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. 90041-0241

PresidentTim Lorman
Vice PresidentW. R. Paylen
Recording SecretaryJeanne Woodbury
TreasurerJoyce Lorenz
Corresponding Sec.Elmer J. Lorenz


1980-1982: Doris Curry, Morris Dexter, Sue Gardner, Tim Lorman, Valerie Steckler, Harold W. Wiedman, Carl Bronson, Owana Jo Myers.

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

1982-1984: Allen Edgar, Linda Harbert, Annie Navetta, Peter Paroz, Herbert Plever.

Adda Abendroth, Brazil; Luis Ariza Julia, Dominican Republic; Olwen Ferris, Australia; Marcel Lecoufle, France; Harold Martin, New Zealand; 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, USA; Roberto Burle Marx, Brazil; Victoria Padilla, USA.


Published six times a year: January, March, May, July, September, November. Free to members. Individual copies of the Journal $2.50


Lee Kavaljian
Hal Wiedman
Dept. of Biological Sciences
California State University
Sacramento, Calif. 95819


Eloise Beach, David Benzing, Sue Gardner, Thomas Lineham, Robert Read, Edgar Smith and John Utley.

Copyright 1982 by the
Bromeliad Society, Inc.

Roberto Burle Marx
  Hal Wiedman & Lee Kavaljian3
Guzmania Culture Can Be Easy
  Jeffrey Kent13
The Garden
  June Bennett15
Tillandsia ehrenbergii
  Sue Gardner17
More About Variants
  W.W.G. Moir20
Tillandsia venusta
  Harry E. Luther22
A Word for Cryptanthus
  Edgar Smith25
Herbarium Studies III
  Wilhelm Weber28
Book Review
  Sue Gardner32
Nominations - Board of Directors
  Eloise Beach33
Aechmea blanchetiana 44

PICTURE ON THE COVER — Vriesea x poelmannii. Photo by Aja Coester.

Roberto Burle Marx


Roberto Burle Marx preparing for an exhibition of his paintings to be held in Madrid.

At the 1981 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Bromeliad Society, Roberto Burle Marx of Brazil was made an honorary trustee of the Society for his lifelong association with bromeliads. The addition of his name to our roster of distinguished honorary trustees is a tangible indication of the Society’s recognition of and appreciation for Burle Marx’s prodigious work involving bromeliads in landscape architecture, in introducing species new to horticulture and in adding to our knowledge of tropical American floras. Our new honorary trustee offers far more, however, than can be indicated in a citation printed in each issue of the Journal. A look, therefore, at the life and considerable accomplishments of Burle Marx is in order.

Orthophytum burle-marxii described by L.B. Smith and R.W. Read in 1979.

Roberto Burle Marx was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1909 in a family setting which provided a richly cultural environment. His mother was an accomplished opera singer and his father was a businessman well-placed in political circles in Brazil. In addition to speaking Portuguese, fluency in Italian, French, Spanish, German and English, singing classical art songs at a professional level, and painting with expertise sufficient to win a gold medal from the Brazilian Academy of Fine Arts, are accomplishments which his background surely greatly influenced. In his youth, he was educated first in music, and in 1928 was able to travel to Europe for a year of study. The influences of the great European art collections and of the great collections of plants, especially tropical, in such places as the Dahlem Botanical Garden in Berlin, turned him toward new, additional interests. Early in his life, then, 3 spheres of activity: music, the visual arts, and the world of tropical plants were to absorb his intellectual and emotional energies. Is it any wonder that today he says that garden design is painting with plants and in the next breath one can hear an expert rendition of a famous operatic aria?

A watercolor painting by Margaret Mee of Pitcairnia burle-marxii. Ruby Baraga and D. Sucre.

After returning to Brazil, he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Rio de Janiero and devoted his free time to growing and studying plants in his garden. His first plant experiments were with various aroids and the variety of color that could be obtained in their foliage. He thought of himself as a painter in search of new tonal harmonies. This kind of artistic-botanical interest attracted the attention of one of his professors at the Fine Arts School, an increasingly better-known architect, Lucio Costa. From Costa, Roberto received encouragement to try his hand at garden design. Genius flowered, was recognized, and in 1934, he was made director of public parks for the city of Recife where he remained for 2 years. In the following years, he continued painting, winning the gold medal in 1937, and also combined his young and still-developing talents with those of older, more established artists in producing the design for the roof and plaza gardens of the new federal Ministry of Health and Education building in Rio. For this work, he received international attention. These gardens, using tropical plant materials in curvilinear, interlocking patterns, established a style which was developed and clarified over the next 15 years mostly in public and residential gardens in and around Rio. During the late 1940s and in the mid-1950s, he began to experiment with more rectilinear and controlled compositions. At this time, the scope and range of Roberto’s activities began to increase rapidly. He was commissioned to do large public and private projects in many capitals of South America, and smaller gardens in Paris, Brussels, Vienna, Hamburg and Washington. The magnificent garden of Sra. Odette Monteiro near Petropolis, Brazil dates (1948) from this period as do the plans (1957) for the large and imposing Parque del Este in Caracas, Venezuela. A visit to Rio alone provides an idea of the scope of his approximately 1700 landscape projects by viewing the Flamengo Parkway, Copacabana Beach Front, Botafogo Garden and the Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas. Another, and one of the most interesting of these projects consists of the studies for the Zoo Botanic Garden in Brasilia. Here Roberto worked with his life-long concern for creating micro-regions containing the natural associations of fauna, flora and minerals. Lavish use of bromeliads was often made in these projects. In the last 10 years, these interests in nature as a whole have taken him into many a fierce battle against the wanton destruction of the natural flora of his country. He can command respect and attention in the communications media and his face and name are probably as familiar as those of most recent Brazilian presidents. His unrestrained support for ecological emphasis in Amazon development was an important factor in prompting the present government of President Figueiredo to adopt a much more conservationist policy for the Amazon Basin. As an indirect result of Roberto’s intervention, the federal government’s policy has now created several national parks in conjunction with scientific goals: the government accepts foreign criticism and research projects for the massive Amazon Basin and is having second thoughts about “unlimited” development. Roberto continues to pour his energies into this struggle for conservation and restoration of once prime tropical forests, since in his lifetime he has seen the Brazilian landscape with its rich mixture of tropical exotica turned over to the ravages of energy exploration and demographic upheaval.

What is a typical day in the life of Burle Marx like? Each day he travels some 30 miles from his home and nursery south of Rio to his office in the city itself. Five days a week he reaches the office at about 10 AM and works until 5 PM. The office, in an altered house, is large, over 6,000 sq. ft. and includes a drafting room, exhibition hall, and complete living quarters for himself and the distinguished guests who come from all over the world to visit him and see his work. The scene at the office has been described as uninhibited orderly disorder! The 15 to 20 people comprising his staff are overseen by himself and his 2 junior partners. It has a very unceremonial atmosphere as befits life in Rio! The walls are hung with his large paintings, and usually there are many more stacked against walls and cupboards.

Cobblestone roadside view of plantings near the highest point of Burle Marx’s estate.

Since the end of World War II, he has exhibited his paintings, tapestries and jewelry made to his designs, and landscape projects in more than 30 exhibitions in 9 countries of Europe and the Americas. This casual office setting is often broken by Burle Marx’s impromptu decision that a little opera would enhance the work atmosphere and at that point his powerful voice can reverberate through the entire building. In connection with the office structure, there is a garden typical of Burle Marx’s personal gardens. It is both an experimental plot to study the responses of plants to their new microclimate and location and a nursery where numerous favored cuttings and seeds can be continually observed. At the end of the workday, which may well have included social engagements necessitated by nearly 40 years as a recognized artist, there is another hour or more commute home.

Irregularly shaped pool containing Amazon water lilies near the cascade garden. Boulders are planted with bromeliads.

Immediately around his simple but spacious provincial-bungalow home, there is a series of gardens, some delimited by plants, some by water and others by constructions of cut-granite walls and rocks. These areas include a hillside bromeliad garden where the plants are growing on rocks, in trees and in the ground, and a pavillion-pergola garden having dramatic contrasts in light and shadow. This primarily sunken garden has a series of water cascades, built of large blocks of hand-hewn old stone, which plunge into reflecting ponds above which a high concrete pergola is hung with decorative vines such as the New Guinea and jade vines. A wall of staghorn ferns arranged in a grid-like planting pattern delimits one end of this garden and the opposite end gives way to the natural rise of the land where he has deployed heliconias, philodendrons and leguminous trees such as Amherstia among the existing granite boulders. A large pool, irregular in shape, fits naturally into this setting and provides a home for the giant Amazon water lily.

One of Burle Marx’s spectacular arrangements of heliconias, torch ginger and cordyline fruits, approximately 4 ft. high.

The nursery/garden provides one of the most unusual landscape exhibitions in the world. It is not simply a nursery, nor a botanical garden nor a landscape garden. It is the most splendid amalgam of all 3 imaginable! There are incredible collections of all kinds of representatives of tropical plant families. His interest in exploring Brazil for new philodendrons, anthuriums and bromeliads leads him to organizing frequent and rewarding expeditions involving botanist friends, botanical illustrators, such as Margaret Mee, and other plant enthusiasts. In addition, he has made major collecting trips to Ecuador, Peru, and South Africa. He has discovered many plants and trees and at last count close to 20 have been named for him. In the Bromeliaceae alone there are: Aechmea burle-marxii, Dyckia burle-marxii, Orthophytum burle-marxii and Pitcairnia burle-marxii. A partial list of genera in other families having species named for him includes Begonia, Philodendron, Anthurium, Calathea, Ctenanthe, Heliconia and Epidendrum. His collecting expeditions have yielded other new species and remaining to be described are still additional forms growing in his gardens. His personal collections reflect in kind and number his intense interest in new plant material and its performance and potential for landscape use.

Dyckia platyphylla planted on a boulder in Burle Marx’s garden.

In addition to the gardens around the house, the total land available and mostly developed is about 250 acres. The covered nursery occupies about 72,000 sq. ft. while about 3 times that area is devoted to growing his extensive collection of heliconias, anthuriums, philodendrons and marantas. His property consists primarily of a hillside, with the house about one-fourth of the way up and reached by a cobblestone road which continues beyond to the top of the hillside. The property was once a coffee plantation and through his efforts over the past 30 years, he has gradually returned large areas to a semblance of the original vegetation. The results of his extensive replanting and the large variety of plants he has used is most fitting for a tropical botanical garden.

A collection of neoregelias, including Neoregelia cruenta, in Burle Marx’s garden.

Burle Marx’s company is organized to provide consultation and design for public and private landscape projects, landscape installation and maintenance, plant propagation leading to retail and wholesale sales and floral arrangements. The latter is the highly individualistic and creative art of Burle Marx which is least known abroad, but demonstrates his fascination with shape, form and color on a scale which is easier to visually encompass than his garden designs. The true tropical landscape is lush, exuberant, dense and relieved by occasional flashes of blinding color. From this concept, Burle Marx can distill the essentials into a single, comparatively diminutive setting. In these tropical floral arrangements, in contrast to the celebrated Japanese theme of restricted size, limited color range and purity of line, Burle Marx fuses the European concept of ornate, baroque and rococo splendor with the luxuriance of the New World tropics. The material he uses often includes some of the most exotic plant parts one can imagine; cycad cones, Brazil nut pods, dried inflorescences of dyckias, fruit clusters of cordylines, inflorescences of various strelitzias, heliconias, gingers and fruits of Bixa. All of these are from his own collections.

For his past achievements, for showing us how to deal with nature in the present and for the future, and most of all, for helping us by his example to become more sensitive to everything of interest the world has to offer, the Bromeliad Society salutes him!

Bromeliaceae Olé!

Many beautiful south Texas gardens and greenhouses are waiting for you to tour during and after the World Conference, June 10-13. The owners will personally greet you and discuss their plants with you. Maps of routes will be included in your Conference packet.

The Seminars will include artistic, horticultural, and scientific topics. The wide range of subjects represented will provide something for everyone.

In addition, sessions are planned for short (15 min.) presentations by persons who wish to speak on a special subject. A brief description of the talk should be sent to the Seminar Committee no later than March 31, 1982. Any topics concerning bromeliads will be considered appropriate. The number of such talks will be limited and the Seminar Committee will determine the suitability of the talks, based on the description submitted. Notice of the Seminar Committee’s decision will be sent all applicants by April 30.

World Conference committees are mailing monthly updates to all societies. If you are not receiving one, please contact us at P.O. Box 8705, Corpus Christi, Texas 78412. OLE’


The Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society at Fort Myers, Florida and The Inland Bromeliad Society at San Bernardino, California are the latest groups to join the growing list of Affiliated Societies.

Bromeliad Slide Library — Interesting programs for affiliated groups. For information and availability send stamped, self-addressed envelope to Owana Jo Myer, 14895 Gardenhill Drive, La Mirada, California 90638.

Formation of Affiliated Society — For information on organizing an Affiliated Society, write to Mr. Robert Wright, Affiliate Chairman, The Bromeliad Society, P.O. Box 41261, Los Angeles, California 90041-0241.


April 10 and 11
Fifth Annual Competitive Show and Sale of the Bromeliad Society of Greater Mobile. Bel Air Mall, Airport Blvd., Mobile, Alabama. Show hours: April 10, 1-9 pm; April 11, 9 am-8 pm.

April 17 and 18
Second Annual Bromeliad Show and Sale of the Shreveport Regional Bromeliad Society. R.S. Barnwell Garden and Art Center, 501 Clyde Fant Parkway, Shreveport, Louisiana.

April 24 and 25
Seventh Annual Show of the Baton Rouge Bromeliad Society. Baton Rouge Garden Center, Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Show hours: April 24 1-6 pm; April 25 10 am-5 pm.

Guzmania Culture Can Be Easy


Over the years, I have often heard the phrase: “I can’t grow guzmanias.” This kind of comment disappoints me because I feel that the inflorescences and bracts of species and hybrids of Guzmania rival the finest orchid flowers in both brilliance and durability. In the last several years, many new and easy to grow hybrids, which are unequalled in the plant world for their beauty, have become available. If more growers are acquainted with the native habitats of the species, the relatively easy to provide cultural requirements for both species and hybrids might be better understood.

The majority of the guzmanias are found in the mountainous regions of Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia and northern Peru. Rarely found near sea level, they prefer the abundant rainfall and cooler conditions which prevail at elevations from 1,000 ft. to over 10,000 ft. The typical habitat is a cool, moist and dark forest. The trees in such a setting are generally laden with all types of mosses and lichens. In a well-developed forest, the majority of the trees are quite tall, but the guzmanias are rarely found in the upper layer of the forest canopy. Usually they are within 25 ft. of the ground; the larger species are found growing quite commonly as terrestrials in leaf mold, particularly in forests at elevations above 5,000 ft. Some species are found growing in “cloud forest” environments in which the microclimates include daily periods of fog. In such regions of very high humidity, torrential rains are infrequent so the plants are watered by condensation on their leaf surfaces.

While it is very difficult to make generalizations for the culture of all of the species in the genus, some important guidelines follow. Elevation is the major limiting factor in determining which species are suitable for culture in the various latitudes here in the U.S. As a rule of thumb, the higher the elevation of the native habitat, the cooler the nights must be for successful culture. Species from high elevations prefer high humidity and relatively little standing water in the “cups.” Those species found above 5,000 ft. are best grown in the more northerly latitudes of the U.S. Of extreme importance to these plants from higher elevations in culture is the exclusive use of salt-free water. Alkaline water causes the burning of the central leaves of the “cup.” While the use of rainwater is ideal, bottled drinking or purified water is highly recommended. Plants from lower elevations are suitable for cultivation in the southerly latitudes of the U.S. During periods of extreme heat, these plants require cool, moist and shady environments. Illumination between 750 and 1500 foot candles provides the ideal light threshold for such species.

Another major factor for successful culture is a potting mix which provides a continually acid environment. One part of peat moss mixed with three parts of bark (either pine or fir can be used) is recommended as an ideal potting mix. For a fertilizer, superphosphate and dolomite can be added to the mix to yield a final pH of about 6.0. Guzmanias require acidic conditions, but also need calcium, magnesium (both are found in dolomite), nitrogen, phosphorus, and especially potassium for optimum growth. Adding two-thirds strength fertilizer (the exact amount can be determined by the coloration of the leaves — the ideal condition consists of dark green with considerable sheen) to the water used for irrigating is recommended. Adding diluted fertilizer to the irrigation water serves the dual purpose of feeding and maintaining a low pH in the water. It is wise to check the pH (litmus paper, obtainable at a pharmacy, works well) of the irrigation water when fertilizer is added for the first time since many commercial products are somewhat basic in nature and can actually increase the pH when added to water. Fertilizers containing zinc or copper should be avoided because guzmanias tend to accumulate these toxic elements in their leaf tissues over a period of time. “Quilling” is often associated with toxic levels of zinc and copper.

If extreme summer heat is a problem, the floor of a shadehouse or patio is preferable to the inside of a greenhouse during the summer season. In the winter guzmanias should be kept away from the drying heat of a heater, particularly since most will grow easily at about 50°F. If kept on the dry side. Another suitable environment for guzmanias is inside a house. If the soil is kept moist and the water in the cup is changed frequently, guzmanias seem to thrive on neglect indoors. The low light conditions normally prevalent are ideal for growth, and if flowering is desired, artificial light can provide the stimulus!

The many hybrids available for purchase are very vigorous and easy to grow. Chosen for their rapid growth and durability, the beginner would do best to start with these. As for species, a little research will help to eliminate those species from unsuitable altitudes for any particular region of the U.S. A partial listing of species for the warmer climates in the U.S. includes: G. sanguinea (all forms), G. weberbaurii, G. scherzeriana, G. zahnii (both the species and its hybrids require humidity), G. eduardii, and G. xanthobractea. A list of species from the higher elevations suitable for the more northerly latitudes of the U.S. includes: G. pennelii, G. gloriosa, G. striata, G. sibundoyorum, G. variegata, and G. lindenii. Plants of this group are more difficult to find for sale. When acquiring any guzmanias, however, be certain that the plants are well-established and possess a reasonably well-developed root system.

It should be apparent now, that success with guzmanias is easy, if only a little thought and care are applied to their culture.

Vista, California

The Planting


Since my last article in the August issue of the Journal, over 2,000 seedlings ranging in age from 9 to 24 months have been planted out. The remaining 4,000 are at different stages of development and growing well. Although plants such as Aechmea tillandsioides and A. pubescens were flowering at 12 months and A. angustifolia at 15 months, I have decided not to plant anything in the areas that are out of reach of our well water until they are at least 24 months old because they are not yet vigorous enough to survive the drought and drying winds that blow through our valley.

Many plants were tied to trees and I hoped that they would survive until the rains we expect from November to March. Geoff suggested more than once that the plants tied to trees further into the forest should be rescued, but I insisted on waiting just a little longer hoping for a few spring showers to carry them over until the rainy season. Finally, after no longer being able to bear seeing the plants of Aechmea chantinii with leaves hanging like so many ribbons, the specimens of A. lueddemanniana becoming papery, A. tillandsioides looking like bundles of grass, and Billbergia zebrina slowly collapsing, I cut them down and after a thorough soaking in foliage fertilizer and Formula 20, potted them and placed them in the “intensive care” section of the shade house. The very next day, the rains began and continued for seven days!

Bromeliads planted among the rocks and at the bases of trees fared much better. Any plants receiving water have done well and many are producing offsets. I am sure that some of the neoregelias that will be just over 2 years old by summer will flower this season. I have plants of some of my own crosses but the majority have come from the American seed bank and a few from the Australian seed bank. I feel so excited each time I examine the crosses because there seems to be such a wonderful variety of colours and markings among them.

One of the trees that fell last year has plants of Billbergia zebrina, which appear to be marching up and down its branches, growing into tall, sturdy tubes. What a picture the fallen tree will make in years to come when the plants all flower. Plants of Aechmea aquilega are apparently resistant to lack of water since they survived quite well in the dry areas on the trees and on the ground. Billbergia kuhlmannii seems to do well but the bush creatures often bite great chunks out of the plants and I am afraid that they will never recover.

In addition to planting seedlings, I have been decorating the trees with Aechmea Foster’s Favorite, Billbergia pyramidalis striata, Aechmea gamosepala, A. caudata, A. fosteriana, A. orlandiana, A. Bert, Neoregelia bahianus and several other billbergias. I am now about to add a few vrieseas. Even though my project is not going quite the way I had planned, nevertheless I am creating my own Bromeliad Jungle Garden, slowly but surely.

Many beautiful imported plants such as Neoregelia carolinae ‘meyendorffii alba marginata’, N. carolinae tricolor ‘perfecta’, N. Takamura Grande ‘Silverado’, Aechmea ornata var. nationalis, A. orlandiana ‘Ensign’ and Canistrum lindenii ‘alba marginata’ to name a few, are residing in the shade house until they produce offsets which will then be planted in the gardens.

This morning, as I was writing, Geoff called me to come into the forest to examine the remains of at least 60 plants of Aechmea lueddemanniana. Little piles of pale pink leaves lay along the track. Several plants of Aechmea angustifolia had also been destroyed but a number of paints of A. aquilega in the same area had not been touched. I must now recognize this area as belonging to the naked tail rat, Melomys littoralis, and so I must not replant bromeliads there. On two separate occasions I tied about 10 seedlings of Billbergia kuhlmannii to a particular tree of the forest only to have them eaten down to the base of the plants. Apparently I used what appears to be a favorite tree of these shy rodents of the rain forest. I am hoping that we can come to some arrangement whereby we can all claim our own territories and live happily together: the Bennetts, the bromeliads and the beasties!

P.S. I have just returned from the shade house after being summoned by Geoff to bring a rifle because a large brown snake had attempted to strike him. The snake, curled up among the pots of cryptanthus, was so quick that Geoff did not manage to obtain a good view of it. As Geoff jumped aside, the snake disappeared again among the pots. Suspecting that it might be a Taipan, Oxyuranus scutellatus, which until recently was considered to be our most poisonous snake, we decided to take no chances. Donning rubber boots and heavy overalls, Geoff advanced toward the brown body which could barely be seen between the pots. After some prodding, and with the rifle at the ready, we were both relieved to discover that it was a brown tree snake. Even so, I am not keen on sharing the shade house with a 7 ft. brown tree snake, Boiga irregularis, even if it is “only” back-fanged. We have been told that when these snakes reach a length of 6 to 7 ft., which is exceptionally large, they are to be considered dangerous. As Geoff was maneuvering the snake with the handle of a rake, it struck several times more before we managed to put it out the door.

Cairns, North Queensland, Australia

Tillandsia ehrenbergii (K. Koch) Klotzsch ex Mez an ancient case of mistaken identity


Tillandsia subgenus Tillandsia is the taxon which contains many of the Mexican tillandsias and is distinguished from the other subgenera by having petals that are rolled into a tube and stamens that are longer than the petals. It was recently discovered that two species classified in the subgenus by Dr. Lyman Smith in his monograph of the Tillandsioideae1 are actually more closely related to some species which are classified in the subgenus Allardtia. Tillandsia ehrenbergii was described by Koch more than 100 years ago from a specimen collected in Mexico by Ehrenberg. J.G. Baker in his Handbook of the Bromeliaceae published in 18892, Mez in his 1934 monograph in Engler’s Das Pflanzenreich3 and later followed by Lyman Smith in his treatment of Tillandsia, describe the flowers of this species as having yellow petals and exserted stamens. I have examined the TYPE specimen, (that specimen collected by Ehrenberg on which the species is based) and compared it to specimens which we collected in the mountains of central Mexico. The specimens match but the description of the flower doesn’t. The plants which we flowered in January, 1980 have small green petals and deeply included stamens. These flowers are very similar to the flowers of T. plumosa Baker and T. ignesiae Mez of the subgenus Allardtia. The latter of these species is illustrated here for comparison.

It appears that sometime after the species was described, the description was amended (often done by subsequent workers who find new information about a species). The addition of the description of the flower could have possibly resulted from someone mistaking T. schiedeana Steudel for T. ehrenbergii. Tillandsia schiedeana has flowers which fit the description, and since yellow petals are not common among tillandsias, and the plant forms of the two species are at least superficially similar, this seems the most logical explanation for the discrepancy between the description and the actual flowers. This “error” has caused this species to be associated by Baker, Mez and finally Dr. Smith with species to which it is probably not very closely related. Tillandsia lepidosepala L. B. Smith which also has flowers similar to T. ehrenbergii was placed in the subgenus Tillandsia without knowledge of the floral characteristics, based on its similarity to T. ehrenbergii with which it had been confused4. Other Mexican species which have similar flowers and which together with the four previously mentioned may make up a closely related group, are T. mauryana L.B. Smith and T. atroviridipetala Matuda.

Tillandsia ignesiae

Tillandsia ehrenbergii

Habitat of Tillandsia ehrenbergii


  1. Smith, L.B. and R.J. Downs, 1977, Monograph No. 14, Part 2 Tillandsioideae (Bromeliaceae) in Flora Neotropica.

  2. Baker, J.G. 1889, Handbook of the Bromeliaceae, reprinted by J. Cramer, Lehre, 1972.

  3. Mez, C. 1934-35. Bromeliaceae, in Engler, Das Pflanzenreich IV (32):1-667.

  4. Smith, L.B. 1935. Studies in the Bromeliaceae VI, Contributions from the Gray Herbarium of Harvard University, No. CVI in Proceedings of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Corpus Christi, Texas

More About Variants


How do variegated plants arise in nature? I have studied the problem posed by this question for 70 years, first in hibiscus hedges that had been severely trimmed every few weeks resulting in the development of pure white leaved branches and various forms of variegation among the lower branches. These hedges were usually neglected as far as fertilizer and water were concerned. In other words, they were in a state of physiological stress. Next, I observed variants in sugarcane, especially native Hawaiian canes growing in abandoned home sites, within stone enclosures and temple locations. There were a number of these canes that were very prone to produce variegated leaves and stalks and often showed colors other than white in their variegations. These canes had been brought to Hawaii by the Polynesians from Tahiti and the Marquesa Islands some 1500 or more years ago, and had produced variants in certain definite patterns in each new environment they grew in. I have collected these canes, grew them, and discovered that they were a very important part of the medicine and religion of the Polynesians; the highly variegated forms were particularly significant to them.

Now in my later years, I have found that the Bromeliaceae is a family of plants very prone to variegations including colors other than white. But why are people so interested in these forms when they seem to represent a diminution in the plants’ vigor or possibly visual evidence of nutritional deficiencies due to environmental stress? The answer is probably some combination of reasons based on our interest in the new, the unusual or rare, and our attraction toward dramatic coloration and patterns.

A few years ago, a friend wanted some plant material to enhance her garden for a series of house and garden tours. Her house and garden are in a vastly different climatic situation from ours at Lipolani, which is at a high elevation and in a rain forest setting, while hers is in a dry, exposed, seashore location. At the time, Aechmea orlandiana was in full flower and made a good show plant. It was growing in ideal conditions of light, moisture and air movement and so it had deeply colored dark bars and the leaves had a lavender and pink sheen. Each flowering rosette of leaves was cut off and emptied of water and taken to my friend’s location and set up in an empty pot to look as if it had grown there. The new location offered strong sunlight and far less air movement and the water in the cups was from a lowland source having a higher salt content than our mountain water. In a week or two the plants were brought home again, but now placed in what I consider to be a difficult growing situation. They were placed in a bed made up of rocks and some compost on the courtyard paving in a corner with two high walls that reflect sunlight down on the plants. They received sun only in the afternoon at the hottest time of the day. The wall cuts off most rainfall and the cooling winds. No new growth appeared for quite a while. The plants did not burn but turned from a purplish coloring to olive green with lighter colored barring, and when they flowered after a year or more, the spikes were short, compact and a ligher red than before, when they were growing under much better conditions.

This particular corner of the courtyard had always been a problem spot where wind gathered leaves together so that we decided to make just a small bed there. The corner was of little interest to us and to visitors because of its lack of color. Recently, a visitor happened to glance at the plants and discovered a group of 8 green and white variegated shoots in the reverse pattern which Aechmea orlandiana ‘Ensign’ has. It appeared that stress led to insufficient nourishment so that only variegated rather than normal leaves could be produced.

Across the courtyard, up against the house and under the wide overhanging eaves, we grow all the variants that appeared on a plant of Aechmea chantinii ‘Ash Blonde’. The variants have leaves resembling those of A. zebrina, A. amazonica and an almost black leafed form. This too is a stressful area. In this same location we have all kinds of color variants from Nidularium innocentii var. lineatum, ranging from solid green to forms similar to N. innocentii var. striata. The major factor deficient for these plants is water. Perhaps we could separate these new variants and grow them under better conditions but we think it is interesting for people to observe what has happened in nature. People who have never gardened with a consideration for the effects of microclimates cannot believe what they see in our garden.

Some plants of a cross between Neoregelia Marnier-Lapostolle and N. carolinae have grown to a considerable size, but they look like the first parent with no influence from the second. Nevertheless, they will be a beautiful addition to the small collections of neoregelias I have discussed before, except that these are more prominently spotted and barred. Another collection of these small forms, sent by George Anderson of Metaire, LA., has just about become acclimated. It will be interesting to see whether or not the climatic change these plants have sustained will induce any changes in them.

After the exceedingly fine growing season we have had all summer long and the excessive flowering that has occurred, we will have to have some drastic trimming or we will not be able to get people in the front gate and down the walkway. The big sprays of aechmeas, porteas and portmeas have outdone themselves. Nidulariums are later this year and not yet all in flower, but they are doing well.

Sometimes one is too busy with necessary operations to study easily overlooked details. In the garden, we have what looks like a new species whose seeds germinated in the big plumeria tree which is two stories tall. These new seedlings may be wild hybrids which the garden produced “when we were not looking,” or maybe they are variants of bromeliads we have been growing. It is fun to watch them grow. At first they looked as if they might be just lichens, but then when they took on that special bromeliad shape and their colors changed, we tried to guess what they might be. We wonder how much more this 50 year old garden is going to create for us and how much we may have missed already!

Honolulu, Hawaii

Tillandsia venusta; The Correct Name for A Showy, Cultivated Tillandsia


Photo: L. Cobb
Tillandsia venusta plant collected at the Rio Palenque Science Center, flowering at Selby.

Ecuador is home to a number of very ornamental and much cultivated members of Tillandsia subgenus Phytarrhiza; of these, T. cyanea is probably the best known. This relatively easily recognized group can be characterized by having broad, spreading petal blades and very short stamens and style. The majority of the Ecuadorian species are mesic epiphytes although two species (T. caerulea and T. straminea) are adapted to rather harsh, xeric environments. Many of these plants have been introduced into cultivation, often under incorrect names.

While checking the voucher specimens for the Flora of the Rio Palenque Science Center (Dodson & Gentry, 1978) I realized that the plant identified as Tillandsia dyeriana Andre was incorrectly determined. Tillandsia dyeriana is a plant of rather few leaves arranged in an erect, subbulbous rosette and has floral bracts that much exceed the flowers. The Rio Palenque plant has an open, spreading rosette of 15-25 leaves with the flowers much exceeding the floral bracts. In addition, the flowers of the Rio Palenque taxon are 2-3 times the diameter of those of T. dyeriana. Comparison of the Rio Palenque plant with the plate accompanying the original description of T. dyeriana shows that these are two distinct species.

Confusion of these two taxa has not been limited to this one publication as Rauh (1970) had some years earlier published a photograph of this plant as T. dyeriana. More recently (Rauh, 1979) he stated that the material previously illustrated as T. dyeriana was probably the same as T. nubis Gilmartin.

The description of Tillandsia nubis Gilmartin (Gilmartin, 1968) indicates that this species has large (up to 45 mm long) violet petals. Examination of the type specimen of T. nubis at US confirms this description. The plant previously misidentified as T. dyeriana has small (to 25 mm long) white petals. Also the floral bracts of T. nubis are much narrower toward the base than those of the white flowered taxon. In shape and size they closely resemble those of T. hamaleana E. Morr., another violet or blue flowered species that is abundant at the type locality of T. nubis (pers. obs.) Further collections will be necessary in order to determine if these two taxa are distinct.

Because the white flowered plant could not be identified as either Tillandsia hamaleana or T. nubis and since no other Phytarrhiza tillandsias from the northern Andes seemed to be at all related I was prepared to describe this plant as a new species closely allied to T. nubis. In January 1981 Mrs. Georgia Waggoner of Morris, Oklahoma sent to the BIC a number of freshly cut specimens acquired by her and her husband on a plant collecting trip to Costa Rica. Among these was a specimen that was unmistakably the same as the white flowered Ecuadorian plant. My first impression was that a mixup had occurred and that the wrong collection data had been sent. Mrs. Waggoner replied that no mistake had been made and she remembered the plant in question being plucked from a tree. What I had originally believed to be an Ecuadorian endemic appeared to have a much more extensive range, not impossible since two of its relatives (T. anceps and T. monadelpha) are found over a considerably larger area. A check of the recorded tillandsias from Central America showed that this relatively common Ecuadorian species was very close to a rather obscure Costa Rican plant described by Mez and Werckle early in this century as T. venusta.

The type specimen of Tillandsia venusta Mez & Werckle consists of a rosette and a detached, shattered fruiting inflorescence. Only two floral bracts are visible on the Field Museum photograph of the type specimen but they show the broadly ovate base of the floral bract that is characteristic of the Ecuadorian plant. The description of T. venusta states that the floral bracts are not incurved and are ecarinate. Careful examination of the photograph reveals that the one nearly entire floral bract is somewhat incurved at the apex and appears to be sharply folded. The floral bracts of the new Costa Rican collection are quite distinctly incurved and are ecarinate to slightly carinate at the apex. The floral bracts are rather thin and it is often difficult to tell if the bract is actually keeled or merely nerved and sharply folded. In all other characters the new Costa Rican collection and the plants from western Ecuador fit nicely within T. venusta and I consider them to be conspecific.

Following is a description of Tillandsia venusta based on fresh material from Ecuador and Costa Rica: Tillandsia venusta Mez & Werckle, Bull. Herb. Boiss. II. 5: 108. 1905.

Plant stemless, flowering 25-50 cm high; leaves 15-25 in a spreading rosette, appressed lepidote throughout, often purple or red spotted; leaf sheaths large, ovate-elliptic; leaf blades ligulate, rounded and apiculate, 20-45 mm wide, the apex often recurved; scape erect, from about equaling to much exceeding the leaf sheaths; scape bracts lanceolate, about equaling the internodes; inflorescence 2-3 pinnate (rarely simple) with 3-10 spreading lateral branches; primary bracts equaling to exceeding the naked, sterile bases of the lateral branches; spike rachis nearly straight, slightly excavated; floral bracts 16-19 mm long, broadly ovate at the base tapering to an incurved, acute apex, thin, slightly nerved, sharply folded toward the apex, ecarinate to carinate, reddish-brown to tan in color; sepals lanceolate, acute, 14-18 mm long, ecarinate, free; petals to 25 mm long, the blades spreading, 7-10 mm wide, white; stamens deeply included; capsules cylindric, 33 mm long.

The following specimens in herbaria have been examined:

Costa Rica: Cartago: Near Turrialba, 600 m alt. Werckle in Brom. Costaric. 95 (B, Type; F photo 11534); Alajuela: 10 km west of Volcan Arenal, 750 m alt., Nov. 1980, C. & C. Waggoner s. n. (SEL).

Ecuador: Los Rios: Rio Palenque Science Center, alt. ca. 150-220 m, 8 June 1974. C.H. Dodson 5531 (SEL), same locality, 3 Feb. 1980, J. Watson 286 (USF); Pichincha: Selva Nigra, Naundorf s. n. (US), cultivated by Milstein s. n., Dec. 1967; Canar: El Tambo to Guayquil, alt. ca. 920 m, 14 Aug. 1965, Gilmartin 1186 (US); El Oro: Km 19, Pinas to Santa Rosa, alt. 460 m, 7 Oct. 1979, Dodson et al 8921 (SEL); Without locality: Couthoy s. n. (GH).

Tillandsia venusta is distributed in the trade and is a horticulturally worthwhile species due to its attractive habit and fragrant flowers.


Dodson, C.H. & A.H. Gentry, 1978. Flora of the Rio Palenque Science Center. Selbyana 4 (1-6): 80.

Gilmartin, A.J. 1968. Tillandsia nubis. Taxonomic notes on some Bromeliaceae of Ecuador. Phytologia 16:161.

Rauh, W. 1970. Bromelien fur Zimmer und Gewachshaus. Band 1. Die Tillandsioideen. Eugen Ulmer, Stuttgart.

Rauh, W. 1979. Bromelienstudien VIII. Tropische und Subtropische Pflanzenwelt 27:441-442. Akad. Wiss. & Litt. Mainz.


I thank the curators at US, GH and USF for the loan of material critical to this study, C.H. Dodson for introducing living material of Tillandsia venusta into cultivation and Mrs. Georgia Waggoner for bringing her most important collection to my attention.

Bromeliad Identification Center, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Florida

A Word for Cryptanthus


Isn’t it time to say a few words about cryptanthus? Too often it seems that this genus is overlooked. It’s true that most bromeliad growers usually only have two or three cryptanthus specimens while concentrating on the more “spectacular and showy” bromeliads. And yet, cryptanthus have some of the most beautiful and unusual foliage of any of the Bromeliaceae. Species such as Cryptanthus zonatus (all forms), C. lacerdae, C. beuckeri and C. fosterianus are outstanding foliage plants and a great many of the plants known as Peter Pan, Cherry Frost, Melody, Fudge Ripple and Ti are spectacular.

It’s interesting to hear some growers remark that they find cryptanthus difficult to grow. Surely the old wives’ tale about their being difficult had been laid to rest. It is certainly no secret that cryptanthus like to be grown wet. The first step in achieving this goal involves the pot and potting mix. Most cryptanthus fanciers seem to agree that plastic pots keep the potting mix from drying out. And even though potting mixes vary, the one common “ingredient” is something to make the mix more moisture retentive or heavier. A larger proportion of peat or well-decomposed compost added to the mix can help achieve this goal.

A very easy way to water cryptanthus is simply to set the pot in a container of water for several days so that the mix is thoroughly soaked. Then when necessary re-soak it in the same way. A very weak solution of fertilizer can be used occasionally in the watering process.

Whether cryptanthus are grown indoors or out, bright light is necessary for the foliage to reach its full potential. I personally like to give my cryptanthus (growing outdoors during warm weather) just a wee bit of morning sun or very late afternoon sun. Some growers refrain from using any direct sunlight because they say it makes too many cryptanthus a look-alike “red” color. I disagree, but of course, varying light intensities can bring out different hues and effects. This fact can make describing a particular cryptanthus “tricky”. Experimenting with various light conditions can produce some interesting colors and patterns on what may have seemed a rather nondescript plant.

Cryptanthus are terrestrial plants and at no time should they be grown as epiphytes. They can, if desired, be potted in pockets in rocks and wood to give an artistic effect. If this is done, however, be certain there is adequate room for root growth.

With a few exceptions (there are always exceptions when talking about bromeliads), all cryptanthus have pristine white flowers. These blossoms can very easily be pollinated and produce large, but few, seeds. The important thing to remember in pollinating cryptanthus is that they have separate male and female flowers. In the Journal of Sept.-Oct., 1978, page 211, there is an excellent article by Aria Rutledge and Harvey Kendall explaining all about pollinating cryptanthus flowers. The large size of the seeds makes them easy to handle and when they germinate, the seedlings are correspondingly larger than many bromeliad seedlings, a feature which is most encouraging to an amateur hybridizer.

There are a large number of beautiful hybrids being produced in the United States and in Australia, Grace Goode is creating some outstanding and unusual hybrids. Occasionally, even a new species makes its appearance on the scene. Cryptanthus warasii, recently introduced by Ervin Wurthmann of Florida, is an interesting and very atypical cryptanthus in that it resembles somewhat a small Hechtia marnier-lapostollei.

The nomenclature of cryptanthus is in as bad a situation as any other genus. Crosses are rarely registered with the BSI’s Hybrid Registration Chairman, Joe Carrone, and apparently different names are given helter-skelter to the offspring of a single cross. Also it is very likely that different names have been given to the same plant as it is acquired by different growers or grown under different conditions. For example, I believe that the plants known as Black Jack and Scarlet are the same plant. At least the plants I have with these names look like twins when grown side by side.

Many of the names of cryptanthus hybrids mentioned in this article are not officially registered and do not appear in the International Checklist of Bromeliad Hybrids. These names are seen however on plants in private collections and bromeliad shows and most are listed in various commercial catalogs.

There are almost endless variations in the beautiful foliage colors and patterns of cryptanthus. If you want dark colors try Black Prince, Scarlet, King Tut, Jet Age and Cherry Frost to mention a few. If you prefer pastel shades, then it’s Bahia, Verde, Cafe-au-Lait and First Blush for you. For mottled foliage there is Cryptanthus beuckeri, Chickadee, Candy Apple, Carnival de Rio, Blushing Bride; for longitudinal stripes: C. lacerdae, Mars, Tokay, First Blush and C. bivitattus.

For crossbanded foliage there is Cryptanthus fosterianus, C. zonatus, Feuerzauber, Dallas, Brown Velvet, Fudge Ripple, Black Mystic, Kamehameha, Electricity, Wind Song and many, many more. There are also cryptanthus with just green leaves: C. acaulis, Green Earth, Mint; and some with variegated foliage: It, Ti, C. acaulis var. variegata, Marian Oppenheimer; and those with unusual combinations of colors: Melody, C. fosterianus ‘Elaine’, Madam Ganna Walska, Carter’s Sunburst and Peter Pan.

Some plants with heavily frosted leaves are: Silverlila, Tracy’s Tutu, Silver Star, Rose Dust and Hummel’s Haze.

There are some cryptanthus which, from their names, would seem good enough to eat: Fudge Sundae, Butterscotch, Candy Apple, Chocolate Drop, Raspberry Tart, Cherries Jubilee, Cherry Sundae, Ripe Olive, Tangerine and Orange Sherbert; and even a few fit to drink: Champagne, Claret, Chianti, Creme de Menthe, Ruby Port, Sparkling Burgundy; and after those, Cafe-au-Lait.

As in other kinds of plants there are lists of girls’ names. You might find your favorite among: Opal, Bonnie, Elaine, Karin, Ethel, Margie Lee, Lolita, Michelle, Ruby, Nancy, Wendy and Sweet Sue.

Like other bromeliads, there are some fascinating names among the cryptanthus hybrids and after all, an interesting name adds much to the appeal of a plant and certainly helps popularize it. Are you tempted by: Voodoo, Silver Mink, Sugar Daddy, Rass ‘m Tazz, Tar Baby, Golden Fleece, Black Cherry, Silver Bullet or Hi Ho Silver? If possible, see the plant or get a description before you order it because sometimes a most interesting name may belong to a somewhat disappointing plant.

Cryptanthus make fine houseplants. For the most part they are small so they can be grown in small spaces such as windowsills. Their small pots can be placed in teapots, cache pots and other containers to feature them on tables or cabinets. Try one, or a grouping, as a centerpiece at a dinner party or on the buffet table. The smaller varieties respond well to culture in terrariums and all do well under artificial light. Cryptanthus do seem to be a little more sensitive to cold than some other genera of bromeliads, but surprisingly their colors do not fade away in excessive heat as do so many other bromeliads. For those who grow their plants outdoors, it’s encouraging to note that grasshoppers don’t seem to find cryptanthus foliage as appetizing as the leaves of other plants.

So a word for cryptanthus? — what about lovely?

Dallas, Texas


See what can happen if a Vriesea hybrid is allowed to keep all of its offshoots and they are induced to flower simultaneously with Ethrel! This hybrid: Vriesea × poelmannii was grown by nurseryman Heinz Pinkert of Harreshausen, Germany.

Herbarium Studies III


Tillandsia circinnata Schlechtendal 1845 (“1844”)

Tillandsia circinnata sensu Mez et auct., which is found commonly in nature and in collections has been mistakenly identified as being identical with the T. circinnata described by Schlechtendal on pages 430-432 in LINNAEA 18, 1845 (“1844”). This fact has been revealed by the study of the type plants deposited with the herbarium of the University of Halle. Handwritten notations by Schiede, who collected the plants in Mexico and whose plants form the basis of Schlechtendal’s descriptions, have been added to the samples. On one postfloral specimen: “Tillandsia in arboribus, Hac. de la Laguna Aug. 29,” and on two fruit-bearing specimens: “Tillandsia in arboribus Mixantlan, Mar. 29,”

Schlechtendal did not conclude that his T. circinnata could be identical with T. streptophylla, because he wrote in his introduction on page 427, Loc. cit.:

Yet another species is occasionally mentioned by Galeotti, described, and depicted in L’Horticulteur Beige de 1836 p. 251-253 — T. streptophylla Scheidweiler, which Galeotti brought live to Europe but did not preserve among his dried plants. The name leads me to assume that it might be T. circinnata, which is described below. I have not been able to determine this for sure, since that book was not available nor has the description been published elsewhere.

Also Schlechtendal’s description makes it clear that his T. circinnata is not the same as T. circinnata sensu Mez et auct. He cites the specimens of Schiede and says on page 431, loc. cit.:

In arboribus pr. la Hacienta de la Laguna Aug. defloratam et Martio m. Misantlae capsulas aperientem leg. b. Schiede. Although only 1 to 1¼ foot tall, this is nevertheless an imposing plant by virtue of the span of its leaves as well as the multi-branched inflorescence. The longitudinally rounded leaf bases, which quickly meld into the leaves, are approximately 1½ inches wide and very convex but only loosely arranged but in great number, form a type of onion-like mass, which gets an even greater size by virtue of the fact that the leaf surfaces are curled inward and variously twisted or even spiraled, almost like tendrils. The plant has a diameter of 4-6 inches.

The accompanying photographs show the postfloral specimen from Hacienda de la Laguna and one of the fruiting specimens from Mixantlan (HAL 45627). They show clearly that T. circinnata Schldl. 1845 is indeed the same as the well known T. streptophylla Scheidw ex Morren 1836. Therefore the following nomenclature changes are necessary:

Tillandsia streptophylla Scheidweiler ex Morren in Hortic. Belge 3, 1836, p. 252, Pl.

Till. circinnata Schldl. 1845 (“1844”), non sensu Mez nec sensu auct.
Vriesea streptophylla (Scheidw.) E. Morren 1873
Till. tortilis Brongn ex E. Morren 1873, non Klotzsch 1857

Type: Institute Gembloux s.n., Mexico s. loc. (Holotype BR)

Till. circinnata sensu Mez et auct., so familiar to us, must then be re-named according to the first valid description:

Tillandsia paucifolia Baker in Gard. Chron. II. 10, 1878, p. 748

Till. bracteosa Klotzsch ex Beer 1857, nomen
Vriesea bracteosa Beer 1857, nomen
Till. bulbosa sensu Chapman 1860, non Hooker 1826
Till. yucatana Baker 1887
Till. pruinosa sensu Chapman 1897, non Swartz 1797
Till. intermedia Mez 1903
Till. circinnata sensu Mez et auct., non Schldl. 1845

Typus: Cultivated plant of unknown origin, Kew Hortus s.n. 1878 (K)

Photograph of the Type of Tillandsia circinnata Schldl. 1845.
Postfloral specimen collected at Hacienda de La Laguna.

Photograph of the type of Tillandsia circinnata Schldl. 1845.
Fruiting specimen collected at Mixantlan.

Addendum: I have had the opportunity to see plate 6757 in the Botanical Magazine of 1884 with the description of Till. streptophylla by J. G. Baker. It is clear that he too showed Till. circinnata Schldl. as a synonym for Till. streptophylla. This equivalence was thus already known, and the reason for confusion with Till. paucifolia by Mez is today difficult to explain.

Translated by Harvey L. Kendall

Book Review


THE BIOLOGY OF BROMELIADS by David H. Benzing. Published by Mad River Press. Eureka, California, U.S.A. 1980.

The author states that the book was written to bridge the gap between the highly technical, and the popular literature that is currently available on bromeliads. He notes that two audiences are addressed, the serious grower of bromeliads and the botanist.

The introduction includes a historical account of bromeliad knowledge. A brief review of classification includes an explanation of terms such as species, taxonomic and horticultural varieties, forms, ecotypes, and cultivars. A large portion of the book is dedicated to presenting general plant biology topics such as plant anatomy, and morphology, cell biology, and plant physiology with bromeliad examples.

The sections on mineral nutrition, photosynthesis and photosynthetic strategies are good reviews of the current knowledge of these subjects. Much of the basic research in these fields was done by the author. He uses this knowledge as a basis for speculation about the significance of pigmentation and leaf arrangement in the Bromeliaceae. Later chapters treat these topics in greater detail and offer further observations and speculations by the author, about the ecological significance of bromeliad morphology, anatomy and physiology.

Cytology, genetics, reproductive mechanisms, dispersal and photoperiodism are reviewed and discussed. The chapter on reproductive structures outlines the author’s interpretation of the tendencies of floral specialization within the Bromeliaceae and describes the floral and inflorescence diversity within the family.

Although little is known about pollination in the Bromeliaceae, the knowledge of pollination ecology and reproductive strategies in the angiosperms in general, is used as a starting point from which to extrapolate to bromeliad examples based on what is known.

Seed development, ontogeny and seedling development are reviewed. Neotony (retention of juvenile vegetative features by adult plants) has previously been suggested as the method by which the “atmospheric” tillandsioids evolved from water impounding “tank” bromeliad precursors. The author discusses this possibility, and the evolutionary significance of the phenomenon as it relates to the tillandsioid bromeliads.

A final chapter addresses the horticultural significance of some of the previously described topics and offers some cultural suggestions.

This book is the most complete and authoritative text currently available on the subject of bromeliad biology. It pulls together much scattered literature and indicates gaps in our knowledge of the Bromeliaceae. Good line drawings, diagrams and tables make the text easy to follow. A number of black and white and colored photographs are used to illustrate structure and pigmentation. Although the text is more technical than the popular bromeliad literature, the glossary will make the book accessible to the bromeliad grower. Some literature references are made, but a number of ideas are presented that are not clearly original with this publication, for which no literature is cited. This work would be of greater value to the botanist and student if greater attention were given to literature citations.

The book is highly recommended as a good introduction to the family for the bromeliad grower and botany student alike.

From: The Canadian Field Naturalist, 1981.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Nominations Open for 1982 Election of Directors


Nominations are now being accepted for the election of directors to the Board of The Bromeliad Society, Inc. for the term 1983-1985. Ballots for this election will be mailed with the May-June 1982 issue of the Journal.

For election purposes The Bromeliad Society membership is divided into 9 geographic regions and each region elects its own directors (as outlined in Vol. XXXI, No. 1, January-February 1981, p. 38).

Directors-at-large (any region) — 2 positions
Florida — I position
Louisiana — 1 position
Texas — 1 position
Outer (all areas outside the U.S.) — 1 position
WHO CAN NOMINATE? The president of every affiliated society and current directors within each region may nominate one candidate for their region plus one candidate for director-at-large.

PROCEDURE FOR NOMINATING: Nominations must be made in writing and postmarked not later than March 15, 1982. Brief biographical information and qualifications must be included for each nominee. All nominees must agree to serve and are expected to attend or respond to the advance agenda for each of the meetings held during their terms. No director may serve more than 2 consecutive terms. Six nominees will be accepted for each position. The 6 earliest postmarks will determine the slate of nominees for each position.

Nominations Committee
P.O. Box 1054
Apopka, Florida 32703

The Nominations Committee is seeking multiple candidates for each position in order to give the voting membership a choice. All affiliated societies are urged to participate in this important procedure.

The following persons have been elected directors for the term 1982-1984:
Peter Paroz — Outer Region
Annie Navetta — Western Region
Allen G. Edgar — Southern Region
Herbert Plever — Northeastern Region
Linda Harbert — Central Region

Aechmea blanchetiana (Baker) L.B. Smith

This large terrestrial species is native to the restinga or coastal scrub vegetation of the Brazilian state of Bahia. A mature plant consists of a 3 foot rosette composed of about 12 leaves. Foliage colors encompass shades from light yellow-green to deep reds. The flowering plant ranges from 4 to 6 feet in height and the laxly tripinnate inflorescence is like those found in some species of Vriesea. This species was named after a European plant explorer named Blanchet, who collected many new species of bromeliads and other plants in the first half of the 19th century. This photograph was taken in a naturalized area of Roberto Burle Marx’s garden.

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