BSI Journal - Online Archive

Journal of the Bromeliad Society

Copyright 1984 by the Bromeliad Society, Inc.

Vol. 34, No. 4July—August 1984

Editors: Thomas U. Lineham, Jr., Edward C. Hall.
Editorial Advisory Board: Eloise Beach, David Benzing, Racine Foster, Sue Gardner, Victoria Padilla, Robert W. Read, Edgar Smith, John F. Utley.

Cover photographs
Mulford B. Foster collects a specimen of Puya herzogii in the Bolivian Andes (front cover). Guzmania cryptantha collected by M. B. Foster. This very large plant, over 7 dm high, has leaves 40-55 cm long (back cover). Photographs by Mr. Foster.

147Puya, the Pineapple’s Andean Ancestor Mulford B. Foster
158BIC-Solving our Problems Georgia Waggoner
160New Bromeliads — 2: Tillandsia sonorensis Lyman B. Smith and Mark A. Dimmitt
163In Memoriam: Alfred Blass Werner Rauh
165Tropical Dry Seasons Carol M. Johnson
166Tillandsia ehlersiana: A Remarkable New Species from Chiapas, Mexico Werner Rauh
170Aechmea ‘Pickaninny’ and Its Family William C. Frase
171Growing Guzmanias June Bennett
174A Cristate Inflorescence Werner Rauh
175Use of Reverse Osmosis for Water Treatment David J. Christiano
178Drastic Treatment May A. Moir

The Journal, ISSN 0090-8738, is published bimonthly at Orlando, FL by the Bromeliad Society, Inc. Articles and photographs are earnestly solicited. Closing date is 60 days before month of issue. Advertising rates are listed in the advertising section. Permission is granted to reprint articles in the Journal, in whole or in part, when credit is given to the author and to the Bromeliad Society, Inc.

Please address all membership and subscription correspondence to the membership chairman: Linda Harbert, 2488E. 49th, Tulsa, OK 74105.

Subscription price is included in the annual membership dues: Single: $15.00; double (two members at one address receiving one Journal) — $20.00; contributing — $20.00; fellowship — $30.00; life — $750.00. Please add $5.00 for foreign mailing except for life members. Individual copies are $2.50. Funds over $15.00 from contributing and fellowship members help to pay the cost of Journal color illustrations.

Please see inside back cover for a directory of all officers and services.

Printed by: Robinsons Inc., Orlando, FL

Puya, the Pineapple’s Andean Ancestor

Mulford B. Foster

[Thirty-six years ago, Mulford Bateman Foster flew from Orlando, Florida, to Bolivia "to witness the dramatic flowering of the most colossal of all the herbs...the Puya raimondii." The National Geographic Magazine published his report and photographs of that trip in its volume 98, number 4 (October 1950). Many members of the Bromeliad Society remember that issue and the lucky ones cherish a copy. Some remember Mr. Foster from the days when the Society was organized, from his lectures, from having worked with him, or from his editorship of the Bulletin, as the Journal was first called. Newer members know Mr. Foster by the seemingly innumerable species bearing names such as "Mulfordii," "Fosteriana," "Fosterianum," "Fosterianus," "Fosperior," and by the genus "Fosterella."

It seems appropriate to let Mr. Foster speak for himself for the benefit of old and new members to remind them of the kind of man he was and to let them see him in his botanizing costume with jacket, necktie, riding breeches, leather boots; machete in hand, eager to find, to identify, and to tell us about his adventures.

Mrs. Foster found most of these photographs even during the throes of moving from Bromel-La to her new home. Some of the black and white photographs have been reconstructed from the National Geographic pages. The editors thank her and the National Geographic for allowing them to reprint this article. Half of it appears here and the second half will be published in the September-October issue.]

o witness the dramatic flowering of the most colossal of all the herbs, an Andean ancestor of the pineapple, I flew 6,000 miles from Florida to the heart of Bolivia. There, high in the Andes, a mile and a half above the sea, I found a giant herb of fantastic proportions, the Puya raimondii, largest of all the bromeliads in the world.

When the layman thinks of herbs, he probably has in mind such familiar aids to cooking as thyme, mustard, or marjoram.

Botanically, however, herbs are classed as seed-producing plants which do not have a central woody structure, as do our trees and shrubs.

This herb was a towering specimen standing in solitary grandeur, with its feet in the rocks and its head in the clouds.

Where else but in a dream could one expect to find an herb more than 30 feet high? The flower stalk alone is some 20 feet long, with a circumference of 8 feet. My mind had difficulty in accepting what the eye and camera recorded. (fig. 1)

Photo by Author.
FIG. 1: Indian Jack Climbs the Puya Beanstalk. It Blooms Only Once in 150 Years, Then Dies. A year earlier this plant looked like a 10-foot edition of the pineapple, its kinsman. Then on maturity a pillar of blossoms shot up 20 feet above its leafy base. With a borrowed fire-department ladder, these men gather flower specimens from a solitary Puya raimondii in the Bolivian Andes.

When Giant Puya Blooms, It Dies

My previous knowledge of Puya raimondii was limited to a botanical description and a photograph published in 1911 in a German work. I had long felt the urge to go see such a curiosity. Now the dream was a pilgrimage.

Fortunately, after correspondence with Dr. Martin Cárdenas, I had been able to time my visit with the flowering period of the only survivor in this vast locality, many miles from the other three known groups of these plants, one in Bolivia and two in Peru.

Not in the memory of anyone in the vicinity of Cochabamba had raimondii bloomed before.

The flowering period is its swan song, because, when raimondii shoots its great compact columnar flower head 30 feet or more into the air, it is the first and only time it will bloom. And it takes nearly 150 years to reach that climax.

Photo by Author.
FIG. 2: A Puya raimondii flower branch gathered by an Indian helper climbing stem by stem until near the top.

Three days after arrival in Bolivia we finished preparations for the trip to Cuesta de Huakaqui, which means in Quechua the "Slope of Going to Cry." Early in the morning of November 13, 1948, Dr. Cárdenas and I with three local helpers started out from Cochabamba on that memorable trip.

Dr. Cárdenas is the outstanding botanist in Bolivia. He knows the high Andes, its plants, its Spanish and Indian peoples. Having part Quechua Indian blood, he speaks that language besides several others. He was a fellow at Cambridge University, England, before he became president of the University of Cochabamba.

Cochabamba nestles on the eastern side of the Bolivian Andes, the broadest part of the Andean range. Cocha means "lake" in Spanish; bamba is a corrupt form of the Indian pampa, meaning "plain"; thus the name implies a "lake of plains." This situation makes Cochabamba an agricultural center.

The mountain Huakaqui rises to about 8,000 feet. It is rocky and dry, with very little vegetation.

Fire Ladder Borrowed to Climb an Herbi

An hour or so before reaching our destination we stopped in a village and went to the local fire department. I supposed the visit was for some ordinary permit, but it proved to be for a very special permission. We desired the loan of the firemen’s longest ladder. Dr. Cárdenas facetiously suggested that they postpone all fires until our return, possibly the following day.

The firemen allowed us to take the ladder, and we proceeded on our climb high on those parched and brown rocky slopes, wondering all the while how it was possible that so arid an area could sustain such a giant plant.

The last few miles were a strain on the old truck which transported us wearily over the last hill and around the last curve till we were startled by the sight of an imposing isolated sentinel, the great chuqui kjara ("strong puya"), as the Indians called it. To us it was a noble specimen of Puya raimondii.

For miles there was little vegetation to be seen in those great stretches of barren rocky wastes; yet there on the mountain Huakaqui was a solitary "candle-stick" to celebrate my 60th birthday.

First to Photograph Giant Puya in Color

This plant had sprouted from a small winged seed nearly a century before I was born. It had withstood high winds, shifting of rocks, rarefied air, and blistering sun. Its charred trunk gave evidence that it had survived the fires which Indians frequently set.

I was humbled before the dignified giant. I was to be the first to photograph in color and record on motion-picture film this mammoth of all the herbs at its blooming period. Only four previous botanical records had been made since its original discovery in 1870 by Antonio Raimondi, an able Italian botanist (1825-90).

Imagine a trunk 10 feet high topped with a thick rosette of narrow, heavily spined leaves 4 feet long, from the center of which rose a flowering stalk 8 feet in circumference and over 20 feet long, covered with thousands of waxy white flowers. The over-all height of the plant was more than 30 feet.

30-foot Giant Bears 8,000 Flowers

The 20-foot center cluster contained hundreds of 18-inch branches radiating from it like the spokes of a wheel. In turn, each branch contained numerous chaste white 3-inch blossoms radiating in a similar manner but extending to the end. In all, there were more than 8,000 flowers (fig. 2, page 149).

The tip of each flower branch is barren and serves as a convenient resting place for hummingbirds after they have supped on its nectar.

Although I had tried to picture the dimensions of this monstrous bromeliad, the experience of standing at the foot of one in full bloom was so overwhelming that I could think only of such whimsical tales as Alice in Wonderland. The miracle here was all the greater when I realized that the tallest growth of other plant life in this area as far as we could see was not over two feet.

After much effort we managed to place the ladder to reach above the spiny foliage, and from there on up it was really a Jack-and-the-beanstalk climb. It was lucky we had brought a ladder, for otherwise we should have had to ruin the plant to procure some of the flowers.

With shoes off, one of our Indian helpers climbed up the huge column, flower by flower, gingerly stepping on and grasping the flower stems until he reached the freshest blooms near the top.

We did not solve the mystery of the location of this solitary plant, for it was far from the known present range of this species. Not another plant of any age or size was to be found on that mountain of Going to Cry. And now, this plant with its flowering period nearly over, was soon to return to the earth.

Photo by Author.
FIG. 3: Puya fosteriana bears the name of the author who identified it as a new species.
Brown woolly bracts clothe its blue flowers against the cold.

Mystery of a Wandering Plant

Was this lone plant a survivor of a former large colony here, or had the wind carried the seed from a group on a far-off mountain? Neither surmise seemed plausible. The rocks here are Devonian instead of the granitic formation in which the other puyas of this species thrive. Furthermore, the spot is some 300 miles from the nearest existing group of Puya raimondii.

Perhaps an Indian had brought the puya there as a small plant to serve as a torch for his grandchildren to fire on some fiesta day. Unfortunately, this practice of burning the dry plant and flower stalk, full of seeds, has destroyed many of these noble bromeliads. To celebrate a fiesta with flames shooting 50 feet into the air is a temptation not to be resisted!

Several months after our visit, Dr. Cárdenas sent a helper there to procure seeds for me. It was too late. The giant had crumpled to the ground, having been burned before the seeds had ripened.

Most of the other species of puyas grow in big groups; thus a single plant produces many flowering heads on creeping trunks. These send forth new offshoots each year, creating a massed group often covering a large area.

I have found a few species in the bromeliad family, such as Puya raimondii, which are true monocarps—plants which develop no offshoots either before or after their maturity.

Puya Seeds Have Little Chance

These particular species bloom but once, then die after their seeds have matured; their propagation depends entirely upon the few seeds which germinate from the millions dispersed by the wind. Just a few might find a protected crevice where a bit of humus has been caught.

Not even one chance in a million do these seeds have of surviving and becoming a mature plant, for survival means a never-ceasing endurance test, a fight for life which starts from the tiny seed, little more than a quarter of an inch long, and culminates in the 150-year-old plant which we had come to admire.

Fire, frost, wind, relentless sun, some snow, and almost no rain—these are the handicaps this plant meets when trying to grow on a soilless, almost barren mountainside.

Lower on the side of the mountain grew another puya of a different species, Puya tunarensis, a dwarf (rarely over 18 inches) compared with the lofty raimondii. This small one grew in profusion among the rocks. It might have been camouflaged from view, so nearly rocklike was its coloring, had it not been for the brilliant little red flowers appearing upright and sparkling like birthday candles over the bronzed head.

The genus Puya is primarily an Andean group, with a few outlying species found near Santa Maria de Dota, Costa Rica, in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, and on Mount Roraima, British Guiana.

More than 100 species have been found by plant explorers in the past hundred years, most of them growing in bleak, barren areas. In Costa Rica the endemic Puya dasylirioides grows at least 10,000 feet in wet, swampy areas—in fact, often even in water. This condition is not common among puyas, which are generally known as dry land plant life.

Also, while botanizing in Colombia, I found puyas seemingly out of place. On the heights of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, that majestic and very old South American range, much older than the Andes, we found several species of puyas growing in wet, moist areas, their roots submerged in deep beds of sphagnum moss.

On the high paramo, mostly grasslands, where wild horses have roamed for many years, the puyas mark their water holes, just below the glittering glaciers.

The puyas, oldest genus of the bromeliad family, were, I am convinced, originally swamp plants growing along the western coast of South America, and were gradually lifted up when the lofty Andean range rose in one of the most extensive face-lifting operations of recent geologic times.

Flowers Clothed to Resist Cold

In spite of the heights to which these mountains have risen, the puyas have kept pace. With pure Andean tenacity they have adapted themselves to elevations as much as 14,650 feet above sea level; there I found Puya fosteriana, a new species (fig. 3, page 152).

Up there the plants are prepared for cold weather; their gorgeous turquoise or teal-colored flowers are generally embedded in tufts of rich brown wool. Like the llama, the Andean beast of burden, these puyas enjoy those high snow-blustered mountainsides and are similarly clothed to endure it.

In all my extensive exploration for bromeliads I have found no puya that lives at any elevation below 7,000 feet.

As one of the bromeliads, the puya belongs to a large plant family, the Bromeliaceae, containing nearly 50 genera and more than 1,600 known species, most of them tropical. All but one are native to the New World; 19 live in the United States.

Pineapple and Spanish Moss Cousins

Inured to hardships, the bromeliads flourish in sun or shade; in deserts, on oceansides, in swamps or jungles; on rocks, bark, or palms. Airy clouds of bromeliads beard our southern forests and dangle from telephone wires with no visible means of sustenance.

This great family usually goes unrecognized by the nonbotanist, who refers to its spiny-leafed members as "cacti." But, whether he recognizes it or not, the layman sinks his teeth into a juicy bromeliad whenever he eats pineapple, the globe-trotting Ananas comosus. When he rests on a cushion, he may sink into another bromeliad, Tillandsia usneoides, Dixie’s Spanish moss.

These two represent the extremes—the terrestrial pineapple, rooted in earth; and the epiphytic Spanish moss, a rootless air plant. Most bromeliads have roots, but in many species these serve not as mouths but as props for the upright plant, which absorbs food through its leaves.

Bromeliads developed their air-feeding habits, it is presumed, when, encountering dark, choking jungles, they took to treetops for survival, not as sap sucking parasites but as self-providers. One tree-borne species, Aechmea conifera, weighs up to 125 pounds.

A Puya Eaten Like Celery

After returning from Huakaqui to Cochabamba, we made a hurried trip to the near-by mountain Tunari to collect other puyas, and especially the horka, a bromeliad (Tillandsia rubella) the heart of which is eaten by the natives as we eat celery (fig. 4, page 156).

After crossing the pass at the foot of the snowcaps, we reached 14,000 feet. Here the snows are frequent but light. The peaks above are continuously sheathed in white.

Settlements are scarce. Except on a few scattered, privately owned huge ranches, there is no human habitation. Though domesticated llamas often wander far from habitation, they return to their shelters at night.

A person from other lands shivers in this high, cool, thin air, while the llama and the Indian are well adjusted. The atmosphere is so clear that the visitor sunburns easily.

The largest vegetation in most of these areas consists of the strictly Andean puyas or low-growing cacti, which, strangely, are related to those found in Argentina and Mexico.

Starting our descent, we reached a small, glittering lake formed by melting snow. We tested the temperature of the amazingly clear water where we saw swiftly darting trout.

Within a few hours we had gone steadily down to Morochata, a town of over a thousand people. All were housed in mud, stone, and grass-thatched houses.

After a night here we dropped down into a valley 3,000 feet below where a moist and more fertile area greeted us. Here avocados thrived; flowers, vegetables, and grains were encouraged. This was a welcome change from the cold puna, the name for the higher, bleaker parts of the Bolivian plateau, where we slept under five coarse ruglike blankets.

Photo by Author.
FIG. 4: The author eating Tillandsia rubella ("Horka").

Descending Ladder of Vegetation

To experience even greater changes in vegetation, we crossed over the Eastern Cordillera for a collecting trip down into the tropical rain forest area in the deep valleys far below Cochabamba to the east. Much of the way was slippery for a truck; it was dangerous to travel without chains on the tires. For a sightseer it would be a most uncomfortable trip, but for a botanist it is paradise.

Every few hundred feet down from the cold, foggy, windy crest brought new plants. The trees were higher, the growth denser, the greatest change in plant families being from the low-growing plants resembling the huckleberries, at the top, to tropical growth below.

Here, on just one slope of the Eastern Cordillera, could be seen the whole range of floral families covering the coastal area of North America. Starting with plants typical of the cold States of Maine and Vermont, one can get down into Pennsylvania, Maryland, North Carolina, and Florida-type plant life by vegetational changes within a few hours’ travel.

As we approached the Florida temperature zone and subtropical growth, we encountered small avalanches. Things began to look discouraging; each avalanche was larger than the last one, and a mean drizzle was falling.

Just ahead, a recent avalanche had piled a mass of rocks, soil, trees, and shrubbery 15 feet high, shutting off the only possible way of travel. The road was barely wide enough for a truck, and the sheer drop of 2,000 feet to our right was not inviting.

What to do with the truck? There was no turning around. How the driver managed to back the truck up the mountain around hairpin turn after turn, until we reached a space large enough in which to turn round, I shall never know. Under such dangerous circumstances the South American driver seems to be at his best. In spite of a terrifying experience, we arrived safe in Cochabamba late that night.

[To be concluded in the next issue]

BIC-Solving Our Problems
Georgia Waggoner

n 1979, the March-April issue of the Journal contained the first article on the opening of the Mulford B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center at the Marie Selby Gardens in Sarasota, Florida. The following issue invited members to send plants for identification. Probably very few of us packed our unnamed plants for shipment in instant response. We were reluctant to admit that we did not know the names of all the plants we cared for so tenderly and there is nothing so upsetting as to have someone look at labels and say, "That’s wrong." Not that he or she is ever able to put the correct name on the label, however. Probably half of the plant labels in our greenhouse have notations, "send to B.I.C."

Some time ago I acquired three aechmeas labeled with different names. All three grew under the same conditions with only slight changes in appearance, and then they produced identical blooms simultaneously. I sent one to Harry Luther at B.I.C. Response: none of the names was correct. The only correctly labeled plant that I ever sent to B.I.C. was a Nidularium innocentii (B.I.C. 205). I had not questioned the name of that plant until I entered it in a show and the judges said that the label was incorrect. In terms of more difficult identification, however, ninety percent of the tillandsias, vrieseas, and catopsis that we have collected and referred to B.I.C. have been identified. It is always a pleasure when visiting the Gardens to see a plant, or an offset of a plant, that we plucked from a tree.

When collecting, and knowing full well that B.I.C. is going to be asked for help, I make notes on my map of the elevation, the kinds of trees, and the possible amount of sunlight the specimen receives. Judging the height of the group in the tree helps when figuring how much ventilation the plant is getting. I then tag the plant with the location and any other information helpful for identification purposes. I have found it best to wire the tags to the plant because they will bounce around over the rough roads and loose tags will disappear.

In the past I always read parts of the monographs that I could understand trying to figure possible identification before sending a plant to BIC. After years of this I decided to leave that job to the experts. I have learned to prepare plants for shipment in this manner: if the bromeliad is small, I send the entire plant, if not feasible, I send an entire leaf plus the sheath, and the inflorescence including a fresh flower. When the inflorescence is very large, I send a color slide along with a branch of the inflorescence. A drawing of the plant is helpful. Even if the plant is from no more wilderness than my greenhouse I try to add my observations about the habitat.

I have learned through misfortune that it is best to send plants to B.I.C. air-mail, but to wait until the danger of freezing is past. We had three budded tillandsias freeze while enroute because we failed to consider that factor. I have also found it advisable to send notes about specimens and the $5.00 fee for each plant by separate mail.

It is now five years since B.I.C. was started and for those five years I have been seeking its help. It will take many more years to sort out the questionable plants in our greenhouse. Sooner or later, with Director Harry Luther’s knowledge, this challenge will be met. The record is superior. Only three reports have come back marked "Further research necessary."

Morris, Oklahoma

[The address of the Mulford B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center is: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 South Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 33577.]

New Bromeliads — 2: Tillandsia sonorensis
Lyman B. Smith and Mark A. Dimmitt

he species of bromeliads in Sonora and adjacent Baja California are very few indeed and so, when a new one appears, it is especially noteworthy. It is also immediately in danger of extermination for human nature being what it is, a dealer in live plants wants a monopoly and that means collecting every last plant of the species.

In the case of the plant’s habitat being destroyed this is a real service in preserving the species. However, when this situation does not exist and the colony consists of few plants it is better to leave things as they are. Thus Dr. Dimmitt and his associates at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum have taken a very few plants and are increasing them by cultivation to distribute in about three years.

Tillandsia sonorensis L. B. Smith & M. A. Dimmitt, sp. nov. (figs. 5, 6)

In clavi Florae Neotropicae cum 260. T. lepidosepala L. B. Smith (p. 674, 67-2) locata, sed foliorum lepidibus adpressis, scapo elongato, spicis multo majoribus, sepalis posterioribus connatis differt.

Plant epiphytic or rarely saxicolous, acaulescent or short-caulescent. Leaves polystichous, uniform, concolorous, narrowly triangular with scarcely any distinction between sheath and blade, 20-30 cm long; the scales appressed, pale cinereous to almost white. Scape curved, ascending, 10-20 cm long, slender; scape-bracts subfoliaceous, imbricate. Inflorescence simple to 5-branched; spikes erect, linear, attenuate, to 18 cm long, 15 mm wide at anthesis; floral bracts imbricate and concealing the rhachis at anthesis, ovate, acute, ca. 25 mm long, thin, nerved, densely appressed-lepidote, more or less carinate toward apex, pale pink in life; sepals lanceolate, acute, 25 mm long, thin, nerved, lepidote, the posterior pair strongly carinate, connate; petals erect and forming a tube, light purple in life; stamens exserted, filaments purple; capsule prismatic, 4 cm long.

Direct copy, Dept. of Botany,
National Museum of Natural History.
FIG. 5: Tillandsia sonorensis.

Photo by Matthew Johnson.
FIG. 6: Tillandsia sonorensis.

Type: Mark A. Dimmitt ASDM 83-069 cultivated in greenhouse of The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, May 20, 1983. Holotype, US. Isotype, ASDM 83-069.

Distribution: Originally wild-collected somewhere in the State of Sonora, Mexico by an ASDM staff member.

Habitat: In arid Sinaloan thornscrub in humid canyon.

United States National Museum, Washington, D.C.
The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona

In Memoriam: Alfred Blass
Werner Rauh

lfred Blass, known especially to tillandsia lovers and collectors world-wide, died on the 29th of December 1983 after a short illness. He was seventy years old. He was born on May 15, 1913 in Mährisch-Ostrau, Germany, and was a professional architect. After the end of the second World War, in which he participated, he went to Munich-Gräfelfing and there in 1954 founded the well-known special nursery for water- and aquarium plants. His special interest was, at that time, the Indonesian Araceae genus Cryptocoryne. Another aroid of India and Ceylon, Lagenandra blassii, has his name. He was also very successful in cultivating bulbous Aponogetonaceae. I first became acquainted with Alfred Blass after collecting bulbs of the famous window leaf Aponogeton madagascariensis, the Ouvirandra fenestralis, for him on my first trip to Madagascar.

Photo by Luis Ariza Julia.
FIG. 7: Alfred Blass in his greenhouse in Mittleneufnach, West Germany.

The greenhouses that Blass built had big, open aquariums. The resulting warm, humid climate was also the ideal environment for epiphytic bromeliads, especially for gray tillandsias. With those facilities and with the encouragement of the famous tillandsia collector Dr. Richard Oeser of Freiburg, Blass began to collect tillandsias as a hobby. They grew beautifully hanging above the water plants.

From this acquaintance, my contacts with Alfred Blass increased as I regularly sent him some of all the tillandsias I collected during my botanical expeditions into South America. This man had a green thumb. Plants, which I collected in 1960 and 1961 are still living in his collection while like specimens sent to other collections are long since dead.

As his own collection grew, he traded with other collectors, and even bought plants, adding tillandsias as other people collect stamps. He knew who was making trips to South and Central America and begged them to collect tillandsias for him. His knowledge of the species was enormous. He could detect new species or new varieties in a shipment. His aim was to collect as many tillandsia species as he could, but his main interest was in the gray species. His enthusiasm will be remembered by everyone who ever visited this friendly, tall man, dressed in a white smock.

In 1980, Alfred Blass sold his water plant nursery and settled in lovely Unterallgäu, near Mittelneufnach, West Germany, where he bought an old sawmill. The adjoining garage was transformed into a greenhouse, ideal for the cultivation of gray tillandsias. Here he was able to occupy himself days on end with his plants and we must say with pure admiration that Alfred Blass had the richest and best collection of plants, all in perfect condition.

We have lost, with Alfred Blass, a man of high scientific qualifications and one of an agreeable and generous nature. He was not only a collector and grower, but also a critical observer capable and willing to advise even experts. He noted all of his observations in a special card index and documented every flowering plant with a good color picture. Both he and his wife, Edith, known for her hospitality and delicious meals, welcomed their many visitors each year.

The name Blass will not be forgotten by tillandsia lovers. His name will live on in Tillandsia blassii, Guzmania blassii, Tillandsia edithiae. We hope that his wonderful collection will remain intact and will be cultivated in one of the large botanical gardens as a monument to his achievements in tillandsia research.

Heidelberg, West Germany

A Bibliography of Articles Written for the Journal by Alfred Blass:
Tillandsia portraits. 21:23-24; 1971.
Tillandsia portraits. 21:47-48; 1971.
Tillandsia – a portfolio. 22:21-24; 1972.
Three silver-leaved tillandsias. 23:224-226; 1973.
Tillandsia andreanaTillandsia funckiana. 27:160-162; 1977.
Tillandsia rosea vs. Tillandsia brachyphylla. 28:32-34; 1978.
Tillandsia aeranthos, var. nov. alba? 28:38; 1978.

Tropical Dry Seasons
Carol M. Johnson

or anyone contemplating a collecting trip, the following information regarding wet and dry seasons in the tropics might be helpful. It was gleaned from The National Geographic World Atlas, and is, of course, based on averages. Who knows about 1984?

The following countries share the same dry season from December through April: Bahamas, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Panama varies, but in collecting areas is dry January through March.

Most of the Caribbean islands including Jamaica are dry December through July, barring tropical storms. Trinidad and Puerto Rico have heavy rainfall throughout the year, with the weather somewhat drier February through April.

Chile, Paraguay and Argentina are fairly dry all year, with an average annual rainfall of six to eight inches. Colombia and Venezuela are dry January through March, except that the Maracaibo area of Venezuela is nearly always dry.

Bolivia is dry May through August while Ecuador’s dry season is June through October. Peru is dry all year on the Pacific Coast, but in the Amazonian area the dry season is from June through August.

Brazil is divided into four areas: the Manaus area is driest July through September; the northeast and central areas are dry May through September; the Rio area is driest June through August; and the Belem area is wet all year.

The Yucatan area of Mexico is dry February through April, but not too dry then. In the Mexico City area, November and December are the only dry months.

Longwood, Florida

Tillandsia ehlersiana: A Remarkable New Species from Chiapas, Mexico
Werner Rauh

lanta acaulis surculis numerosis, itaque greges densos formans, florens usque ad 20 cm alta. Folia numerosa inflorescentiam superantia. Vaginae late rotundae usque ad 6 (-7) cm latae, 7 cm longae, distinctissime a lamina limitatae, valde inflatae, omnino pseudobulbum cavum usque ad 8 cm latum, 10 cm longum formantia, supra laete alutaceae, subtus canovirides, utrimque dense appresso-albo-lepidotae. Lepides centro viridi-brunneo in parte superiore margine vaginae alato-elongatae. Lamina anguste triangulata supra vaginam usque ad 2.5 cm lata, longe attenuata, valde involuto-subulata, margines in triente basali fistulosa recurvata, interdum paulum torquata, utrimque dense appresso-argenteo-lepidota; lepides marginum laminae alato-elongatae. Inflorescentia parum e rosula eminens, dense bipinnata; scapus brevis, in rosula occultus, usque ad 7 cm longus, 1 cm diamentiens, viridis appresso-lepidotus; bracteae scapi paucae (ad 3 cm), foliaceae foliis superioribus rosulae similes; inflorescentia oblongo-ovoidea, usque ad 6 cm longa, 2 cm diamentientia, bipinnata spicis lateralibus plus minusve 4 erectis; bracteae primariae erectae, basales vagina late ovali ad 2 cm longa, 1 cm lata et lamina longa filiformi inflorescentiam longe superanti; bracteae primariae tantum breviter acuminatae spicis breviores; omnes bracteae primariae ut folia dense appresso-argenteo-lepidotae; axis inflorescentiae 7 mm diametiens angulato-applanatus lepidotus; spicae erectae axi appositae, pedicello 5 cm diamentienti applanato lepidoto; usque ad 3 cm longae, 1.8 cm latae, adaxialiter applanatae, abaxialiter convexae, 2-vel 3-florae, flores superiores marcescentes, rhachis angulato-applanatus; bracteae florales dense imbricatae, distincte carinatae, membranaceae, laeves, oblongae acuminatae, 23-25 mm longae, 10 mm latae, subtus dense albo-lepidotae, supra disperse minuto-brunneo-lepidotae, sepala longe superantes, pallide rufescentes; flores sessiles usque ad 3 cm longi; sepala viresceti-rufescentia, posteriora distincte carinata usque ad basim libera, elongata, acuminata usque ad 13 mm longa, 6 mm lata membranacea, laeves dispersissime lepidota; petala linearia erecta usque ad 3.3 cm longa tubum angustum in dimidio superiore album, in dimidio inferiore violaceum formantia; stamina filamentaque longe exserta, a stylo albo 1 cm superata.

Habitat et distributio: Mexico meridionalis (Chiapas), prope Ocozocouautla abundans ad parietes rupium arduos.

Coll.: Renate et Klaus EHLERS, 1.8.1983

Nr. coll.: EHLERS 83/404 (= B.G.H. 58349); Holotypus (in spiritu) in herb. inst. bot. system. univ. heidelbergensi (HEID).

Plant stemless, growing in clumps, flowering up to 20 cm high. Leaves numerous, exceeding the inflorescence; sheathes broad-rounded, 6-7 cm wide and up to 7 cm long, conspicuous, strongly inflated and forming a hollow, up to 8 cm wide and up to 10 cm long pseudobulb, adaxial light leatherbrown, abaxial graygreen, densely white lepidote on both sides; blades narrow-triangular to linear, above the sheath up to 2,5 cm wide, strongly-involute-subulate, the margins forming at the base a nearly closed channel; the upper part of the blades recurved, on both sides densely white lepidote; the trichomes of the margins of the blades strongly asymmetric. Scape very short, hidden in the rosette, up to 7 cm long, 1 cm thick, round, adpressed lepidote; scape bracts few (± 3), foliate, similar to the upper rosette leaves. Inflorescence ovoid, bipinnate, much shorter than the rosette leaves, up to 6 cm long, 2 cm thick with ± 4 erect spikes; primary bracts erect; the basal ones with a broad-ovate, 2 cm long and 1 cm wide sheath and a long filiform blade, exceeding the inflorescence; the upper ones only acute, shorter than the spikes; all primary bracts densely silvergray lepidote; inflorescence-axis erect, 7 cm long and flattened; spikes erect, short (5 mm), stiptated, up to 3 cm long, 1,8 cm wide, complanate; adaxial somewhat convex, with 2-3 flowers; floral bracts imbricate, carinate, membranaceous, even, acute, 23-25 mm long, 10 mm wide; abaxial densely white lepidote, adaxial laxly brown lepidote, brownish-red, much longer than the sepals; flowers subsessile, up to 3 cm long; sepals greenish-red, the posterior ones sharply carinate, free, oblong, acute, ± 13 cm long, 6 mm wide, membranaceous, even, very laxly lepidote; petals linear, erect, up to 3,3 cm long, the upper half blue-violet, white at the base; stamens and anthers exserted, shorter than the long, white style; capsule unknown.

Photo by K. and R. Ehlers.
FIG. 8: Tillandsia ehlersiana, flowering plant and inflorescence enlarged.

Type: Renate and Klaus Ehlers 83/404 (= B.G.H. 58 349), 1.7.83. Holotype (in alcohol) in the Herbarium of the Institute of Systematic Botany of the University of Heidelberg (HEID). Currently known from the type-locality only.

Distribution: Southern Mexico, Prov. Chiapas, near Ocozocoautla, 700 m, on steep granitic rocks, in a deciduous forest.

Tillandsia ehlersiana, dedicated to its discoverers Renate and Klaus Ehlers of Stuttgart-Haihingen, West Germany, is a very attractive plant, remarkable for its dense, white silver-gray cloth of trichomes, its channeled and strongly recurved leaves, and ovoid inflorescences. The plant is currently known only from the type-locality. Unlike most of the tillandsias with a pseudobulbous rosette base, which grow epiphytically on trees, this plant grows in masses on steep, granitic rock walls. The closest related species to T. ehlersiana is T. seleriana Mez, which also grows in Chiapas, mostly at altitudes between 2700 and 3100 metres on pine and oak trees. It differs from T. ehlersiana in the following characteristics:

  1. Plant living in a loose symbiosis with ants; mostly bigger than T. ehlersiana.

  2. Trichome-cloth not so dense that the plants look greenish, never silver-gray.

  3. Leaf blades mostly erect and often secund, rarely curved back.

  4. Scape evident above the pseudobulb.

  5. Inflorescence digitate to subpinnate, not ovoid; spikes mostly spreading and not adpressed to the inflorescence axis.

  6. Floral bracts inconspicuous (not sharp), carinate.

  7. Posterior sepals 6 mm high, connate (not free).

I am very indebted to Renate and Klaus Ehlers for giving me living material to describe.

Heidelberg, West Germany

Photos by W. Schwebler.

FIG. 9: A large specimen of T. ehlersiana with offshoots at the base.

FIG. 10: T. seleriana, illustrating one of several different growth forms:
the leaves are curved;
the scape elongated.

Aechmea ‘Pickaninny’ and Its Family
William C. Frase

r. Foster gave me plants of Aechmea ‘Bert’, Ae. fosteriana, and one or two of his original stock of collected Ae. orlandiana. The first year that all of the plants bloomed (1959), I pollinated all of them using the pollen from each. Every flower available was made to bear seed, the idea being to increase my stock of these pretty bromeliads. A large number of seedlings resulted. When they were big enough, I potted them singly in clay pots in crumbled osmunda fiber. The plants grew well and by the fall of 1960 a few showed color although most were ordinary. I kept three very dark seedlings and sold or threw out all others. These three were very attractive to me so I gave them names. The darkest and smallest suggested the name "Pickaninny." Another, having good green and black contrast, but more the size of Mr. Foster’s "Bert," I named "Black Marble." The last and lightest showing some tendency toward purpling, I named "Shadow." None of these named selections was registered. I believe that registering bromeliad hybrids and their names and pedigrees was not being done then.

The identities of "Pickaninny," "Black Marble," and "Shadow" were retained and the three separate stocks were propagated vegetatively. Concurrently, selected plants from these three groups were crossed back and forth and the seed planted. At this time, a collected plant of Aechmea orlandiana was obtained from the late Mr. Wyndham Hayward of Winter Park [Florida].

Mr. Hayward got his more perfect, larger, and stronger plant from the Plant Introduction Board. That plant was then substituted for the original orlandiana because of its better characteristics for subsequent cross-pollenization of the products of the other four, that is Ae. ‘Bert’, Ae. ‘Black Marble’, Ae. ‘Pickaninny’, and Ae. ‘Shadow’. These stocks were, and still are, kept separate and propagated vegetatively. Specimens of each were all crossed back and forth with each other each blooming season. Only the darkest and most unusual were kept and the rogues thrown out.

From 1962 until 1978, 16 generations of mixed and selected stocks have resulted in a tribe of very beautiful plants. Some have purple, rose, or bronze backgrounds. Most have either black bands or checks, or chestnut-red banding, but some have none. The mixed plants have numbers only, and of course, as offsets occur, they get the number of the parent. Thus, the Ae. ‘Pickaninny’ you see today was propagated from the plant known as Ae. ‘Pickaninny’ in 1960.

Orlando, Florida

Growing Guzmanias
June Bennett

Photo by Author.
FIG. 11: Guzmania splendens (a Guelz plant)
in June Bennett’s collection.

hroughout my jungle garden in Cairns, north Queensland, I have established several species of Guzmania which have adapted well. I offer these notes hoping that other growers will be able to profit from my experiments.

Cairns is located on the Pacific coast at 145.° 08’ east longitude and 17° south latitude, nearly the same latitude of La Paz, or Manila and Guatemala City to the north. At the end of this article I have supplied tables showing rainfall, humidity, and temperatures so that you may compare this environment with your own.

Three years after the initial plantings I noticed that the guzmanias attached to trees were blooming and reproducing and forming sizeable clumps whereas the plants I had established on bundles of stick pushed in between rocks flowered but produced few offsets. Because offsets are the means of funding my import programme I decided to make a change. The tree dwellers were left alone, but the garden dwellers were removed and accommodated in a shade house constructed of fibreglass and shade cloth of fifty percent density. I won’t go into details here as each location requires different degrees of light and shade and these are very important factors which must be considered if the best results are to be obtained.

Now that my guzmania crop is larger I grow the plants in three locations. The tree dwellers continue their lives undisturbed. I now replant the garden annually with large pups, removing mothers to the shade house where they are fed and pampered until they are finally spent. I then thank what remains of my once most beautiful bromeliads and place them on my compost heap to be recycled. Originally, my plan was not to use any artificial methods for growing my bromeliads, but I find I now have the best of both worlds by growing plants naturally and artificially at the same time. The guzmanias growing in the garden receive extra water from a sprinkling system when needed, but no feeding programme is carried out and these plants rely entirely on the generosity of Mother Nature for their survival. Albomarginata and variegated plants never seem to adjust to the garden and the rigors of nature—they slip slowly backwards. These plants, then, share the shade house with those still developing pups.

For the shade house plants I have decided that some of my methods work well but that others still need refinement. For example, my potting medium is volcanic rock (small pebble size) called “quincan” in this area. No other material is added except the fertilizer. I place Nutricote controlled release fertilizer on top of the quincan at the following rates:

105 mm squat pot½ teaspoon
140 mm squat pot1 teaspoon
175 mm squat pot1½ teaspoon

I tried Osmocote, but found the breakdown too rapid. I also apply a liquid fertilizer every fortnight very early (between five and seven) in the morning to avoid leaf burn. Any one of the following is satisfactory when used at one-half strength: Waxal, Schultz Instant Liquid Plant Food, or Phostgen. I always water my plants before I fertilize and then a couple of hours later wash them and flush the centers. I’m still not completely satisfied with my feeding programme and I’m still working on it.

The fungicides Rovril and Previcut (sometimes Captan) are effective when used alternately every month during the wetter months, sometimes more often if needed. I do not use fungicides in the garden. When separating pups I dip both the mother plant and the pups in Previcut and let dry overnight before repotting.

Even though my plants receive tender care, not all survive. There’s always room for improvement and I keep trying.

Rainfall / Humidity / Temperature Chart for Cairns, Queensland

Max. Temp.
Min. Temp.




Yearly average166.755928.920.7

Cairns, Queensland

Have You Ever Seen A Cristate Bromeliad Inflorescence?
W. Rauh

f not, look at this picture of a flowering Aechmea fasciata. The plant bloomed in the collection of Mr. Helmut Koop, Vienna, whom I have to thank for the photograph. Mr. Koop bought the plant in a flower shop. When it started to bloom, the inflorescence was at first normal, but then the top stopped its growth and instead of developing in length, it became cristate. Only the flowers were normal. It is interesting to note that the offset of this plant also developed a cristate inflorescence.

Photo by H. Koop.
FIG. 12: Aechmea fasciata with a crested inflorescence, from above.

Heidelberg, West Germany

Use of Reverse Osmosis for Water Treatment
David J. Christiano

n the winter of 1977, my wife Mary and I traveled to Costa Rica to visit our relatives, to escape the frigid New York weather, and, of course, to revel in the vast beauty of this Central American haven so rich in flora. On our trips through the rain forests, I tried to observe the ingredients that Mother Nature had supplied to make the region so lush: sunshine, constant breezes, warmth (at least in the daytime), ample organic material for nutrients, and plenty of moisture supplied by the rainfall from the tremendous evaporation of the two oceans nearly surrounding this country.

Upon our return, aside from the fact that our greenhouse had been without power for two days and many plants were dead or dying, we compared our growing conditions with those of Costa Rica: we had sunshine (from time to time), moving air, warmth, and nutrients. The only ingredient we had to supply artificially was water, and fortunately, the Long Island and New York City water quality is excellent for growing plants because it is soft, much like rain water. So, while not Costa Rica, we were satisfied that we could approximate those growing conditions.

In 1978, we moved to southwest Missouri. We constructed a new greenhouse, of course, and reestablished our collection.

Since the Missouri summers are much hotter and dryer than those in the New York City area we built an overhead misting system controlled by timers to maintain humidity and to keep the temperatures comparable with those we had experienced on Long Island. Then we found the uncontrolled factor. After about three months, I began to notice a silvery coat building up on the leaves. Investigation. showed the build-up to be calcium carbonate caused by the repeated misting and subsequent evaporation of water from the leaf surfaces. I also observed a general deterioration of plant health and vigor.

Consultation with my lab colleagues at the local water company confirmed my suspicions. I then decided that since I was stuck on the overhead misting kick to treat the water instead of changing my methods. The hardness of finished water in Springfield is approximately 150 parts per million (ppm). This factor is not considered “hard” by many standards, yet the water does contain considerable quantities of dissolved solids.

There are many ways to remove these materials from water. The most common softening process used in the water industry is that of lime softening, where lime is added to the water to raise its pH. This process causes the calcium bicarbonate component, which is somewhat soluble, to be converted into virtually insoluble calcium carbonate. The converted carbonate is then precipitated and removed. In large scale operations this method works just fine but it has a practical limitation to around 70 ppm.

Another method, used to obtain boiler-quality water, involves treating the water by ion exchange in which the calcium ions are swapped for sodium, which is then swapped for hydrogen in a resin-type of material. This system provides very pure water but requires regeneration of the medium by nasty materials such as sodium hydroxide and sulphuric acid. A third system, common household softener, performs the first half of this process but not the latter, hence the calcium ions are replaced only by sodium. Use of this water would be far more harmful than water containing calcium because the sodium salt, while soluble, has been demonstrated to be detrimental. About the only other common and efficient method is that of evaporation, but that requires considerable energy and cleaning of the evaporator. My solution was yet a different, somewhat exotic method: reverse osmosis (RO).

Osmosis is the natural process that allows liquids to pass through semipermeable membranes such as plant tissue. The usual illustration of this process involves two solutions of water separated by a membrane in which the solutions have different concentrations of solute. The natural osmotic process causes liquid to flow through the membrane to the extent that the concentrations of the two try to equalize. Fortunately, osmosis is reversible. If a high enough pressure is applied to the side with the higher concentration and the membrane is suitably designed, the water on either side can be forced through the membrane leaving the solute behind.

In practice, RO is used not only to remove impurities from water in order to produce potable water, but also to recover solids which may themselves by valuable. The city of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is supplied with fifty million gallons of drinking water daily by using RO to remove salt from ocean water.

Practical Greenhouse Systems

Whenever a grower must decide whether his water quality warrants improvement, money usually influences the decision. This fact certainly applies when considering RO. It is not inexpensive. For RO to be most effective, it should be utilized at high pressures, although some small units are available which use “street” pressure directly. In commercial units, feedwater is applied to the membrane at, typically, 200 pounds per square inch (psi). The membrane itself is the most costly item. It consists of a man-made polymer material approximately 0.1 millimeters thick with pore sizes in the range of 5-100 angstroms (five angstroms = 0.00000001 centimeters). It is the combination of high pressures and small pores that allows the process to work. Unfortunately, this combination is physically taxing, and this is where the cost is. The membranes have a life expectancy of between one and three years, depending on the feedwater quality and maintenance.

To achieve 200 psi you must have a pump. While the process works at more typical pressures of 60-80 psi, removal and efficiency suffer. Of course, to pump water to 200 psi also requires electricity involving, in my case, a one-quarter horsepower motor that runs continuously when the unit is operating. In an eight-hour period that amounts to about 1.5 kilowatt hours or twelve cents at the rate of eight cents per kWH.

Before the water even enters the system, it is essential that it be filtered to remove most of the suspended matter. Without this prefiltration, the tiny pores driven by the high pressures would quickly clog. Twenty-five micron cartridge filters are often used for this purpose. While not expensive, these must be replaced every few months or more often depending on the quantity of water treated and the turbidity of the feedwater.

Another factor to consider is the amount of water wasted. Since the process actually operates by allowing "pure" water to pass through the membrane while blocking dissolved solids, obviously, the concentration of these materials on the feedwater side increases continuously. The usual method of handling this is to bleed off a predetermined portion of the feedwater while recycling the remaining feed to the pump through a regulating valve. Often in industrial applications it is the concentrate that is recovered; however, in a greenhouse application this bleed water is wasted. It typically amounts to 70 or 80 percent of the feedwater. This degree of efficiency means that between 333 and 500 gallons of feedwater are required to produce 100 gallons of treated water, an important consideration if the feedwater is expensive.

The RO process is most efficient when the finished water is delivered with no back pressure. That means losing some efficiency or using another pump in a separate system (repumping). I have had considerable difficulty maintaining back pressure for use in an overhead misting system and am considering a repumping system.

So, "Why bother?" you say. What do I get for all these headaches? The answer is: high quality water. Typical rejection of sodium and calcium is 94 to 98 percent, with other ions usually equal or better. Also removed are 99 plus percent of organic material, dissolved chlorine, fluorine, and other gasses in varying amounts.

The cost of an RO system varies considerably. Systems without pumps can be had for considerably less than pressurized units. Such systems are usually limited to producing five to 10 gallons of water per day. Complete systems of any size are priced accordingly. My own system is a reconditioned unit capable of producing 300 gallons per day. It was used originally to purify water used for kidney dialysis. These units can often be procured for far less than new units. Start by looking for water softening and conditioning equipment supplies and suppliers in your telephone book.

In summary, RO does an excellent job of producing high quality water for greenhouse use. It is, however, not without high initial cost and moderate operating cost. It also requires considerable attention and costly periodic replacement of the membranes.

Springfield, Missouri

Drastic Treatment
The Garden Watcher

o matter how fine a job of landscaping is done originally there comes a time when it is necessary to overhaul certain sections of the garden. After 20 or more years of being a great show piece* our large area of Portea petropolitana was looking untidy, slightly unhealthy, and producing fewer inflorescences. The plants were full of new growth with no place to go.

The area is about seven to eight feet deep by about 20 feet long in front of a "puka-puka" wall (cinder blocks placed on their sides to provide ventilation). After a few attempts at cutting out the very old growth that was blocking the air movement we decided that the only way to do the job was to remove all the plants, clean the area, groom the plants, and put them back. The result was three stacks of material: new growth to be put back, plants that looked as if they might give a keiki to be stored where they could develop and then be given away, and finally, all the rest to go in the trash or compost.

The tree fern logs from the original planting were still in good condition in most cases and those too soft were shredded for bedding material. The numerous rocks were set aside to be reused for propping the plants to be sure they would stand erect. The area was then cleaned and the groomed plants were reset on top of the cinder and fern fiber bedding without being dug into it. These bromeliads had very few roots and did not seem to need them. In setting the plants we were very careful to consider in which direction the new keikis were headed so as to be sure they had room enough to mature. The only places we found roots were in the standing fern logs and on some of the rocks. Plants in those locations were simply cleaned and left alone. After we had replaced as many as we thought the area could possibly hold when they were grown, we cleaned the surrounding area and then hosed everything being sure that all plants had their cups filled to overflowing.

This was very drastic treatment I’ll admit and some of my bromel friends shook their heads. I was sure that I would have many less flowerspikes in the following spring, but instead, they produced about the usual 17 or 18. I might have had more of it had been convenient to foliar feed the plants, but as I never feed this area I just let them do their usual thing without extra help.

The drastic treatment of the porteas was not the first harsh handling of bromeliads in the garden. The year before, the large planting of Aechmea mulfordii on the terrace had become very overgrown and the keikis were pushing their way over the edge of the retaining wall. Cutting off the young plants and giving them away was not a satisfactory solution because it merely left the old growth to do the same thing over again. So we did the only thing there was to do: pull out some of the huge plants and completely clean house. We did the same thing with a long narrow bed of Aechmea caudata. This planting was so tightly packed that some of the plants had mutated to green and white striped forms. We put back only about half the plants with the rest to be given away. I should say "placed", not "planted". This method works well in this garden, but I do not know if there would be equal success in a dryer condition.

The Tillandsia cyanea are a different story. They have been worked on for years. I think I should give you a little history of these plants. Soon after we became members of the Society in 1950, Mulford Foster sent us a little packet of T. cyanea seed. We had no knowledge of what they might be and at that time almost nothing had been written about bromeliads. We knew these seeds must be very special and that we must germinate them, but how to do it? We decided that I would try to grow half of them on some fine tree fern fiber and the other half of the seeds would be taken to Ernest Iwanaga to flask. We felt that in this way surely we would get some plants. Well, in due time I had a mass of tiny wirelike growths in my seedling pots. Later, these tiny wires were divided and moved into more pots and more pots. That was over 30 years ago so whatever we did was mostly by gardening instinct.

At first, the T. cyanea were prized as pot plants and when they bloomed I called them my "Pink Fish." As they began to thrive and expand we became brave and experimented with them. At first, we covered a tree fern stump with them and found that they were quite willing to grow in this fashion. Having plenty of plants to experiment with I began to think how lovely they would look as a border plant for the front walkway. At first, I tried a couple of plants tucked in along with some of the neos and they grew well not seeming to mind the wetter condition. I added more each year until now the full length of the walk is bordered with T. cyanea. When there are over a hundred inflorescences in bloom the whole front garden is fragrant with the delicate spicy aroma, somewhat like allspice.

As there was only one direction for these plants to grow we soon had a rather narrow path so it was a question of how to retain the border effect without cutting the plants like a hedge. I found this a simple problem to solve. I discovered that the plants that reached the farthest out were those nearest the ground. I experimented by pulling some plants out from under the mass. They came out quite easily with almost no root visible. I kept pulling out from under until I had the plants back to the edge of the walk. As they had progressed outward to the walkway they had left empty space. After cleaning and grooming the removed plants, many were put back into the background or moved to another area. I call this annual operation "clean and patch." I try to do all the overhaul work in winter when there is little in bloom and to finish by March so that when the plants start to form their flower growth they will not be upset. These T. cyanea start to form their flowers during late April and May, and keep developing flowers throughout the summer—one or two flowers even in winter.

Visitors often remark that they would guess that once the garden is established it needs very little care, particularly as we have considerable rain most of the year. I agree that the plants do take care of themselves quite well and that I have to water only those that are under the eaves of the house and under some trees. A garden has many microclimates and you have to get to know where water is needed at certain times of the year. If you work closely with your plants they have ways of telling you what they want and the more you work the more you learn.

* Photographs in Journal volume 26, no. 1, p. 44; 1976.

May A. Moir Honolulu, Hawaii

[Mrs. Moir’s The Garden Watcher, recently published by the University of Hawaii Press for the Harold L. Lyon Arboretum "fulfills a New Year’s resolution made 'year after year'—to keep a diary of the blooming, fruiting or seeding, and the color changes or dropping of leaves of special plants in her Honolulu garden." The book "also includes favorite recipes, guidelines for creating displays of plant materials, and eight pages of full color photographs of Mrs. Moir’s garden and arrangements." This book is especially recommended for those interested in artistic design arrangements. Price, $12.00 and $1.00 for postage, from the Press, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96822.]

The Bromeliad Society, Inc.

The purpose of this nonprofit corporation is to promote and maintain public and scientific interest in the research, development, preservation, and distribution of Bromeliaceae, both natural and hybrid, throughout the world. You are invited to join.


President – Nat De Leon, 9300 Old Cutler Rd., Miami, FL 33156.
Vice President – Edgar Smith, 4415 Vandelia St., Dallas, TX 75219.
Corresponding Secretary – Owana Jo Myers, 14895 Garden Hill Dr., La Mirada, CA 90638.
Recording Secretary – Connie Johnson, 13075 SW 60th Ave., Miami, FL 33156.
Treasurer – David Gardner, 33 Camden PI., Corpus Christi, TX 78412.

(Regions represented are shown in italics)
1982-1984: Allen Edgar, Jr., Texas, Linda Harbert, Central, Annie Navetta, Western, Peter Paroz, Outer, Herbert Plever, Northeastern.
1983-1985: David Benzing, At-large, Connie Johnson, Florida, Ron Lucibell, Outer, Valerie L. Steckler, At-large.
1984-1986: George Anderson, At-large, Chet Blackburn, California, Jack Grubb, Louisiana, Paul T. Isley III, California, Carol M. Johnson, Florida, Hedi Guelz Roesler, Outer, Tom J. Montgomery, Jr., Texas, H. W. Wiedman, At-large.

Luis Ariza Julia, Dominican Republic; Olwen Ferris, Australia; Marcel Lecoufle, France; Harold Martin, New Zealand; Werner Rauh, Germany; Raulino Reitz, Brazil; Walter Richter, Germany; Lyman B. Smith, U.S.; Robert G. Wilson, Costa Rica; Robert W. Read, U.S.; W. W. G. Moir, U.S.; Roberto Burle Marx, Brazil; Victoria Padilla, U.S.; Wilhelm Weber, Germany.

Advertising: See Editorial Office.
Awards, approval of show schedules, entry tags, and related matters: Vennie Dobson, 1026 Williams Ave., Natchitoches, LA 71457.
Affiliated societies newsletter and liaison: Mary Jane Lincoln, 1201 Waltham St., Metairie, LA 70001.
Conservation: Sue Gardner, 33 Camden Pl., Corpus Christi, TX 78412.
Editorial office: 1508 Lake Shore Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. Advertising rates upon request. Address claims for current volume issues to the editor; for back issues other than current volume, address H. W. Wiedman, Dept. of Biological Science, Calif. State University-Sacramento, Sacramento, CA 93819.
Finance and audit: Myron Keys, 7640 SW 60th Ave., Miami, FL 33143.
Hybrid registration: Harry E. Luther, M.B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 South Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 33577.
Judges certification, handbook changes, and schools: Valerie L. Steckler, 40 Oak Valley Court, Austin, TX 78736.
Membership and subscriptions: Linda Harbert, 2488 E. 49th, Tulsa, OK 74105. See title page, for membership dues.
Mulford B. Foster Identification Center: Send specimens and contributions to Harry E. Luther, at the Center, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 South Palm Ave., Sarasota, FL 33577.
Nominations: Allan Edgar, Jr., 5460 Saratoga Dr., Jackson, MS 39211.
Seed Bank: Diana E. Pippin, P. O. Box 2352, Riverside, CA 92516.
Slide Programs: Mary E. Musleh, Rt. 2, Box 2452, Melrose, FL 32666.
World Conference Liaison: Michael P. McMahon, 1021 Wald Rd., Orlando, FL 32806.

Guzmania squarrosa

Calendar of Shows
All shows include displays, competition, and sales except as noted.

August 17-19Atlanta Bromeliad Society 6th Annual Show. Gwinnet Place, Exit 40, I-85 N and Pleasant Hill Rd., Atlanta, GA. Mrs. Millie Burchardt (404) 981-4976.
September 22-23San Diego Bromeliad Society annual show, "Bromeliads Bonitas". Casa del Prado (Rm 101), Balboa Park. Thelma O’Reilly (619) 463-6788.
October 6-7Florida International Bromeliad Show. Sponsored jointly by the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies and the Sarasota Bromeliad Society. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 800 South Palm Ave., Sarasota. John Bollin (813) 327-3066.
October 12-13River Bend Bromeliad Society annual show, Oakwood Mall, 197 West Bank Expressway, Gretna, LA. Peggy Rowe (504) 392-3989.
October 19-21Bromeliad Society of Central Florida 9th Annual Show with the Leu Gardens Annual Lawn & Garden Show. 1730 N. Forest Ave., Orlando, Mrs. Audrey McCrory (305) 846-4955.

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