First to be given a cultivar name was ‘Ferris’. A coloured photograph of this plant appeared on the front of the Proceedings of the Australian Bromeliad Conference held in Brisbane 1985. By October 2002 I was fed up with writing ‘Neoregelia concentrica red centre from Olwen’ and decided to call it ‘Ferris’ and told you all about it.
Another one that has been bugging me for years is that great clone of N. concentrica ‘Albomarginate’ we can trace to Bill Morris. I was half expecting it to be given formal varietal status as Foster did with a variegated N. carolinae that cropped up in his garden but nothing has happened. So Bill’s plant has been in limbo – not a botanical entity nor a cultivar. I plan to rectify the matter here.
In Bromeletter34(4): 9. 1996 I wrote...
In one of these early batches of seed sent to Bill from Adda Abendroth one was of Neoregelia concentrica which was all the more memorable because one of the seedlings had white variegations. He removed a couple or so of the inner leaves when the plant was large enough to withstand such treatment and he was rewarded.
The plant did not produce 'normal' offsets but a myriad of adventitious pups similar to what you expect in certain Vriesea. One of these offsets had even greater potential and was selected out. BUT the variegation was not consistent in its offsets.
Shortly after this Bill moved to Cairns and no doubt some of these plants would have left his stable. I have not been able to ascertain if this variegation has happened since but in the J. Brom. Soc. 27(4): 181. 1977 John Nicol of Melbourne reported mutation from several years before with a Neoregelia concentrica but regrettably did not know the source of his plant.
In J. Brom. Soc 33: 162. 1983 James Elmore referred to the Australian clone of Neoregelia concentrica variegata having been in the USA for many years.
In 1996 Bill Morris confirmed some of my thoughts in the following letter...
Regarding the article in Bromeletter and Neoregelia concentrica marginata.(my original naming).
Yes, I did distribute it before I went to Cairns so I am sure it fairly rapidly got spread around (It was not highly variegated at first so grew fast).
Now one of its characteristics in those early days was that the offsets would come quite well variegated but as the plant matured the variegation often decreased until you would get an unvariegated plant except for the original lower leaves. If these died or were stripped off the plant would appear unvariegated. Yet, when the plant flowered and produced new offsets they would be variegated. So I have always believed that John Nicol’s plant was simply one of these plants.
However, with time, and selection of the best variegated pups (remember, like most variegated plants the offsets varied from excellent to poor.) most of the plants grown now hold their variegation. Also through selection there are now wider borders on the leaves than the original plants. Also in Australia (first in Brisbane) and in the USA a central variegation arose with no variegation on the margin.
Originally, Grace Goode took about half a dozen offsets to one of the US Conferences. When she returned she told me there had been a great demand for more of them and as she could not supply perhaps I might be able to do so. Eventually, I sent 12 each to Erwin Wurthmann and to Kent’s nursery. These plants were the source of the American plants in cultivation today. It is possible that other variegated concentrica have occurred but I do not know of any.
However, some imported (ex USA) so called variegated concentrica I have seen appear to me to be hybrids rather than concentricas. In hybridising, concentrica is fairly dominant in many characteristics so that most of the offspring are concentrica-like. I think this may have caused some people to think that the plant had selfed when it really been crossed and so the seedlings have been labelled concentrica. The reason I suspect they are not concentricas is that the leaves are thinner and not hard and leathery. Also many are much fuller (with more leaves) and more compact than most concentricas, The centre colour is also often less purple and more red-purple’
So if you do have this particular clone please change its name to ‘Bill Morris’ which will be shown in the Cultivar Register as follows :
Neoregelia ‘Bill Morris’ – named by D Butcher, AU, originated as seed of concentrica from Adda Abendroth in Brazil in 1958 and grown by Bill Morris of NSW, AU. One seedling showed variegation and by selection over the years produced stable variegation, mainly albomarginate, See ‘Uncle Derek says’, Reg Doc 1/2007, photo fcbs.org
See also Detective Derek 01/07c for details of Neoregelia concentrica and 'Ferris'.