Derek the Hybrid Detective
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DD1105b Aechmea organensis

Aechmea organensis by Derek Butcher.
This is a very popular species from the subgenus Ortgiesia and comes in many sizes. Ever since Peter Franklin and I presented a paper at the Perth Conference in 1997 we have dithered about whether some may need cultivar names. Even at that time we had the Queensland form and NSW form which could only be identified when flowering side by side. The Queensland form having a more reddish tinge to the ovary. We already had the form that got named as Aechmea ‘Derek’s Organensis Ha Ha’ which stemmed from Grace Goode in 1989 and has already been written about. See - "Uncle Derek Says".
Interestingly, current photos from Brazil suggest that this may well be within the species description of A. organensis.

We then had Harry Luther point out that the plant we were growing as A. gracilis was really a small form of A. organensis.( see ‘Bromeliaceae ‘#3. 1999). The true A. gracilis is not in Australia because nobody has imported it yet. It was in limited supply at Tropiflora and is apparently self sterile because I have been unable to acquire seed! What has happened to the name tag on the many plants that are around? I’ll bet they still say A. gracilis because A. organensis ‘Small form’ takes too long to write.

Recently the name Aechmea ‘Coral Beauty’ has been coined by Olive Trevor and had been happily growing as a medium sized Aechmea organensis for the past 10 years. Peter Franklin has it under PAF1739.

We should now bite the bullet and call the small form ‘Graceful’ which is a minimal change from ‘gracilis’.

ALL of these are linked under the species name A. organensis because as far as we can gather they are not hybrids – per se – but forms of a very variable species.

This is not just an Australian problem because we know the wrongly identified Aechmea gracilis plants were at least sold by Pineapple Place in Florida and these should be corrected to ‘Graceful’.

'Graceful' photo by Peter Franklin.
'Coral Beauty' photo by Ian Hook.
Click thumbnails for full size, scaled to a new window.

Updated 16/11/05