Derek the Hybrid Detective
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DD0208 Neoregelia carcharodon now ‘Blue Shark’
by Derek Butcher 02/08

1996 was a vintage year because it was when Len Colgan and myself went to Orlando to the World Bromeliad Conference. I was especially after a true Neoregelia fosteriana and a true N. carcharodon and Harry had written that both were in Florida, admittedly side by side with wrongly named ones - it depended where you looked! At Pineapple Place I saw both species but when nobody was looking I poked around the inflorescence of N. fosteriana and convinced myself it was not compound and was thus incorrectly named. The N. carcharodon was the ‘Rubra’ that Harry said was true and it looked so good I just had to have one. I bought a N. carcharodon and which was an offset ( not a seedling) and it survived quarantine but took lots of years to acclimatise. It would not flower but each offset did look like it was getting used to Adelaide. In 2006 an offset went to Peter Tristram in NSW and in 2007 another offset went to Mick Romanowski in Melbourne.

I was somehat surprised when in Jan 2008 Peter Tristram sent me photos of the plant in flower and with blue petals. Panic! Petals are supposed to be white!

Off to Harry Luther for advice. Plant not N. carcharodon but he did say N. carcharodon was on the BSI seed list in the 1990’s. As Bill Morris instilled in me years ago, “Seed-raisers must always analyse their results!” Alas few do so!

This plant with the blue flowers needs a cultivar name and what better than ‘Blue Shark’. The ‘blue’ to cover the error as well as the colour of the petals and ‘Shark’ to link it to ‘carcharodon’.

Even though I got my offset so long ago, there is a great chance that plants called Neoregelia carcharodon are still lurking in Florida ‘waters’ waiting to catch the unwary. It is possible that it could also have been imported to Queensland. So when next your N. carcharodon flowers please check the petal colour which should be white.

Photo Peter Tristram.

Updated 10/02/08