BSI Journal - Online Archive

Journal of the Bromeliad Society
Copyright 1985 by the Bromeliad Society, Inc.

Vol. 35, No. 3May—June 1985

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

Cover Photograph
Front: Tillandsia stricta 'Fire and Ice', with broad, deep red bracts and huge flowers, on a long spike in a crowded clump. The article begins on page 101. Photograph by Mark A. Dimmitt.

99Election of Directors, 1985 Linda Harbert
100Morren's Paintings, 4: Neoregelia chlorosticta Lyman B. Smith
101Intraspecific Variation in Tillandsia; Selecting Superior Forms Mark A. Dimmitt
104Aechmea strobilina, Rediscovered? Robert W Read
106Observations on the Blooming Periodicity of Bromeliads (Continued) Jerry Raack
112Book Review: Handbook of Bromeliaceae. J. G. Baker
113Tillandsia platyrhachis and Two New Varieties Werner Rauh
118Vriesea recurvata Redescribed Elton M. C. Leme and Wilhelm Weber
123Bromeliad Flower Arrangement, No. 4: "Pineapple Lilies" May A. Moir
124Control of Algae on Bromeliads; or, Don't Use Copper Bordeaux Mark A. Dimmitt
125Regional Reflections Herb Plever and L. P. Butt

The Journal, ISSN 0090-8738, is published bimonthly at Orlando, Florida by the Bromeliad Society, Inc. Articles and photo-graphs 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 Membership Secretary Linda Harbert, 2488 E. 49th, Tulsa, OK 74105.

Subscription price (in U.S. $) is included in the 12-month membership dues: single - $15.00, dual (two members at one address receiving one Journal) - $20.00, contributing - $20.00, fellowship - $25.00, life - $750.00. Please add $5.00 for international mail, except for life members. For first class mail for any class of membership, please add $5.00. Individual copies are $3.25 for U.S., $4.00 for all other addresses, postpaid. 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: Robinson Inc., Orlando, Florida

Election of Directors 1985
Linda Harbert, Chairman, Nominations Committee

allots for the 1985 election of directors of the Bromeliad Society, Inc., are included with this issue. You are urged to vote as one of your rights of membership. The Board of Directors is the highest governing body of this society and its future can well depend on the directors you choose with your ballot.

ALL members may vote for two directors-at-large. Members residing in Texas, Florida and the outer region (outside the US and Australia), may also vote for one director to represent their region.

The number of directors per region is determined by percentage of the total membership. Each region is allowed one director for each five percent of the total membership, and is guaranteed at least one director. Two directors-at-large (from any region) are elected each year. The percentages are figured in September on the membership at that time. The membership was 2237 on September 30, 1984.

PLEASE VOTE NOW and with careful consideration. Your ballot, in order to be valid, must be mailed not later than September 1, 1985, in the official envelope provided. The results of this election will be published in the Journal.

The elected directors will serve a three-year term from January 1, 1986.

The number of directors now authorized is:
Australia 1
California 3
Central 1
Florida 3
Louisiana 1
Northeastern 1
Outer 1
Southern 1
Texas 2
Western 1
At-Large 6

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Morren's Paintings, 4: Neoregelia chlorosticta
Lyman B. Smith

Photograph by the author of a painting
by C. J. E. Morren.
Fig. 1: Neoregelia chlorosticta

his species is notable for a beautiful ornamental based on green and white contrast alone. Baker described it on the basis of Morren's unpublished painting and called it Karatas which was a catch-all for anything with that habit. Actually typical Karatas is a Bromelia.

It has been collected since from Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Parana but probably Morren's plant came from Rio.

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.

Intraspecific Variation in Tillandsia: Selecting Superior Forms
Mark A. Dimmitt

ost xerophytic tillandsias are easily grown to become large specimens, as described in the November-December 1984 Journal. That article did not cover one major point: superior varieties produce superior specimen plants. This article offers guidelines for selecting high quality tillandsias.

Almost all plants show great intraspecific (within-species) variation. This characteristic is reflected in a wealth of named varieties, hybrids and cultivars in well known groups such as roses and orchids. Such names are beginning to proliferate among the tank bromeliads. For example, Neoregelia carolinae is a common species with green leaves and a red center at maturity. N. carolinae f. tricolor, 'Perfecta tricolor' and 'Medallion' are different sports of the typical green species. Hybrids increase this variation much further.

Photo by the author.
Fig. 2: Leaf color of Tillandsia caput-medusae. In Sonora, Mexico, the foliage is white. The dense trichome covering is an adaptation to brighter light and greater aridity at the limit of ecological tolerance. The plants show a difference in "meatiness" The more compact Sonoran form with thicker and more succulent leaves must be watered sparingly lest it be overrun with algae.

Recognition of the variability of tillandsia species is in an embryonic stage as is indicated by the scarcity of named cultivars and clones, and the absence of any serious hybridization program. Most collectors seem to think that one Tillandsia caput-medusae is about the same as another. Some tillandsias, however, stand out prominently just as N. carolinae 'Perfecta tricolor' surpasses its humble parent.

It is easy to develop a discerning eye if one has a large number of plants to compare. The main characteristics to evaluate are:

  1. Plant size, form, and vigor.
  2. Foliage color.
  3. Size of inflorescence, bracts, and flowers.
  4. Color of bracts and flowers.
  5. Regularity and abundance of flowering.
Some of these characteristics are easy to see while others become evident only after several years of culture.

Plant Size, Form and Vigor

Rosette size varies greatly in many species. Mature rosettes of T. ionantha range from about 5 to 8 cm in diameter; plants of T. seleriana range from 8 cm (var. pruinosa) to 30 cm in length. When comparing size, be aware that as a plant grows into a dense clump, individual rosettes and their inflorescences generally become smaller because of crowding.

Look for form variations that please you. Typical T. ionantha leaves are nearly straight but some are curved. All the leaves of one variety (unofficially called var. stricta) (please see back cover) are erect and tightly appressed, rather billbergia-like. The var. van hyningii is caulescent. T. latifolia is probably the most variable species. Its rosettes range from 5 cm to more than 30 cm in diameter and may be tightly clustering or stoloniferous. Leaves vary from thin-flexible to stiff, grass-narrow to quite broad; from forest green through numerous shades of gray. Inflorescences may barely exceed the leaves or be borne on 120 cm scapes; some are viviparous. Stems are nearly absent to several decimeters long. One could fill a large greenhouse with the different forms of this single species.

Another variation in form is shown by T. circinnata (=paucifolia) var. prolifera. One of the author's clones bears plants on the inflorescences, which hang mostly downwards and form graceful festoons nearly two meters long. Another clone produces plants which grow in all directions and form an unsightly tangle.

Vigor can be assessed only by growing for several seasons in one's own cultural conditions. An extreme example is shown in two of the author's clones of T. caput-medusae. Grown side by side for six years, one is now a clump of some 30 rosettes about 60 cm in diameter, while the other is but two mature rosettes and two pups. Such weak plants should be replaced.

Foliage Color

Some species such as T. bulbosa, T. brachycaulos and T. capitata turn red at maturity. There is considerable diversity in the extent, intensity, and duration of the color. The variety rubra of T. capitata is red throughout the plant's life cycle, but different clones vary from blush to deep maroon-red.

Trichome density also affects foliage color. Most T. caput-medusae are deep green in their wettest, shadiest habitats to gray-green in brighter, more arid habitats. But in Sonora, Mexico where this species is at its ecological limits for sun and aridity, the trichomes are so dense that the plants are brilliant white (fig. 2). Tillandsia exserta similarly changes from gray-green in Sinaloa, Mexico to snow-white at the northern limit of its range, where it grows on cacti in full desert sun near Guaymas, Sonora. These are genetic differences which do not change significantly in cultivation.

Size of Inflorescence, Bracts and Flowers; Color of Bracts and Flowers

As with leaf-rosettes, inflorescence size of a given clone tends to decrease as the clump becomes crowded. There are also great genetic differences among individual plants. The typical T. stricta in the trade has a spike 4-5 cm long. The flowers are about 5 mm in diameter and often shorter than the floral bracts, which thus conceal the flowers in side view. The spikes may be only one-fourth this size (in the former T. rosea), or up to 8 cm long with wider floral bracts. Flowers range up to 12 mm diameter, more than twice the typical size. In some clones, the flowers are well exserted beyond the floral bracts, creating a more showy bicolor inflorescence (see the front cover).

Colors also vary. Flowers of T. stricta vary from pale blue to medium blue or purple. The typical T. stricta has floral bracts of a medium pink. Those of other forms range from mostly green with a pink blush to deep rose and occasionally blood-red. The back cover of the November-December 1984 Journal depicts a clone superior in most traits.

Tillandsia aeranthos exhibits similar variation, with flower color ranging from medium blue to deep indigo. The spikes of T. caput-medusae, T. fasciculata, and others vary from pure green to bright red. Anyone with an eye for quality can find such variation in almost all species.

Flowering Season

By careful selection one can extend the flowering season of some species. Usually a given clone in a given location will consistently flower at the same time each year, plus or minus a couple of weeks. Most of the T. stricta in the trade flower (in southern California and southern Arizona greenhouses) between mid-December and late January. A few clones extend this season a full month earlier and later, and some flower in midsummer.

When selecting plants to extend your flowering season, note that a plant will probably not flower at the same time outdoors in southern Florida as it will in a northern California greenhouse. Latitude and temperature have significant effects. When selecting among recently imported plants, be aware that the trauma of collection and transport often trigger unseasonal flowering. Also, plants from the southern hemisphere will bloom out of phase during the first year.

Regularity and Abundance of Flowering

It takes time to evaluate the traits of regularity and abundance of flowering, but it is worth doing, especially if growing space is becoming crowded. There are genetic and environmental factors governing all these variables. If you have several clones of a species and none ever blooms, your cultural conditions are probably the problem. However, if some bloom well and others don't, you are most likely seeing genetic differences. The author has two clones of T. paleacea, both eight years old and nearly identical in growth rate and form. One (see the November-December 1984 Journal fig. 4) produces several flower spikes twice a year; the other has never flowered.

One T. streptocarpa has grown into a nice clump after several years and produces moderate inflorescences each year. Another clone grows much more slowly, presumably because it nearly flowers itself to death yearly; its inflorescences are three times the size of those of the other clone. This leaves it with enough energy to produce only one or two weak offsets. It will make a fine display when it finally attains some size.

Other Variables

Some not readily apparent traits can affect the form of a plant. Some T. duratii, for example, can grow into immense clumps; others cannot. Some simply don't offset freely. The clone pictured in November-December 1984 Journal fig. 2, is long-caulescent, fast-growing, and freely branching. The leaves are very prehensile and the branches are sturdy. This clone will, therefore, form large specimens, though its weight will eventually tear it apart. Another clone has stouter, less prehensile leaves, and the branches are weakly attached. The branches usually break off of their own weight as they near maturity, so this clone doesn't form large clumps.

The Future of Tillandsia Selection

This article discusses only naturally occurring variants available in the United States. There are undoubtedly many superior variants yet to be discovered in wild populations. Only small parts of the geographic ranges of most tillandsias have been explored by horticulturists. Even in Mexico, which is fairly accessible to large numbers of U.S. bromeliiphiles, new discoveries are frequent. Examples are the Sonoran T. caput-medusae (fig.2), found within a day's drive of the international border, and T. elizabethiae, described from Sinaloa in 1979. South America is more remote and has fewer roads; it is virtually unexplored by tillandsia collectors. Whenever a new road penetrates virgin territory, explorers such as Professor Rauh discover several new forms.

I hope that this article will encourage collectors to be more discriminating. Don't grab the first plants you find. Spend some time inspecting the trees or cliffs, looking for that one percent or less of the plants that stand out from the rest. Instead of visiting a known locality, explore a nearby canyon. While dramatic sports such as variegated leaves are unlikely to escape notice, more subtle variations are also valuable, and these can be magnified in cultivation.

I encourage all growers to search constantly for natural differences among plants, both species and hybrids. The cultivars shown on the front and back covers and on page 141 are examples of selections made from thousands of imported plants. The same opportunity could be present among your seedlings. Whatever the source, remember to name the cultivar, to publish its description, and to register it with the BSI hybrid registrar.

The potential improvements from selective breeding of tillandsias is enormous. The surface hasn't yet been scratched. Species within the same subgenus can usually be successfully hybridized, and tillandsias are just as easy to grow as other bromeliads. Tillandsia breeding is about where neoregelia breeding was 20 years ago. Look at the magnificent neos of today, such as on the cover of the September-October 1983 Journal. Plants of such quality are light years away from their ancestors which were pulled out of jungle trees. One can perhaps anticipate what tillandsias can look like 20 years from now.

Tucson, Arizona

Aechmea strobilina, Rediscovered?
Robert W. Read

hile on a collecting and research trip to Panama in January 1985, Aechmea strobilina (Beurling) L. B. Smith & R. W. Read was found in full glorious bloom, proving to be an irresistible beauty in the wilds of Panama. In order to thwart any wholesale collecting in an area now protected, exact details as to the collection site will be left for history. It is sufficient to state that while the single plant found in flower (fig. 3) was in an isolated, sickly tree in the middle of a vast, cleared area, the natural distribution of the species was observed to be on the Atlantic watershed of eastern Panama in the Cordilleras de San Blas. Being in the company of Jeffrey Kent, an enthusiastic bromeliad collector in his own right, his father, Leonard, a knowledgeable bromeliad fancier of note, and Bill Knerr of the San Diego Zoo, it was easy to get carried away. Using a makeshift ladder provided by the apparent custodian of the cleared area, I was able to reach the plant which was lodged in the fork of the trunk. Throwing caution regarding scorpions, snakes, spiders, ants, etc. to the wind I managed to dislodge the plant.

Photo by the author.
Fig. 3: Aechmea strobilina. Close-up of inflorescence of plant freshly collected in Panama.

There is now quite a respectable specimen in the U.S. National Herbarium. My heightened interest in a specimen will be clear in a moment, but first I must grieve a little for the loss of the plant intended to be introduced alive. Although each and every individual plant species collected on this trip, from many locations throughout Panama, was carefully cleaned, washed under hose pressure, brushed with a toothbrush, and trimmed carefully, and given labels indicating collection locality, the finding of a single scale of unknown identity resulted in the entire bundle of individually wrapped plants being subjected to gassing in the smoke house of Miami. Alas, the aechmea succumbed along with many other species intended for the research greenhouse at the Smithsonian. Such are the frustrations of live plant collecting for my research.

Aechmea strobilina was represented in the U.S. National Herbarium by only a xerox copy of the original 1826 collection that is permanently preserved in the Botanical Museum Stockholm. Oh, I know the species has been, and may still be in cultivation, because when I was at The Fairchild Tropical Garden back in the 50's I remember a plant which I called Aechmea dactylina being cultivated. This plant originated with Graham Fairchild and was collected somewhere in Panama. Perhaps a specimen is in the herbarium there at Fairchild Tropical Garden, I don't know. At any rate, that plant was Aechmea strobilina as we know it today. The species was originally collected as a "Billbergia" near Porto Bello, Prov. of Colon, but until the type specimen of Bromelia strobilina, described by Beurling in 1854, was actually examined in 1975 by Dr. Smith, the true identity of the species was not clear. True Ae. dactylina is closely related but is quite different and grows throughout the same area.

Ae. dactylina may in fact represent two similar but different species, or it may be that the species is extremely variable in the elongation of the spikelets. Research is needed to clear up this new problem, to include growing different, wild, collected plants of the complex under identical experimental conditions and studying their development and flowering.

Washington, D. C.

Observations on the Blooming Periodicity of Bromeliads (Continued)
Jerry Raack

y earlier article proposed that periodicity in bromeliads has three aspects: time to bloom (maturation), time of bloom and its correlate, duration of bloom. The second and third topics might be particularly useful to hobbyists because it could help them to select plants to provide colorful flowers and fruits during most of the year. This report will concentrate on information regarding the month in which various species begin to flower.

The first part of this report is a list, arranged by month, of species which have demonstrated regular blooming habits. I define regular as that occurring within a one- to two-month period although I sometimes stretch it to include several more months. The second part examines the category of irregularly blooming bromeliads, and the third includes a short discussion of photoperiodism.

Periodicity — Time of Year

Some species bloom with almost unbelievable regularity. I have recorded as "time of bloom" the date of the first flower opening although the time between the onset of spike formation until the first flower opens may vary from two weeks to six months. As examples of regularity, my Aechmea warasii plants have bloomed four times and every bloom began between January 1 and January 10. Guzmania zahnii has bloomed six times, all within the first 15 days of June. In similar manner, G. monostachia and G. monostachia var. variegata have bloomed four times, all within seven days of July 15. Other plants, including Billbergia leptopoda and Tillandsia stricta are very regular, although they have shown slight deviations. Occasionally, a plant is regular, but will have one or two blooms off schedule. My Guzmania lingulata var. splendens 'Variegata', for example, has bloomed between September 1 and September 15 four times and once on April 15. The accompanying table summarizes my observations about regularity of blooming periodicity.

Periodicity — Month of Start of Bloom

Jan - March
Aechmea warasii
Billbergia rosea
Neoregelia 'Inca'
Vriesea 'Lucille'
Aechmea dealbata

Tillandsia bulbosa
Vriesea 'Mariae'
Vriesea ringens

March - April
March - April
March - April
Tillandsia multicaulis
Tillandsia streptocarpa
Vriesea guttata
Billbergia 'Muriel Waterman'
Guzmania 'Golden King'
Tillandsia argentea

April - May
April - May
April - June
Neoregelia princeps
Tillandsia pueblensis
Tillandsia seleriana
Vriesea fosteriana × platynema
Araeococcus flagellifolius
Tillandsia didisticha
Aechmea 'Gigant'

May - June
May - June
May - June
May - June
May - June
May - Sept
Fosterella villosula
Neoregelia carolinae f. tricolor
Nidularium regelioides 'Variegata'
Tillandsia caput-medusae
Aechmea chantinii × fendleri
Aechmea fulgens v. discolor 'Variegata'
Neoregelia meyendorfii variegata
Nidularium innocentii 'Ruby Lee'
Tillandsia venusta
Vriesea 'Duval's Rex'

June - July
June - July
June - July
June - July
June - July
June - July
June - July
June - Aug
June - Aug
June - Aug
June - Nov
Aechmea chantinii
Aechmea fasciata × chantinii
Aechmea fendleri
Aechmea 'Jackson'
Billbergia brasiliensis
Guzmania 'Exodus'
Guzmania zahnii (& 'Omar Morobe')
Neoregelia carolinae
Tillandsia cacticola
Tillandsia flabellata
Vriesea 'Coral'
Vriesea erythrodactylon
Vriesea fenestralis
Aechmea dactylina v. rubra
Aechmea fasciata v. purpurea
Aechmea lueddemanniana
Aechmea pubescens v. rubra
Catopsis montana
Guzmania 'Feurn'
Guzmania lingulata v. minor 'Variegata'
Guzmania cardinalis
Neoregelia meyendorfii albomarginata
Vriesea glutinosa
Quesnelia marmorata

July - Aug
July - Sept
Aechmea fasciata f. variegata
Canistrum fosterianum
Guzmania monostachia v. variegata
Nidularium billbergioides 'Variegata'
Vriesea 'Double Pleasure'
Aechmea fasciata f. albomarginata
Aechmea fulgens v. discolor

Aug - Sept
Aug - Oct
Nidularium fulgens
Vriesea triangularis
Vriesea heliconioides
Nidularium innocentii f. striata

Sept - Oct
Sept - Oct
Sept - Nov
Sept - Dec
Sept - Dec
Aechmea caudata f. variegata (wide leaf)
Canistrum lindenii f. exigum 'Variegata'
Guzmania fuerstenbergiana
Guzmania lingulata v. splendens 'Variegata'
Guzmania melinonis
Nidularium innocentii 'Variegata'
Tillandsia flexuosa
Billbergia pyramidalis v. concolor
Vriesea ensiformis
Vriesea gracilis
Aechmea servitensis v. exigua
Vriesea barilletii

Oct - Nov
Oct - Nov
Oct - Nov
Oct - Dec
Oct - Feb
Oct - Feb
Oct - May
Tillandsia complanata
Tillandsia matudae
Neoregelia hatschbachii
Nidularium billbergioides v. citrinum
Vriesea 'Little Chief'
Vriesea simplex × 'Mariae'
Aechmea orlandiana
Billbergia elegans
Aechmea 'Royal Wine'

Nov - Dec
Nov - Dec
Nov - Dec
Nov - Dec
Nov - Dec
Nov - Dec
Nov - Dec
Nov - Dec
Nov - Jan
Nov - Jan
Nov - Jan
Nov - March
Billbergia leptopoda
Guzmania berteroniana
Tillandsia stricta
Aechmea ramosa × fulgens v. discolor
Pitcairnia tabuliformis
Tillandsia baileyi × ionantha
Tillandsia multicaulis
Vriesea bleheri
Vriesea 'Polonia'
Vriesea racinae
Vriesea sucrei
Vriesea carinata
Vriesea 'Morreniana'
Vriesea 'Poelmanii'
Aechmea victoriana v. discolor

Dec - Jan
Dec - Jan
Dec - Jan
Dec - Jan
Dec - Jan
Dec - Feb
Aechmea calyculata
Aechmea calyculata × miniata v. discolor
Aechmea caudata f. variegata (narrow leaf)
Aechmea coelestis f. albomarginata
Aechmea pineliana v. minuta
Aechmea purpureo-rosea
Aechmea racinae v. tubiformis
Aechmea recurvata v. ortgiesii
Aechmea wittmackiana
Guzmania lingulata × dissitiflora
Tillandsia exserta
Tillandsia gardneri
Aechmea 'Foster's Favorite'

Irregularly Blooming Bromeliads

The category of irregularly blooming bromeliads includes Guzmania sanguinea var. brevipedicellata which has bloomed on March 15, 1980, July 15, 1982, December 15, 1983, and November 15, 1984. Another is Neoregelia ampullacea var. tigrina which has bloomed in March, May, July, September, October and December. Two specimens of Tillandsia multicaulis obtained from different sources have bloomed in March, July, November and December. Other plants as well have bloomed at irregular intervals. Perhaps they have no preference as to time of year to bloom, but do so when mature.

Another kind of deviation sometimes occurs between varieties of a single species and between variegated and green forms of the same species. For example, the wide-leafed variety of Aechmea caudata f. variegata begins to bloom between September 1 and September 15 while the narrow-leafed form blooms between December 5 and December 15. The different varieties of Guzmania lingulata also bloom at different times of the year. I have noted that the variegated varieties of Aechmea fulgens var. discolor and Neoregelia carolinae invariably bloom before the nonvariegated counterparts. This performance is surprising because the variegated plants nearly always grow more slowly and it would seem that the bloom would take longer to form, but such is not the case. And just to prove that the rule is inconsistency, Guzmania zahnii and its variegated form always bloom around June 1 and Aechmea coelestis and its albomarginate form both bloom around December 1.

I have only a few records comparing the blooming time of hybrids and their parents, but I have noted that Vriesea simplex × 'Mariae' blooms between October 15 and December 15, almost exactly half way between the blooming dates of the parent plants. One case proves nothing, of course, but it is a curious coincidence.

Causes of Regular Blooming

Plant response to the daily duration of daylight (or in some cases, night) is called photoperiodism. Benzing notes (page 139), "day length is the most reliable cue a plant can use to synchronize its activities with environmental change, since it is unfailingly predictive of impending shifts in seasonal weather patterns" Given the correct correlation between day length and weather pattern (warmth, humidity, dryness) some plants will bloom predictably. The problem is to determine which plants. One way to find out would be by systematic experimentation—a laborious and time-consuming process. Another way would be to gather data from many separate sources and analyze it for patterns. There is an enormous amount of information in all of our growing experiences; the chief problem would be to assemble it into one database for analysis.

When discussing the length of time needed for certain bromeliads to bloom, I was able to supply information, but found that I was left with many unanswered questions. The same condition applies here. I had hoped to find out what might induce flowering. Photoperiodism seemed the answer, but instead it provokes another list of questions.

Since the length of day/night in the tropic zone is very close to being constant, one might think that photoperiodism would not play a part in the blooming of plants near the equator. Benzing, however, cites a reference (page 140) indicating that such is not the case. Has anyone experimented with bromeliads to determine their relative reaction to photoperiodism with changes in latitude? For example, if a bromeliad does bloom as a result of a change in day length, a grower north of the equator and one south of the equator would experience the blooming cycle six months apart.

The same reference states that certain plants such as the tomato are "day neutral", i.e. insensitive to photoperiodism. They bloom whenever they are mature. If the species I report as being random are very regular in their natural environment, something other than photoperiodism must be responsible for their regularity. Information to establish the trigger mechanism in such cases would be useful.


Victoria Padilla says (page 12) that patience will be rewarded since "all mature plants will flower eventually. . . ." The purpose of my reports has been to say when I have observed the event to occur and to remove some of the uncertainty. I also restate my hope that the unknowns of bromeliad blooming can be reduced further by the deliberate action of other record keepers to share their information.

Benzing, David H. The Biology of the bromeliads. Eureka, CA: Mad River Press, 1980.
Padilla, Victoria. Bromeliads; a descriptive listing of the various genera and the species most often found in cultivation. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.; 1973.

Pataskala, Ohio

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I would be grateful for data on this subject from either commercial growers or hobbyists. I would be willing to analyze such information and to report the results. Please write directly to me at 472 Greenhollow Drive, Pataskala, Ohio 43062.

Book Review

r. J. G. Baker's name is constantly before us whenever we look in the references for bromeliad names and descriptions as, for example, Neoregelia chlorosticta (Baker) L. B. Smith (see page 100). It is interesting to remember that his Handbook of Bromeliaceae was published in London 96 years ago. Here is the review as it appeared in the Gardeners' Chronicle, December 7, 1889, page 662.

Handbook of Bromeliaceae—Mr. J. G. BAKER has added to the store of obligations under which horticulturists labour by the production of a complete descriptive list of all the genera and species of Bromeliaceae. Although popular on the Continent, these plants have not hitherto been fashionable here. The facility with which they, or many of them, may be cultivated, the brilliancy of their colouring, and the persistence of their blooming period, afford substantial grounds for believing that sooner or later these plants will receive the attention they deserve at the hands of our cultivators. The full extent of our indebtedness to Mr. BAKER will then become apparent. Our foreign friends, we many incidentally remark, make much use of these plants for the decoration of their apartments—a purpose for which their structure well fits them. Small plants may be bought in the markets of French towns and on the hawker's barrows, at a cost which would surprise our nurserymen, though doubtless were a demand to spring up here the prices of the commoner and more easily grown sorts would speedily decline. It will be remembered that this family was the special subject of study by the late Professor MORREN, of Liege, who amassed the most complete collections of living and of dried specimens. Most of these, as well as his magnificent series of water-colour drawings are now at Kew. Mr. BAKER has availed himself of these resources, as well as of the collections of M. ANDRÉ and other travellers, and has consequently produced the most complete account of the order that has yet been produced. The object of the author has been strictly practical, and hence we find the order conveniently divided into readily recognisable tribes, these into genera, and so on. Morphological and anatomical questions which are of special interest in this family are not treated of. The number of genera accepted is thirty-one, while the species exceed 800, more than double the estimate made by Mr. BENTHAM in 1883, and doubtless many more yet remain to be discovered. Tillandsia alone has more than 320 species, but some of the groups considered as distinct genera by some authorities, are relegated to the rank of sub-genera by Mr. BAKER. We are glad to find that the expense of printing this work have been partly defrayed from the BENTHAM Trust. The expenditure of skilled labour and time on the part of disinterested scientific men is so great that they should not be allowed to suffer in pocket also. The Societies do something to remedy this state of things, but their resources are not equal to the demands made upon them. Mr. BAKER'S volume may be had of the publishers, GEORGE BELL & SONS, York Street, Convent Garden.

Tillandsia platyrhachis and Two New Varieties
Werner Rauh

n our last trip through northeastern Peru from Tingo Maria to Pucalpa in October of 1984, we found in a dense mist-forest, at an altitude of about 1900 meters beneath the Abra Pucara, a magnificent tillandsia, but only a few plants. It is the most attractive species we have ever seen in Peru. It becomes more than two meters high and has a big, pyramidal, tripinnate, dark pink inflorescence (fig. 4). From the structure of the floral bracts and the color of the flowers it is related to Tillandsia platyrhachis, although the spikes when in fresh condition are very dense and not lax, as stated in the key of L. B. Smith, and as shown in fig. 267, p. 843 of Tillandsioideae, Flora Neotropica, Monograph 14, part 2. Nevertheless, we consider our plant a variety of T. platyrhachis Mez and offer the following name and diagnosis:

var. magnifica Rauh et von Bismarck1

Plant stemless, but with a short and thick, rhizomatous base, covered with the remains of the old, dead leaves, flowering up to 2 m (!) high. Leaves numerous, forming a big, funnelform rosette, up to 1 m high and 2 m in diameter. Sheaths inconspicuous, lanceolate-ovate, up to 20 cm long and 15 cm wide, densely leatherbrown lepidote on both sides. Blades ligulate, acute, up to 1.5 m long, 7 cm wide, nearly glabrous on both sides, erect to recurved; the inner rosette-leaves erect. Scape erect, stout, shorter than the leaves; scape bracts densely imbricate, foliaceous. Inflorescence laxly pyramidal, 1-1.5 m long, 40-50 cm in diameter, tripinnate, only bipinnate in the upper part, with ± 30 suberect to spreading branches. Rhachis erect, 3 cm thick at the base, round or slightly angled, glabrous, pale pink, its internodes 2-3 cm long. Primary bracts ligulate, triangular-acute, with a green, lepidote blade and a red sheath, enfolding the rhachis, as long or slightly longer than the sterile bases of the primary branches which are up to 10 cm long. Secondary branches with shorter sterile bases. Spikes horizontally spreading or somewhat curved down, oblong, obtuse, up to 17 cm long and 4 cm wide; rhachis geniculate. Floral bracts divergent to suberect, densely imbricate at their bases, ecarinate, short acute, up to 3 cm long, 1 cm wide, fleshy, glabrous, bright pink, much shorter than the sepals; the base of their dorsal sides deeply excavate and their margins broadly winged. These wings enfolding the apical half of the flower below. Flowers subsessile. Sepals 3.5-4 cm long, fleshy, ecarinate, obtuse, free, pale pink, whitish-green at the base. Petals with spreading to recurved, sub-orbicular, 1.2 × 1.2 cm dark-violet blades, postfloral drying black. Stamens deeply included, with whitish filaments and yellow anthers. Ovary oblong, 5 mm high, green. Style very short, shorter than the filaments, with big, applanate stigmas. Fruits up to 5 cm long, greenish, obtuse, angled.

Fig. 4: Tillandsia platyrhachis Mez var. magnifica, a newly described variety from east central Peru.
Photos by Author.




Fig. 5: T. platyrhachis Mez var. alba

Holotype: Rauh and von Bismarck, No. 66107, 26.10.1984. Known only from the type-locality.

Locality and distribution: Epiphytic in a mist-forest at an altitude of 1900 m, below the Abra Pucara, along the road Tingo Maria-Pucalpa, Dptm. Huanuco, rare.

This plant differs from the type variety platyrhachis in the following characters:2

Plant much bigger than 70 cm, but up to 200 cm high; leaves not 70 cm long and 3.5 cm wide, but 170 cm long (the sheaths included) and 7 cm wide. Inflorescence 150 cm long; branches not erect, but spreading up and curving down. Floral bracts not laxly arranged, but densely imbricate, at least in the basal half, not striate and the margins not white on drying, glabrous, striking bright pink.

Unfortunately, the color of the floral bracts and the sepals is not mentioned in the diagnosis of Mez, although on the label of the type material (Kalkbreyer, 1328, 1879) is written: "bracts pink, very close." Moreover, the type material is very poor and consists of only three spikes. It was collected by Kalkbreyer in 1879 in Antioquia, Colombia, without exact locality being identified and described by Mez. It seems that the T. platyrhachis of Mez has never been re-collected in Colombia, but several times in Ecuador, for example, Schimpf 714, Rio Pastaza, western Mera (Prov. Napo)3 and A. J. Gilmartin, No. 1139, in southern Ecuador, km 45, Loja to Zamora (Prov. Zamora).4

Together with Alexander Hirtz of Quito, I collected T. platyrhachis near the waterfall of the Rio Coca on the way from Baeza to Lago Agrio, in a mountainous forest at an altitude of about 1400 meters (Coll. No. 37 571, Sept. 1975). It differs not only from the diagnosis of the type, but also from the Peruvian variety magnifica by the bright creamy-white color of the whole inflorescence (fig. 5). A. J. Gilmartin notes also that her specimen of T. platyrhachis is, "when alive, very conspicuous for the white appearance of the inflorescence from a distance. The floral bracts are creamy-white when alive (p. 68)."5

Although our plant (No. 37 571) is characterized by a bright creamy-white inflorescence, it is not quite certain that the Gilmartin 1139 and Rauh and Hirtz 37571 specimens are identical, because there are other differences stated in Gilmartin's diagnosis (p. 67).6 Therefore, the following diagnosis is based on our material No. 37571 alone. We think that it is a good variety of the typical T. platyrhachis and name it, owing to the white color of the inflorescence:

var. alba Rauh et Hirtz

Plant stemless, but with a short rhizomatous base. Leaves numerous, forming a big, erect, funnelform rosette up to 60 cm high and 1.2 m in diameter. Sheaths up to 18 cm long and 12 cm wide, inconspicuous, dark-brown lepidote above. Blades ligulate, 50-70 cm long, up to 6 cm wide, acute, green, nearly glabrous above and adpressed white lepidote. Scape erect, up to 3 cm thick (at the base), shorter than the rosette leaves. Scape bracts densely imbricate, the basal ones subfoliate, the upper ones long-triangular-acute, up to 9 cm long, erect, lepidote beneath. Inflorescence erect, laxly-pyramidal, tripinnate, up to 70 cm long and 40 cm wide, with numerous, ascending-erect primary branches, the basal ones up to 30 cm long. Inflorescence axis erect, thick, glabrous, white, somewhat angled. Primary bracts triangular-acute, lepidote beneath, as long or longer than the leafless, basal, flattened, up to 4 cm-long part of the primary branches; basal primary bracts greenish, the upper ones pure white, lepidote beneath. Secondary bracts loosely distichous, similar to the floral bracts. Terminal spike of the primary branches up to 20 cm long and 4.5-5 cm wide7 with 20-30 flowers. Secondary spikes shorter and less rich-flowering. Spike rhachis flexuous, distance between the flowers in living material 0.3-0.5 cm, in herbarium material 0.7-1 cm. Floral bracts horizontally spreading, cucculate, acute, 1.5 cm long, 1 cm wide, ecarinate inconspicuously carinate, coriaceous, glabrous, even laxly lepidote within, strikingly creamy-white when alive; the bases of the floral bracts joined with the rhachis and overlapped by the following bracts. All bases of the floral bracts of one spike forming a distinctly engraved zig-zag line running down the middle of the rhachis (fig. 7) on both sides. The pouches of the floral bracts are not as deep as in the var. magnifica and are not enfolding the adaxial side of descending order flowers; these with a distinct, divergent, stout, 0.3-0.5-cm long pedicel, which is plainly seen in dried material. Sepals long-lanceolate, up to 2.3 cm long and 0.7 cm wide, obtuse, coriaceous, even, much longer than the floral bracts, the posterior ones inconspicuously carinate, free, creamy-white, postfloral turning to light green. Flowers not seen, but probably of the same shape and color as in the var. magnifica. Stamen and style deeply included. Capsule up to 4 cm long, 3-angled, acute, green.

Photo by the author.
Fig. 7: Tillandsia platyrhachis Mez var. magnifica
herbarium specimen showing the zig-zag line on the
rhachis formed by the floral bracts.

Holotype: Rauh and Hirtz, Coll. No. 37 571 (Sept. 1975), in the herbarium of the Institute of Systematic Botany of the University of Heidelberg (HEID).

Locality: Mountainous forest, near the waterfall of the Rio Coca, 1400 m, Prov. Napo, east-central Ecuador.

The var. alba differs from the type-plant (diagnosis Mez, after material of Kalkbreyer 1328) in the following characters:

Plant much bigger, up to 1.2 m high. Inflorescence in all parts creamy-white. Floral bracts smaller; their pouches smaller and the wings not enfolding the adaxial part of the next lower flower.

It is not quite certain if the, Ecuadorian plants collected by Schimpf 714 and A. J. Gilmartin 1139 also belong to the var. alba. If so, they are smaller forms.

Some time ago I received from A. Hirtz a color slide of a plant from Peru, labeled T. wagneriana, but comparison shows that it is not T. wagerniana, but a T. platyrhachis which is very close to the type of T. platyrhachis from Colombia.

Following is a provisional key of the T. platyrhachis-complex:

1.Floral bracts densely imbricate, at least in their basal half and bright dark-pink; on their dorsal side a deep excavate pouch with broad wings which enfold the adaxial side of the next downwards following flower; these contiguous in their basal parts. Plant up to 2 m high; inflorescence tripinnate
var. magnifica (East central Peru)
-Floral bracts more laxly arranged; rhachis of the spikes visible; plants smaller
. . . . . . . . . . 2
2.Floral bracts, inflorescence axis and primary bracts strikingly creamy-white; inflorescence bi- or tripinnate; flowers with 0.5-0.7 cm-long pedicels; pouches of the floral bracts smaller and their wings narrow
var. alba (East central and southern(?) Ecuador)
-Floral bracts and axis probably pale pink; plant only up to 60 cm high; floral bracts more dense than in the var. alba; flowers subsessil
var. platyrhachis (Southern Colombia and Ecuador?)

More collections are necessary to prove this classification.


The Peruvian T. wagneriana L. B. Smith, known only from northern Peru surely is related to T. platyrhachis. Lee Moore collected it first in the vicinity of Iquitos (Prov. Amazonas). Then it was found by Hutchinson and Wright in a mountainous forest on the summit of the Abra Huahuajin near the highway to Montenegro (Prov. Amazonas) at an altitude of 850 meters. We collected T. wagneriana there also, growing together with Guzmania lingulata.8 Both species, T. platyrhachis and T. wagneriana, belong to the subgenus Phytarrhiza (style short and stout; stamens deeply included and petal blades conspicuous); the floral bracts are of a bright pink (as in the variety magnifica) and the flowers are of a deep blue-violet color. Nevertheless, several important differences exist between both species:

Photo by the author.
Fig. 6: Tillandsia wagneriana L. B. Smith

T. wagneriana flowers only 40-60 cm high; the laxly bipinnate inflorescence is up to 20 cm long and has only 5-7 laxly arranged, horizontally spreading spikes (fig. 6). These are very short (up to 1 cm) stipitated, strongly complanate, linear-lanceolate, up to 12 cm long and 2.5 cm wide and acute. We found only one specimen with obtuse spikes. The rhachis is only narrowly winged by the bases of the floral bracts; these are densely imbricate as in T. platyrhachis var. magnifica, only sublax at the base,9 strongly carinate, incurved at apex, thin, bright-pink, glabrous and longer than the sepals. The flowers are subsessile, the sepals lanceolate, oblong, acute, 2 cm long, 0.5 cm wide, subfree, the posterior ones carinate, pink and very laxly lepidote inside; petal bases form a narrow, 3 cm-long tube, the deep violet-blue blades are spreading to recurved, broadly elliptic, up to 1 cm long.

The main differences between T. platyrhachis, especially between the var. magnifica and T. wagneriana are the following:

T. wagneriana: Inflorescence bipinnate; spikes short stipitated, horizontally spreading, acute, strongly complanate, floral bracts densely arranged, bright pink, strongly carinate, longer than the sepals; the posterior ones conspicuously carinate.
T. platyrhachis:
(the varieties included)
Inflorescence bi- to tripinnate; spikes long stipitated, erect to deflexed, not strongly complanate, obtuse; floral bracts bright dark pink or creamy-white, densely (var. magnifica) or laxly (var. platyrhachis, var. alba) arranged, ecarinate, much shorter than the sepals, the posterior ones inconspicuously carinate.

The differences are so important that, in my opinion, T wagneriana cannot be considered as variety of T. platyrhachis.


  1. The Latin diagnosis will be published in "Bromelienstudien" XVII. Mitteilung, Tropische und subtropische Pflanzenwelt, 1985.
  2. According to the diagnosis of C. Mez in DC.Monogr. Phaner. IX: 848; 1896.
  3. A branch of this material is shown in L. B. Smith and R. J. Downs, Tillandsioideae, (New York: Hafner Press, 1977), fig. 267 E-F, p. 843.
  4. Page 842 of above cited work.
  5. "The Bromeliaceae of Ecuador." Phanerogamarum Monographiae, IV; 1977.
  6. Above cited work.
  7. According to Gilmartin the spikes should be up to 7.5 cm wide.
  8. It is worth noting that we also collected here two specimens of the rare Tillandsia brenneri Rauh, which was known only from the type-locality in Puyo, Ecuador. (J. Bromel. Soc. 35: 25-26; 1981).
  9. In herbarium material all floral bracts are very laxly arranged.

Heidelberg, West Germany

Vriesea recurvata Redescribed
Elton M. C. Leme and Wilhelm Weber

Fig. 8: The "lost" Vriesea recurvata shown here provides evidence for an emended description by the authors.
Photos by E. M. C. Leme.



Fig. 9: Lymania smithii, the new genus described by R. W. Read, found in association with V. recurvata.

everal bromeliad species have grown through the years with their provenance surrounded in deep mystery. The reasons are that such plants are rare, and that their collectors—those who have seen them in living form—were unable to or uninterested in keeping them alive, in culture, for later studies, or for the enjoyment of the coming generations. As time went by and economic cycles succeeded each other, the habitat of the plants was taken by man for various activities. Because of this, such species have been eliminated together with the forest vegetation, and are now confined to small, isolated areas. This elimination process is responsible for the great difficulty in searching nowadays for new populations of these species in nature. Usually, the information furnished by the type plant collector provides the only references, sometimes unreliable or excessively vague. In some cases, even with a considerable amount of luck, a century passes before the species can be rediscovered. Vriesea recurvata, a Brazilian species described by Charles Gaudichaud-Beaupre in 1843, is an example. The only known examples of this plant were the holotype of Gaudichaud, showing the species occurrence (probably incorrect) in the State of Rio de Janeiro, and the specimens collected by Jacques Samuel Blanchet in the State of Bahia.

Luckily, during a collecting trip in the County of Una, State of Bahia, we found a numerous population of Vriesea recurvata. Even in the absence of freshly flowering material, we could identify the species on the basis of dry inflorescences which presented unmistakable floral characteristics: strongly recurved floral bracts with wavy edges. Later on, having adapted to our greenhouse in the city of Rio de Janeiro, some specimens of it finally flowered (fig. 8), allowing the confirmation of our previous identification. It seems appropriate, on the basis of this evidence, to emend the original description of the plant in order to improve its full characterization, as follows:

Vriesea recurvata Gaudichaud 1843 emend. Weber et Leme

Plant flowered ca. 60 cm high. Leaves ca. 20, suberect to recurved rosulate, purple; sheaths distinct, long-ovate, to 10 cm long and 45 mm wide, the basal half on both sides dark brown appressed lepidote; blades lingulate, acuminate and long apiculate, to 35 cm long, 27 mm wide, becoming moderately narrow near the sheaths, subglabrous. Scape erect, about 25 cm long, terete, 5 mm in diameter; scape bracts erect, lanceolate, long acuminate, the lower not laminate, concealing the scape, exceeding the internodes, vinaceous. Inflorescence simple, laxly distichous, 12-20 flowered, 22-30 cm long, 90 mm wide, rachis nearly straight, red. Flowers to 56 ruin long, 7 mm pedicellate, pedicels obtuse-angled, flattened, extension lateral 6 mm, dorsiventral 2 mm. Floral bracts suberect to divergent, long ovate, obtuse acute, ecarinate, to 63 mm long, 25 mm wide, dark red, apex recurved, enfolding and exceeding the sepals, margins moderately undulate, inconspicuous disperse appressed lepidote, even to faintly nerved (dry). Sepals equal, free, narrowly ovate, rounded, glabrous, ecarinate, 45 mm long, to 9 mm wide, basally red, yellow toward apex. Petals narrowly ovate, obtuse acute, erect, 47 mm long, to 8 mm wide, yellow, scarcely exceeding the sepals, each on the inner basis with two ligulas 8 mm long, their free apices nearly orbicular and ex-tending the edges of the petals. Filaments free, anther linear, obtuse, dorsifixed, 9 mm long, stigmata somewhat contorted and minutely fimbriate, stamens and style about equaling the petals.

Drawing by Wilhelm Weber.
Fig. 10: Vriesea recurvata (Gaudichaud) Weber et Leme.

A. Leaf   B. Inflorescence   C. Floral bract   D. Single flower   E. Sepals   F. Petal with stamen   G. Ovary with style  

Distribution: Epiphytic, Brazil, Bahia, Una, Estacão Experimental Lemos Maia, 1980, Anthony Rylands no. 40 (CEPEC 22.442); 1980, Anthony Rylands & J. L. Hage no. 176 (CEPEC no. 23.138); Una km 6 da Rod. Una-Canavieiras, BA 001, April 1, 1980, L. A. Mattos Silva, C. C. Berg & T. S. Santos no. 729 (CEPEC 19.969); Itacaré, ramal da torre da Embratel, km 42 da Rod. Itacaré-Ubaitaba, T. S. Santos no. 3200 (CEPEC 12.994); Mun. de Una, Ramal 5 km south of the road Una-Canavieiras (BA 001), January 8, 1983, Elton M. C Leme et al no. 476 (WEB 638).

The Vriesea recurvata grows in flat or slightly rolling areas, near the Atlantic coast, where the hygrophytic Atlantic forest predominates. The presence of 30-meter tall trees in this kind of vegetation is common. Many species of bromeliad also can be found growing on all levels—from the forest ground up to the tops of the trees. V. recurvata is predominantly epiphytic in the lower shrubby stratum, growing on thin branches and lianas, numerous in this part of the forest. Intense shade as well as high humidity are peculiar to this stratum.

The existing population of V. recurvata in the collecting area showed some tenth of the specimens sparsely distributed but presenting a regular pattern in that spot. Amidst other species which occurred simultaneously in the searched region we can point out: Aechmea mollis L. B. Smith, a rare species presenting a bizarre inflorescence, almost "built-in" like a Canistrum or Nidularium, thriving predominantly on the wet and shady ground; Neoregelia longisepala Pereira & Penna (see. J. Bromel Soc. 34: 261-263; 1984); Lymania smithii R. W. Read (fig. 9), a brand new bromeliad presenting the same way of growing as V. recurvata and of very common occurrence in the area (J. Bromel. Soc. 34: 201, 212-216; 1984); Billbergia spp. from the taxonomically obscure group of the chlorosticta, much variable in relation to size and coloration of the leaves, which also inhabits the shrub stratum of the forest; the recently described Ronnbergia brasiliensis Pereira & Penna, which is the single representation of the genus in Brazil.

The cultivation of V. recurvata has proved to be easy which means the perpetuation of the species. In nature, however, its future is uncertain. The habitat is being deeply changed with the spread of agriculture. The complete disregard with which the flora and fauna of the region are treated shows how fragile are the conservation means so far adopted, as compared to the economic interests. Fortunately, for the V. recurvata and many other species which share the same habitat, the end has not yet arrived. But unless permanent and effective protective measures can be taken toward the preservation of the typical vegetation of the region, those plants will not last long, and men will again lose part of the irreplaceable beauty of nature as well.

Rio de Janeiro, Brasil
Waldsteinberg, East Germany

Water and Nutrient Uptake of Bromeliads

ater and nutrient uptake was studied by Mr. J. Sieber, biologist at the Botanical Institution at Munich.

Species used included Aechmea fasciata, Nidularium innocentii, Guzmania tricolor and Vriesea splendens at all stages, from germination to mature, flowering plants. Absorption through roots or leaves was as equally effective and occurred in plants from the youngest stages onwards. In an absorptive humus substrate, root nutrition produced better growth than leaf nutrition: in a less absorptive medium, leaf nutrition gave better results. Combined leaf and root nutrition was particularly effective, except in young plants. At the youngest stages, root nutrition was more important than leaf nutrition, but the position was reversed with increasing age. Root growth was stimulated more by root nutrition than by leaf nutrition. Growth of unpotted plants receiving leaf nutrients was increased by high relative humidities.

Plants of Aechmea fasciata fed through the leaves, developed loose, pendulous growth, with long leaves and a relatively long inflorescence. With root nutrition, growth was more compact, with broader upright leaves of a clear green, the inflorescence being relatively short. In Nidularium innocentii, nitrogen was most readily absorbed through the leaves and P O and K O through the roots. Nutrient solutions were absorbed more quickly than water by Aechmea fasciata.

Peter Temple, Reprinted through the courtesy of the British Bromeliad Society

Bromeliad Flower Arrangement, No. 4: "Pineapple Lilies"
May A. Moir

he container is a brass-ringed kenzan (needle holder) that holds water. Into this was pounded a small section of flowering banana stem to which was pinned three of the tallest ti leaves at different levels. The sections of dry palm inflorescence had previously been spray painted cranberry color and were pinned to the banana. A ti leaf was used to cover the pins. The billbergias were chosen in their immature stage so as to accent the vertical line. More ti leaves were added and the container filled with water. The whole arrangement was placed on a dark green lacquer tray.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Photo by Robert Chinn,
Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Fig. 11: Billbergia pyramidalis, green ti leaves and dried palm inflorescence. Height 3 feet.

Control of Algae on Bromeliads
Mark A. Dimmitt

n the November-December 1984 Journal I said that I control algae on I bromeliads and cactus seedlings with copper bordeaux. I have since learned that my product of choice does NOT contain copper bordeaux.

I use a product called Fore, a fungicide-algicide formulated for turf grass. The label lists a zinc-manganese compound as the only active ingredient. A pesticide expert explained that Fore also contains malachite green, a copper compound which is the algae-killing ingredient. Unlike copper bordeaux, malachite green is nontoxic to higher plants when used as directed.

Copper bordeaux can damage tillandsias and other sensitive plants with repeated use. It is known that zinc and other heavy metals can damage orchids and bromeliads (Irmer et al., 1985). Fore is apparently safe for orchids, bromeliads and cacti. Applications as often as three times in one month and six to perhaps eight times in one winter has produced no sign of toxicity in my plants.

Presumably other products containing malachite green are suitable for algae control on these plants. To be safe, one should probably avoid any that have higher concentrations of zinc and other metals than Fore, or experiment on some expend-able plants first.

Irmer, V., H. -H. Poppendiek, A. Zechmeister, & D. W. Lorch. Toxicity of heavy metals to bromeliads and orchids. J. Amer. Orchid Soc. 54: 183-188; 1985.

Tucson, Arizona

Regional Reflections

erious amateur growers acquire through trial and error a full bag of tricks and routines to help them grow better bromels. They learn to use an array of tools, gadgets, chemicals and materials to make their work easier and more effective.

The following year-end check list of my arsenal may remind you to buy some supplies you have been putting off buying or induce you to try something new. Some items are applicable only to indoor culture but many can be used in the green-house as well.

Humidifier - A 10-gallon cold water humidifier is a must for indoor culture. It will keep the relative humidity in your apartment to at least 50% even in the coldest weather, and it is good for the health of your family as well as your plants.

Watering cans with long necks to water hard-to-reach plants. But better by far is the: 50 foot plastic hose - this light, thin hose with a watering wand makes it easy to water even the largest collection. It costs only about $10 and it comes with a fine spray attachment. For about $3 you can buy an adaptor that easily snaps on to your faucet.

This gadget is a must if your collection is grown in different rooms. It is of sufficient length to reach every room in your house and you avoid the drudgery of having to constantly refill the watering cans. Fertilizing, however, will still have to be done by watering cans or spray bottles.

Hand sprayers - These are inexpensive and useful gadgets. I keep a number of pint- and quart-size spray bottles on hand. Each one is used for one function only and is so labeled. I have a quart sprayer for misting my plants with fertilizer. I use separate pint sprayers for PHYSAN 20, FLOREL, CYGON 2E, MALATHION and KELTHANE. If you have physical problems with your hands or fingers, you can buy a battery-operated sprayer or one that can be pumped up.

Fertilizers - I alternate an array of different fertilizers depending on the season and specific use. I try to avoid using the same fertilizer twice in a row. I have on hand Schultz's 10-15-10, Peters 20-20-20, Miracle Grow 15-30-15, Peters 10-30-20, Osmacote 14-14-14 slow release pellets, liquid chelated trace elements (containing iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron and molybdenum), Zoo-Doo and Superthrive.

Measuring spoons are needed to measure out the correct quantity of pesticide, Physan 20 or fertilizer. I keep a few sets with 1 tbs., 1 tsp., 1/2 tsp., 1/4 tsp. and 1/8 tsp. measures.

Assortment of pots - I use plastic azalea pots and I keep on hand 2", 3" and 4" pots for cryptanthus and other very small bromels, and 4½", 5" and 5½" pots for other plants, depending on their size. I also have some 6" pots for the few plants I grow that get very large or the occasional mature plant I receive with a very large root ball.

Saucers - If you don't have waterproof trays, you will also need some saucers to catch the water when you water your plants.

Trays - I use a narrow, 30" waterproof fiberglass window box on some windowsills. As the sides are 6 or 7 inches high I invert shallow pots as platforms on which to sit the plants, and I water through without having to drain. Preferable are the trays with 2-inch sides so you can use capillary mats. You'll have to search to find them narrow enough to fit on the sills but they are available. Just be sure they will hold water without leaking.

One trick is to extend the window sill into the room by mounting a shelf flush with the sill. Then you can use the inexpensive, rectangular developing trays you buy in a photo shop and you can grow your bromels on capillary mats.

Capillary mats - You place the plants directly onto these mats, and by capillary action the fibers of the cloth will transport water to the medium through the holes at the bottom of the pot. The mats are easily cut to size to be placed in any waterproof plastic or fiberglass tray. You can water your plants by pouring water into the tray (which is a great time saver when you are in a hurry), or you can lightly water the pot and then pour water into the tray.

Pebbles - I place a layer of pea-sized pebbles or gravel on the bottom of the trays and place the capillary mats on the pebbles. This creates a water reservoir. The pebbles can be purchased in a tropical fish store.

Potting material - I keep a big pail of potting mix ready for use at all times. As it starts running low, I make up a new batch with combinations of some or all of the following materials: Peat moss, perlite, redwood bark chips, shredded tree fern and cork bits and pellets. It pays to buy a 2- or 3-cubic foot bag of each of the materials, if you have the storage space. I also keep on hand a bag of long fiber sphagnum moss which I sometimes use to pot up a cryptanthus or to wrap around the base of a pup I'm about to pot up. I've also used sphagnum moss wrapped around the root ball of some bromels other than tillandsias I've grown epiphytically. I then wrap and tie sheet moss around the sphagnum.

Cork bark - Since I grow hundreds of tillandsias I keep a supply of 2-3 foot cork logs which I can use at full length or cut plaques to size. My tillandsias are mounted epiphytically either by gluing or tying them on. I have also used tree fern, but I prefer the cork because tree fern sheds fibers.

Galvanized wire - This is a stock item in most hardware stores. It is an excellent material for making hangers and hooks for the bark plaques as it is rust resistant, I use the medium gauge wire which is quite rigid but still can be bent into shape. You can snap off pieces from the roll by bending the wire back and forth until it breaks.

Scissors - To trim browned leaf tips you need a pair of scissors with sharp blade edges to do a neat job. A pair of cuticle scissors may be helpful in simulating the curve of the leaf blade as you move away from the apex.

Knife - To safely remove a pup you need a strong, sharp knife. The blade should be fairly long to reach down to the base of the leaf axils in the large vrieseas. You must be able to cut into the parent in order to leave the pup with its base intact, as vriesea pups have very small bases. In some of the big aechmeas the stolon connecting the offset to the parent is so woody and hard it is difficult to cut through it even with a good knife. A blade with a serrated or saw-toothed edge will help, but easiest of all for severing those tough aechmea stolons is a small utility saw with a 6" blade.

Rooting hormone - I usually dust a rooting hormone on the base of the pups before potting them, mainly because it contains a fungicide and minimizes the risk of fungus infection at the site of the tender, newly cut tissues. Spraying the base with Physan may protect the base even better.

N6 Benzyladenine is used to promote offsets. It will not be a basic material in your arsenal, but for the experimental grower it may prove to be valuable and interesting.

Physan 20 - This is a very useful, safe fungicide, algicide and general antiseptic. For applying it to plants and pot medium I use a strength of ½ tsp. per quart of water. For plant trays and their pebbles and capillary mats I use a solution of ¾ tsp. per quart of water. PHYSAN 20 can be sprayed directly onto your plants and it doesn't have to be washed off.

Cygon 2E - This excellent systemic insecticide will eliminate leaf sucking insects as scale, mealy bugs and mites. Its poison is absorbed by the leaves and kills the bugs when they suck the leaf sap. Most insects (especially root mealy bugs) live deep in the leaf axils or in the medium and are difficult to reach directly with a spray. With Cygon 2E you just spray the leaves and/or flush the medium. Contact with the bugs is not necessary.

However, Cygon 2E is quite toxic and should be used with protective gear outdoors (and upwind). You can use it indoors in a well ventilated area only with great precaution.

25% wettable Malathion powder - This makes a contact spray solution effective against mealy bugs and scale. Though it is safer to use indoors, protective gear should be worn when using it. The product is not readily found and doesn't come in small quantities so you may have to buy 50% Malathion in an oil based liquid. The latter product may be even more effective than the powder, but I prefer to avoid using oil sprays when possible.

25% wettable Kelthane powder - Kelthane is an excellent miticide used against red-spider, clover and other mites. It also comes in a 50% strength, oil-based liquid and the above comments about Malathion are equally applicable here.

Protective gear - You should always use rubber gloves, a nose and mouth mask, plastic goggles, a cap and a long-sleeved shirt when spraying with chemicals.

Florel - This is a hydrazine compound of beta-hydroxyethylhydrazine. When mixed with water it releases an ethylene gas which triggers blooming in bromeliads. For accurate measurements you will also need a 1 or 2 cc. syringe or pipette and a graduate.

Herb Plever in Bromeliana, The New York Bromeliad Society, Inc.


n the very demanding world of the landscape architect and gardener, there is always the constant need to find something different and new by way of plant material to fill the gap between the ordinary and the outstanding. Much has been achieved in garden design over the years, and today, most home owners employing a reliable landscaper can expect value for their money.

Gardens can be small in size, or really lavish in acreage, and if the correct flora are used to suit the shape and environment, both homeowner and designer can get the same thrill from the result. However, in many situations when the basic needs of suitable trees and shrubs have been met, there often occurs the need for different plants to fill a corner, decorate a rockery, or create a colorful atmosphere of garden loveliness.

I have found that plants from the vast family of the Bromeliaceae have much to recommend them in fulfilling this task. Using bromeliads as garden pool surrounds, on sloping terrace banks, among rock formations or fitted as epiphytes in existing trees is different and new to the average designer. The concept is not new and was well used throughout Europe in the 19th century, and is even now used widely in sub-tropical Florida where the "Parrot Jungle" gardens are a living testament as to just what can be achieved with bromeliads in this way.

In situations where aloes and agaves and other succulents were once used to augment a large mound in full sun, the puya from Peru, the large clumping dyckias from southern Brazil, and the colorful variegated foliage pineapple from Latin America often fit much better into the scene. All are heavily thorned, so are best used in such a setting. Fitted as epiphytes into trees, logs, stumps or rock crevasses a great variety of species will flourish and flower. If consideration is given to good light and aeration, many species of neoregelia and aechmea will gain vivid foliage color in these situations. Remembering that friable potting media and good drainage are the keys to good bromeliad growing, there can be no limit to their versatility.

To give a natural forest effect in the area around a fish pool, rock niches can be planted with red minirosettes of Neoregelia 'Fireball', or perhaps the equally charming N. ampullacea hybrids. All are stoloniferous and will quickly form mats of color among the pool rocks. Another attractive touch to this situation is to put a log across one section of the pool and fit it with small bromeliads. An area shaded by sarlon cloth or under tall tree ferns would provide a good atmosphere for this type of setting. Ferns seem natural among bromeliads, and in one landscaped nursery I recall a fernhouse that backed up onto a huge rocky wall as its eastern side. Wooden slats gave overhead changing light from the west and many mosses, lichens and small ferns grew on the rock wall face. The nurseryman had fitted many bromeliads, such as nidulariums, vrieseas, aechmeas and even tubular billbergias into cracks between the rocks and now, with the developing ferns as a soft fill-in, the wall is a sight worth seeing. The same effect can be achieved with sharply sloping banks, and as if to back my statement I recently noticed it being done in new sections along creek banks in the Mt. Coot-tha Botanical Gardens. In this situation small varieties of other plants such as aralias, cordylines, dracaenas, polyscias and the small-growing Sacred Bamboo Nandina nana, can also be used among them to break up the sameness of just looking at a forest of bromeliads. As a keen bromeliiphile myself, I fully realize the hazard of doing just that.

In the garden scene, the use of rounded or water-worn rocks is always of great value in creating a natural pattern in many situations.

As epiphytic tree growers, the billbergia species and many of the tubular rosette aechmeas fit in excellently. They should be firmly attached with nylon stocking strips or even fishing line, but wire should be avoided. In the case of billbergia and aechmea, their root systems are substantial and will soon grasp the host tree. Aechmeas that produce stolons vigorously are the best to use. Two species that come to mind are Aechmea chantinii, which as a beautiful foliage pattern, and the very old species Aechmea fasciata.

I have always been in favor of careful blending of native and exotic plants where they fit into the scene and are compatible.

L. P. Butt in Bromeletter of the Bromeliad Society of Australia

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 – Danita Rafalovich, 3956 Minerva Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90066.
Membership Secretary – Linda Harbert, 2488 E. 49th, Tulsa, OK 74105.
Recording Secretary – Connie Johnson, 13075 SW 60th Ave., Miami, FL 33156.
Treasurer – David Gardner, 33 Camden PI., Corpus Christi, TX 78412.

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, Tom J. Montgomery, Jr., Texas, Hedi Guelz Roesler, Outer, H. W. Wiedman, At-large.
1985-1987: Bobbie H. Beard, Southern, Nat De Leon, At-large, Linda Harbert, Central, Stan Oleson, California, Herbert Plever, Northeastern, Gerald A. Raack, At-large, Robert E. Soppe, Western, Ervin J. Wurthmann, Florida.

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.
Affiliate shows: Charlien Rose, 4933 Weeping Willow, Houston, TX 77092.
Affiliated societies newsletter and liaison: Mary Jane Lincoln, 1201 Waltham St., Metairie, LA 70001.
Awarded cultivars: Tom J. Montgomery, Jr., 206 Eastway, Galena Park, TX 77547
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: Nat DeLeon, 9300 Old Cutler Rd., Miami, FL 33156.
Judges certification, handbook changes, and schools: Valerie L. Steckler, 40 Oak Valley Court, Austin, TX 78736.
Membership and subscriptions to the Journal: Linda Harbert, 2488 E. 49th, Tulsa, OK 74105. See title page, for membership dues. BSI Membership Promotion: Bob D. Whitman, 2355 Rusk, Beaumont, TX 77702.
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: Linda Harbert, 2488 E. 49th, Tulsa, OK 74105.
Publications: Annie Navetta, 3236 S.E. Clinton, Portland, OR 97202.
Seed Bank: Diane E. Pippin, P. O. Box 2352, Riverside, CA 92516.
Slide library: Mary E. Musleh, Rt. 2, Box 2452, Melrose, FL 32666.
World Conference: Edgar Smith, 4415 Vandelia St., Dallas, TX 75219.

Tillandsia ionantha var. stricta (unofficial variety).
The leaves are erect and tightly appressed, rather like those of some billbergias.

Calendar of Shows

May 4-5Greater New Orleans Bromeliad Society. Clifton Ganus School. Ken Schulte, 59 Park Timbers Dr., New Orleans, LA 70114.
May 17-18Bromeliad Society of Houston, Inc. 17th Annual Show. Houston Garden Center, Hermann Park, 15 Hermann Ave. Tom J. Montgomery (713) 676-2890.
May 25-26Acadiana Bromeliad Society 6th Annual Show. Holiday Inn Central (Holidome), Lafayette, LA. Sat. 1:00-5:00 P.M., Sun. 10:00 A.M. - 5:00 P.M. Mrs. Lou Trahan, (318) 893-3059.
May 25-26Baton Rouge Bromeliad Society Tenth Annual Show and Sale, Baton Rouge Garden Center, 7950 Independence Blvd., Baton Rouge, La. Michael Young (504) 355-2184.
May 25-26Greater Dallas-Fort Worth Bromeliad Society 14th Annual Show. Dallas Civic Garden Center, Fair Park. Ellen Hough (817) 457-2590.
May 31- June 1-2Atlanta Bromeliad Society 7th Annual Show. Northlake Mall, Exit LaVista Road and I-285 East, Atlanta, GA. Displays, competition, sales. Mrs. Millie Burchardt (404) 981-4976.
June 1-2Bromeliad Society of Greater Chicago Annual Show and Sale, Chicago Botanic Garden, Lake-Cook Rd., East of Edens Hwy., Glencoe, Ill. Competition, plant sale, lectures, film. Jim Doheny (312) 485-8176.

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