudolph Steiner in his earlier years. Since he was, unfortunately, not a writer, we are grateful to have his ideas preserved in this interesting and useful book, although another exposition of Chadwick's ideas may be found in a book by Tom Cuthbertson: "Alan Chadwick's Enchanted Garden," published in 1978 in Dutton.

The system was claimed also to use only about one eighth the water and the purchased fertilizer of conventional agriculture and the energy used was a very small fraction of the usual amount. We would not want to accept the economic analysis of the method at face value without some independent studies by competent agriculture economists.

Jeavons recommends double digging with a flat spade, turning the soil avoiding the mixing of the lower strata subsoil with the topsoil. Compost and necessary amendments are added, based on careful soil tests. The beds prepared in this manner will be raised considerably. The objective is to prepare the soil to a depth of two feet so that abundant root development can be expected. Sand may be added. The author believes that gypsum is not particularly useful in soils prepared and handled by biodynamic methods. I am inclined to dissent from this recommendation although gypsum is no longer the bargain it once was and also admitting that it is undesirable in certain high salt level situations. One of the former gardens of the writer in Maryland and also the present one in California have been made on unbelievably hard, tight soils. Hard labor with a mattock, liberal use of gypsum and the incorporation of liberal quantities of organic matter worked wonders on both soils. We still believe that gypsum is useful in many situations.

The author warns against working the soil if it is too wet, which degrades the structure. The beds are from 3 to 6 feet wide and the plants are not grown in conventional rows, but are staggered so that the ground surface is covered completely by foliage as soon as possible. This helps weed control and aids in moisture retention. The finished beds should be from 4 inches to one foot higher than the level of the ground. The author recommends the maintenance of 50 percent air space in the soil, which is on the high side, but this allows the maintenance of a high bacterial and earthworm population. When beds are replanted, an inch of compost is added together with necessary amendments or fertilizers as indicated by soil testing. Needless to say, strong chemical salt soluble fertilizers are not used.

Companion planting and crop rotation are also features of this system of gardening. Moon sign planting is advocated, but Jeavons does not ask anyone to believe in it, but rather to try it and to keep records. One unique feature of this intensive system of growing is that he advocates daily watering, which is doubtless based on an arid climate such as that of California. A light daily watering would keep the topsoil moist so that bacterial action could proceed at a high rate in the soils. Also the closely planted highly vigorous plants can transpire an incredible amount of water.

Some primitive peoples in tropical countries have evolved methods of gardening in which a seemingly aimless jumble of very diverse plants are grown together. Such a planting takes advantage of the use of all available light for plants on the different levels, and may really be very sophisticated and may avoid some of the pest problems which are always worse on monocultures.

Another fascinating eclectic approach to organic horticulture is presented in a recent book "Circle Gardening" by Derald G. Langham, which was published by Devin Adair Company, 143 Sound Beach Avenue, Old Greenwich, Connecticut 06870. The author is a prominent geneticist and plant breeder who devised this system to overcome the problems of flooding and sheet erosion caused by torrential tropical rains while he was doing plant breeding in Venezuela. This clever system allowed him to keep field records on thousands of plants in the field without a single label or stake. It prevented the mixing of experimental plants. The plants grew unusually well and there were other advantages. A circle of concrete reinforcing web was used to provide support for tomatoes and vine crops. There were advantages in irrigation, fertilizing and soil preparation over the conventional row system of planting.

Once the field is laid out for circle gardening, the same circle production areas are kept from year to year. The circles are one meter (one yard) in diameter. The center is dug out so that the surface is somewhat lower than ground level. A ridge is thrown up on the periphery of the circle which is somewhat higher than ground level. However, seeds or transplants are planted on a furrow which is made by pressing down on a hula hoop. This planting cone is exactly level with the general ground level. The spacing of the circles can be varied somewhat, but can be about the diameter of the circle. The circles are offset to allow a better utilization of light and space. The fact that irrigation and fertilizers are applied only within the circles reduces weed problems. Mulch or grass turf can be used to fill the spaces between the circles. There is a limited use of pesticides. Composting is advocated and the system represents a fusion of some ideas of both conventional and organic gardening. This is probably the most sensible approach. We shall continue to look for other ingenious syntheses of organic and conventional methods in gardening.

Rodale's Encyclopedia of Indoor Gardening, edited by Anne M. Halpin, is the most complete book of its kind, providing exciting up-to-date detailed information on successfully growing hundreds of plants in all kinds of indoor environments. The 896-page book covers every aspect of growing and caring for ornamental and edible plants indoors, stressing the organic approach to gardening. There is a complete chapter on bromeliads, well illustrated with drawings and many fine pictures in color. The chapter deals with some bromeliad botany, nomenclature, hybrids and goes into all aspects of culture. The article closes with a section on propagation and grooming.

One has to examine the book for himself to appreciate the vast amount of knowledge it contains. Its more than 560 beautiful full-color photos not only helps the reader to visualize the plants but gives him ideas as to where and how to grow them in the various parts of his house. The price of $24.95 is surely a small sum to pay for a true encyclopedia. It is published by the Rodale Press, Inc. Organic Park, Emmaus, Pa. 18049.

A Handsome Giant

J. Kent

This handsome aechmea species goes by several names. When Andre first saw it towering high above him in Colombia, he aptly named it A. columnaris. Baker, in his Handbook, identified it as A. latifolia, and Lyman B. Smith in his Monograph classifies it as being A. paniculigera. Whatever its name, it is a magnificent plant and certainly one of the giants of the genus. When in flower it may reach anywhere from 28 inches to 100 inches in height, with leaves 3 to 6 feet long forming a dense rosette. It is definitely not the plant for a small greenhouse. It is both epiphytic and saxicolous and grows at altitudes ranging from 3,000 to 5,000 feet in Jamaica, Colombia, and Venezuela.

An Excursion to Domingos Martins, Brazil


The town of Domingos Martins

Domingos Martins is a little city situated on Mount Serra do Mar, in the state of Espirito Santo, some 750 kilometers from Rio de Janeiro. It is surrounded by many hillocks. Its annual rainfall is about 1,500 mm with a temperature varying between 5 and 35 degrees above freezing. This wide range of temperature contributes a lot for a great diversity of habitat.

Domingos Martins has an elevation of about 500 meters and is surrounded by damp forests which contain many species of plants. Due to the endeavors of such enthusiastic horticulturists as Roberto Kautsky, the mountains and jungles are protected so that the many orchids and bromeliads which are native to this area will not be lost.

During the Easter holiday, Jones Caldas da Silva, a good friend of mine, and I went to Domingos Martin to search for bromeliads with the hope that we could discover some new species. After a nine-hour drive from Rio de Janeiro, we had the pleasure of arriving in this bromeliad wonderland. Surrounded by great stone formations and beautiful forests, the place furnishes the proper and special conditions for the growth of bromeliads.

We immediately set out on our search. Going westward we collected all the species we could see, which included Vriesea psittacina var. rubro-bracteata, which in nature rivals any seen in cultivation; a wine-leafed form of V. scalaris, Billbergia euphemiae, Aechmea ramosa, Tillandsia stricta, a number of nidularium species, etc. Straight ahead we noticed large clumps of A. ramosa. A. bromeliifolia, bromelia species, Vriesea platynema, billbergia species, nidularium species and the giant Streptocalyx floribunda. Although the area is surrounded by great forests, the plants seem to prefer to live in the ground or among rocks.

Aechmea kautskyana

L. Gurken
Billbergia kautskyana

From our contact with Roberto Kautsky, we had a good idea of the great potentiality of this region with regard to orchids and bromeliads. He has worked long and hard to see that so many of these plants which grow nowhere else are not destroyed. Many orchids and bromeliads are no longer seen in this area or are seldom seen. These include Cattleya velutina and C. schilleriana, Aechmea fosteriana, not found anymore in the neighborhood of Vitoria where it was originally collected, Vriesea racinae and others. Many of the native species were named after Mr. Kautsky: Neoregelia kautskyana, Crypthanthus scaposus var. kautskyanus, Billbergia kautskyana with its unique white inflorescence, Aechmea kautskyana, and Tillandsia kautskyi. This last one we found on the hill tops surrounding the city.

Still going westward we arrived at a region famous for its great rock formation called Pedra Azul. It is a fantastic place for plant lovers, as there are many specimens of all kinds of plants endemic to this area. The hills are covered with a blood colored vriesea — perhaps V. imperialis. Later, at twilight, in a wet stony area, we came across Vriesea fosteriana and Pitcairnia burle-marxii. We also found Neoregelia lilliputiana, the smallest of all neoregelias; it was discovered by Roberto Kautsky. Also, within this paradise created by Roberto Kautsky, we found Tillandsia pruinosa, Neoregelia pauciflora, N. diversifolia, Canistrum fosterianum, Cryptanthus scaposus, Aechmea warasii var. discolor, A. racinae var. intermedia, and others.

Pedra Azul

Later, we were fortunate to find Vriesea procera, Tillandsia gardneri, Billbergia tweedieana, Streptocalyx floribundus, Neoregelia cruenta, N. zonata, and near the border of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Pitcairnia flammea var. pallida with yellow flowers. These grew along the coast road near Vitoria.

Those plants we could not identify we took to Gustavo Martinelli, a talented botanist specializing in bromeliads, who works in the Botanic Garden in Rio de Janeiro. We found that we had brought back 70 different species of bromeliads. This region in Espirito Santo with its great humidity provides all the proper conditions for the growth of a complex and varied vegetation. Despite man's destructive greed, it is a blessed relief to know that such areas still exist, and we are indeed happy to have visited such a place.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Bromeliads in the Garden

J. Padilla
Left — A tillandsia which has fallen from a tree has rooted and thrives among the succulents.






Below — Aechmeas and neoregelias thrive among the palms.

Bromeliad Center is Two Years Old

(From the Bulletin of the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, April-May, 1981)

Harry E. Luther, bromeliad taxonomist, heads the Bromeliad Identification Center at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. He identifies plants sent in by collectors, cares for the living collection of bromeliads in the Gardens' greenhouses, and supervises the mounting, storing, lending and borrowing of herbarium specimens, aided and abetted in this effort by Joe Halton.

Since its opening in April 1979, the BIC has received numerous specimens; about 25% came as whole live plants, 50% were freshly cut and 25% properly dried. About half had been collected in the wilds and the other half acquired from nurserymen and other collectors. They have been sent from Florida, California, Oklahoma, the Dominican Republic and Australia.

The Bromeliaceae is a family represented by slightly more than 2,000 species, and its literature is compact and reasonably easily obtained. Identification takes anywhere from 30 seconds (for a very common and well-known plant) on up. If recognition isn't instantaneous, the first step is to consult Flora Neotropica by Dr. Lyman B. Smith, the foremost contemporary authority on the Bromeliaceae and botanist emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution, or a more local flora covering the locality where the specimen was collected. (A flora lists and describes all the known plants of a geographical area).

The second step would be the consultation of more recent monographs or journals, describing new discoveries. The unknown plant is also compared to specimens in the Selby Gardens herbarium. A further step, when fairly sure as to the plant's identity is to locate and borrow a corresponding type specimen from one of the dozens of herbaria throughout the world. If still unsure after comparing specimens, Luther will consult with one of the six or so other workers in the field of bromeliad taxonomy.

Once determination is sure, a letter is written to the sender. In most cases the sender has received an identification within ten days.

If the plant cannot be identified, then usually a description is prepared and the new species is published.

To date, two of the specimens received by the BIC have turned out to be new species. One of them is Streptocalyx pallidus, whose description was recently published in the Journal of the Bromeliad Society. A commercial nurseryman from California collected the plant in Ecuador and had been growing it in his greenhouse for several years without knowing what it was.

A startling plant, Pitcairnia fusca, is one of the two newly described bromeliads collected in western Ecuador last October by Harry Luther. It was 7 meters — 21 feet (!) high, attached to a tree fern at the root clumps, with its inflorescence of dull yellow, four-inch flowers sticking out through the bracts at the top. It came to the Selby Gardens' herbarium in four large pieces. Collected at the same time was a plantlet which appeared to be the same species, but as it was in sterile condition (no flowers) it could be something else; in any case, it will be sometime before it reaches its relative's height. Both new species were growing in full view at the roadside.

Members are urged to support the BIC, by sending in plants for identification or by making donations to the center as tribute gifts in memory or in honor of a bromeliad friend. Visitors to Florida should not fail to visit the Gardens at 800 South Palm Avenue, in Sarasota, for they will be enthralled not only by the bromeliads but by the other epiphytes grown to perfection.

Membership in the Friends of the Gardens entitles you to free admission to the Gardens, either no charge or reduced charges for courses and lectures, invitation to special occasions, a subscription to the Bulletin, plant distribution and many other benefits. The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a non-profit organization. Individual membership is $20.

Tillandsia Portraits

by Dr. Werner Rauh

Left — T. barthlottii, Rauh

Right — T. diguetii Mez

Left — T. montana Reitz

Right— T. pomacochae Rauh

Guido, F. J. Pabst, 1914-1980


Guido Joao Frederico Pabst, founder (1958) and lifetime curator of the Herbarium Bradeanum in Rio de Janeiro, founder (1969) and editor of Bradea, Boletim do Herbarium Bradeanum, and active vice president of Varig Airlines, died April 27, 1980.

Guido Pabst was a man of tremendous ability and an indefatigable worker. He was born in Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, September 19, 1914. He became interested in commercial aviation as a teenager, but even at the age of fourteen he was devoting his spare time to botany. Transferred to Rio de Janeiro, he took advantage of associations with such people as Edmundo Pereira and Graziela Barroso for the study of general botany and the classification of plants. But it was upon meeting Alexandre Curt Brade that he began the serious study of orchid taxonomy. His first works on orchids ("Colhendo orquideas no Rio Grande do Sul," and "Notas sobre Polystachia estrelensis Rchb.f.") appeared in 1950. From that date until just before his death there followed a steady stream of over 200 scientific publications, with more in preparation while he was on his deathbed. In collaboration with Fritz Dunga he published (Germany 1977) the monumental, definitive work on the orchids of Brazil under the title Orchidaceas Brasilienses, replacing the older and now outdated work of Hoehne.

Recognized as a man of outstanding ability he was invited to study the European collections of Brazilian orchids and he did this, during vacations, at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, the Museum de Histoire Naturelle in Paris, the Botanische Staatssammlung at Munich. He revised the orchids of Regnell's collection sent to him from Stockholm. He also studied the Brazilian orchids of the Oakes Ames Orchid Herbarium at Harvard University and the Brazilian orchid collection of the United States National Museum.

He was an Associate Research Fellow of the Botanical Museum of Harvard University, member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, of the Linnean Society of London and of numerous scientific societies and organizations.

While primarily interested in orchids his interests embraced the whole flora of Brazil, and the Herbarium Bradeanum, his most cherished project, reflects this. He had a particular interest in bromeliads though he left the identification and classification of these plants primarily to Edmundo Pereira.

Before his death the Herbarium Bradeanum had outgrown its space limitations more than once and had to move to larger quarters. His enthusiasm inspired many people even government officials, so that he often received small grants through which many of the papers published in Bradea were financed. By the time of his death sixteen papers on new species of Brazilian bromeliads had been published in Bradea and more were in preparation.

Guido Pabst was a friendly man. Though I never had the pleasure of meeting him personally I carried on a considerable correspondence with him from 1975 until just weeks before he died. He helped me with the identification of orchids, bromeliads and other plants during the last two of my collecting trips to Brazil (1974-75 and 1979) and he was incredibly prompt with his replies, leaving me to wonder how a man with his responsibilities could do so much.

One of the last identifications he made for me was of small, beautiful shrub, Clavijia integrifolia Martius & Miguel, and he asked me to supply a herbarium specimen because that particular Clavigia was missing from the herbarium.

Pabst had friends worldwide. He was fluent in at least Portuguese, English and German. Everyone who ever had the good fortune to know Guido will certainly miss this great man.

St. Benedict's Abbey, Atchison, Kansas

For the information in this obituary I am indebted to Bradea, v. 3, no. 10, September 19, 1980 and to an article by Prof. Amalia Hermano Teixeira which appeared in the Cultural Supplement of O Popular, Goiania, Brazil, Feb. 14, 1981.


You will definitely be interested in the latest book by W. W. Goodale Moir and May A. Moir entitled Breeding Variegata Oncidiums. At Lipolani, the author's home and garden in Honolulu, more new intergeneric genera in orchids have been created and named than at any other spot in the world.

While relating their own experiences, the Moirs tell other orchid breeders the steps to take to insure success. The dominances and recessivenesses of species and how to balance them to bring out the best in the new hybrid is fully explained, including the obstacles and pitfalls and how to avoid them. The Moirs found that what happened with one genus happened with all, so the book is most useful in researching other orchids.

This fine little book, beautifully illustrated in color, is a publication of the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum by The University Press of Honolulu, Hawaii.

Herbarium Studies II

On the identification of Tillandsia limbata Schldl. 1845 ("1844")


In his bromeliad monograph of 1935 in Engler's Pflanzenreich, Carl Mez placed Tillandsia limbata Schldl. into synonymy with Tillandsia flexuosa Sw. And also in the new monograph of tillandsioideae by Lyman B. Smith in Flora Neotropica the author indicates that Till. limbata Schldl. is a synonym for Till. flexuosa Sw., however with the notation that L. B. Smith himself has not seen the type plants of Till. limbata and that identification stems from C. Mez.

While re-examining Schlechtendal's old bromeliad herbarium, which is housed in the herbarium of the University of Halle, I had the opportunity to examine the type plants of Till. limbata Schldl. They consist of a larger — ca. 80 cm. — plant whose inflorescence and rosette are mounted on two separate boards and a second, somewhat smaller plant about 72 cm tall, whose inflorescence is folded over. The notations, written in hand by Schiede, say, "Till. August 29 Hac. de la Laguna" on the larger plant and, "Tillandsia, bracteis violaceis, in arboribus, Hac. de la Laguna Aug. 29" on the smaller plant.

The accompanying photographs of the type samples show clearly that these are not identical with Till. flexuosa Sw. My re-examination shows them to be the same as Till. dasyliriifolia described later by Baker. Mez in his time, too, had substantiated Baker's findings, because the types have been added to his identification noted. This proves that Mez had the type plants of Till. limbata in his hands, and it is simply a mystery today why he then placed them into synonymy with Till. flexuosa Sw.

Priority rules then make the following nomenclature changes necessary:

Tillandsia limbata Schlechtendal in Linnaea 18; 1945 ("1844"), p. 419

Till. dasyliriifolia Baker 1887
Till. drepanoclada Baker 1889
Till. geniculata Baker 1889
Till. pulvinata Baker 1889
TYPUS: Schiede s.n., MEXICO, Vera Cruz;

Hacienda de la Laguna, August 1828; HAL 45626

German Democratic Republic
Translated by Harvey L. Kendall

PICTURE ON THE COVER — Tillandsia globosa Wawra. was first described in 1880. It may be found growing as an epiphyte in forests extending from Venezuela to eastern Brazil, at altitudes ranging from 1,600 to 2,750 feet. It is a small species, when in flower measuring not more than 6 to 8 inches. It is a pretty little plant, the rosey-red inflorescence making a pleasing contrast with the silvery leaves.


(From the Missouri Botanical Garden Bulletin for March/April, 1981)

In a recent issue of the journal Science, Garden botanist Dr. A. H. Gentry, and his co-author, J. Lopez-Parodi, report that the extensive deforestation of upper parts of the Amazon watershed appears to have resulted in a significant change in the Amazonian water balance. They point out that the height of the annual flood crest at Iquitos, Peru, has increased noticeably in the past decade although there has been no significant change in regional precipitation patterns. This increased flooding indicates that the long-predicted climatic changes of the region may have begun. The possibility that these changes would occur has concerned scientists for some time.

The consequences of the rapid tropical deforestation are manifested in both immediate and gradual ecological changes. The immediate change is the higher annual flood level which is caused by increasingly rapid run-off of rain water. Because there are fewer trees — Gentry and Lopez-Parodi cite that "one-fifth to one-fourth of the Amazonian forest has already been cut, and the rate of forest destruction is accelerating" — there has been a great loss of water retention capacity. The more rapid run-off also causes greater erosion.

The more gradual change, and one which is more severe, is that the deforestation interrupts the natural process of transpiration — trees soaking up the moisture that falls and recycling it into the air. Scientists have determined that about one-half of the precipitation of the entire Amazonian basin results from this process. The reduction of this process, Gentry and Lopez-Parodi say, could "convert most of ... Amazonia to near desert."

They conclude that this evidence "suggests the need for planned development that takes into account this delicate ecological balance."

FOR CHRISTMAS GIVING what could be nicer for your bromeliad friends than a copy of The Colorful Bromeliads. We will be happy to send an autographed copy with a special gift card to whomever you desire. See ad for details.

Pitcairnia Manabiana, A New Species from Western Ecuador


Illustrator. Barbara N. Culbertson
Pitcairnia manabiana Luther
A— Habit
B— Leaf
C— Reduced Leaf
D— Sepal
E— Section of the Inflorescence

Pitcairnia manabiana Luther, sp. nov.

P. unilateralis L. B. Smith affinis, sed foliis dimorphis, basi serratis et bracteis florigeris magnis differt.

Plant lithophytic, pendent in clusters, flowering over 2 m long; leaves persistent (?), dimorphic, some reduced to bladeless spinose-serrate spines; sheaths of the reduced leaves broadly ovate, 4.5 cm wide, 4 cm long, dark castaneous and lustrous apically, covered below with a membrane of coalesced scales, sheaths of the larger leaves narrower; paler; blades of the larger leaves linear, acuminate, over 1 m long, 2-3 cm wide, serrate and narrowed toward the base, glabrous above, covered below with a membrane of coalesced scales; scape over 1 m long, rather stout, densely lanate; scape bracts subfoliaceous, attenuate; inflorescence simple, ca. 1 m long, densely secund-flowered, lanate except for the petals (?); floral bracts narrowly triangular, acute, the lower exceeding the sepals, the upper shorter than the pedicels; flowers pendent; pedicels 1-1.5 cm long, slender, sepals triangular, acute 2.3 cm long, carinate toward the base, orange; petals incompletely known, bearing a 2.5 mm suborbicular scale at the base; ovary slightly more than ½ inferior; ovules caudate.

Etymology: Named for the province of Manabi.

Type: ECUADOR: Manabi: 64 km. E. of Portoviejo on the road to Quevedo, 6 Aug. 1980, Luther, Wunderlin, Hansen Sauleda, Ragen, Davenport & Wiersma 377, SEL herb. 034810-11 (Holotype: SEL Isotype: US).

Additional Material Examined: ECUADOR: Manabi: Type locality, 6 Aug. 1980, Luther et al. 377a, SEL herb. 034812-13 (SEL).

Pitcairnia manabiana bears a striking resemblance to P. unilateralis L. B. Smith, also from western Ecuador, but differs from this species by its dimorphic and basally serrate foliage and much longer bracts. Pitcairnia manabiana forms nearly solid mats on south-facing slopes and cliffs along the roadside. From a distance it resembles a coarse, flattened grass.


I thank Dr. Lyman B. Smith, Botanist Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution, for his much appreciated comments concerning this and other new species.

Aechmea recurvata

Studies by Dr. Werner Rauh

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