BSI Journal - Online Archive

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

Vol. 35, No. 5September—October 1985

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

Cover Photographs
Front: Ochagavia carnea cultivated outdoors in the botanical garden "Les Cèdres," St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France. This native of Chile is described by Dr. Rauh on page 212.

Back: A remarkable, nearly white-flowering form of Puya coerulea var. coerulea grown at "Les Cèdres" The article begins on page 208. Both photographs by Suzy Marnier-Lapostolle.

195Racine Foster is Elected Honorary Trustee. Carol M. Johnson
196Morren's Paintings, 6: Aechmea dealbata. Lyman B. Smith
197The Origins of Three Variegated Neoregelia carolinae Clones. Michael P. McMahon
200Estrogen Fertilization of Aechmea lueddemanniana Seedlings Dennis L. Wollard
202Polyembryony in Bromeliads: a Provisional Note. Elvira Gross
206Vriesea ouroensis, A New Species from Minas Gerais, Brazil Wilhelm Weber
208Chile and its Bromeliads, Part II. Werner Rauh
215Notes from Herbarium Bradeanum, No. 3: Aechmea alopecurus. Edmundo Pereira and Elton M. C. Leme
217New President and Vice-President Elected.
218One Mo' Time (Continued). Shirley Grubb
219The Bromeliad Collection at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Harry E. Luther
222Bromeliad Flower Arrangement, No. 6: Aechmea mulfordii and Cordyline schubertii. May A. Moir
223Bromeliad Conference in Australia. Olwen Ferris
225Do You Grow Billbergia 'Muriel Waterman'? Bea Hanson
227A New Hybrid Billbergia. Mulford B. Foster
228Regional Reflections. On "Superthrive" Nelson R. E. Redfern

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.

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Racine Foster is Elected Honorary Trustee
Carol M. Johnson

Fig. 1: Mrs. Foster.   
By unanimous vote, the Board of Directors of the Bromeliad Society, meeting in Houston, Texas, May 1985, named Racine Foster an honorary trustee of the society in recognition of her many years of service to the society.

Widow of Mulford B. Foster, she has made many contributions to our knowledge of the bromeliad family. She accompanied her husband on most of his plant collecting trips and was keeper of the plant press. Many of the Foster specimens at the National Herbarium are there because of her efforts, expended usually after a hard day of slogging through the jungle. One of the early products of their collaboration was the record of some of their plant explorations, Brazil, published in 1945, a work eagerly sought by bromeliad lovers but long out of print.

Mrs. Foster was directly involved with the predecessor of the Journal, the Bromeliad Society Bulletin, from 1951 through 1958 as assistant editor for the first seven years and as editor in her own right during the last year. She carefully collected the material and prepared it for the press. Members fortunate enough to have access to the Bulletins know that she originated the color illustrations, for example, the Christmas star in 1956, color photographs in July-August and November-December 1956, and in January-February 1958. One of the distinctive touches in her last issue was the addition of a real postage stamp from Jamaica showing two pineapples to add emphasis to an issue devoted to reports on pineapples.

When not being a wife, travelling companion, horticulturist, and editor, Mrs. Foster wrote extensively for the Bulletin (33 articles according to the Reed Cumulative Index). She continues to write and is currently working on a biography of Mr. Foster in addition to maintaining an extensive correspondence.

She remains active in the Bromeliad Society of Central Florida, of which she is a charter member, and serves as the librarian of that affiliate of the BSI. She occasionally presents a program and generously shares her wealth of information about bromeliads with the members. She is an active participant of the B.S.I. Editorial Policy Board.

Her election is well deserved.

Longwood, Florida

Morren's Paintings, 6: Aechmea dealbata
Lyman B. Smith

Photograph by the author of a painting
by C. J. E. Morren.
Fig. 2: Aechmea dealbata.

n 1955 in The Bromeliaceae of Brazil I reduced Aechmea dealbata to the synonymy of Aechmea fasciata because I had nothing to show for Aechmea dealbata and did not consider Mez's distinction very strong. Years later I saw the Morren painting and realized how different the species was. I have yet to see a later collection and hope that it is not lost.

Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D. C.

The Origins of Three Variegated Neoregelia carolinae Clones
Michael P. McMahon

hirty-two years ago Mulford Foster described Neoregelia carolinae var. tricolor1 as a new variety in the Bromeliad Society Bulletin of July-August 1953. He noted that this plant "has been known for several years both in Europe and America but has invariably been listed by horticulturists and sold as Nidularium tricolor." He also observed that it does not come true from seed, and therefore must be propagated by offshoots to retain the variegation.

Most growers believe the origin of this popular plant to be forever lost in the mystery of the past. In this article I hope to share what I have learned of the origin of variety tricolor.

My bromeliad hobby and profession as an attorney came together when I was retained by the noted Belgian grower, Paul deCoster, and the Homestead, Florida, firm of Trans Florida Foliage to prosecute a patent infringement case. Mr. deCoster owns the U. S. plant patent for Neoregelia carolinae 'Perfecta Tricolor', and Trans Florida Foliage is his prime licensee. The legal issue was whether N. carolinae 'Perfecta Tricolor' is patentably distinguishable from N. carolinae forma tricolor. To assist the prosecution of the case, an examination of the origins of these plants was necessary.

The information in this article is taken primarily from the official records of Belgian horticultural review boards and sworn statements filed in the official records2 of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office by those personally familiar with the origins of these plants, including Omer Morobe. Perhaps the most interesting discovery to bromeliophiles is that two different plants are to be found in commerce bearing the name N. carolinae var. tricolor.

In 1929 Arthur Gyselinck was raising seedlings of the common N. carolinae "Meyendorfii" (then known as Nidularium meyendorfii) at his family's nursery, M. L. Gyselinck, fils. Among the seedlings he found a single variegated sport, which he isolated and nurtured. This distinctively beautiful plant was displayed before the prestigious Belgian horticultural societies in 1932 under the name Nidularium Regelia foliis medio Aurea striata.3 It was then recognized as a new plant variety in the official proceedings of the meetings of the societies. The Gyselinck clone was soon being cultivated in the family business. Over the ensuing years, it was sold under several names, including Nidularium meyendorfii 'Folis Variegatis.' Eventually it became known in the trade as N. carolinae var. tricolor.

Just three years after the Gyselinck clone had bloomed for the first time, Omer Morobe discovered an entirely separate form of variegated N. carolinae. This is the man for whom many outstanding bromeliad hybrids and cultivars have been named. He was employed in 1935 by the firm of M. A. Declerq-van Ghysegem. In the course of raising seedlings of N. carolinae 'Marechalii' (then known as Nidularium marechalii), he found a variegated mutation, which became named Nidularium marechalii tricolor. In 1937, the Declerq clone was recognized by the Belgian horticultural societies as a new variety, and honored by the award of a certificate of merit. The following year it was awarded a medal at the Floralie of 1938 at Ghent. Mr. Morobe later married the daughter of Mr. Declerq-van Ghysegem, established his own nursery, and began growing the Declerq clone as a major crop. Over the years, the Declerq clone also became known in the trade as N. carolinae var. tricolor.

These plants initially were known by distinctive, albeit incorrect names. They should have retained different names for botanical nomenclature purposes. At the same time, it has not been determined which of the two clones Mulford Foster had in mind when he published his description. On the one hand, given the fact that the Declerq clone was produced in greater numbers, and that Mr. Foster referred to his plant as being known in Europe by the synonym Nidularium tricolor, it would seem likely that he had obtained Mr. Morobe's Nidularium marechalii tricolor. On the other hand, in my own plant collection N. carolinae var. tricolor is the Gyselinck clone (as established by careful comparison). Since many of my old favorites, like tricolor, were obtained from Orlando area oldtimers, who in turn were the direct beneficiaries of Mr. Foster's generosity, it seems equally possible that Mr. Foster possessed the Gyselinck clone. Racine Foster has sifted through much of Mr. Foster's voluminous correspondence in search of the answer, but to no avail. The herbarium specimen of Mr. Foster's type N. carolinae forma tricolor (M. B. Foster 2831), U. S. National Herbarium, may eventually provide an answer. The differences between the two clones are so slight, however, that they may well be indistinguishable when dried and pressed specimens are compared. Examination of a high quality photocopy of the type generously provided by Dr. Robert W. Read, did not disclose to this writer which clone Mr. Foster described.

The distinctions between the two clones are subtle, but discernible. Although several differences have been noted by their growers, I have observed three to be consistent. First, the Gyselinck clone develops a rosy-red center with a tinge of orange when flowering. The Declerq clone's center becomes a deep red. Second, the creamy striping of the Gyselinck clone is usually very slightly broader than that of the Declerq clone. This difference is not apparent on casual observation, but is a distinction Omer Morobe described in U. S. Patent Office proceedings as being consistent. The visual effect of the slightly wider striping is noticed when both clones are viewed together from a distance or when two leaves are viewed close-up. Third, in the Gyselinck clone the flower bracts tend to remain below the elevation of the leaves, while in the Declerq clone the bracts tend to rise slightly above the elevation of the leaves, as is generally true of the 'Marechalii' cultivar of N. carolinae.

A third variegated N. carolinae cultivar was discovered in 1968 by Adriens Simoens of Merelbeke, Belgium. It was named 'Perfecta Tricolor' by Paul deCoster. It is interesting to note that this third cultivar, like the Declerq clone, was also found among N. carolinae 'Marechalii' seedlings. The broad leaves and compact growth habit of 'Perfecta Tricolor', however, make it decidedly more attractive and desirable. On the basis of these differences, 'Perfecta Tricolor' was granted a Belgian plant patent in 1975 and a U. S. plant patent in 1976. (Mr. Simoens has since transferred his patent rights to Mr. deCoster, who has been responsible for its commercial development.)

In 1985 the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office completed a reexamination of the 'Perfecta Tricolor' patent and upheld it as valid. As a result, it is clear that it is unlawful in the United States to reproduce 'Perfecta Tricolor' asexually (i.e., to remove pups) for sale without authorization from Mr. deCoster and Trans Florida Foliage, Mr. deCoster's U. S. licensee. All lawfully grown or imported plants are tagged with labels4 stating that they are patented. Unlawfully grown plants are subject to seizure and destruction under U. S. patent laws, and their growers could be held liable in court for infringement.

As far as I am aware, these are the only established clones of N. carolinae with central stripes of variegation. The highly variable specimens of N. carolinae generally sold under the varietal misnomer meyendorfii variegata are all marginated, and have thick, coarse leaves. (Perhaps someone will undertake to study the origins of these marginated plants.) It would seem that other sports must have occurred over the years, but either have been ignored or have not been established as cultivars. If so, it is unfortunate because some beautiful strains have surely been lost. Indeed, it appears that over the next few decades the Gyselinck and Declerq clones may also be lost. In Europe, 'Perfecta Tricolor' has become the commercial plant of choice, with even the Morobe family nursery discontinuing its own Declerq variety in favor of 'Perfecta Tricolor'. In the United States, this trend is just beginning, but in many areas the old clones now can be found only occasionally in a collector's greenhouse, with retailers appearing to have opted for the showier and more compact 'Perfecta Tricolor'. In many ways, it is a matter of survival of the fittest, but the impending loss is a bit sad—especially now that I feel an affinity to all of these treasures.


  1. The category variety was later changed to forma: N. carolinae forma tricolor (L. B. Smith, Bromelioideae [New York: N. Y. Botanical Garden, 1979]; 1553).
  2. In re: U. S. Plant Patent 3,971: Reexamination Request Control No. 000,557.
  3. This name was chosen by Mr. Gyselinck as descriptive of his discovery. It has never been recognized as botanically correct.
  4. Labels are available from Trans Florida Foliage, 24500 S.W. 167th Avenue, Homestead, Florida 33031, upon payment of standard royalties of $0.20 (U.S.) per plant. Other licensees and sublicensees in the United States are prohibited from selling labels separate from plants.

Orlando, Florida

Estrogen Fertilization of Aechmea lueddemanniana Seedlings
Dennis L. Wollard

opular beliefs among growers often involve ways to facilitate plant culture and propagation. One particular, recurrent notion is that various human medications may be used effectively to produce amazing growth responses in plant tissue. In order to test the validity of at least one of these cherished approaches to horticulture, we conducted a series of controlled investigations to determine if estrogen (Ovulene, 1 mg of ethynodiol diacetate and 0.1 mg of mestranol per tablet), or birth control pills, can stimulate plant growth.

Birth control pills have been alleged to be plant growth stimulants for a range of house plants, including ivy, African violets, and bromeliads. In order to make a controlled test of this hypothesis, forty uniform seedlings of Aechmea lueddemanniana were selected from a group grown in 2¼" sq. plastic pots. The potting mix consisted of one part Canadian sphagnum peat, one part rice hulls, one part fine hadite, and one part finely ground pine bark. Four treatments were completely randomized on the greenhouse bench to remove possible sources of position bias in the results. Treatments were divided as follows and the plants were watered as needed:

Photo by the author.
Fig. 3: Comparison of Aechmea lueddemanniana seedlings after an 8-week fertilizer treatment test.

Group I
Group II
Group III
Group IV
tap water
Peters 20-20-20 fertilizer (3 teaspoons/gallon)
2.2 mg total of Ovulene/quart (2 pills)
4.4 mg total of Ovulene/quart (4 pills)

After eight weeks of this regime, plant heights were compared among the groups. Mean plant heights for the respective groups were as follows:

Group I
Group II
Group III
Group IV
5.7 cm
13.3 cm
6.5 cm
5.8 cm

These results indicate a significant difference between Group II and the remaining plant groups, but no significant differences among Groups I, III, and IV as illustrated in figure 3. None of the seedlings showed any signs of offshoot formation.

For this plant species and at the levels treated, the active principles of Ovulene clearly were ineffective in altering A. lueddemanniana growth. Instead, regular fertilization with a commercial fertilizer produced the largest plants.

Our present knowledge of the interaction of human synthetic compounds and plant growth is such that further investigations of this kind should not be ruled out.

Now, let's not dispute the possibility that people who treat plants with human medications may get more abundant plant growth. Could the reason be that these growers give more attention to their treated plants?

Lafayette, Louisiana

Polyembryony in Bromeliads: A Provisional Note
Elvira Gross

he appearance of polyembryony, meaning the production of more than one seed, in the Bromeliaceae seems to be nearly unknown. Only one species is mentioned by Suessenguth,1 namely Tillandsia juncea, but he fails to give exact dates and in the same species we found a single embryo only.

Our investigations in the seed morphology of bromeliads, which are just beginning, indicate that polyembryony is a characteristic of the Tillandsia subgenus Diaphoranthema. This subgenus consists of 17 small species only,2 in some cases moss-like plants distributed in Middle and South America. Two of the species, T. recurvata and T. usneoides are found also in North America. The latter is the best known and most widely spread. It flourishes in humid habitats while all of the others prefer a dry climate. They are nearly all epiphytic. All of these plants seem to be self-fertile since they produce many seeds in the greenhouses of the Botanical Garden of Heidelberg.

Eleven of the 17 species of Diaphoranthema were investigated and polyembryony was found in 10 (T recurvata has a normal, single embryo). One of these species had more than one embryo in over half of the investigated seeds, evidence that polyembryony is a frequent feature.

The number of embryos in one seed varies from one to four. The additional embryos are always much smaller than the zygotic embryo and are found in a lateral position (fig. 4 and fig. 5 ae). We are still researching the origin of these perhaps adventive embryos.

A reason that we found a different number of embryos in the seeds (also within one species and in one fruit) may be that sometimes the additional embryos are aborted during the maturation of the seed while only the zygotic embryo survives. It may be, also, that additional embryos are not established in all ovules.

Another remarkable fact of this subgenus is the size of the embryos in relation to the seeds proper. The embryo of bromeliads normally occupies from one-third to one-fourth of the volume of the seed.3 In Diaphoranthema the embryos of all investigated species nearly fill the entire seed (except the micropyle) (fig. 6) and only a very small residue of endosperm can be found in the apical region of the seed.

Photos and drawing by the author.
Fig. 4: SEM photograph (100x) showing 2 embryos of Tillandsia castellanii L. B. Smith (critical point method). The additional embryo (ae) is much smaller than the main embryo (me). Portions of the inner integument remain on the embryos (refer to fig. 5).

Fig. 5: SEM photographs showing 2 embryos of T. castellanii (critical point method). The additional embryo is much smaller than that shown in fig. 4. (Above) 50×.
i = residue of the inner integument; m = micropylar tube. (Top of next page) 200×,
showing the pit of the vegetation point (pvp) and the first primary leaf (pl).

Fig. 6: Seed (top) and embryos (bottom) of T. castellanii showing the size of the main embryo (me) in relation to the whole seed (coma hairs of the seed not drawn);
ae = additional embryo, m = micropyle, at = apical tuft.

In some species, for example T. angulosa and T. myosura, there is no more endosperm present. As we see in figure 6, the micropyle is stretched into a long tube, a condition also characteristic of all species of Diaphoranthema. The function of this micropylar tube may be to provide a quick water transport to the seedling during germination.

Further investigations may show the kind of polyembryony we have in bromeliads and if it is a frequent or infrequent characteristic of this plant family.


  1. K. Suessenguth, Beiträge zur Frage des systematischen Anschlusses der Monocotyledonen. Munchen u. Beih.; 1919. Dissertation. Bot. Centralblatt 38, 2. Abt.:1921.
  2. L. B. Smith and R. J. Downs, Tillandsioideae. Flora Neotropica. Monogr. 14, pt. 2 (New York: Hafner Press, 1977), 874-901.
  3. Smith, page 5.

Heidelberg, West Germany

Vriesea ouroensis, A New Species from Minas Gerais, Brazil
Wilhelm Weber

uring his 1982 collecting trip, Alvim Seidel found an interesting vriesea near Ouro in the State of Minas Gerais at an elevation of about 1050 meters. The plant reminded him of a small Vriesea imperialis, but a detailed examination of the specimen received from him last year showed that he had found a hitherto unknown species. The Latin diagnosis was published in Feddes Repertorium, vol. 97. The English translation follows:

Vriesea ouroensis W. Weber sp. nov.

Plant flowering to 90 cm high. Leaves suberect to spreading, pale green, densely appressed lepidote, forming a rosette of 40 cm in diameter; sheaths ovate, to 16 cm long, 85 mm wide, at base pale ferrugineous, the inner surface brown lepidote; blades lingulate, apices rounded and apiculate, to 20 cm in length and 60 mm width. Scape erect, 40 cm long, terete, 5 mm in diameter; scape-bracts erect, lanceovate, acuminate, shorter than the internodes. Inflorescence few branched, 30 cm high; primary bracts lanceovate, 25 mm long, 22 mm wide, shorter than the sterile bracteate base of the lateral spikes; spikes laxly distichous to 16-flowered, rachis faintly flexuous. Flowers pedicellate, divergent to somewhat deflexed, to 47 mm long, pedicels to 10 mm long, 4 mm in diameter, strongly alate-sulcate; floral bracts broadly orbicular, obtuse cucculate, to 17 mm long, 20 mm wide, nerved, dissite lepidote, about equal in length to the internodes; sepals free, slightly asymmetric, obtuse-lanceolate, to 27 mm long, 12 mm wide, coriaceous, with hyaline margins, glabrous, nerved, the posterior ones only indistinctly carinate, much exceeding the flower bracts, petals yellow, lingulate, rounded, on the inner base each with two acute ligula; stamens exserted, 33 mm long; anthers obtuse-linear, 5 mm long, basifixed; ovary 5 mm high; style 32 mm long; stigmata minute and glandulous.

Leg. Alvim Seidel no. 929. Brazil: Minas Gerais, Ouro, 1050 msm. Holotype WEB 623.

Vriesea ouroensis is related to Vriesea neoglutinosa Mez 1935, but has much smaller orbicular flower bracts, much shorter than the sepals.

Waldsteinberg, East Germany

Drawing by Wilhelm Weber.
Fig. 7: Vriesea ouroensis.

A. habit   B. lateral spike   C. flower bract   D. flower   E. sepals   F. petals with stamens   G. pedicel and ovary with style

Chile and Its Bromeliads, Part II
Werner Rauh

In the first part of this article Dr. Rauh discussed the geographical characteristics of Chile, information basic to understanding the reasons for the relative paucity of bromeliads in that country. He described four species of Tillandsia, Deuterocohnia chrysantha, and three species of Puya, subgenus Puya, characterized by long sterile ends of the side branches of the inflorescences. In this concluding part, Dr. Rauh continues his description of Puyas with mention of two species of the subgenus Puyopsis, several species of Greigia, and two genera endemic to Chile: Fascicularia and Ochagavia.

Puya (Subgenus Puyopsis)

The two other Chilean puyas belong to the subgenus Puyopsis, meaning that the branches of the inflorescences are fertile throughout. Puyopsis is a widespread subgenus distributed from Costa Rica (tropical Middle America excluded), over Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and central Chile.

Puya venusta Philippi is the most beautiful species. It grows in dense masses (fig. 8) near the coast in the provinces Coquimbo and Aconcagua. We collected the plant near Los Vilos. In common with other puyas, P. venusta has long, branching, creeping stems with erect silver gray rosettes about 60 cm in diameter. The narrow blades, no more than 3 cm wide, are densely lepidote on both sides. In one exceptional case, we found a rosette with completely green leaves. The flowering shoot is about 1 m high or more; the inflorescence simple, strobilate, or amply bipinnate with 2 to 10 lateral racemes. The stout scape is erect, up to 2 cm in diameter, carmine-red, lepidote when young, but soon glabrous; the red scape bracts are triangular-ovate, lacinate-serrate and as long or longer than the internodes. The lateral racemes are long stipitated, horizontally spreading and have many fewer flowers than the terminal raceme which is globose to short cylindrical, up to 12 cm long and about 10 cm in diameter. The floral bracts are densely imbricate, elliptic, broadly rounded and apiculate, equaling or exceeding the sepals, thin and deep red-violet. The obtuse, deep-violet petals form a narrow tube of 3.5 cm length and bear two vertical appendages near the base. The stamens with yellow anthers and the pistil are slightly shorter than the petals.

It is interesting to observe the sequence of the opening of the flowers: they begin on the side of the inflorescence exposed to the longest daily sunshine period, starting from the bottom of the terminal raceme and progressing to the top. One can often see the flowers of the sunny side of the raceme fully opened while those of the shady side are still closed. I have observed this characteristic frequently in bromeliads with long cylindrical and thick inflorescences such as puyas, pitcairnias, and guzmanias.

A less ornamental plant is Puya coerulea Lindley, an extremely variable species. It has a well-developed, erect, stout stem, which ends in a dense rosette with numerous, spreading leaves 40-60 cm long. The blades, only 1-2 cm wide, are covered with white appressed scales beneath and are glabrous above, often red under the influence of the sun. The erect scape, up to 1 m high, is bright carmine-red, up to 2 cm thick at the base, lepidote. The inflorescence is bipinnate with spreading, 5-30 cm-long branches, laxly or sublaxly flowering, short or long stipitated. The flowers are more or less upward secund and very variable in size and color. The obtuse petals form a narrow tube of a dark violet or pale blue color, drying black. The stamens and the style are included or as long as the petals.

L. B. Smith and G. Looser distinguish four varieties: violacea, monteroana, intermedia, and coerulea. We collected (Rauh No. 66132, Dec. 1984) only the var. violacea, which has a red inflorescence axis, red and long stipitated, laxly flowered branches with floral bracts shorter than the pedicels. We found this variety (fig. 9) near Curico in the valley of the Río Teno, on dry rocky slopes, growing together with P. berteroniana (see page 165, May-June 1985).

A special form of P. coerulea with pale blue, often nearly white flowers is cultivated in the botanical garden "Les Cèdres," St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France (see back cover).

Fig. 8: Puya venusta growing in dense masses near Punta los Molles showing its crimson-red inflorescence with deep-violet petals.
Photos by the author.






Fig. 9: Puya coerulea var. violacea,
Rio Teno, at 1,000 meters, near Curico.

Fig. 10: A large clump of Greigia spacelata growing near the coast in south central Chile near Mehuin.

Fig. 11: Greigia sphacelata after C. M. Pizarro in
Flores silvestres de Chile; 1966: plate 31.


Greigia is a very interesting bromeliad genus. It is distributed with about 30 species from southern Mexico over Middle America up to Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and central Chile, the dry desert regions excluded. The vertical distribution of Greigia extends from sea level up to high altitudes (3000-3800 m), where it grows in wet and cool cloud mist forests or on wet and cool paramos, showing its preference for swampy or moor-like localities. Greigia forms big, stemless or long-stemmed, dense rosettes, often growing in big groups. The long leaf blades are provided with pungent marginal teeth.

Greigia differs from all other bromeliads, except Tillandsia multicaulis and T. complanata, by the lateral position of the inflorescences. They do not appear singly in a terminal, but as several in the axils of elder rosette leaves. Several flowers form a dense, globose or subglobose spike surrounded by coriaceous bracts.

In Chile, Greigia is restricted in its distribution from the former province of Concepción in the north to Chiloé in the south. There are four species: Greigia sphacelata (R. & P.) Regel, G. pearcei Mez (central Chile-Valdivia, Concepción), G. landbeckii Philippi, and G. berteroi Skottsberg, growing only on the Juan Fernandez Islands.

We collected only G. sphacelata (fig. 10) in the coastal region near Mehuin in the south central region. There it forms big groups among the steep rocks 50 m above sea level. The subglobose axillar inflorescences are many flowered (fig. 11); the rose colored petals soon turn a brown color. The fleshy, edible fruits taste like apples and are sold in the market.


Another endemic bromeliad genus is Ochagavia Philippi with three known species: O. carnea (Beer) L. B. Smith and Looser, O. chamissonis (Mez) L. B. Smith and Looser, and O. elegans Philippi. The latter grows only on the Juan Fernandez Islands on rock walls and exposed slopes from 20- to 600-meters altitude. It is one of the stringently protected plants in Chile.

O. carnea (syn. O. lindleyana Mez) is the best known species and adaptable to cultivation in the Mediterranean region or similar climate. It grows near the coast in Chile at altitudes from 50 to 1000 m (Coquimbo to Concepción). It is really an ornamental plant when flowering (see front cover), forming many-leaved, dense rosettes; the leaves are erect or deflexed, covered beneath with cinereous scales and serrate with 5-mm-long spines. The central, globose inflorescence is many-flowered; the outer bracts are bright rose and form a kind of involucre about the inflorescence, but not exceeding the flowers. The petals are bright rose and are slightly exceeded by the stamens.

Fig. 12: Fascicularia kirchoffiana
after C. M. Pizarro in
Flores silvestres de Chile; 1966: plate 28.
Photos by the author.






Fig. 13: An epiphytic clump of Fascicularia bicolor found on a dead tree trunk in a swampy area in southern Chile near Valdivia.


The last genus we have to discuss is Fascicularia, also endemic to Chile. It is distributed in central and southern Chile with five species: F. pitcairniifolia Mez, F. kirchhoffiana (Wittmack) Mez (fig. 12), F. micrantha (Philippi) Mez, F. litoralis (Philippi Mez, and F. bicolor (R. & P.) Mez1. All species are terrestrial or rarely epiphytic on old, dead tree trunks (fig. 13). They all form densely leaved rosettes, which grow singly or in big clumps; the leaf blades are linear, spinose-serrate and spreading. The capitate, simple inflorescence is sunken into the rosette center and surrounded by brilliant inner rosette leaves. The flowers are sessile or short pedicellate; the petals blue or white, somewhat fleshy and bear 2 ligulae; the stamens are included.

The different species are not easy to classify; the best known are F. pitcairniifolia and F. bicolor. They differ in the following characters: in F. pitcairniifolia all bracts are shorter than the flowers, and in F. bicolor the outer bracts distinctly exceed the blue flowers. Both species form spreading rosettes of 1 m diameter and more; at anthesis the inner rosette leaves change their color to a brilliant red; the inflorescences are densely capitate and many-flowered.

F. pitcairniifolia is known from the coast of southern Chile only. F. bicolor is widespread, growing in both saxicolous and epiphytic forms from sea level up to 400 m, and most commonly found in south central Chile. Both species are decorative outdoor plants; they love cooler temperatures, but cannot withstand frost.

We have seen that the bromeliad vegetation of Chile is relatively poor in species, especially in epiphytic tillandsias, which are of special interest to the amateur. Bromeliad collectors, however, who have big gardens and a temperate climate will find among the Chilean bromeliads very attractive and decorative species inviting cultivation.

Heidelberg, West Germany

Acknowledgement: I am very indebted to the Rector of the Universidad de Chile Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias Verterinarias y Forestales, Santiago, for the generous support of my trip through northern Chile, and to my friend Walter Jung, who was an excellent guide through the desert regions. W.R.

  1. See W. Weber, "Rare in Cultivation: Fascicularia," J. Brom. Soc. 35(6): 265, 268-9; 1984.

Notes from Herbarium Bradeanum, No. 3: Aechmea alopecurus
Edmundo Pereira and Elton M. C. Leme

he Aechmea alopecurus Mez is one of the bromeliads about which practically nothing is known except that it is a native of Brazil. J. E. Pohl sometime during the last century collected the specimen which served as the basis for the description elaborated by Carl Mez in 1892. Pohl's specimen (no. 5230) which had been brought to the herbarium of the Naturhistorisches Museum in Vienna , Austria, was lost during the passing years. It seems that only a photo of the type remains but it was incomplete since it shows only part of the scape and the inflorescence. Further, there was no note about such necessary details of the plant as its place of origin, growing conditions in habitat, or the color of the bracts, sepals, and petals.

While examining various dried specimens brought to the herbarium of the Botanical Garden of Rio de Janeiro, we found a specimen collected by the botanist Gustavo Martinelli, which was very like the phototype we own. After some study, we concluded that we were really looking at an A. alopecurus. To characterize the species in a better way, however, we thought that it would be useful to prepare an emendation of the original description published in the Flora Brasiliensis, 3 (3): 367; 1892, and to designate this material as a neotype.

Aechmea alopecurus Mez emend. Pereira & Leme

Folia ligulata, c. 63 cm longa; vaginis anguste ovatis 18 cm longis, 12 cm latis utrimque dense lepidotis; limbis sublinearibus 45 cm longis, 6 cm latis, prope apice angustatis et in spinam rigidam pungentem 5 mm longam desinentibus, margine subdensa spinosa, spinis circa 5 mm longis, atrobrunneis, irregulariter curvatis tum deorsum tum retrorsum, utrimque dense lepidotis, squamis peradpressis membranam quae in siccatam delapsam conformantibus. Scapus erectus lepidotus, c. 50 cm longus, in sicco 8 mm diamet., bracteis celatus; bracteis scapalibus integris vel serratis, roseis; bracteolis subglabris, charteceis, reniformibus, ecarinatis, tubulatim involutis ovarium omnino cingentibus, excepta spinam, 14 mm longam, 5-7 mm longis, 9-13 mm latis; sepalis vinosis, dense lepidotis, squamis adpressis tenuiter fimbriatis; petalis purpureis mox rubris.

Type: Brazil, without locality. Leg. G. Martinelli no. 7681, 5 September 1981. Neotypus: RB 206.073.

Thus, the complete description of the species:

Leaves ligulate, about 63 cm long; leaf sheaths narrowly ovate, 18 cm long, 12 cm wide, densely lepidote on both sides; leaf blades sublinear, 45 cm long, 6 cm wide, subdensely spinose with dark brown spines, 5 mm long and irregularly curved, both antrorse and retrorse, becoming narrowed near the apex and then terminating in a stout spine 5 mm long, densely lepidote on both sides, scales strongly adpressed and forming a detaching membrane when dried. Scape erect, lepidote, about 50 cm long, 8 mm in diameter when dried; scape bracts densely imbricate, lanceovate, broadly acute or subrounded and terminating in a stout brown spine, entire or serrulate towards the apex, sparsely lepidote, rosy. Inflorescence simple, narrowly cylindric, very densely spicate, about 16 cm long, 35 mm in diameter, bearing at apex a coma of brown setiform sterile bracts, axis densely ferruginous-lanate; floral bracts reniform, subglabrous, chartaceous, ecarinate, extended on both sides in a large wing and completely enfolding the ovary, entire, 5-7 mm long without the terminal spine of 14 mm long, 9-13 mm wide. Flowers many-ranked, sessile, about 18 mm long; sepals free, strongly asymmetric, minutely mucronate, 9 mm long, wine-colored, densely adpressed-lepidote with scales tenuously fimbriate; petals erect, free, narrowly elliptic, obtuse, 14 mm long, bearing 2 fimbriate scales well above the base, purple and then becoming reddish; stamens much shorter than the petals; filaments of the second series shortly adnate to the petals and immersed in its callosity; anthers 4 mm long; pollen subglobose and biporate; ovary subcylindric, 4.5 mm long, 2.5 mm in diameter, glabrous; epigynous tube lacking; placenta apical; ovules few (2-3) and long-caudate.

We still do not know where A. alopecurus was found since this new material shows no indication of its place of origin. On the other hand, with the evidence of the recent collection of the neotype, we are certain that the species survives in its natural habitat somewhere in this country. Who knows? Perhaps we shall soon have this interesting bromeliad blooming in our gardens.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

New President and Vice-President Elected

Fig. 14: President Smith.   
dgar Lee Smith of Dallas, Texas, was elected president of the Society for a three-year term by the directors at the Houston meeting of the Board in May 1985. Mr. Smith was vice-president during the previous three years. He began his extensive bromeliad collection nearly thirty years ago and says that his special interests are in neoregelias, cryptanthus, billbergias, and bigenerics.

Mr. Smith brings to the presidency his wide experience in many kinds of Society functions: he helped form the Greater Dallas-Ft. Worth Bromeliad Society and served as its president. He has been president of the Southwest Bromeliad Guild, and BSI director from Texas for ten years. In addition, he edited the publication of his home society, served on the BSI Judges and Handbook Committee and the Judges Certification Committee. He is an accredited judge and is registrar for the Louisiana-Oklahoma-Texas bromeliad judging district.

Photo by Peg McKoane   
Fig. 15: Vice-President Wiedman.   
At the same meeting, the directors elected Dr. Harold W. Wiedman vice-president. Dr. Wiedman will be remembered by Society members as coeditor of the Journal during 1982 and 1983. He has been a BSI member for 25 years, a director for three terms, and was recently elected to a fourth term. In addition to serving as a full-time member of the Department of Biological Sciences of the University of California at Sacramento, he maintains an active schedule as lecturer on bromeliad topics. His many field trips to Central and South American countries have enabled him to combine the pleasures of collecting with his professional interests. He was a founding member of the Sacramento Bromeliad Society.

We are fortunate in having these two especially well-qualified members willing to accept the task of having the general charge of the business and affairs of the Society. We wish them well.

One Mo' Time (continued)
Shirley Grubb

hy do you choose to attend a World Bromeliad Conference? Go to plant sales? Attend seminars? Meet old friends and make new ones? Take a vacation? Visit a different city?

Maybe you go for all these reasons, but this time the difference is the CITY. Some call it Sin City with Bourbon Street and its anything goes attitude. But one street away from the bawdiness and clamor is Royal Street, the street of expensive shops and antiques. From Jackson Square, close by the Mississippi River, there is a walkway across the levee where you can see the river traffic and always feel a breeze. Or take a ride on the free ferry at the foot of Canal Street for a bit of diversion.

The French Quarter is many things. Europeans find it most like the cities they are used to and feel at home. There are the smells of food prepared as in no other place. For other delightful smells walk through the French Market and identify the produce from far away places.

There are the sounds: it's where jazz was born and the first opera house in America was built. There are the New Orleans Symphony, Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, the street musicians, and the calliope on the river boats; music is everywhere.

If the sounds, smells, and tastes have not overpowered you, there is art and the unique architecture of the city to fascinate your eyes. New Orleans has wonderful art museums such as the Historic New Orleans Collection, The Old Mint, The Cabildo, the New Orleans Museum of Art. But there is also the art of the street. Take a stroll around Jackson Square and down Pirate's Alley for a free outdoor show. You can even have your portrait done by a street artist.

New Orleans is a party town where something is always going on. The Cajuns are a light-hearted people who like "to pass a good time." They are descended from the French settlers of Nova Scotia who were expelled and transported to the bayous of Louisiana. They say, "laissez les bon temps rouler" (let the good times roll).

From May 21 through 25, 1986, we are going to throw a party; so come to New Orleans for the 1986 World Bromeliad Conference and pass a good time. "Laissez les bon temps rouler" ONE MO' TIME. As the time for the Conference draws nearer, we'll let you know more of what we have in store for you. It's an event you won't want to miss.

New Orleans, Louisiana

The Bromeliad Collection at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Harry E. Luther

ince its establishment in 1973, the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens has emphasized the study and display of tropical epiphytes, a group of plants thought to comprise at least 10 percent of the world's vascular flora. The Bromeliaceae is a very conspicuous and significant element of the epiphytic vegetation of the Neotropics, and from the very earliest years the staff and associates of Selby Gardens have made numerous collections of this interesting and horticulturally valuable family.

The research collection of bromeliads is housed mainly in a portion of the newest glasshouse of 6250 square feet maintained at a warm temperature regime (62° F to ca. 90° F) (fig. 16). Some of the higher elevation plants are grown in a smaller (1500 square foot) glasshouse that we attempt to keep somewhat cooler with a minimum of 50° F. Several difficult species, such as Tillandsia crispa, T. atrococcinea, T. laxissima, and Vriesea incurva, have been cultivated for several years, a rather unusual accomplishment in hot, humid Florida. A few plants, mostly Neoregelia, Streptocalyx, and Tillandsia species are grown in various other areas according to their requirements of light, temperature, and humidity. All research collection plants are identified with permanent metal tags embossed with an accession number which is recorded on cards and in a book, with their complete data.

The Tropical Display House, the only one of six greenhouses open to the public, has an extensive, permanent planting of bromeliads considered to be of general interest to visitors. In addition, potted and mounted plants from the research collection are rotated into the public areas when in flower.

The outdoor gardens display several plantings of bromeliads including large beds of Neoregelia compacta and various Billbergia species. These are especially noteworthy when in color. A succulent garden presents representative members of eight xeromorphic genera that are a bright display during the spring and early summer months.

The research collection has been used by several scientists over the past few years. For example, the living plants have served as illustration models for the taxonomic and floristics projects of Luther and Gilmartin, chromosome studies by Gilmartin and Brown, and physiological studies by Benzing and collaborators.

Bob Wands photo for Selby Gardens.
Fig. 16: Part of the Selby Botanical Gardens bromeliad research collection is housed in this new greenhouse
where temperatures are maintained between a 62° F minimum and a 90° F maximum.

In addition, several graduate students have worked with selected groups of taxa. The value of an accessible, well-documented collection of living bromeliads is difficult to overemphasize particularly when considering the accelerating rate of destruction of the tropical forests.

In the following synopsis of the bromeliad species collection maintained at the Gardens, it should be noted especially that more than 60 percent of the holdings are fully documented, wild-collected plants including many biologically significant specimens such as type clones. The quantities shown should be considered very conservative estimates because many plants remain immature and sterile so that identification is uncertain.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Bromeliad Species Collection


2 spp
ca. 75 spp
4 spp
1 sp
3 spp
18 spp
8 spp
2 spp
ca. 9 spp
1 sp
4 spp
1 sp
2 spp
1 sp
ca. 30 spp
ca. 8 spp
6 spp
3 spp
1 sp
6 spp
5 spp
4 spp
1 sp



1 sp
3 spp
1 sp
3 spp
10 spp
1 sp
ca. 6 spp
8 spp
1 sp
ca. 30 spp
7 spp

9 spp
1 sp
ca. 35 spp
ca. 190 spp
ca. 50 spp

Sarasota, Florida

Bromeliad Flower Arrangement, No. 6: Aechmea mulfordii and Cordyline schubertii
May A. Moir

Photo by Robert Chinn,
Honolulu Academy of Arts.
Fig. 17: Fresh Aechmea mulfordii inflorescences arranged with large-leaved Cordyline schubertii. Height 3½ feet.

his is one of a pair of arrangements of fresh Aechmea mulfordii inflorescences and the large-leaved Cordyline schubertii which is like our common green ti but with large stripes of terra cotta and deeper brown-red color. The container is a three-footed solid brass hibachi.

To put this arrangement together one needs a good kenzan (needle holder), a slender stalk of banana or heliconia stem well anchored in the kenzan. This gives you something to pin your material to in order to hold it in the desired place. With water, this arrangement should last from ten days to two weeks.

Honolulu, Hawaii

Bromeliad Conference in Australia
Olwen Ferris

romeliads III, held in Brisbane, Queensland, over Easter 1985, was a huge success: a time for renewing old friendships, making new ones, a time for learning, and a time for looking forward into the future. The beautiful bromeliads that decorated the first floor foyer were our introduction to what the conference pertained and we were not disappointed.

The conference was all these things, thanks to a few dedicated people who worked so hard to make it a success. Even the weather smiled. After six weeks of almost daily rain and storms, we had glorious sunny days, with the only rain early Sunday morning to give the organizers of the bus tours a few uneasy moments.

This conference was planned around the visit of Mr. Harry Luther, Director of the M. B. Foster Bromeliad Identification Center at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Florida, who gave several slide-illustrated lectures of his excursions into the natural habitat of bromeliads. He showed us new introductions from numerous genera as well as many updated names for plants collected in the past.

Following is the briefest outline of the ten lectures available during the conference:

"Nitrogen—Friend or Foe." John Wilkins illustrated his talk with slides showing tests using the cultivar Neoregelia carolinae 'Magnificent Red.'

"Seed Raising—Xerophytic Epiphytes." Peter Paroz explained the different techniques that give him reasonable success.

"Seed Raising—Mesophytes" Fay Sibley discussed the extent to which we can initiate or depart from the natural processes of seed germination to improve our growing methods.

"Seed Production in Bromeliads." Robert Reidl spoke of his conviction that this was a way of conserving these remarkable plants for future enjoyment.

"Tissue Culture." Brian Kirkley talked about this method of reproducing bromeliads in large numbers.

"Bromeliad Study Group Report" John Higgins spoke of the group's interest in identification and bromeliad botany in general. The second speaker from this group, John Conrad, explained how to read a bromeliad key.

"Tillandsias and the Australian Climate." Bill Morris gave an outline on how to choose plants from a climate similar to our growing conditions when importing from overseas.

"Cultivation of Billbergias." Joan Imray told how the billbergias have a special place in her collections and the species have an equal standing with many of the newer introductions.

"Cultivation of Vriesea." Olive Trevor showed a number of lovely vrieseas and explained how she grew them to such perfection, by feeding and what went into the potting mix used.

At the dinner table for the delegates each lady found alongside her place card a lovely corsage with a small variegated cryptanthus as its focal point. After the dinner we were entertained with slides and a talk by Harry Luther, a very able speaker who sprinkled his remarks with enough humor to keep the attention of all, and we drooled over the photographs of many species in the wild, and of new and rediscovered species.

Other highlights were the bus trips to visit collections north of Brisbane. Tony Lea's enchanting garden, built around a swimming pool where seclusion panels were covered with epiphytes, the terraced beds filled with numerous flowering neoregelias, and his greenhouse, a joy to behold. After lunch we went on to Grace Goode's to see her much older, but everchanging garden. Here neoregelias were the first to catch the eye, but other genera were well represented as we wandered around well defined paths.

It is all over now, and looking forward, we will meet again in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1987 for Bromeliads IV.

Paradise Point, Queensland

Do You Grow Billbergia 'Muriel Waterman'?
Bea Hanson

am sure there are many bromeliad fanciers who do grow Billbergia 'Muriel Waterman' as it is one of the loveliest there are. Many of us admire the plant, but I wonder how many know it was named after a bromeliad grower in New Zealand?

I came into contact with Muriel Waterman through an advertisement she placed in one of our newspapers. She asked if anyone interested in cacti and succulents would like to contact her. As I had just developed a burning enthusiasm for these plants I at once sent off a letter. Back came a reply inviting me to visit her and telling me she had no telephone as she couldn't bear the things. In those days it was a major task to get to her place. I had to take one bus, then change into another to reach her district. After getting off the bus there was then a walk of about ten minutes.

The house was old, the garden crammed with beautiful plants, and Muriel Waterman a charming lady. She had a great sense of humour and a beautiful smile and one felt as if they had known her for years. I saw both cacti and succulents that I had only seen pictured in books. I asked her if she sold any and she said she did. She showed me where they were and said all were priced and that she hated taking money from friends so I was to total them up and leave the money on the shelf.

Our association continued and not long after the bromeliad bug struck. Soon the garden was more bromeliads than cacti and succulents. I saw my first Ochagavia lindleyana in flower, my first Bromelia balansae and was enchanted with the brilliant red of the heart when it was about to flower. All sorts of wonderful bromeliads were being imported by Muriel Waterman now and it was a great thrill to visit her and see her latest additions.

She had many failures and many successes but she loved to try the plants in different places outside. Her glasshouse housed the better plants and it was indeed a thrill to go and browse in it. As well as working with the plants she looked after a large number of bantams and these little golden and brown pets were a minor trouble as they tended to get out and do some damage from time to time.

With the same enthusiasm as she grew and added more plants to her collection she worked to get members for The Bromeliad Society. She was extremely successful and gathered in quite a number. One day I saw my first Aechmea 'Foster's Favorite' and immediately wanted one. She said she couldn't let me have it as it was only for the members but if I joined I would be able to have one. I told her it was sheer blackmail, but she won. As her collection grew she was able to send out price lists to the members and I offered to type them for her. By the name of each plant she put a short description such as "beautiful," "this is just wonderful," etc. Even in the price lists her enthusiasm overflowed. When going anywhere by bus she always took a bromeliad Journal and sat with it open at a picture and if anyone mentioned it she was able to tell them all about bromeliads.

She hated having to go and buy new clothes and always said she was much happier in a store that sold tools. In the winter her favorite dress was an old quilted dressing gown which she said was the warmest thing you could wear! The first time I saw her in it I thought she had been ill and asked her what had been the matter.

It was a great pity she was such a shy person as when our society was formed it would have been wonderful to have her give us a talk and pass on some of her great knowledge. She was happy only when she was talking to two or three people—no more. Her greatest joy was to get a card from Customs to say there was a parcel of plants waiting for her. She would rush over on the next bus and to quote: "Bring them home clasped lovingly to my bosom" Then would come a letter telling me all about the new bromeliads—such excitement.

It was a sad day when we heard she was ill. She died shortly after from a stroke. She was greatly missed by her many friends, both here and overseas. Most of us had Muriel Waterman stories and many are the times we have exchanged them. A lovely lady.

She was born in the United States but spent most of her life here. Her books were all sold and those who bought them were ever reminded of her by the remarks she had left in the margins—always in green ink. There would be a plant underlined and in the margin remarks such as: "I must have this," "this died," "got this in the last parcel," etc. So typical of her great enthusiasm which bubbled always.

There are many more happy thoughts about her, but I hope that these few will make your billbergia just a little more interesting.

Auckland, New Zealand

Mulford B. Foster
Billbergia × 'Muriel Waterman' M. B. Foster hybr. nov.
(Billbergia horrida var. tigrina × B. Euphemia var. purpurea)
M. B. Foster No. 3018 (Type in U.S. Nat'l Herbarium)

This new hybrid was made in 1946 and flowered in 1950 for the first time. It is certainly a most striking and stunning plant whether in flower or not. The semi-nodding inflorescence does not carry the delicate pastel colors of pink and blue that was the contribution of B. horrida var. tigrina pulled them down to a more earthy combination of dull pink bracts and steel blue flowers. Every compensation was made, however, to a complete climax in the combination of the reddish purple leaved Euphemia which created a blend of a rich plum colored background high-lighted with vivid silver grey bands which were donated by B. horrida.

In naming this hybrid for Mrs. Muriel Waterman of Auckland, New Zealand I am honoring her in acknowledgment of the tireless enthusiasm and interest she has shown for the bromeliads and the Bromeliad Society. Mrs. Waterman possesses—or shall we say, the largest collection of bromeliads "Down Under" possess Mrs. Waterman! If you named the ten largest collections of bromeliads in the world, her collection would be in that Royal Group. Less than ten years ago she was an incurable addict of cacti and succulents but when bromeliads came into her heart, the cacti gradually left her garden.

We have never had the pleasure of seeing Mrs. Waterman but we have always felt that she lives just across the street because so many plants from our garden have gone over to live in her garden.

Mrs. Waterman, herself, is somewhat of a hybrid for she was born in Iowa but has spent most of her very active life in New Zealand.

Reprinted from Bromeliad Society Bulletin 7:40-41; 1957.

Regional Reflections

Nelson R. E. Redfern

was recently asked to write about my experience with "Superthrive," a vitamin-hormone solution produced by the Vitamin Institute in California. Mixed in solution, at a phenomenal ratio of one drop to the gallon, it is not advertised to be a fertilizer nor should it be used in place of fertilizers. The product's composition is known only to its inventor, biochemist-nutritionist, John Thompson, Ph. D., in California.

The product's packaging and presentation, I believe to be somewhat distracting. The labels and amber bottles look like old-fashioned tonic bottles from an Old West medicine show or circus sideshow. The labeling and content's description suggest obscure vitamins and hormones but are not specific in analysis or assay. I was skeptical when I purchased my first pint bottle four years ago.

That same year, 1979, I removed six offsets, all the same size, from a plant of Guzmania lingulata minor cv. Red Lantern. Three offsets I then grew in a "control" group with the other three offsets in the "Superthrive" group. All plants were grown in the same area and received the same amounts of water, light, and foliar feedings with Miller's 20-20-20 soluble fertilizer for one year. The results were unequivocal. The "Superthrive" group uniformly were larger plants with more leaves, better root structure, and presented with larger blooms than did the control group. I am convinced that this product delivers and promotes plant growth, stature, and development. I have since found other growers who have discovered the virtues of growing with "Superthrive," stretching the gamut from orchid growers, to those involved with cacti and succulents, to bonsai devotees. I have not merely written a testimonial here.

Dr. Thompson's philosophy is a sound one. Plant growth is a combination of genetic potential and environmental and nutritional influences. He has created the ultimate in a solution that enhances all plants' utilization of light and nutrients. The secret vitamins and hormones contained in "Superthrive" are nutrients that are basic to plant growth. Dr. Thompson clearly states that all these nutrients are ones which plants can synthesize on their own and use, but that often growing conditions do not enhance this normal process—a gap that "Superthrive" fulfills by making these nutrients bioavailable through the roots and leaf stomata when used in solution.

I use the product for everyday maintenance watering at a ratio of one drop to the gallon in conjunction with soluble fertilizers (e.g., Miller's or Peter's soluble fertilizer). Mixing instructions for large quantity/bulk use are on the labeling for delivery through sprinkling or Syphonex systems, for example. For plants in offset transplantation, or for plants "in shock", I use the product in a concentration of ten drops to the gallon. I believe that the higher dosages also have a stabilizing effect on plants subjected to extremes in temperature. Because most of its constituents are high molecular weight organic molecules, it is degraded by the ultraviolet and heat. Keep "Superthrive" in its amber bottle in a cool, dark storage place and use it up when mixed each time. If used in this fashion, its shelf life is long—perhaps years. It is sold in quantities from 1 ounce to 1 gallon.

The product appears to be absorbed by both the root system of plants and the leaf stomata and exchange trichomes, I believe. I use "Superthrive" on all plants—bromeliads, orchids, palms, cycads, ferns and succulents—which make up my collection. I have not found it to be toxic at any concentration. I believe the product's safety and efficacy on a wide range of plants support Dr. Thompson's hypothesis that plants physiologically have many "common denominator" requirements though their needs for water, light, humidity, and temperature may vary because of biologic selection and adaptation.

The development of "Superthrive" since its introduction in the 1930's is an interesting one. Today's product is a far cry from its original composition. Dr. Thompson's original formulation has undergone many changes as nutritional and biochemical research reveal more efficacious agents and their roles. Today's product is a secret formulation of 12 vitamins and 20 hormones—most of which are known to plant physiologists and biochemists. "Superthrive" today has evolved into a product with widely accepted use among growers in the western United States and is now reaching an international market.

The product attracted the attention of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Pesticide Division, and the Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) in 1972. Since "Superthrive" was a product of interstate trade, its components by analysis and assay should be made known on the labeling, the E.P.A. alleged. In attempting to maintain his rights to the secrecy of his formulation, Dr. Thompson threatened to withdraw "Superthrive" from the market and sought public support to protest the E.P.A. charges to remove the product unless the labeling was changed. Research revealed "Superthrive" to be nontoxic even in swallowed full strength and the public and media response of support was overwhelming. Shortly thereafter, the E.P.A. dropped its allegations. Interestingly, "Superthrive" use has been adopted by the U.S. Forest Service. Dr. Thompson feels that patenting the formulation would not only invite future less efficacious imitations but would not permit him to continually be allowed to change the formulations as research breakthroughs advanced the state of knowledge of enhancing plant hormones and vitamins.

In my discussions with Dr. Thompson, he has continually emphasized that "Superthrive" is not a fertilizer but must be used in a judicious program of fertilization and watering. "Superthrive" is less effective if fertilizer is not used. Its constituents allow the plant to actively utilize the fertilizer's components of nitrogen, potash, potassium, and rare and trace elements. These constituents are ones that are all normal to the plant's physiology. They are constituents that under natural conditions may be unavailable or rare to a plant in cultivation—captured in a bottle (as unattractive as the packaging may be) and when used, allow the plant to thrive—"Superthrive"!

If you cannot find this product you might ask the Vitamin Institute, Box 230, 5411 Satsuma Ave., N. Hollywood, CA for a list of distributors.

Reprinted from Bromeliadvisory, vol. 25, no. 7, July 1983 The Bromeliad Society of South Florida, with the author's permission.

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 – Edgar L. Smith, 4415 Vandelia St., Dallas, TX 75219.
Vice President – Harold W. Wiedman, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Calif., State University-Sacramento, Sacramento, CA 95819.
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 Pl. , 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, Peter Paroz, Australia, 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.; Roberto Burle Marx, Brazil; Victoria Padilla, U.S.; Wilhelm Weber, Germany Racine Foster, U.S.; Elmer J. Lorenz, U.S..

Advertising: See Editorial Office.
Affiliate shows: Charlien Rose, 4933 Weeping Willow, Houston, TX 77092.
Affiliated societies newsletter and liaison: Stan Oleson, 1030 Alma, San Pedro, CA 90731.
Awarded cultivars: Tom J. Montgomery, Jr., 206 Eastway, Galena Park, TX 77547.
Conservation: Mark A. Dimmitt, The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Rt. 9, Box 900, Tucson, AZ 85743.
Editorial office: 1508 Lake Shore Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. Address claims for current and 1984 issues to the editor; for back issues other than 1984 and 1985, address H. W. Wiedman, Dept. of Biological Sciences, Calif. State University-Sacramento, Sacramento, CA 95819. Advertising rates upon request.
Hybrid registration: Nat De Leon, P.O. Box 560524, Miami, FL 33256-0524.
Judges certification: William E. Frazel 12500 Lake Rd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33325.
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: Danita Rafalovich, 3956 Minerva Ave., Los Angeles, CA 9066.
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: Gerald A. Raack, 472 Greenhollow Dr., Pataskala, OH 43062.

Photo by Suzy Marnier-Lapostolle.

A remarkable, nearly white-flowering form of Puya coerulea var. coerulea
grown in the Botanical Garden "Les Cadres," St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, France.

Calendar of Shows

Sept. 7-8Sooner State Bromeliad Study Group 2nd Annual Show and Sale. Tulsa Garden Center, 2435 South Peoria, Tulsa, Oklahoma. Georgia Waggoner (918) 733-4602.
October 12-13Southwest Bromeliad Guild 14th Annual Show. Granada Royale Hometel, 4337 South Padre Island Dr., Corpus Christi, TX. Sat. 1:00-10:00 P.M., Sun. 10:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M. Judged show, plant sale. Don A. Beadle (512) 992-5096.
October 18-20Bromeliad Society of Central Florida in association with the Leu Botanical Gardens Lawn and Garden Show, Orlando. Judged show and plant sale. Edward and Nancy Hall (305) 647-2039.
October 18-20Tarrant County Bromeliad Society Fall Plant Sale, Botanic Garden Center, 3220 Botanic Garden Drive, Ft. Worth, TX. Fri. 10:00 A.M.-7:00 P.M., Sat. 8:00 A.M.-4:00 P.M., Sun. 1:00-4:00 P.M. Free admission. Bob Smith (817) 261-4349.

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