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 189
La Mirada, CA 90637

PresidentNat DeLeon
Vice PresidentEdgar Smith
Recording SecretaryConnie Johnson
TreasurerDavid Gardner
Corresponding Sec.Owana Jo Myers

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 DeLeon, Charles Dills, Edgar Smith, John F. Utley, Leslie Walker, Wilbur Wood, Robert P. Wright.

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

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
Advertising Editor
Chet Blackburn
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.

Bromeliaceae Ole
  Eloise Johnson191
Bromeliad Exhibits Enhance the 1982 World Conference
  Jimi Prinz196
An Award of Appreciation — Dr. Lyman B. Smith
  Sue Gardner199
Bromeliad Identification Center Benefit Auction
  Sue Gardner200
The Plant on the Cover
  Herb Hill, Jr.202
1982 World Bromeliad Conference Dedication
  Paul Isley & Sue Gardner203
The Jewels of Texas — Magnificent!
  Valerie L. Steckler204
Bromeliad Conferences: Much More than Bromeliads
  H. Alton Lee206
Vriesea vietoris
  John F. Utley208
Watering Bromeliads
  Patsy Lou Worley210
John P. Barbie, Jr.
  Sue Gardner212
Vanished Bromeliads
  Wilhelm Weber215
Vriesea vietoris236

Albomarginate hybrid of Vriesea ensiformis. Photo by Herb Hill, Jr. See page 202.

Bromeliaceae Olé


Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Dr. Werner Rauh, featured speaker, and Sally Thompson, President of the Corpus Christi Bromeliad Society in the display staged by the Southwest Bromeliad Guild.

Among the more than 400 plant enthusiasts who attended the 1982 World Bromeliad Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas last June, were 4 from Australia, 2 from the Dominican Republic, 2 from England, 5 from Germany, 2 from Mexico, 2 from Puerto Rico, 2 from South Africa, and 4 from Venezuela. The others were from 20 states, with Florida providing the best representation outside of Texas.

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Tillandsia roland-gosselinii on wood, winner of the Mulford B. Foster Best of Show Award, entered by Vennie Dobson of Natchitoches, Louisiana.

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Tillandsia vicentina in a tree fern pot, winner of the award for the best horticultural display,
entered by Ellen Hough of Arlington, Texas.

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Neoregelia Fire Ruby, bronze medallion winner, entered by Vennie Dobson.

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Tillandsia tectorum in a decorative container, winner of a bronze medallion,
entered by Georgia Waggoner of Morris, Oklahoma.

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
"The Okies", left to right, Nat DeLeon, Valerie Steckler, Eloise Beach, Linda Harbert and Edgar Smith.

To begin with, the Tours Unlimited trip to Rockport was greatly enjoyed by those early arrivals able to go because they had no pressing duties involving the opening of the Conference on Thursday, June 10. The cocktail party, which inaugurated the Conference on Thursday night, carried out the theme: "Bromeliaceae Olé" with mariachi music, a talented caricaturist, and, as if there were any ice left to be broken, the breaking of a piñata with the resulting scramble for candies, cryptanthus, etc.

In the quieter moments of the festive interlude, the participants strolled around the Conference Hall for a preview of the exhibition, lingering in the plaza to sit and relax, walk through the market, or admire the top prize winners. These, except for the Artistic Arrangements, were displayed in the kiosk, or bandstand, along with their handsome, Mexican, hand-hammered, copper trophies. After the party, Don Beadle’s musical slides provided a soothing nightcap and evoked a standing ovation for his artistry.

Following the awarding of the Judges’ Certificates in the plaza on Friday noon, the audience was treated to a "No Talent" Talent Show, beginning with Edgar Smith of Dallas, Texas singing (?) his two compositions, "God Doesn’t Win Many Blue Ribbons" and, in calypso, "Don’t Say Brom, Say Bromel." "The Okies," five illustrious members of the Board of Directors, closed the show with "You Are My Bromelade, My Purty Bromelade" sung to the tune of "You Are My Sunshine." The auction Friday night not only benefited the Mulford B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center but also brought out much camaraderie along with generous bidding.

In an exotic departure from the Conference theme at the Saturday night Texas-style barbecue, Tahia’s Tribe entertained with dances from the Middle East, recruiting sheiks, dancers, and the front and back parts of Clyde the camel from the audience.

During the Conference, all participants enjoyed some combination of activities such as displaying, buying, selling, judging or just admiring the bromeliad specimens represented.

At the conclusion of the Conference, some of the participants unwound by visiting friends, going on post-conference tours, or on trips to the Valley, Mexico, or to the Hill Country. In all, the Conference was a great experience for all who attended.

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Tahia with Clyde the camel, bromeliad sheiks and dancing girls, at the barbecue.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Bromeliad Exhibits Enhance the 1982 World Conference


Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Display staged by the Shreveport, Louisiana Regional Bromeliad Society,
winner of the Southwest Bromeliad Guild Award.

Since "Bromeliaceae Olé" was the theme for the 1982 World Bromeliad Conference, the exhibitors were asked to relate their presentations to this theme. The different interpretations which were devised made for some of the most attractive and interesting displays on record. Everything from "Mexican Market," which was a display from Corpus Christi, to the decorative donkey, which the Shreveport, Louisiana group had in its display, blended into a beautiful medley of variations on the theme.

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Mexican flower cart of bromeliads staged by the Corpus Christi Bromeliad Society.

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Mexican market of bromeliads staged by the Corpus Christi Bromeliad Society.

Although the Shreveport group’s exhibit garnered all the prizes in the judged section, there were other very attractive and lovely plant displays. No one could object to their coup because the thought and work put into their effort was very evident. Ingenuity and considerable planning were necessary to produce in a 100 ft. display space such a beautiful amalgam of attractive plants and a realistic scene as well.

Exhibitors from several states provided most pleasant surprises. For example, Bill Tippitt from the Bromeliad Connection, Austin, Texas brought some so-called "big mean" plants, and all of us wondered at his bravery. Most of us wouldn’t have room for such beautiful, big specimens unless we had a frost-free, outside area available. Herb Hill from Raingreen Tropicals, Lithia, Florida outdid all of us in the number and variety of plants he exhibited. Howard Yamamoto from Hawaii contributed some wonderful plants which were included in the display of JimRoy Alice, Texas. Michael Rothenberg of Shelldance, Pacifica, California provided most attractive specimens and the exhibit of Fausey Nursery, Rockport, Texas featured an old fashioned wagon loaded with bromeliads. The exhibit of the Southwest Guild was very dramatic because it featured a patio, two fountains and many beautiful plants.

In addition to bromeliad growers, two of the local orchid societies and the local fern society contributed displays to add to the beauty of this World Conference.

A beautiful show, well-executed, was due to the cooperation of all who participated, and all of us here in Corpus Christi owe all of you a debt of thanks.

Alice, Texas


Seed Fund — Seeds for sale and exchange. For information and seed list, send stamped, self-addressed envelope to Diana E. Pippin, P.O. Box 2352, Riverside, California 92516.

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 Mary Jane Lincoln, Affiliate Chairman, 1201 Waltham St., Metairie, Louisiana 70001.

An Award of Appreciation — Dr. Lyman B. Smith


Photo courtesy of Amy Jean Gilmartin
Dr. Lyman B. Smith

In recognition of his many years of work on the Bromeliaceae, a plaque of appreciation was presented to Dr. Lyman B. Smith by the Bromeliad Society, Inc. Dr. Smith became interested in bromeliads as a graduate student at Harvard University in 1927 and wrote his doctoral dissertation on the genus Tillandsia subgenus Pseudocatopsis. After graduation, he continued his study of bromeliads both in the field and herbarium. He visited many herbaria in North America and Europe and cultivated close associations with botanists and hobbyists who were interested in bromeliads and who provided him with many specimens. Probably foremost among these associations was his relationship with Mulford B. Foster. Their joint interest in bromeliads resulted in the description of many new species.

Dr. Smith’s work appears in many publications, among which are the bromeliad sections of The Flora of British Guiana, The Bromeliaceae of Brazil, and The Bromeliaceae of Colombia. The culmination of his work with bromeliads is the 3 volume monograph published as part of The Flora Neotropica. The first volume is on the subfamily Pitcairnioideae and was published in 1974. The second volume on the subfamily Tillandsioideae was published in 1976, and the final volume on the subfamily Bromelioideae appeared in 1977 — 50 years after he first began working on bromeliads.

He is still very active in botany. He holds the position of botanist emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution and goes to his office daily even though he was officially retired in 1974. Currently, he is preparing work on begonias, grasses, vellozias and material for the flora of Santa Catarina, Brazil. He continues to work on bromeliads and short addenda to the monograph will be published in Phytologia and the Journal of The Bromeliad Society.

Dr. Edward McWilliams gave an introduction to Dr. Smith and his work to those attending the banquet of the 1982 World Bromeliad Conference. Since Dr. Smith was unable to attend as planned, Dr. Robert Read, an associate at the Smithsonian Institution, accepted the plaque which read: "Presented to Dr. Lyman B. Smith in appreciation for 55 years of dedicated work on the Bromeliaceae by the Bromeliad Society, Inc., June 12, 1982, World Bromeliad Conference, Corpus Christi, Texas."

Corpus Christi, Texas

Bromeliad Identification Center Benefit Auction — A Big Success


Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Claud Ward, General Chairman of the 1982 World Bromeliad Conference presents a check for the
Bromeliad Identification Center to its director, Harry Luther.

One of the most popular events of the World Bromeliad Conference held in Corpus Christi, Texas was an auction to raise funds for the Mulford B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center (BIC) located at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. Nat DeLeon of Miami, Florida coordinated the acquisition of items for the auction. Rare and unusual bromeliad plants, bromeliad art and photographs suitable for framing were donated by commercial growers and individuals. All were sold by Bill Frazel of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida who served as auctioneer for a brisk auction to a large and enthusiastic crowd of bromeliophiles. All items brought generous prices. The top price of $600.00 was received for an albomarginate offshoot of a hybrid of Vriesea ensiformis that was donated by Hill’s Raingreen Tropicals.

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Herb Hill of Lithia, Florida (left) shows Scotty Flory of Houston, Texas (right) the albomarginate hybrid of Vriesea ensiformis from which an offshoot was won in auction by Scotty.

Bill Frazel, auctioneer, presented a check for $5,009.00, the proceeds from the auction, to Harry Luther, Director of the BIC, at the Saturday evening barbecue. Claud Ward, General Chairman of the 1982 World Conference, then presented Mr. Luther with a check from the Corpus Christi Bromeliad Society matching the auction proceeds, making a grand total of $10,018.00 for the BIC.

At the Board of Directors’ meeting, the members of the Board voted to recommend that such auctions become a regular part of each future world conference as a method of raising funds for the Center.

Corpus Christi, Texas

The Plant on the Cover


Tracing the history of this plant leads to the late bromeliad enthusiast, Ralph Davis, of Miami, Florida. Ralph had an exceptionally fine private collection of bromeliads, and among all of the species he had, his favorites were in the genus Vriesea. Through an intensive hybridization program, Ralph had produced many hybrids which greatly enhanced his collection.

After his death in 1971, it became difficult to maintain his collection. Many fine plants were sold, donated or given to friends by his wife, Ruby. Shortly before Ruby’s death, I was privileged to meet her and also her son, Bill. Not long after this meeting, Ruby’s health began to deteriorate and I was asked by Bill if I would be interested in purchasing bromeliads from his father’s collection. Though most of the rarer plants were long gone, I was able to acquire many plants that were most interesting to me.

Several of Ralph’s vriesea hybrids which he made in his last years, were still available as were many hybrids which he had obtained from European hybridizers. Among these were several hybrids clearly involving Vriesea ensiformis. It is uncertain whether these were produced by Ralph or of European origin.

Since I needed space to house plants, I built a temporary shade house in a wooded portion of my property and placed many of the vrieseas there. With minimal frost protection, vrieseas are able to withstand central Florida’s winters. In the spring of 1978, after a severe winter, I noticed that two of the Vriesea ensiformis hybrids were producing variegated leaves. I often find examples of minor variegation among my plants so I was not overly excited until the fall of 1978 when an albomarginate offshoot and a poorly variegated one appeared on two of the original plants. Needles to say, these plants were placed in a climate controlled house and literally pampered to death. The albomarginate plant grew to an enormous size, but with each new leaf, the amount of variegation increased until the entire top of the plant was white. On the advice of a friend, I began an intensive feeding program which eventually led to the destruction of the plant.

During this time, I paid little attention to the second plant, which showed only minor variegation. After flowering, however, it produced several variegated offshoots and much to my surprise, two of them were beautifully albomarginated. These were the two plants in my display at the World Bromeliad Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas. I was very pleased by the great interest in these plants shown by the Conference participants; nevertheless I had no inkling that a mere offshoot would generate $600 for the Bromeliad Identification Center in Sarasota, Florida.

Lithia, Florida

1982 World Bromeliad Conference Dedicated to the Memory of Charles Wiley


Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Sue Gardner presents plaque to Paul Isley who accepts it on behalf of Frances Wiley, dedicating the 1982 World Bromeliad Conference to the memory of the late Charles Wiley.

Charles Wiley was a corresponding member and good friend to the Corpus Christi Bromeliad Society. It was to his memory that the 1982 World Bromeliad Conference was dedicated.

Charles will be long remembered by all of us as one of the giants in the bromeliad world. His unflagging devotion to the development and promotion of bromeliad knowledge among enthusiasts and the general public has been sorely missed. We remember with much appreciation his ability to generate enthusiasm, his sense of humor, and his perspective and talent for objectivity. Charles was a strong man who would follow the dictates of his conscience no matter what the current popular opinions or allegiances were, and for this we respect him all the more. He helped immeasurably to bridge communication gaps around the country and the world, and to mold the Society into the international organization that it has become. His tremendous knowledge of the Bromeliaceae enabled him to carry out much research in Southern California where he lived with his devoted wife, Frances. This work was of such high caliber that bromeliad culture was much advanced by his efforts.

A plaque commemorating the formal dedication of the Fifth World Bromeliad Conference was presented during the banquet-barbecue to Paul Isley who accepted it on behalf of Frances Wiley because she was unable to travel to the Conference.

Gardena, California and Corpus Christi, Texas

The Jewels of Texas — Magnificent!


That bromeliads are beautiful comes as no surprise to anyone who reads the Journal, but what was indeed surprising to many was the beauty and innovation displayed by the designers in the artistic classes of the exhibition at the 1982 World Conference. To use bromeliads in such a creative fashion evoked a favorable response from those viewing the section and in fact, it was the most popular area at the show. In sheer numbers it was also outstanding, for it was the largest artistic design section ever seen by this viewer. There were 48 arrangements interpreting such themes as "Sparkling Bounty of the Bay," "Black Gold," and "Fiesta Brom Ole." The schedule gave the designer great artistic freedom to interpret the theme and in doing so gave us an insight into the multifaceted charm of the seaside city, Corpus Christi. For those who chose "to follow a different drummer," there was a class entitled "Anything Goes" which allowed the designer to name and interpret any theme chosen.

In addition to the arrangements, there was a section entitled "Arts Sparkle by the Sea-Bromeliads in Use." In this section, just as one might suspect, there were both fresh and dried corsages. In addition, there were designs that lived up to the title of another section: "Something New Under the Sun." Over 30 entries were assembled and their diversity was unbelievable. There were hair ornaments, nosegays, purses, boxes, a bridal bouquet, and even a wreath. We applauded the ingenuity and creativeness of the artists and most of us felt that we had never seen a better artistic design section anywhere.

As with all the other striking features of the 1982 World Conference, the quality of the exhibits in the artistic classes was not the result of chance. Obviously, this entire section was well-planned, nurtured and executed. Lee Ward deserves a great deal of credit for teaching corsage craft to so many both before and during the Conference. Gene Phelps also played an important role in teaching artistic design arrangement techniques to the Corpus Christi affiliate. The garden clubs of the region graciously accepted invitations to participate in the design section and their inclusion provided a huge bonus. Thanks, Corpus Christi, for sharing your "Jewels of Texas" with us. You provided a feast for "designing eyes."

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
An artistic design, "Sparkling Bounty of the Bay" by Vennie Dobson.

Photo by David Wheeler Photo Services, Inc.
Award winning hair ornament or "hat" of cryptanthus by Lee Ward of Corpus Christi, Texas.

Austin, Texas

Bromeliad Conference: Much More Than Bromeliads


I am sure that I have answered the question: "Was it worth it?" more than a dozen times from members of the Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society and other friends after they learned that my wife gave me a birthday present of a trip to the 1982 World Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas. The trip was not inexpensive, so it is a legitimate question. To all who have asked, I have given the same answer: an unqualified "yes", but some who have questioned me had heard various things about the convention: not enough plants on display; too few interesting new plants for sale; too much emphasis on art displays; and too little in the way of a program. These are the subjects about which I have been grilled.

Before commenting on these implied and direct criticisms, let me offer some ideas about why one would go to a bromeliad convention in the first place. A major objective is to see bromeliads and to buy many new ones, of course; but there are many additional considerations for me and perhaps for many others as well. A convention or conference devoted to bromeliads in a distant place provides an opportunity to see another part of the world, to meet new and diverse people, sample other lifestyles, perhaps a different culture, and maybe, even a unique cuisine. It is a chance to get a new perspective on one’s own lifestyle and experiences as well as one’s own bromeliad collection.

Although I had been in Texas a number of times and liked most parts I had visited especially San Antonio, I had never been to Corpus Christi and looked forward to a visit there. Even after an unfortunate introduction of having to deal with the inept American Airlines, which lost my luggage and was unable to adhere to any of its schedules, I found the city worth experiencing. What I was able to see was charming and enjoyable and it passed the traveler’s acid test: if given the opportunity, I would go back. I especially liked the weather, which was much like that at home, and I liked the less hectic pace. The people in and out of the Bromeliad Conference were friendly and helpful. It was obvious that the local bromeliad societies had done everything possible to give the registrants a good time, and I think that most of us had one.

In particular, there were a number of special features that made the Conference enjoyable. The food service was the best of any of the conventions I have attended. It showed both thought and imagination, qualities not always evident at many conventions. The bromeliad auction was fascinating and rightly deserves to be a regular feature of future meetings. The lectures I heard, given by Werner Rauh and Robert Read, were informative, helpful and well-illustrated with excellent slides. A slide show of billbergias, of all plants, was probably too long for many tastes, but it featured superb photography and had been organized with finesse and style. It went as smoothly as any slide show I have seen in a long time. The reports I heard on the other lectures, which I did not attend, were favorable.

For me, the garden tours are always a highlight of bromeliad conventions. The people back home who don’t go always ask the question: "But did you see any really great gardens as good as your own or others in our area?" First of all, in Corpus Christi there are some fabulous, extensive collections, probably some of the best in the country, so that feature alone presents fierce competition for others. Granted, there was no single bromeliad display of unparalleled excellence in Corpus Christi. I have not seen one in the other conference cities either; but all 6 of the places we visited were worth the time and effort. If one can get past the fairly pedestrian idea that one is seeing a bromeliad garden simply to note what is there that is new and collectible, (a nice part but only a part of the tour,) there is usually much more to see and enjoy. Several of the places we visited had wonderful architecture; almost all of the gardens had good and creative landscaping offering some ideas to steal and use back home; and all of the gardens had a much wider range of plants than bromeliads alone. One stop presented an excellent begonia collection; several had good assortments of blooming orchids and aroid collections. One place specialized in rare cacti, cycads and succulents. At one home there was a beautiful Heliconia rostrata having 12 spikes in full and glorious flower. One bromeliad collection was housed and artfully arranged around a hot tub. At every stop, the host or hostess was unfailingly cordial and willing to answer questions. All served tempting refreshments ranging from fresh fruit, homemade sausage biscuits and gazpacho to good cheese and champagne and orange juice. Fortunately, the tours are limited to 3 per day. These tours afforded a good look at some of the most interesting parts of Corpus Christi as the buses roared from one locality to another.

Now as to the show and those earlier questions. Yes, it would have been nice to have seen more plants and a wider range of items; but the exhibition rules, as I have been given to understand, stipulate that entries can be accepted from registrants only. With fewer registrants than anticipated, the possibilities of more plants and a wider range of kinds were limited. Future conventions may want to re-examine the usefulness of such a rule.

With regard to the artistic classes, I found many of the bromeliad arrangements well done, and although I am not a devotee of flower arranging or for that matter of ribbon collecting, several showed much creative thought and skill, in my opinion. The photography and art work were generally excellent and worthy of being hung in any museum of quality. There was also some exquisite glass work, which almost anyone would want to own, bromeliad enthusiast or not.

The bromeliad displays themselves were also of a high order of excellence. Most of the displays were well-labeled and the labels were easy to read. In particular, the Herb Hill display and those provided by other plant societies (orchid, fern, etc.) deserve special commendation.

Although I have a reasonably advanced collection, I found quite a bit of interest to buy in the sales area including a plant for which I have been searching for 3 years. Most people I observed were buying quite a few plants, therefore sales appeared to be good, although I did hear some people lamenting the lack of a wider range of plants in the members’ sale.

Finally, here are a few suggestions to help with the planning of future conferences to help make them even better. When a convention is held in a place separated from the housing accommodations, I believe that it should be mandatory for the host society to provide registrants with a detailed map that shows exactly the distance between important locales. Mini-maps with selected streets are not sufficient. Detailed information about public transportation, including the possibilities for local car rentals is also necessary. Questions such as: Are there buses? How often do they run? How much is the fare? What is the taxi service like? etc., all become vital to have answered. In Corpus Christi, the public transportation seemed to be much as it is in the Tampa Bay area where I live, that is, bus service is non-existent, as far as I could tell. Taxis did not cruise, were expensive and took a long time in coming when called for by telephone; however, all of the drivers I encountered were friendly, helpful and seemed honest.

When I visit a city, I always have hopes of seeing as much of it as possible and sampling the local food and culture in the limited time available. I think registrants at future conferences would benefit from even more detailed information concerning such possibilities. The standard publicity brochures from a chamber of commerce that tend to be too all-embracing and lacking in evaluations or appraisals are inadequate for the purpose. Granted, trying to anticipate the likes, dislikes and prejudices of hundreds of people is not easy; but every city has some landmarks, memorials, museums, interesting localities, etc., that the knowledgeable local conference planners could point out and which most visitors would want to see. Surely local members can provide a modest, annotated list of restaurants that highlight a special cafeteria, home-cooking or local specialty places, a 24-hour diner and any 4-star establishment not to be missed, if one has the time and funds. A visitor’s time for trial and error hunting is very limited, so such help would be much appreciated.

I heard a few people grousing about not being able to find an acceptable beach in Corpus Christi. The place where I stayed, which was not on the Conference list of available accommodations, had a beach, a pool and a hot tub, all of which I found and used. It does not hurt registrants to explore beyond the official conference recommendations, and travel and guide books or a good travel agent will help as long as one can count on a dependable map that clearly delineates the proximity of the conference site to hotels, motels, etc.

The 1982 World Bromeliad Conference is the third bromeliad convention I have attended. In all 3 cases, though I consider myself not easy to please, I have found more positive than negative aspects associated with the meeting. I look forward to the 1984 World Bromeliad Conference in Los Angeles and hope more of our members from all over the world will come and see how much fun bromeliad conventions can be and how much more they offer than just bromeliads.

Gulfport, Florida

Vriesea vietoris


Photo by Kathleen Burt-Utley

Vriesea vietoris Utley has pendent inflorescences and deep pink to crimson bracts and is one of the most attractive vrieseas in Costa Rica. This species is restricted to the lower montane wet forest in central Costa Rica. While it is uncommon within this area, it is frequently locally abundant. When a population is in flower, the masses of individuals with their brightly colored, pendent inflorescences that can be nearly a meter long, are a breathtaking sight.

Vriesea vietoris is very similar in general appearance to two other Costa Rican thecophylloid vrieseas: V. leucophylla L. B. Smith, and V. hainesiorum L. B. Smith. V. vietoris is most easily confused with T. leucophylla because these species share similar size, leaf shape and superficial inflorescence morphology. These two species can be distinguished from one another, however, on the basis of leaf marking, sepal color, primary bract size and orientation, as well as ecological preferences (Utley 1981). In the limited area where these two species occur together, they flower at different times, thus reducing the potential for hybridization.

Drawing by Kathleen Burt-Utley
Vriesea vietoris. A. Habit. B. Lateral inflorescence branch.
C. Petal. D. Lateral inflorescence branch.
E. Leaf. F. Floral bract, excised and flattened.

V. vietoris and V. hainesiorum occupy different life zones; V. hainesiorum occurs in drier, premontane moist forests. Moreover, these species are readily distinguished from one another on the basis of general plant size, degree of inflorescence development and sepal size.


Utley, J. F. 1981. Two New Montane Vrieseas (Bromeliaceae) From Costa Rica. Brittonia 33:581-586.

University of New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana

Watering Bromeliads


Of the major growth requirements which affect bromeliad culture, water is the one that often receives the least consideration. When growers are asked about their watering schedules, one often hears answers such as "Oh, I water once a week", or "every day", or "twice a week." The answers they give seem straightforward and complete and since their plants are most beautiful, one is tempted to blindly follow the same regime. Fortunately, bromeliads are forgiving plants so it might be a month before they begin deteriorating. The question of how to water suddenly becomes urgent and much more complicated than it may have seemed.

First of all, consider what people mean by watering. A person who waters every day and another who waters once a week may be giving their plants about the same total amount of water. How can this be? Well, some use a mister and give their plants a light sprinkling each day and call that watering. Others take their plants, pots and all, and soak them in a tub of water once a week and call that watering. On the other hand, two people who both water with a hose may be providing very different total amounts of water. For example, in our household, I do not spend much time watering our bromeliads. Approximately once a week, I spray each plant lightly, put water in the cup and on the potting medium. Plants that require more water have been moved outside the greenhouse where nature can help with the watering. My husband, on the other hand, loves to water and will happily stand around for hours with a hose, spraying everything and everyone within range. His method is the probable reason our ferns were so beautiful. It also probably explains why Tillandsia xerographica, which unfortunately hung near some of the ferns, suddenly began to rot. It definitely explains why he is barred from entering our bromeliad greenhouse when he has a hose in hand. In my opinion, few bromeliads regularly like being drenched.

The second consideration concerning watering has to do with the type of bromeliad being grown. The species in the Bromeliaceae come from a wide range of habitats, encompassing everything from rain forests to dry, rocky beach areas. Consequently a rigid pattern of watering, such as with an automatic sprinkler system, will not be uniformly effective unless all the plants are compatible with regard to their water requirements. If the watering pattern is selected to favor those species which are found in nature in wet situations, then those from arid habitats will surely suffer, and vice versa.

A third factor to take into account when choosing a watering method is the growing medium. Naturally a plant mounted on a piece of driftwood will require more moisture than the same plant grown in soil. I prefer to use less rather than more water, so I use a potting medium of about 2/3 regular soil to 1/3 Perlite. For good drainage, stones are put in the bottom of the pot and a small amount of sphagnum is put on top of the stones. Since the soil retains moisture, the amount of watering required is reduced. A lighter mixture of peat, pine bark and Perlite dries out more quickly and therefore requires more frequent watering.

Another factor to consider relates to geography and location. I am fortunate to live on the Gulf Coast of Florida where the sea breezes are laden with moisture. In the dry Midwest or the desert areas of Texas, or inside an air conditioned or heated home, watering requirements will be very different. It is advisable to keep these differences in mind when reading articles about the care of plants. Sometimes the author’s place of residence reveals why a particular watering schedule is recommended over another; so a mental comparison of the author’s and your growing conditions is recommended.

The last consideration to take into account is the time of year. Obviously the water requirements of most species will be different in the wet spring than in the hot, dry summer or cold, dry winter.

Many growers recommend that water be kept in the cups or centers of most bromeliads at all times. I have found, however, that this will promote center rot or fungus growth, especially in the hot summer months. I fill the cups when watering, but only once a week, so the cups have usually dried out before the next watering. I find it occasionally necessary to fill the cup completely until it overflows so that murky, stagnant water will be washed out.

Proper watering is not as simple as at first it may seem; fortunately, most species seem to be more forgiving of too little rather than too much water.

Bradenton, Florida

The editors are most pleased to announce that the 1982 World Bromeliad Conference has donated $5,000 for the preparation of color separations which are required for the printing of color illustrations in the Journal. Money from this fund has been used for this issue’s color illustrations. By means of this generous contribution, it will be possible to maintain and augment the quality of article illustrations.

John P. Barbie, Jr. — Bromeliad Artist


Photo by Sue Gardner
John P. Barbie, Jr. and one of his paintings.

If you ever wished that you could have a particularly beautiful bromeliad last forever in its finest glory, you can certainly obtain your wish through the artistry of John Barbie.

John became interested in bromeliads as a boy and began to collect and draw them when he was only fourteen years old. Since then, he has received a Bachelor of Arts degree in art education from the University of South Florida and in the past few years has renewed his interest in drawing bromeliads. He discovered the need for more accurate pictorial representations of bromeliads when he began to seek new plants for his collection.

John’s keen eye and appreciation of nature is evident in his work. Living in Tampa, Florida he sees native bromeliads on a day to day basis and has also traveled in Mexico and Ecuador. It is the beauty of bromeliads as they grow naturally that he tries to capture in his work. His drawings, usually done in colored pencil, are rendered in such perfect detail of form and color that they can easily withstand the most critical, close inspection. He delights in representing a plant as accurately as possible, especially a plant which was collected from the wild, with some signs of its natural origin included. It may be a tattered or brown tipped leaf, or perhaps a hole where an insect had a meal. It is also not unusual to see a few withered brown leaves at the plant’s base. "After all," says John, "that is how they grow." He loves to tell about a friend who had a beautiful bromeliad that he wanted to draw. When the plant arrived he was dismayed. It was almost unrecognizable because the proud owner had "groomed" it severely.

Photo by R. Serijan
A painting of Neoregelia melanodonta by John P. Barbie, Jr.

Photo by R. Serijan
A painting of Aechmea orlandiana by John P. Barbie, Jr.

A painting of Guzmania musaica by John P. Barbie, Jr.

John’s work as a bromeliad artist is beginning to gain the recognition it deserves. He was featured in a one-person exhibition at the Marie Selby Botanical Garden’s Museum of Botany and the Arts in the spring of 1980. For those who attended the 1980 World Bromeliad Conference in Orlando, his drawings were a special treat; more than a dozen were on exhibit. In a secret ballot vote for the most popular art display, John’s drawings won by a landslide from among 10 exhibits from across the country. At the 1982 World Bromeliad Conference in Corpus Christi, Texas, John’s work won both 1st and 2nd place trophies in a similar popularity balloting.

Beautiful souvenir posters were created by John for both the 1980 and the 1982 World Bromeliad Conferences. The 1982 poster is illustrated on the back cover of Volume XXXII, No. 3 (May-June, 1982) of the Journal of the Bromeliad Society. All of us look forward to seeing more from this talented young bromeliad artist.

Corpus Christi, Texas

Vanished Bromeliads


When the bromeliad monograph by L. B. Smith in Flora Neotropica is carefully examined, it is apparent that the well-known species are accompanied in the appendix by a multitude of references to herbarium holdings; other species, on the other hand, have references to only a few specimens or even to just a single example with the notation "known from the type collection only."

These references have little significance for the average bromeliad enthusiast, but for the person more involved in the taxonomy and the geographic distribution of bromeliads, this information reflects the frequency or rarity of the various species.

Why have many species been found only once, sometimes over a hundred years ago, and since then have never been found again? Is the distribution area so remote that no collector has ever again come across it? Or has the species totally vanished, died out, disappeared from our planet?

One would think that through the ever increasing travel of both professional collectors and many amateurs no species would have been overlooked, but the constant new discoveries prove this to be not true. The discovery of a new species is significant and a thrill for the fortunate collector, but when a long lost species is re-discovered, that too is a joyous event and of great scientific value, as for example the recent re-discovery of Tillandsia diguetii Mez and Roland-Gosselin 1916 (Holotype Diguet s.n., Mexico, Manzanillo, Colima, in the Berlin Herbarium) known up to now only from the type collection but re-discovered by the enthusiastic German plant collector Renate Ehlers (R. Ehlers, March 1981, Mexico, Colima, WEB 358). Such a re-discovery has the same scientific value as a new discovery provided, of course, that it is published and a prepared specimen of it is placed in a herbarium. For that purpose the U.S. National Herbarium or the Selby Herbarium of the BIC are appropriate depositories. Incidentally that applies not only to new discoveries and re-discoveries; prepared specimens of known species with precise information on the type locality are also valuable pieces in the mosaic of knowledge about distribution areas of the various species and their variability. Experience tells us that not all collected specimens withstand the trip home or hold up under treatment by agriculture authorities and these are usually culled out and thrown away. But if such plants are collected in inflorescence they can have scientific importance when they are dried between layers of newspaper, pressed, and placed at the disposal of a herbarium.

Concerning vanished species, good examples are provided by Vriesea lancifolia (Baker) L. B. Smith 1941 and Vriesea recurvata Gaudichaud 1843 from Bahia, Brazil, never again collected since they were first collected over 100 years ago. These two examples are probably typical of many other species, in that they were encountered while examining the holdings of the bromeliad herbaria of Halle and Kiel and it was found that the holdings of these two species in these depositories are not cited in Flora Neotropica and are thus heretofore unknown.

It is an awesome, exciting feeling to hold in one’s hand such old herbarium material from the past century. Like contemplating a valuable antique, one observes with awe the dried plant whose original collector has long since passed away. One’s imagination rushes back to the times before air travel, Landrovers, and other such aids for modern travelers, to times when pioneers traveled for months on a sailing ship in order to reach tropical lands and there rode mules on uncharted paths or penetrated the unexplored interior in fragile boats. We know nothing of their feelings and thoughts when they dried their collected plants in the evening around a campfire sometimes trembling with fever and plagued by mosquitoes! It takes great enthusiasm and a lot of love for the natural sciences to endure these rigors. We should constantly remind ourselves of this fact, because without the sacrifices of these pioneers of science the present extent of our knowledge and the spread of bromeliad enjoyment would not be possible.

Vriesea lancifolia was first described by Baker in his Handbook of Bromeliaceae, 1889, as Tillandsia lancifolia relying on the specimen deposited in the British Museum; it was collected by Blanchet in Igreja Velha, Bahia, Brazil, under the number 3458. The exact date is not known, since his descriptions are not dated. Jacques Samuel Blanchet collected from 1828 to 1856 in Bahia (Ilheus, Cavavellas, Muritiba, Serra Jacobina, Nage, Igreja Velha, Olhos d’Aqua, Utinque, Itabira, Tamandua, St. Thome, and Poco d’Areia). In Flora Neotropica, L.B. Smith cities in addition to the British Museum holotype, isotypes with the same collection number deposited in the U. S. National Herbarium and in the herbarium of the Missouri Botanical Garden, as well as a specimen in Geneva from Bahia without a location as Blanchet Nr. 238. Isotypes of Blanchet Nr. 3458 have also been discovered deposited in Halle and in Kiel. The accompanying drawing of this interesting vanished species was prepared from the Halle specimen. A thorough description can be found in Flora Neotropica. The handwritten notes by Blanchet in addition to the Nr. 3458 also state: "fl. leui rupestris" (Halle) and "fl. lutei ad rupes" (Kiel). That means that Vriesea lancifolia grows on cliffs and has a yellow flower. For the other vanished species, V. recurvata Gaudichaud 1843, we find cited as holotype Gaudichaud s.n., Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Paris), and as further material Blanchet s.n., Bahia, Brazil, (British Museum) and Blanchet Nr. 2084 (Geneva). Among the uncertain bromeliads from the Kiel herbarium, there was a portfolio with Vriesea recurvata with the sole notation of the Nr. 2084. A comparison of the handwritten numbers proved that this notation was also made by Blanchet himself and that the plant thus was also collected in Bahia. The accompanying drawing was prepared from the specimen in Kiel.

Vriesea recurvata
A. Habit. B. Flower bract. C. Flower bract spread flat. D. Sepals.

Vriesea lancifolia
A. Habit B. Flower bract C. Sepal

We are compelled to ask whether a species never again found could have such a broad distribution area: Bahia and the vicinity of Rio de Janeiro. In my opinion that improbable. I presume that the location citing of the Gaudichaud holotype was a misunderstanding. Charles Gaudichaud-Beaupre from Angouleme, France, (1789-1854) was in Brazil three times: 1817-1820, 1831-1833, and 1836-1837. He collected around Rio de Janiero, in the Organ Mountains, Sao Paulo, Santa Catarina, Mato Grosso, and in Bahia. It is thus quite possible and rather probable that a note with the location "Rio de Janiero" mistakenly got into the portfolio with Vriesea recurvata and that the plant was actually collected in Bahia.

It would be quite rewarding if my remarks here would inspire collectors in Bahia in the coming years to search for these two vanished species. Perhaps in the not too distant future we will find color photographs of the search in the Journal of the Bromeliad Society!

Waldsteinberg, German Democratic Republic

Translated by Harvey L. Kendall

Cold Hardy Cryptanthus


Several authors of articles in this Journal, as well as in the publications of several affiliated societies, have mentioned that cryptanthus are sensitive to cold temperatures. Even several degrees above freezing has been noted to result in damage. In spite of these warnings, last summer I planted a number of extra cryptanthus offsets in the garden. Several months later, after a record freeze with temperatures near 20 °F and about 36 hours below 32 ° the cryptanthus in the beds were hardly damaged. Those that were damaged had brown edges on the leaves.

Most of these plants were located in relatively protected areas, although in some cases other plants nearby that are commonly grown in outdoor beds in our area, e.g., sansevieria, were badly damaged. One factor to which I attribute their survival in the garden during the cold weather is that the leaves are positioned horizontally against the ground, allowing the warmth of the soil to radiate to the leaves. This also prevents the leaves from catching the winds. These same plants probably would not have survived in pots set above the ground level in these same locations.

Vriesea vietoris

Photo by Kathleen Burt-Utley

This recently described species is known from the northern part of the Cordillera de Talamanca in Costa Rica in the lower montane wet forest at 1800-2100 m elevation. The features which characterize V. vietoris are its unbanded leaves, pendent, many-flowered inflorescence (14 or more flowers) and floral bracts which are equal or subequal to the brightly colored sepals. The flowers are diurnal, greenish-white and tubular. V. vietoris is very similar in general appearance to both V. leucophylla and V. hainesiorum. See page 208.

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