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

1981-83: Eloise Beach, Nat DeLeon, Charles Dills, Edgar Smith, John F. Utley, Leslie Walker, Wilbur Wood, Robert P. Wright.

1982-84: Allen Edgar, Linda Harbert, Annie Navetta, Peter Peroz, Herbert Plever.

1983-85: David Benzing, Connie Johnson, Ron Lucibell, Valerie Steckler.

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, CA 95819


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

Copyright 1983 by the
Bromeliad Society, Inc.

Abromeitiella lotteae: A Remarkable New Species from Southern Bolivia
  Werner Rauh239
Studies of the Genus Billbergia
  Robert W. Read & Lyman B. Smith243
Setting Up Your Own Bromeliad Herbarium
  Wilhelm Weber246
Bromeliad Research at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
  G.S. Varadarajan253
Bromeliads in Sao Pedro D'Aldeia County, Brazil
  Elton M.C. Leme257
A New Cultivar: Aechmea gamosepala 'Lucky Stripes'
  Rick Paul262
The Bromeliad World: Diversity and Tolerance of Many Tastes
  H. Alton Lee264
Counting Down to the "Bromelympics"
  Paul T. Isley III et al266
Planting Media for Bromeliad Seeds
  Kenneth Quinn270
  Linda Harbert271


Billbergia eloiseae: Photo by Eloise Beach See page 243 for article.


Tillandsia capitata: Photo by Werner Rauh

Abromeitiella lotteae: A Remarkable New Species from Southern Bolivia1


Abromeitiella lotteae

Abromeitiella lotteae Rauh, named in honor of Mrs. Lotte Hromadnik, wife of Dr. R. Hromadnik, both very enthusiastic and successful bromeliad collectors, (see also Tillandsia lotteae, J. Brom. Soc. 28:263-265, 1978) is a very handsome new species and differs from the known species with green flowers by having brown-winered flowers. A. lotteae, growing in southern Bolivia at an altitude of 2700 m. on steep, rocky-grassy slopes (p.240) forms enormous and very hard cushions (according to the branching scheme in Bromelien by W. Rauh, fig. 7, p.27) in which hundreds of rosettes grow together forming a convex surface. These cushions can reach a diameter of several meters and a height of 1 m or more.

Photos by R. and L. Hromadnik  
Abromeitiella lotteae Abromeitiella lotteae, in natural habitat

Abromeitiella lorentziana Abromeitiella brevifolia

Rosettes of: Left: Abromeitiella lotteae; Middle: A. brevifolia; Right: A. lorentziana.

In cultivation, the single rosette has a diameter up to 12 cm; the rosette axis is short, thick and covered with the pale-white sheaths of the leaves. The spreading blades are narrow-triangular, 1-1.2 cm broad at the base and taper to a sharp, hard terminal thorn; the margins have bright yellow spines about 3 mm in length; the upper sides of the blades are nearly glabrous and therefore bright, dark-green in contrast to the other species of Abromeitiella which have leaves whose upper surfaces are densely lepidote. Another difference, especially between A. lotteae and A. lorentziana, to which A. lotteae is related, is the color of the flowers. In A. lorentziana the petals are bright green and in A. lotteae they are brown-winered and green tipped.

A new key to the genus Abromeitiella follows:

1. A. Leaf blades not longer than 22 mm; rosettes therefore small (p. 242); petals green A. brevifolia Griseb.
B. Leaf blades longer than 22 mm, 5-15 cm long 2
2. A. Petals bright green; blade upperside densely gray lepidote; few spines along the leaf margin (p. 241) A. lorentziana (Mez) Cast.
B. Petals brown-winered; blade upperside nearly glabrous and therefore bright, dark-green with stiff, yellow-brown spines along the leaf margin A. lotteae Rauh

All 3 species live in similar habitats: they are high-Andean plants of the dry, windblown, grassy-rocky puna, where they appear often in such masses that they are the dominant plant in the landscape. All 3 species represent the life-form of extreme cushion plants with a regular semiglobular surface. In the Andes of Peru this growth form is represented by species of the genus Azorella in the family Asteraceae.

The distribution of Abromeitiella brevifolia extends from southern Bolivia (Tarija) up to northern Argentina; A lorentziana is known only from Northwest Argentina; A. lotteae is known today only from the type locality. It is associated with a small form of Tillandsia sphaerocephala, a new small Tillandsia, T. mollis (n.n. Hromadnik) and Cleistocactus straussii. All 3 species grow very well in cultivation, especially with cacti from the high Andes.

I wish to thank Dr. and Mrs. R. Hromadnik for the living material they gave to the Botanical Garden of the University of Heidelberg.

Heidelberg, Germany


1) The Latin diagnosis and a more detailed description appears in: "Bromelienstudien XIII," Mitteilung, Tropische und Subtropische Pflanzenwelt. Adad. d. Wiss, u.d. Lit. Mainz.

Studies of the Genus Billbergia


The genus Billbergia is at once immediately recognizable and at the same time an enigma. There are 2 clearly separable sections to the genus: the subgenus Billbergia, with nearly straight or shortly recurved petals at anthesis, and the subgenus Helicodea with the petals tightly coiled like a watch-spring at anthesis. The former has petals that remain in position, with perhaps a slight twist, following anthesis, but the latter (Helicodea) uncoil again and relax against the long stamens and style as the flower fades. Apart from the question of newly discovered species, which need to be described, and some problems involving reinterpretation of certain species complexes (i.e., B. saundersii/B. fosteriana/B. debilis/B. macrocalyx), there still remains a great amount of interesting work, in order to better understand the genus Billbergia.

Out of 54 species treated by Smith and Downs in their monograph (1979), 17 species are known only from the single original collection, 3 of which were known only from cultivated origins, and 9 additional species are known from only the type and one additional collection. Therefore nearly half of the known species are known only superficially from an illustration, a single specimen, or at best one in addition to the type. Why this should be so is a puzzle, since most of the species are rather attractive ornamentals, even though Dr. Smith calls them "one-day-wonders."

Over the past few years we have been slowly acquiring live specimens of as many species of Billbergia as we can grow in the limited space available in our Department of Botany greenhouse. It is hoped that in the next few years many more species will be grown and observed, both in living collections and in the wild, in order to eventually produce a comprehensive monograph of the genus. Several years ago Eloise Beach, of Apopka, Florida, and of Orlando Show fame, sent us a billbergia that she had purchased along with some other bromeliads. She said she was unable to identify it. The following year the plant flowered and the authors also found that they too were unable to identify it, so, with assurances that the plant was wild-collected in Colombia, the following description of a new species is presented.

Billbergia eloiseae R.W. Read & L.B. Smith sp. nov.

A B. macrolepis L.B. Smith, cui affinis, ovario turbinato et a B. tessmannii Harms et B. formosa Ule bracteis florigeris ovatis acutis sepalis oblongis acutis differt.

Photo by Eloise Beach
Billbergia eloiseae, inflorescence.

PLANTS: about 6 dm high, narrowly tubular with arching, strongly patterned leaves, and propagating by basal offsets, not at all rhizomatous. LEAVES: ligulate ca. 80 cm long by ca. 3.5 - 6.5 cm wide, tapering gradually toward the rounded acute apex, densely appressed-lepidote on both surfaces, the coalesced mat of scales sloughing off on drying, strongly white-banded and variously white spotted with patches of greater density and visibility of enlarged scales on both surfaces, but more conspicuously marked abaxially. SHEATHS: ca. 15 cm long, not noticeably distinct as an extension of the blade but lacking teeth, the region of blade insertion being darker in color than the blade; blades apically subacute, regularly and finely serrate with teeth ca. 1 mm or less long, the teeth green like the blade.

Camera lucida drawings of Billbergia eloiseae. A. sepal; B. section of ovary showing ovules, epigynous tube (indicated by bracket), base of petals with appendages, and base of sepals (cross-hatched); C. base of flower (ovary and attached sepals) corresponding to the same region in B; D. enlarged base of a petal with 2 appendages; E. & F. sepals of B. formosa and B. tessmannii respectively.

INFLORESCENCE: simple, pendulous, laxly many flowered. SCAPE: ca. 45 cm long, ca. 8 mm in diameter when alive, densely white-farinose; rachis ca. 16 cm long, also densely white-farinose lepidote. SCAPE BRACTS: broadly lanceolate, ca. 8 - 15 cm long by 2 - 4 cm wide, delft rose in color, lightly farinose-lepidote abaxially, the lower ones erect and clasping the axis, not imbricate, shorter than the internodes, the divergent to spreading upper ones being massed-involucrate toward the junction with the rachis. FLOWERS: sessile, to ca. 10 cm long, spreading to downward angled, the basal flowers subtended by enlarged floral bracts essentially identical to the proximal scape bracts. FLORAL BRACTS: mostly shorter than the ovary throughout the rest of the inflorescence, rounded-acute to ovate-acute 2 - 7 mm long. OVARY: turbinate, deeply sulcate (corrugate) ribbed, trigonous, 7 - 10 mm long, densely farinose-lepidote; epigynous tube 2.5 - 3 mm high, wider than the ovary, abruptly constricted at the base of the sepals; ovules numerous. SEPALS: subequal, 25 - 32 mm long by ca. 9 mm wide, salmon-pink, conspicuously farinose-lepidote abaxially, glabrous abaxially, the lateral two asymmetric. PETALS: oblanceolate ca. 10 cm long by ca. 7 mm wide, a golden straw-yellow suffused with pale violet along the margins, recoiling in a tight spiral at anthesis, bearing 2 dentate, truncate appendages inside at the base. STAMENS: ca. 9 cm long, shorter than the extended petals, the filaments not adnate to the petals, the anthers filiform, ca. 18 mm long, basifixed in line with the filaments. STYLE: ca. 8 cm long.

TYPE: Eloise Beach 75 - 124 (cultivated in the greenhouse of the Department of Botany, Smithsonian Institution), specimens at US, holotype; COL, isotype.

DISTRIBUTION: Originally wild-collected in "Colombia" according to Mr. Velick of the now defunct Velco Bromeliad Importing Company, who would not release locality data, so its anyone's guess.

Billbergia eloiseae differs from B. microlepis by its turbinate, not ellipsoid ovary, stamen-filaments not adnate to the petals, sepals 25 - 32 mm long, and the green not black leaf serrations less than 1 mm long. From two other less well-known, but closely related species, B. formosa Ule and B. tessmannii Harms, B. eloiseae differs by having much shorter and relatively broader sepals which are subequal, two being alike and asymmetric with the third symmetrical and larger, oblong-acute, 25 - 32 mm by 8 - 9 mm wide, and floral bracts ovate-acute 2 - 7 mm long rather than "squamiform, acute" to "mostly deltoid, almost aborted" as stated for the other two species.

Great appreciation is acknowledged for the voluntary assistance provided by Betsy Watson in the preparation of the manuscript and drawings.


Smith, L.B. & R.J. Downs, 1979. Bromeliaceae (Bromelioideae), Flora Neotropica Monograph 14, Part 3

Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Setting Up Your Own Bromeliad Herbarium


Photo by Lilly Weber
The author working on herbarium specimens.

An herbarium is a collection of pressed and dried plants attached to sheets of paper and labeled. The oldest herbaria originated in the 16th century; the inventor is unknown. The first instructions for setting up an herbarium were published in 1606 by the Dutch botanist: Adrian Spigelius. Today there are over 800 institutional herbaria, the most extensive have over six million sheets each and are in Kew (England), Leningrad, and Paris. Herbaria are valued for various reasons, and have special importance because the dried plants contain all the anatomical and morphological features of the fresh plants and therefore can be used for various scientific studies, for which photographs are useless. It is clear, therefore, that herbaria are becoming more and more important for botany in spite of the development of more modern means of documentation. Even after decades or even centuries, herbarium material can be used in morphological, anatomical, phytochemical and other types of studies. For example, it was possible to take small pieces of leaves of herbarium plants over 100 years old and by solvent extractions and two-dimensional paper chromatography determine the composition of flavones peculiar to that species and thereby explain that species' relationship to other species whose flavone composition was known. Also, the captions on herbarium material indicating as precisely as possible information on type location, date, biotope, ecological conditions, etc., give important data for studies in plant history, geography, and sociology. Only through precise labeling does the mounted specimen become a document. An herbarium, even generations later, is a reservoir of information for botanical research, and in it are specimens of many species which may have become extinct through the unfortunate activities of humans. Herbaria have special meaning for the identification techniques in botanical taxonomy. In order for a published description to be valid, the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature requires the original describer to cite the herbarium specimen and its location in the description of any new species, sub-species, variety, etc. This specimen is called a holotype and is indispensable as an object for comparison. For botany, it has the same significance as, for example, the Parisian meter has for physics.

So much for the importance of an herbarium. The actual purpose of my article is to encourage you, to set up your own bromeliad herbarium, and for that purpose I wish to give some advice on how to proceed. The basis for one's own herbarium can be formed from something that happens to each of us; surely there is no bromeliad grower who has not suddenly lost a rare specimen and has been able to replace it only after years of search or maybe not at all. Generally such specimens end up on the compost heap as do also imported plants that did not survive the trip; but if the inflorescence, even if it is faded or had produced fruit, is present, you should press it, dry it, and store it in your own bromeliad herbarium. If such specimens do not actually crumble in your hands, you can recognize species-specific characteristics such as scaling of the leaves, bracts, or sepals, whether they have a keel or not, whether they are thick and leathery or papery, etc., characteristics that are not clearly recognizable in a photograph, if at all. In the course of years such a collection will grow and thus the grower increases his or her knowledge and can then draw on the examples for purposes of comparison regardless of the flowering season.

Let us begin with the size of the herbarium page, because the preparation of the plant depends on page size. In public herbaria the usual format in the past has been 2844 cm. Today, however, the standard format is becoming more and more ca. 3042 cm, e.g., the German DIN A3 format. The pressed and dried plants are attached to stiff poster board of this format. It is more advantageous, however, to use sheets twice this size folded in the middle. The plants are better protected in such double sheets. The plant is mounted inside on the right side and the caption is attached in one corner. On the left side you can add further information, such as a detail drawing, descriptions, photographs of the habitat, etc. These additions will considerably increase the value of the herbarium. The chosen format will determine whether you will be able to accommodate the whole plant, or in the case of large species, only parts. As an example, an entire specimen of Streptocalyx floribundus or any large species of Puya would not fit on any herbarium sheets. In such cases only characteristic parts are collected and prepared, e.g., one or two complete leaves with the sheath are bent one or more times at a sharp angle and made to fit into the available space. For a large, compound inflorescence, depending on its size, one or more lateral spikes and the terminal spike are cut and mounted. Be careful, however, to preserve a part of the main axis with the primary bract. It is even better to insert into the double folder single pages on which are mounted properly cut segments of the whole inflorescence. If the inflorescence extends just a bit beyond the page, however, do not simply bend it a little to make it fit, but fold it at a sharp angle (Fig. 1); otherwise someone could get the impression that this species has a pendulous inflorescence instead of an upright one.

First the plants or plant parts must be pressed flat and dried, which is not a simple matter in many bromeliads, since they are xerophytes and strongly resist drying. I recently saw Tillandsia capillaris revive after being in the herbarium for two months!

There are some aids to speed the drying process. The faster this process is carried out the better the original colors are preserved. Smaller species can be placed between layers of newspaper and carefully ironed at low temperature. In doing so, however, be careful not to apply too much pressure, so that, for example, you do not press a keel into unkeeled flower bracts and thus cause later misunderstandings. Larger plants can be dried overnight at 60-70 C in a dehydrator of the type used in laboratories or by physicians for sterilizing instruments. The drying process can then be completed later in a plant press. Xerophytic species can be dried more quickly if they are first fixed by soaking them for 10 to 15 minutes in ethanol or methanol, possibly with the addition of 3% carbontetrachloride thus killing the cells; only living tissues resist drying. Thin-leaved species, on the other hand, such as many vrieseas, guzmanias, catopsis, etc. can be dried fresh by putting them directly between paper. Keep a supply of material, such as folded newspapers available. Instead of newspaper you can also use filter paper or any other absorbent paper. The plants or plant parts are laid on the paper and arranged as they are to appear on the herbarium sheet. Arrange the pages so that they can be opened from right to left and arrange the plants so that the pages can be joined continuously with the prepared material from left to right. Thus folded leaves can be straightened and the inflorescences can be re-assembled. Put little pieces of paper between plant parts that overlap. Add whatever notations or information you have about the plant. One or two thicker layers of papers are laid on top of the closed folder. The opening edge of this thicker layer should point to the left (Fig. 2). If several plants are being prepared at the same time, alternating layers of folders and filler are stacked together. When the stack becomes 15 to 20 cm high, add some thick cardboard to stabilize the stack.

Now you must press and dry the prepared stack. For this purpose you can use a board weighted down with bricks or other weights, or you can put the stack in a plant press made of either two boards slightly larger than the paper format or two metal plates perforated for air circulation. The boards or plates can be used to apply pressure to the stack by means of screw clamps (Fig. 3). The press should be in a dry, ventilated location and the more often you change the filler layers the faster the plants will dry. When changing filler layers do not open the folders; just exchange the damp filler papers for fresh dry ones. This procedure is repeated daily until the plants are dry.

If you have access to a freeze-dry unit, you can dry the plants very quickly and with less damage; also the natural colors are better preserved this way. This process involves placing the prepared plant press in a vacuum container, which is cooled to -20 to -30 C by means of a coolant; then the air is drawn off with a vacuum pump which should lower the air pressure to less than 1 torr. This elegant method is seldom used however, and is mentioned here only for the sake of completeness. Freeze-dried mushrooms, for example, can be prepared to look completely natural and fresh. After drying, the folders containing the plants and their captions and other information are stored temporarily by being tied up between two pieces of stiff cardboard. One proceeds in a similar fashion when one selects plants for an herbarium while on a collection trip. The chosen plants are put directly into folders and transported in portfolios that are tied tightly and made portable and in which they were prepared for pressing; and it is important to keep a record of precise, comprehensive information on the collection site. To avoid confusion, the collector should label each plant with a collection number and the date. In addition, one should note immediately the color of the leaves, bracts, flowers, etc., because these usually change in the drying process. As a matter of principle in scientific work, one should not rely on memory.

The dried plants can now be mounted on the final herbarium sheets. They are attached with narrow strips of paper spread with water-soluble glue (Fig. 4). Never use self-adhering tape, since this type of tape is difficult to remove later and can cause damage to the plants. On the other hand, wide or thick parts, e.g., the bulbous base of Tillandsia streptophylla, can be sewn onto the sheet by using a strong thread and needle and sewing through the poster board and tying the knots on the back. You should always keep in mind that all parts must be easily accessible for study, but the plants must be securely attached.

The arrangement of the plants on the folders should be such that the natural habit of growth is shown as clearly as possible. The thickest parts, usually the base of the rosette, should not always be located at the same place on each sheet, since the stack in the portfolio would become uneven and unsteady. Therefore vary the location of the rosette, so that later the bound portfolio will have about the same density in each of the four corners.

The herbarium folders are kept in portfolios of heavy mat board, 2-3 mm thick. These covers should extend beyond the folders by about five mm on all sides. If a folder format of 3042 cm is used, the covers should measure 3143 cm. On the top and on the bottom two ribbons of about 10 mm in width are threaded through punched slits so that the portfolio can be tied tightly. (Fig. 5). Depending on the thickness of the plants, one can accommodate approximately 30 to 50 folders in one portfolio. The herbarium portfolios are stored flat in a dustproof cabinet. Since dried plants break easily when bent, one must handle them carefully and never leaf through them like the pages of a book but lay them aside in the original order, page by page.

Herbarium plants are threatened by being eaten by any one of several kinds of mites, post beetles, and other insects. Valuable and irreplaceable herbarium material, such as Bonpland's once extensive collection of several thousand folders, has been transformed into dust by insects. Therefore every herbarium must be fumigated regularly. In the larger institutional herbaria, every room is fumigated usually yearly. Smaller collections can be sprayed with an insecticide; but it is better to lay in the herbarium cabinets insecticide strips such as those used for moths in clothes closets and change them yearly.

The arrangement of the prepared herbarium folders in a portfolio can be carried out according to several schemes. The usual way is to alphabetize the specimens according to genus and within the genus according to species. One could also order the specimens according to sub-categories such as sub-genera. For example, species of Tillandsia could be grouped into the sub-genera Anoplophytum, Pseudocatopsis, Diaphoranthema, etc., thus placing closely related species together.

Finally some further advice on working with herbarium material. Comparative studies are concerned usually with characteristics of the floral organs. A good flower in its peak of bloom should be severed from the axis of the inflorescence with a sharp pair of scissors and boiled in water for 10 to 15 minutes. It is then so softened and swollen that the flower bracts, sepals, etc. can easily be separated, spread out, and dried flat. If you observe the drawings accompanying published original descriptions, you will notice that the floral organs are shown and described in a spread-out state. The beginner will have difficulty in spreading out the thin-skinned and frequently twisted petals. This is accomplished most easily if they are floated in water and carefully spread then lifted out on a slide glass. The ligula of the petals, such as those in vrieseas, are very difficult to show, but they are easier seen floating in water in a dish. Once the petals have been caught spread out on a glass slide, they are covered with absorbent paper to dry them. Treat fresh flowers the same way; they can also be boiled so that the usually stiff and rolled bracts or sepals can be spread out better in a turgid state.

Steps in preparing herbarium specimens; see text for details.

After the parts are examined they should be returned to the herbarium folder from which they were taken. Some people use "purses" folded from paper for this purpose. For later investigators it is better, however, to mount the flower parts on a suitable piece of poster board by using very narrow strips of paper in just the same way that the herbarium plant itself is mounted. To protect it further, cover it with a somewhat larger piece of clear cellophane. The protruding edges of the cellophane are folded around the piece of board and taped to the back.

I hope at least some readers will be encouraged to start a personal herbarium. In the course of a few years, much interesting and valuable material can be collected and preserved. In doing so, one gets to know the species better and learns to distinguish them from one another. A well prepared herbarium folder is a source of much pleasure.

One is also reminded that our stay on this beautiful earth will not last forever and we should try to ensure that a collection compiled over many years will be preserved for science. As a legacy assigned to a public institutional herbarium, it will testify over the years to our involvement and our love for the fascinating bromeliads.

Translated by Harvey L. Kendall.

Waldsteinberg, German Democratic Republic

Bromeliad Research At The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens


The opportunity to visit for a few weeks the Mulford B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center (B.I.C.) at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Florida, was arranged as a part of my doctoral research on "The Taxonomy and Evolution of the subfamily Pitcairnioideae (Bromeliaceae)." I planned to make this research visit at the Selby Botanical Gardens before starting my 9-month collecting expedition in South America starting in August, 1983. The objectives of the work at the B.I.C. were to study the species in the Pitcairnioideae in the living as well as in the herbarium collections in order to enhance my keying abilities, and procure some materials for my subsequent cytological and anatomical work to be done at Washington State University, Pullman, Washington. I wanted to acquire as much knowledge as possible of the patterns of variation within the species by coordinating my study between the living and dry specimens, an activity which is feasible only in a place like the Selby Botanical Gardens. I was convinced of the value of making a visit to the Gardens after my major professor at Washington State University, Dr. Amy Jean Gilmartin, explained the benefits of a visit, which she herself experienced during her research program there earlier this year.

I believe that it would be of interest and value to the members of the Bromeliad Society to be informed of the facilities available at the B.I.C. for anyone planning to undertake bromeliad research at the Selby Gardens. This article is devoted, therefore, to emphasizing the potentials with which the B.I.C. is endowed for promoting bromeliad research. Since my research involves only one of the sub-families of the Bromeliaceae, the discussion which follows relates primarily to the pitcairnioid species.

Living Pitcairnioids

It is a fact that bromeliad growers are more interested in the tillandsioid and bromelioid species rather than in the pitcairnioid species with the exception of certain species of Pitcairnia, Dyckia and Puya. Frequently, the pitcairnioid species tend to have small, greenish or whitish flowers with floral bracts less attractive than those in tillandsioid or bromelioid species. In spite of these facts, I was amazed to find that nearly 10% of the total pitcairnioid species were being grown in the Selby Gardens. Of the 13 genera I plan to study, I had the opportunity to examine in the Gardens some important representatives of Abromeitiella, Brocchinia, Cottendorfia, Deuterocohnia, Dyckia, Fosterella, Hechtia, Navia, Pitcairnia and Puya.

Pitcairnia imbricata

Species of Pitcairnia, Brocchinia, Fosterella and Cottendorfia are grown in the greenhouses and several of them have flowered quite a few times since they first reached the Gardens. Most species of Pitcairnia have attractive flowers; e.g., Pitcairnia punicea, P. andreana, P. nuda, P. nigra, P. imbricata (p. 254) and P. pungens (p. 255). The greenhouses in the Selby Gardens seem to provide reasonably good growing conditions for the several non-xerophytic pitcairnioids. The epiphytic and terrestrial species of Pitcairnia and quite a few of the other terrestrial pitcairnioids are maintained in temperatures ranging from 61 F to 88 F. One of the greenhouses has controlled temperatures varying between a maximum of 80 F and a minimum 50 F.

Pitcairnia pungens

The newly landscaped succulent bed provides a congenial habitat for the xerophytic pitcairnioids, such as species of Deuterocohnia, Dyckia, Hechtia and Puya. Designed primarily through the efforts of Kiat Tan, Paul Colmorgan and Lou Randall, the succulent bed also accommodates xerophytic non-bromeliads such as stapelias, agaves, aloes, sanseverias, euphorbias, etc. Although much hotter and more humid than their natural environment in the highlands of Central and South America where these xerophytic pitcairnioids are native, the succulent bed provides a suitable habitat for these species. They have been introduced into the Gardens from time to time, thanks to the efforts of various people who helped procure them from different sources, and are very successfully maintained by the grounds staff. The living plants in the Gardens are well-documented with such data as proper accession numbers and details of origin. I was very fortunate to have been able to study some species in flower, the gross morphology of all the living specimens, and to obtain plant parts for subsequent microscopic work.

The benefits of living collections are further increased by the Gardens' germ plasm collections of several epiphytic bromeliads. Some of the living plant collections are type clones from which additional isotypes (dried specimens) are prepared. These collections provide material for the production of drawings by several botanical illustrators at the Selby Gardens which are considerably more accurate than drawings prepared from herbarium specimens. The germ plasm collections are also used as a source of plants for distribution.

Pitcairnioids In The Herbarium

In the beginning, the herbarium of the B.I.C. possessed only a modest number of bromeliad specimens, but over the past few years it has expanded greatly primarily through the frequent collecting expeditions of the Selby Gardens' staff members: Libby Beese, Calaway Dodson, Joe Halton, Carlyle Luer, Harry Luther and Michael Madison. The additions have been at the rate of at least 200 specimens each year. There are good representations of the genera Pitcairnia and Puya from Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. About two thirds of the species of Pitcairnia in the herbarium are from Ecuador. The continual addition of specimens occurs also through the cooperation of the Flora Boliviana project of the Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, Missouri, and through the exchange of duplicates with the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. Furthermore, it is understood that the Costa Rican bromeliads collected by John Utley, New Orleans, Louisiana, and the Mexican collections made by Sue Gardner, Corpus Christi, Texas, will contribute significantly to the herbarium of the B.I.C. Harry Luther, its director, expects the herbarium to become one of the most important bromeliad herbaria in the world in another 5 to 6 years considering such a positive and continual increase in the number of specimens added every year.

The herbarium gave me an opportunity to enhance my keying abilities in the pitcairnioid species. Notable among the specimens of pitcairnioids in the herbarium are the photographs of the type of several species of Dyckia, Pitcairnia and Encholirium obtained from different sources. There are about 150 such type photographs and over 50 type specimens of bromeliads that are housed in the B.I.C. herbarium. A library is an important adjunct to an herbarium and the one associated with the B.I.C. is most helpful in that it contains most of the publications and journals relating to and useful for bromeliad research.

Student Internship Program

The Selby Botanical Gardens encourages and helps students of botany and horticulture undertake research by means of participating in an internship program. Although I was the first visiting research student at the B.I.C., there are several opportunities available to students for research in orchids, gesneriads, cycads and palms.


I wish to thank Dr. Amy Jean Gilmartin for suggesting a research visit to the B.I.C. at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. I am very grateful to the director of the Selby Gardens, Lt. General George Loving, and to Mr. Harry Luther for extending the use of their facilities for my work at the B.I.C., and I am especially indebted to Mr. Luther for his personal guidance and help. I wish to express my thanks also to Drs. John Atwood and Calaway Dodson and Mrs. Libby Besse for all their help.

Pullman, Washington

Bromeliads In Sao Pedro D'Aldeia County, Brazil


On the basis of observations and collections made within the border of Sao Pedro D'Aldeia County, beginning in January 1979, a list of the species, varieties, and forms of bromeliads found in the County has been made. The purpose of this work is to assess the current status of such plants in the degraded natural vegetation of the region.

Sao Pedro D'Aldeia County is located in the state of Rio de Janeiro, 104 km from the city of Rio de Janeiro and extends over an area of 324 sq. km. The colonization of the area started in the seventeenth century by the founding of the village of Sao Pedro D'Aldeia by religious missionaries. From that time on, the region has been gradually explored. The native vegetation was burned or cut down for crop production and cattle breeding. Due to such activities, the major part of the land in this County no longer has a natural vegetation cover. Agricultural production, dairies and cattle breeding as well, occur in the region but mainly on the plains situated in the countryside areas. As one approaches Araruama Lake, however, the plains give way to low hills followed by higher ones up to 316 m above sea level which surround the Lake presenting scenery of great beauty. Because of the attractiveness of the area, tourism is presently the main commercial activity, followed by the always expanding real estate business which undoubtedly compromises the already debilitated vegetation of the region.

The vegetation on the edge of Araruama Lake can be classified as a shrub thicket. On the hills toward the countryside an arboreal thicket predominates, and in some areas a transition vegetation can be found which has some features characteristic of Atlantic Coast forests. Some species of bromeliads typically belonging to the Atlantic Forest are the living proof of the existence of an identifiable transition. Among other species occurring here are Aechmea fasciata var. fasciata, Billbergia zebrina and Tillandsia globosa var. globosa. Further into the rural area the arboreal thicket and the transition forest repeat themselves.

The remaining vegetation of the County is quite poor. The last remanescent areas of vegetation are found scattered mainly on the tops of hills. Despite being based upon the best preserved areas, this report cannot present all the species of bromeliads which may have grown in the County in the past but no longer do so.

Bromelia antiacantha

The following plants were studied and collected:

  1. Aechmea bromeliifolia (Rudge) Baker var. bromeliifolia.
  2. A. fasciata (Lindley) Baker var. fasciata.
  3. A. coelestis (K.Koch) E. Morren.
  4. A. nudicaulis (Linnaeus) Grisebach var. nudicaulis.
  5. A. ramosa Martius ex Schultes filius var. ramosa.
  6. Billbergia amoena (Loddiges) Lindley var. stolonifera Pereira & Moutinho.
  7. B. euphemiae E. Morren var. euphemiae.
  8. B. iridifolia (Nees ex martius) Lindley var. iridifolia.
  9. B. pyramidalis (Sims) Lindley var. lutea Leme & Weber var. n. (in print).
  10. B. tweedieana Baker var. tweedieana.
  11. B. tweedieana Baker var. minor L.B. Smith.
  12. B. zebrina (Herbert) Lindley.
  13. Bromelia antiacantha Bertoloni.
  14. Bromelia sp.
  15. Cryptanthus sp. "A"
  16. Cryptanthus sp. "B"
  17. Cryptanthus sp. "C-1"
  18. Cryptanthus sp. "C-2"
  19. Cryptanthus sp. "C-3"
  20. Hohenbergia augusta (Vellozo) E. Morren.
  21. Neoregelia cruenta (R. Grahan) L.B. Smith.
  22. N. eltoniana Weber
  23. N. sapiatibensis Pereira & Penna.
  24. Pseudananas sagenarius (Arruda da Camara) Camargo.
  25. Quesnelia quesneliana (Brongniart) L.B. Smith.
  26. Streptocalyx floribundus (Martius ex Schultes filius) Mez.
  27. Tillandsia gardneri Lindley var. gardneri.
  28. T. sprengeliana Klotzsch ex. Mez.
  29. T. stricta Solander var. stricta.
  30. T. globosa Wawra var. globosa.
  31. T tenuifolia Linnaeus var. tenuifolia
  32. T. usneoides (Linnaeus) Linnaeus
  33. Vriesea eltoniana Pereira & No Penna.
  34. V. procera (Martius ex Schultes filius) Wittmack var. procera.
  35. V. sucrei L.B. Smith
Tillandsia stricta, near Araruama Lake.




The list above is as complete as possible, nevertheless, there may have been other bromeliads that were missed in the survey. It is possible, for example, that Billbergia amoena var. amoena and Vriesea procera var. rubra occur within the County borders since they are both easily found in adjacent regions.

When the different species found and their altitudinal distributions are compared, and the other aspects of their habitats are brought into consideration, they can be grouped into the following categories:

  1. Bromeliads growing up to 100 m above sea level.
  2. Bromeliads growing above 100 m above sea level.
    1. Bromeliads typically of the Atlantic Forest.
    2. Bromeliads in habitats reduced by man's action.
  3. Bromeliads growing up to 316 m above sea level.
The bromeliads found in areas up to 100 m sea level are mainly terrestrial plants collected near Araruama Lake and represented by species numbered 13, 15, 21, 24, 25 and 28. Tillandsia sprengeliana (no. 28) is the only epiphyte in the group. Despite the ease with which its seeds are disseminated, we found just one small clump consisting of only a few specimens. This species, therefore, can be considered to be almost extinct in the whole region.

Above 100 m above sea level, we found plants typical of the Atlantic Forest. They are numbered 2, 3, 5, 7, 20, 30 and 33, and grow in the transition forest, limited to just a few areas. In the same areas there are species limited to the regions of remanescent vegetation, possibly due to the destruction of the vegetation at lower levels. In the past, the species numbered 4, 8, 11, 14, 17, 18, 19, 23, 31, 34 and 35 probably also grew in lower areas.

Remaining are bromeliads no. 1, 6, 9, 10, 12, 16, 22, 27, 29 and 32, which grow at intermediate levels of altitude. Many of them occur at lower elevations as well. Species no. 27, 29 and 32 occur at various levels of altitude. This wide range is probably due to their small size, high degree of adaptability to variable environments and the dissemination of their seeds by wind.

As a result of this study, 2 new species, Vriesea eltoniana and Neoregelia sapiatibensis, were discovered. Others like Billbergia tweedieana var. minor and Vriesea sucrei which previously were considered to have a restricted area of geographic distribution, are known by this study to have a broader distribution. The latter species was found in the past only in the region of Santa Tereza, state of Espirito Santo, as reported by M.B. Foster in 1955, and the former was reported in 1968 by Dimitri Sucre only from Cabo Frio, state of Rio de Janeiro.

A species of Bromelia, no. 14, could not be accurately identified due to the lack of flowering material; but this plant is undoubtedly distinct from no. 13. Also the representatives of the genus Cryptanthus were not clearly identified because this group's morphology is greatly influenced by habitat changes. For greater surety of classification and nomenclature, a systematic revision of this group is necessary.

It is quite possible that some of the species reported in this paper will disappear because of the alarming spread of the uncontrolled destruction of the regional ecosystems. Indeed, species such as Tillandsia sprengeliana can already be considered extinct in the region studied. Others are clearly deeply affected. The beautiful forms of Cryptanthus, peculiar to the region, are quite possibly going to disappear without even having been adequately studied.

Despite the limitations of the local public administration, drastic conservation measures should be taken for the preservation of the vegetation that still survives in the region, and which shelters such interesting forms of life.


I wish to thank Dr. Edmundo Pereira for the advice and help he provided in the preparation of this paper.


Leme, Elton M.C., 1982. Vriesea eltoniana A New Species From Brazil, Journal of The Brom. Soc., V. XXXII, no. 6, Nov./Dec., p. 263-264.

Pereira, Edmundo et al., 1981. Species Novae In Brasilia Bromeliacearum, Bradea, V. III, no. 27, Rio de Janeiro, p. 211-214.

Rizzini, Carlos Toledo, 1979. Tratado de Fitogeografia do Brasil, V. II, Hucitec, Sao Paulo.

Smith, Lyman B. et al., 1979. Flora Neotropica, Mon. 14, Part 3, Bromelioideae, New York.

Smith, Lyman B. et al., 1977. Flora Neotropica, Mon. 14, Part 2, Tillandsioideae, New York.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

A New Cultivar: 'Lucky Stripes'


Photo by Eloise Beach
Aechmea gamosepala 'Lucky Stripes'.

This attractive sport was first seen sprouting from within a thick mat of solid green plants thriving atop a boulder in the garden of Tampa, Florida nurseryman Ken Hudson. The foliage is distinguished by beautiful cream colored margins and vertical stripes.

First thought by many to be Aechmea cylindrata var. micrantha, it was identified as Aechmea gamosepala by Harry Luther of the Bromeliad Identification Center at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida.

Curiously, the new plant appears to be a more vigorous grower than the parent, this in spite of the variegated foliage and the resulting lack of chlorophyll. The leaves average inch broader in width and are firmer in texture. The mature height of the cultivar is quite often 2 inches taller than the parent when both are grown in the same light (approximately 50% shade). What impresses me most is the inflorescence. The scape is very tall and erect, heavier than that of the parent. The flowers are small and cobalt blue; the stems are pink. The scape bracts are variegated cream and green. 'Lucky Stripes' has proven to be quite stable, continually producing variegated offsets since its discovery 2 years ago.

Thankfully this new strain appears to be quite hardy, tolerating temperatures in the mid-thirties. It also withstands several hours of direct sunlight throughout most of the day.

Tampa, Florida

(Color separation and printing costs provided by K. W. Hudson, Hudson Nursery, Tampa, Florida).

The Bromeliad World: Diversity And Tolerance Of Many Tastes


When bromeliad lovers get together, the obvious, common, initial bond of friendship is provided by the plants. The discovery of other, similar interests is always a nice bonus.

Nevertheless, too many of us may forget that people can be interested in bromeliads in different ways with varying intensities. That all bromeliad groups and societies do not seem to understand this truth frequently leads to waning interests and declining memberships.

Consider the following examples of the diversity of interest in these fascinating plants.

Some members' greatest interest is in acquiring new plants. Some collectors want everything available; others are long past this stage of contagion, and some may never have been in it because of financial or space limitations or for other reasons.

There are members with very limited space and funds who may find their greatest fulfillment with bromeliads simply by being with other collectors and seeing and sharing their collections, even if it is only vicariously.

There are bromeliad lovers who yearn to see the collections of others and compare them with their own; and there are members who prefer their own gardens, special plants, and their own privacy.

Some people want to know everything possible about each plant in the bromeliad world, both species and hybrids; and there are probably a few who would even buy films showing the actual matings which create each new hybrid, or who would even be interested in collecting pollinating brushes. Then there are others who buy a plant simply because it is attractive and different from others that they know. Nomenclature, genetic history and whether or not it is a hybrid are of minor importance to them.

Some bromeliad members enjoy the thrill of stomping through shrinking, primeval jungles to snatch a given plant from its native environment. There are others who prefer the rigors of UPS and the agony of the post office for their collecting. Others dare to brave the mayhem-ridden highways to see, select and buy their plants. A few probably use all these methods for enhancing their collections.

Heresy though it may seem, some members actually appreciate other plants besides bromeliads. They will surreptitiously find room for aroids, orchids, gingers or even lowly African violets and appreciate them just as much as Guzmania Orangeade in all of its glory.

Some members want to read every word that appears in print about bromeliads, collect every book, whatever the language, and see every art representation. There is a further division of interest here between the lay and technical reader. There are others who find little to interest them in the bromeliad literature.

Some members feel that the zenith of bromeliad satisfaction is to grow plants to perfection, according to a given group of judges, and to win colored ribbons and mock-silver. To others, this enterprise is essentially meaningless. While they may view shows as important, useful and nice, and while they may willingly work at setting them up and selling their own or other people's plants, not even more suitable prizes such as bromeliad-related objects or rare bromeliads themselves would induce them to enter plants. It isn't their "thing."

Some live to sell their plants at shows or meetings; others prefer to trade or give away their surplus.

Some are not satisfied unless they can grow each plant to perfection and "show-quality." Others grow bromeliads only because they look good in a landscape. Still other bromeliad growers labor with their plants only for the personal satisfaction they bring; they could care less what a judge or neighbor thinks of their efforts.

Some members want regular, meaty, thought-provoking programs at the bromeliad meetings with local and regional experts on hand. Others are just as satisfied with a show-and-tell approach provided by local members; and there are a few who are as interested in the socializing and visits with friends as they are in the bromeliads.

Some members are fascinated with political structures and the machinations of bureaucracies. Others worry that when too much time is spent haggling over by-laws and show dates to the exclusion of attention to the plants, much member interest will wither and attendance will decay.

So what it finally comes down to is an enormous diversity of interests and the need for tolerance of a variety of tastes as well as some effort to meet many needs. The situation presents an enormous challenge for the leadership as it struggles to avoid over-emphasizing any one aspect of the bromeliad world or excluding any one particular interest.

Although no reasonable person can deny the importance of active participation by large groups of members, if a society, local or national, is to function and provide the splendid rallying focus which shows and sales can offer, it is also very important to remember that not every person can contribute to every aspect of a society and in exactly the same way or same extent; and not every person necessarily chooses to do so.

Thoughtful, creative leadership, however, can deal with the uniqueness of individuals and their different interests. Bromeliads attract many people of different tastes and abilities, so let us have good, strong organizations, but let us not have mindless regimentation with an overabundance of cumbersome and tedious rules which ultimately alienate the majority and diminish the growing interest in these fascinating and rewarding plants.

Gulfport, Florida

Counting Down To The "Bromelympics"


"About six months to go" is a pulse-quickening phrase these days among the World Bromeliad Conference committees. The "Games" are approaching so fast that little spare time is available to those dedicated to making this the most spectacular World Conference to date!

With the staging area in the new Los Angeles Airport Hilton and Towers Hotel, the 1984 Bromelympics are generating involvement from many members of the 8 Bromeliad Societies in Southern California. The region has many attractions to offer, such as its famous beaches, theaters, entertainment parks, Beverly Hills, Hollywood, etc. Southern California, with its centrally located International Airport, is a real crossroads, with inexpensive air fares from all over the world; and of course, Los Angeles is hosting the once-in-a-lifetime, totally exciting and not-to-be-missed 1984 OLYMPIC GAMES. The electricity in the air is already building and should be reaching a peak by the time of BROMELYMPICS.

The Conference will be staged a month before the Olympics. The Southern California Bromeliad Council has wisely decided not to hold the Conference concurrently with the Games, at which time it is generally agreed, Los Angeles will be a zoo and prices will be exorbitant. By having the Conference just a month before, the Conferees will be able to feel all the excitement, glamour, majesty, and grandeur that only the Olympic Games can generate. Remember, it is the Olympics that has the ability to focus the attention of the world on a city in a positive rather than negative way, and this only every four years; and in the U.S., for the spectacular Summer Games, virtually once in a lifetime.

So come and be a part of all this pageantry. The Biennial World Bromeliad Conference is produced solely to promote the enjoyment and understanding of BROMELIADS on a scale that truly impresses and awes everyone who participates. Be a part of the BROMELYMPICS theme cocktail party Friday, night, June 21st and get a preview of all the magnificent plants and displays. Renew old friendships and make new friends. This will be the time and place!

Go on the Thursday pre-conference tour to the Huntington Gardens with the greatest outdoor cactus and succulent collection in the world, its famous Japanese garden, formal English gardens, etc. Friday will be an opportunity for Conference registrants to shop for the cream of the plants from the myriad nurseries that will be eager to show off their best plants. Do this unfettered by crowds of the public. The public won't be allowed in until later.

And then there will be tours to the best gardens and bromeliad nurseries Southern California has to offer. The gardens will impress you with the unique growing conditions of this area, much different than those in the southern part of the country; we think you will be pleasantly surprised. Fuchsialand has been in existence for over 30 years so imagine seeing clumps of tillandsias that have grown for that long! Rainforest Flora has the largest tillandsia operation in the country in a setting that must be seen to be believed. More on the Friday and Saturday tours will be forthcoming in the next issue of the Journal.

In the afternoon, the seminars will commence with the renowned speakers program. Some presentations will be given by those successful speakers of past conferences such as Dr. Werner Rauh, Dr. David Benzing, Dr. Susan Gardner and others, and some will be given by faces new to the World Conference podium. These speakers, although not familiar to regulars on the Conference tour, are leading luminaries in their own right and they will add greatly to the interest, enjoyment, and knowledge of the registrants. They include such personages as Dr. Ramon Ferreyra, Curator Emeritus of the Museum of Natural History in Lima, Peru. Dr. Ferreyra is universally acknowledged as the leading expert on the geography, flora, and climatology of Peru. He will give an in-depth presentation on the unique natural conditions that make Peru a place of tremendous interest.

Dr. Mildred Mathias is Professor Emeritus of Botany at The University of California, Los Angeles, and has led research and teaching expeditions to Costa Rica, the remote regions of the Amazon, and other fascinating places. She is a much sought-after lecturer. Her presentation on the bromeliads of Costa Rica is not to be missed!

Alexander Hertz of Quito, Ecuador has spent many years learning the flora of Ecuador from his grandmother, Elizabeth Naundorf. Alex has led many expeditions to all reaches of Ecuador and when bromeliad experts such as Werner Rauh travel in Ecuador, they make sure Alex goes along. His slides of the native bromeliads, collected over the years, are all jewels and never fail to extract "oohs" and "aahs" from those lucky enough to see them.

William Harris of Guatemala City is another person who has spent years studying the native flora of his adopted country. A native of Canada, Bill was a top level management consultant executive before falling in love with the natural beauty of idyllic Guatemala. For nine years, he and his wife Ann have been building a large nursery to grow cane plants such as dracaena and yucca for export to the European market. Their 200+ acres in cultivation have finally rewarded their many years of hard work. But Bill's first love is bromeliads, especially tillandsias, and no one knows the tillandsias of Guatemala as he does. His company, Tropi-Maya, is the major tillandsia exporter to the United States. He is an excellent speaker because he is so good at communicating with his audience and maintaining their interest.

These distinguished people will be here to expound and have fun themselves. Don't miss this opportunity to really learn directly from the experts.

Friday night will once again see a rare bromeliad plant auction. This event was one of the highlights of the World Conference, Corpus Christi, Texas, and promises to be so again. Scotty Flory will attest to that, right, Scotty?

Saturday morning will bring another interesting tour of Southern California gardens. In the afternoon, the seminars by renowned speakers will continue for the registrants.

Saturday night will feature the traditional banquet, although this one will be the most luxurious to date. The highlight will be the Awards presentation and entertainment which will be blended together and modeled along the Conference theme "The Bromeliad Olympiad." It promises to be quite an event, lots of fun and entertainment and some serious congratulations too!

Sunday, we will have morning tours. More information on them will be presented in the next issue of the Journal. On Sunday, or possibly Monday there will be a tour of the 1984 Summer Olympic Games' sites along with a tour of the facilities. Many people have expressed interest in seeing first hand, the locations of many of the Games' most popular events, including the Coliseum for track and field, the swim stadium, the sports arena which will host the boxing, the new velodrome, and Loyola-Marymount College which will host the weight lifting events.

Tours to Disneyland, Universal Studios, and other attractions will be available for those who wish to make this a vacation. Remember, children staying in the same room with their parents do not cost extra. The Show Committee will help those who wish to stay longer find other accommodations, if desired. Let us know your interests.

Now is the time to start planning, if you haven't done so already, to make this a very special event in your life. It will be here waiting for you. It is centered around BROMELIADS, and it will be more fun than you can imagine. COME AND JOIN THE PARTY!


*General Conference DirectorPaul T. Isley III
Assistant Conference DirectorStan Oleson
Show ManagerBill Paylen
Program ChairpersonsVictoria Padilla & Dr. Hal Wiedman
PublicityBarry Landau
TreasurerGreg Reid
Judging ChairpersonDanita Rafalovich
RegistrationDutch Vandervoort
HospitalityThelma O'Reilly

Los Angeles, California

New Editors for 1984 Thomas Lineham and Edward Hall have been appointed by the Board of Directors to assume the editorship of the Journal beginning with the January-February, 1984 issue. Mr. Lineham is a retired colonel from the USAF and is now an associate professor in the library of Rollins College where he is the cataloger and a teacher of research writing techniques. Since 1975, he has served the Bromeliad Society of Central Florida as president and treasurer, and the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies as vice-president. He is an accredited bromeliad judge and also a member of the BSI Editorial Board. Mr. Hall is a member of the professional staff of the Martin Marietta Orlando Aerospace Co. and involved with writing reports and technical papers. He has been active in the Bromeliad Society of Central Florida since 1975 and the Seminole Bromeliad Society since 1979, serving in all major offices. Both Mr. Lineham and Mr. Hall are particularly interested in landscaping with bromeliads. Since there is no backlog of manuscripts awaiting publication, they will need the active help of the membership, so please send them that contribution for the Journal you have been putting off writing. Manuscripts should be typed, using double space and a 65-70 stroke line. If photographs are to accompany the article, please send color transparencies and/or black and white prints. Send your manuscripts to:

The Journal of the Bromeliad Society
1508 Lake Shore Drive
Orlando, FL 32803

Planting Media For Bromeliad Seeds


Introduction and General observations

During the last year, I have been experimenting with a variety of planting media for growing the seeds of bromeliads. The seeds, obtained from the Bromeliad Society's seed bank, were from species in all 3 subfamilies. The observations below summarize my experiences, and in addition, I have attempted to evaluate the various media I used.

No records were kept of the exact germination rates of the seeds, but they appeared to be independent of the type of medium used. Moisture was a factor in germination, however, since an increase in moisture usually caused an increase in the germination rate. Seeds representing all 3 subfamilies were successfully germinated, but I was unsuccessful in getting seedlings of the subfamily Pitcairnioideae to survive past the first month.

A variety of containers were used; but the best containers proved to be the cheapest, and were manufactured from empty 2 l. soft drink bottles. After ripping off the stiff plastic base, I then cut off the neck portion of the bottle and turned the other part upside down before inserting it into the base. The resulting mini-terrarium is not only very cheap but effective as well.


Milled peat moss used in the experiment consisted of "Canadian" brown peat moss having fiber lengths averaging perhaps a quarter of an inch; it was soaked for several hours before use. Germination on this medium was rapid, and fungal growth was seldom observed. Seedling growth tended to be rapid and strong. Since the peat moss offers little nourishment, fertilization was started very soon. Considerable difficulty was encountered in keeping the moss damp.

Vermiculite duplicated the peat moss in preventing the growth of fungi, but the size of the particles was a drawback. Seedlings were so easily toppled that this part of the experiment was soon terminated.

A conventional soil mix was prepared by using 2 parts of commercial potting soil with 1 part of Vermiculite and one part of milled peat moss. Seed germination was easily visible and moisture was easily monitored and maintained. Some fungal infections of seeds did occur on this medium. For the seeds of species in the Bromelioideae, this impressed me as the best medium.

The commercial peat pellets marketed by the Jiffy Co. were also excellent for sprouting seeds. The distribution of seeds was easy to accomplish, moisture levels were fairly easy to maintain, and seedling vitality was easily monitored. Best results were obtained by placing the pellets on damp soil in a closed container.

Osmunda fiber as a medium for seed germination was a total failure, probably due to the difficulty of maintaining the appropriate levels of moisture. The seeds of species in the Tillandsioideae were not tested on this material, however, and it may possibly be suited to their needs.

Cypress bark proved to be fairly good for the seeds of species in the Tillandsioideae, although keeping seedlings moist was a problem. Other types of woody materials from such trees as oak, proved susceptible to fungi and are not recommended.

The pressed wood fiber sticks, sold as Fernwood, were tried both in and out of closed containers. This material proved to be a poor germinating medium outside a closed container, even if moistened several times a day. Inside a closed container, however, it can be kept moist constantly and is an excellent medium for sprouting seeds, including those from species in the Tillandsioideae. It should be remembered, however, that the plant cannot be moved from this medium once it begins to grow.


The primary factor to be considered in selecting a planting medium is the ability of that medium to hold moisture. Any medium that retains moisture well and that also can provide adequate support for the seedling should be satisfactory. Seeds on peat or Fernwood appear to have the least trouble with fungal infections and seedling vigor seems greatest in soil and in fertilized peat.

Huntsville, Alabama



In the last issue of the Journal you received a renewal form for your annual membership dues in the Bromeliad Society, Inc. As the Society's membership chairperson, I wish to relate to you something about membership in the BSI.

Although I am a new appointee as chairperson, I have learned of some of the problems, costs, etc., of the BSI while serving as a director for the last 2 years. First, the cost of the Journal is just a few cents under $20.00 per year, per member. Regular members who pay $15.00 per year, are 'ahead' $5.00 per year. The discrepancy between cost and income is partly offset by the new double, contributing and fellowship memberships. Second, dues received late, that is, after Dec. 30, have cost the Society additional funds. The computer addressing and mailing service has charged for adding names to the completed membership list, and postage for sending the current year's 'back' issues is more expensive since the bulk mail rate cannot be used. While one of our generous members is now donating all computer addressing and mailing services, and all officers and chairpersons are now serving the BSI free, the costs of postage, office supplies, etc., are constantly rising. Please try to renew your membership before Dec. 30, 1983 to simplify and reduce mailing costs.

The number of members in the BSI has been decreasing over the last few years, and while this trend is mirrored in other plant-related organizations, we need to grow in size. To meet this goal, please send me your suggestions; they will be very welcome. Encourage your local growers to join and support the BSI, and mention membership to people who show an interest in your local society's shows, displays and sales. I have plenty of membership forms for the use of the affiliates, so please let me know of your needs.

Local affiliates are encouraged to belong to the BSI and thereby receive issues of the Journal. Some have said that if issues are available to members through an affiliate membership that individuals will not join on their own; but experience has shown that when copies are seen they are desired by individuals for their own libraries and so they join on their own. In addition, some affiliates donate each issue to the library of the Garden Center with which they are associated thus making it available to novice growers and non-growers. Interest in bromeliads can be stimulated by this means, and additional members can be obtained.

Most people join the BSI in order to learn about bromeliads. Their main source of information is the Journal. The editors are constantly striving to keep a balance between more scientific and less scientific articles; but it is a constant struggle since so few growers contribute or are willing to overcome their shyness about writing to make a contribution. To keep our members satisfied with the Journal and to provide some kind of balance, we as members should share with others and put pen to paper. The hobby growers as a group are one of the most enthusiastic constituencies in the Society, so let's make sure that their interest is captured in every issue. In other words, join, be on time with renewals, recruit, write for the Journal, and support the BSI.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Photo by Werner Rauh
Tillandsia capitata Grisebach

Tillandsia capitata Grisebach, 1866, is native to Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic, where it grows on exposed cliffs, rocks, and on tree roots, particularly where it receives full light, at elevations of 125 to 5,000 ft. The specimens above were collected in the Dominican Republic and differ in so many characters from the type that Werner Rauh and Luis Ariza Julia consider them representative of a separate variety, T. capitata var. domingensis, see Vol. XXXIII, p. 170, 1983 of the Journal.

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