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January 2009

<I>Aechmea recurvata</I>
Aechmea recurvata
(Painted by Margaret Mee)
Reprinted from Journal of The Bromeliad Society, November-December 2008, Vol. 58(6)

- Articles appearing in this issue of NEWSLINK are for information purposes only and are not necessarily endorsed by the Committee or the Illawarra Bromeliad Society.
- The Society is, by the holding of meetings, displays and competitions, to provide a forum for the people of the Illawarra region who are interested in the culture and collection of bromeliads.
- Under the provisions of the Privacy Act, use of names and references to private details, such as illness, holidays, birthdays and items of a similar nature, may only be published with the written permission of the person concerned.

I would first like to thank the Committee for the help and support they have given me over the past year, and to the members who have jumped in and assisted in the running and organizing of events, and also all to the members who have shown so much enthusiasm and interest in the culture of bromeliads. Remember, we need your input to successfully run the Society, so don’t be afraid to offer help or advice.
The year 2008 saw an increase in members, which societies and clubs like ours require to remain successful. To our new members, as well as the older ones, I thank you for your participation in providing the raffle prizes and displaying your plants on our monthly competition tables. We will continue with the Study Group meetings and try to incorporate visits to members’ gardens over the next year. You will find in this issue of Newslink some of the programmes we have organized for the monthly meetings, and I would ask members if they have any suggestions on subjects they would be interested in to please let us know.
Over the past year there has been a lot of interest in raising plants from seed, as well as a number of members involved in growing tillandsias. We will continue to inform on these as well as introduce some of the lesser known genera—e.g., cryptanthus, nidulariums and others. I believe we can move into our next Society year with confidence that we will grow and provide an excellent forum for furthering interest in bromeliad culture. In conclusion I would like to mention that we have a couple of members who are not travelling too well on the health front and our wish to them is that their recovery is sooner rather than later and we hope you will be able to rejoin us as soon as possible.

A very warm welcome to Graham Peters of Wombarra and Rhama Thompson of Dapto who joined at our October and November meetings, respectively.

Very hearty congratulations to our Points Score winners for 2008. Again, we saw so many beautiful plants filling our competition tables this past year and I would like to thank all of those members who make the effort to prepare and bring their plants to our meetings. I’m sure I’m not only speaking for myself when I say, “They do the heart good!” and we can all learn so much when they are presented and discussed.

Open: - Neville Wood
Novice: - Coral Baldwin - Rhonda Patterson
Tillandsia: - Graham Bevan

We will again use the roster system for providing prizes for our monthly raffles. The same rules will apply: if you are unable to supply a bromeliad then items such as potted herbs, cuttings, spare fruits/vegetables from your garden, gardening tools, etc. are acceptable. Also, if you are unable to attend the meeting, and/or are unable to supply a raffle prize when rostered, it would be appreciated if you would either ‘work a swap’ or speak to Elizabeth about getting a fill-in for your month.
As our membership fees are kept very low, we rely on these raffles to help defray the costs involved in the running of our Society, and so your support is very necessary, and very much appreciated.

Elizabeth Bevan, Carolyn Buxton, Eileen Killingley, Neville Wood
Tera Wheway, Nina Rehak, Heather Osborne, Joan Banks
Sylvia Clare, Jenny Taylor, Meri Stefanidakis, Bruce Cluff, Richard Westera
Jenny Godin, Steve Morgan, Glenise Weston, Dick Jamieson, Gary Claydon
Dot Stephenson, Warwick, Mandy Tilley, Peter Netting, Rena Wainwright
Noel Kennon, Rhama Thompson, Robert McGuire, Edwina Caruana, Phillip
June Smith, Russell Dixon, Carol Carthew, Maadi McKenna, Norm Johnston
Dawn Climent, Laurie Dorfer, Rod Allen, Jenny Nabbe, Graham Peters
Jenny McKenzie, Brian Baldwin, Sharyn Baraldi, Christine Okoniowski
Rhonda Patterson, Loreen Whiddett, Eunice Spark, Colette Jackson

Bob Gray Bob passed away in November after quite a lengthy illness, but he will be remembered as a generous, hard-working, founding member (and Lifetime Member) of our Society. His love for bromeliads also kept him busy in both the Australian and New South Wales Societies and he was Treasurer of the Illawarra Society until ill health forced him to give up this position in mid 2001. He had been part of the team of those early members — along with Steve Popple, then curator — who established the display of bromeliads at the Wollongong Botanic Garden. Before catching the ‘bromeliad bug’ Bob had raised tropical fish and aquatic plants on his property in Helensburgh where he had put up some very large buildings to house fish tanks and ponds. When he started growing bromeliads these heated, protected, areas allowed him to grow many of the more tropical species, as well as a truly wonderful collection of many genera. However, tragedy struck on Christmas Day 2001 when a bushfire destroyed his home and most of his collection. On a personal note, I do believe that the bromeliads which he brought along to our meetings and displayed at our annual Shows--along with the talks that he gave--reinforced and inspired my own passion for these wonderful plants. Thank you, Bob!


April 9-22
April 10-13
XVth Australasian Bromeliad Conference, BROMADELAIDE2009. See Eileen or
May 2-3
May 16-17
Oct 10-11

February 7, 2009: Potting Mixes - Neville/Bruce/Graham
March 7, 2009: Rocks That Can Be Used in Gardening and Decorative Pots - Noel Kennon
April 4, 2009: Cryptanthus - Elizabeth/Nina/Rena and John

PLANT RESULTS - October 4, 2008

John Carthew Vriesea hieroglyphica
Catherine Wainwright xNeophytum ‘Galactic Warrior’
Nina Rehak Guzmania wittmackii
Neville Wood Vriesea ‘Sunset’
John Carthew Billbergia ‘Hallelujah’
John Carthew Neoregelia ‘Rosy Morn’
Coral Baldwin Neoregelia ‘Predator’
Coral Baldwin Vriesea ‘Splenriet’
Coral Baldwin Neoregelia ‘Hula Girl’ {See comments}
Catherine Wainwright Tillandsia seleriana
Graham Bevan Tillandsia bulbosa
Dick Jamieson Tillandsia fasciculata

PLANT RESULTS - November 1, 2008

Catherine Wainwright Aechmea nudicaulis – a flowering clump with 5 infl.
Bruce Cluff Acanthostachys strobilacea
Catherine Wainwright Vriesea ‘Stepladder’
Neville Wood Neoregelia Dr. Oeser ‘Special’ Red’
Catherine Wainwright Orthophytum ‘Copper Penny’
Graham Bevan Neoregelia uleana
Neville Wood Vriesea ‘Grafton Sunset’
Warwick Varley Neoregelia Unknown #1
Warwick Varley Neoregelia Unknown #2
Noel Pearce Neoregelia ‘Beefsteak’
Graham Bevan Tillandsia albertiana
Catherine Wainwright Tillandsia butzii
Sandra Southwell Tillandsia recurvata
Graham Bevan Tillandsia latifolia var. divaricata

Neoregelia ‘Hula Girl’: While this plant, brought to our October meeting, was labelled Neoregelia ‘Hula Girl’ I was unable to find a plant registered as such. However, I did find xNeophytum ‘Hula Girl’, a bigeneric hybrid, growing to 20 inches wide and requiring shade, made by Ron Parkhurst of Hawaii. From the photograph on the site, this plant more physically resembles a neoregelia with slim, beautiful, rich pink leaves and a soft green centre. There was also listed Neoregelia ‘Exotica Hula Girl’, one of many in the ‘Exotica’ group created by New Zealand bromeliad author and grower, Andrew Steens. The site mentioned below lists over 30 neoregelias in this ‘Exotica’ group and the photograph of N. ‘Exotica Hula Girl’ shows a rosette of peachy-pink and green leaves.

Vriesea ‘Stepladder’: This is a plant which was grown up by Margaret Paterson in Queensland from seed from the BSI seed bank in the 1980s as Vriesea guttata. As The Bromeliad Cultivar Registry tells us: “The scape just grew and grew and the inflorescence just grew and grew, hence the name!”

Vriesea splendens/‘Splenriet’/‘Splendide’: Coral brought her lovely V. ‘Splenriet’ to our October meeting and as there is sometimes some confusion regarding the identification of these plants I thought I would do a little research. Somewhat similar in appearance, with open rosettes, wide, dark banding on the leaves, and beautifully brilliant inflorescences, the two cultivars, as the names suggest, have the species Vriesea splendens in their makeup. However, V. ‘Splendide’ is the larger of the two—most usually branched--and if fed and well grown, can reach a height of from 4 to 6 feet. It is also unusual among vrieseas, in that its flowers are red (* {Accessed 03 Feb. 09}) {from the V. glutinosa parent); V. ‘Splenriet, on the other hand, grows only to around 2-1/2 feet tall, has an unbranched inflorescence, and the flowers are yellow.
- - - Vriesea ‘Splendide’ is a hybrid of V. splendens and V. glutinosa. made by DeMeyer around 1973. It is a large plant with a branched inflorescence, giving a spectacular candelabra effect in flowing brilliant colours of orange-red. There is also a variegated form {V. Splendide ‘Vista’/V. ‘Samurai?} (*Thomson, Nigel (2009) personal communication), with the patterning on the leaves similar to Vriesea ‘Galaxy’, a cultivar of V. glutinosa.
- - - Vriesea ‘Splenriet’, a cultivar of V. splendens developed by Corn. Bak around 1995, has wide, chocolate-coloured bands on its green foliage—grows to 30 inches tall and 22 inches across It will stay in bloom for up to 12 weeks. The inflorescence is fiery red and sword-shaped.
- - - Vriesea splendens {splendid, outstanding}–one of the parents of V. ‘Splendide’--grows in Trinidad, Venezuela, Guiana and Surinam in wet, shady levels of the forest, while V. glutinosa {sticky, glutinous}—the other parent—is endemic to Trinidad, where it grows on the misty, perpendicular limestone cliffs near Maracas Falls and also as an epiphyte on trees in wet areas up to an altitude of 1800 feet. V. splendens is a medium-sized plant, with 10-15 dull green leaves—1-1/2 feet long and 1 to 1-1/2 inches wide, marked with very distinct, wide crossbands of purplish black, especially on the undersides. The inflorescence, 1-1/2 to 2 feet high is an intensely brilliant, lance-shaped spike of red to orange bracts from which the small yellow flowers emerge. It is quite commonly known as “flaming sword”. This is a species which pups from the centre. Not often seen in Australia, Nina told me that she had imported it—along with another deMyer cultivar {of splendens} ‘Meyer’s Favorite’—from Kent’s Nursery around 1975. V. splendens is very cold sensitive, however, and even with her TLC, eventually both of these imports faded and died.
- - - The two cultivars, listed above, while somewhat less cold sensitive than Vriesea splendens, do best when grown in areas of shade and high humidity, with the mix being kept moist, but not wet. Care should also be taken to keep these plants out of direct sun, although they need bright, filtered light to maintain the vivid colour of the inflorescence.

RECYCLING (PART 2) . . . By Neville Wood 2008
OLD HARDWOOD FENCE PALINGS: For many years new or second-hand fence palings were used for bench tops in shade houses and the method was to fix them with a space between to aid in air circulation. The downside was that eventually rot would start beneath the pots where they couldn’t dry out sufficiently. This could be overcome to a degree by occasionally moving the pots around but was not very practical if you had a large collection of plants; however, they still make a good temporary bench until something more substantial can be built.

They can also be used to create a tiered effect by placing a couple of 10” terracotta or concrete pots at the rear of a bench and laying two palings across them to raise plants to a different height. In front of this you repeat the process but this time using an 8” pot to create a lower level, and then in front of this a similar thing with a 6” pot. You will be amazed at how much better your plants look displayed in this stepped manner, with the larger plants at the rear and the smaller ones in the front.

If you are into the DIY thing it is possible to make quite nice rustic-looking wooden lath baskets which are good when used to accommodate some of the smaller stoloniferous-type neoregelias. You first of all need a power saw to rip the palings down to laths of about ˝” in thickness and then cut them to all the same length of about five or 6 inches, which is a convenient size.

Next you need to drill a 1/8” hole in each end about Ľ” back from the end and in the centre of each lath. When you have sufficient (about fourteen), take four pieces of galvanised wire about 9” or 10” in length, and, using pliers, bend a small loop in one end to prevent the wire from passing right through the hole. Next you pass a piece of wire through each of the holes in two pieces of lath. Lay them parallel to each other and now thread two more laths onto the wire in the opposite direction so that you have created a square. Keep adding laths in alternate layers until the required height is reached.

The next step is to form a loop in the wire where it comes from the top lath, and to do this cut the wire so that only about 25 mm protrudes from the top lath. Take a pair of thin-nosed pliers and twist the wire around until it forms a loop suitable as an attachment point for a thin chain or a plastic pot hanger. Turn the basket over and insert three or four more laths between the two bottom laths to form the floor of the basket and secure with screws or by tying with galvanised wire (Not copper).

The next step is to line the sides and the bottom of the basket with Melaleuca paperbark or black plastic film with random drainage holes in the bottom, pot your plant in your preferred potting mix and water in well. Attach a thin chain or a plastic pot hanger to the loops you have made in the wire on top of the basket and hang the basket from your preferred location.

Don’t throw away the paling off-cuts if they are 100 mm or longer in length as their weathered appearance complements tillandsias and can be used successfully as mounts. Cut the paling to a length suitable for the plant you intend to mount and firstly drill a 2-3mm hole about 12 mm down from the top in the centre. Through this you can attach a wire hanger (Remember not copper wire) to suspend your plant.

There are various ways of attaching the plants to the wood and two of the most common are: firstly, to tie them on using old fishing line which is strong and easy to get a firm tension with; and secondly, you can tie them on with old stockings or legs from pantyhose. These are very strong and will stretch and provide adequate support for the plants as well. Both of these methods will support the plant until it provides roots to form its own anchor. As these notes are just about re-cycling, I won’t go into the many other options available using other materials.

OLD BICYCLE WHEELS: An attractive feature can easily be made by using an old bicycle wheel as a base from which to suspend plants. Firstly paint the wheel an unobtrusive colour so that it doesn’t detract from the plants you want to feature. Remove the axle from the hub and, laying the wheel flat, pass a length of chain through the hole securing it at the bottom. Suspend the wheel from a suitable beam or tree branch and here you have a good base from which to hang your baskets and pots. You may need to juggle the positions of your pots slightly until the correct balance is obtained, but once in place you will have created an attractive feature, especially if the plants are suspended at different levels.

WIRE MESH OFF-CUTS: Sometimes we are fortunate enough to come across old galvanised mesh fence panels or off-cuts from galvanised mesh. As well as making very good benches in the shade house, the off-cuts from the mesh can also be used to make excellent suspension points for pot hangers. Instead of putting screws or nails into overhead roof timbers in the shade house to hang pots from, simply cut the mesh into sections of about 150 mm to 200 mm in height as long as they have a top and a bottom horizontal wire and by using the following method, attach them to the overhead timbers.

Make some anchor brackets for these sections by cutting pieces of 25 mm galvanised strapping about 100 mm in length and bending them in half. Drill a 4 mm hole in the centre of each bracket and push them over the vertical sections of the mesh on each end. Place the mesh in place and secure the anchors to the overhead beam using suitable screws. Depending on the length of the mesh, extra anchors can be screwed in other locations along the length. Once in place these mesh off-cuts make an excellent base from which to hang pots or baskets and you’re not confined to the one suspension point: you can hang them anywhere along the length of the mesh depending on the width of the plant and how much clearance you need between plants.

(Extracted articles by Rob Smythe of Townsville, originally appearing in Illawarra Newslink October 1999 and July 2000)
{ Smythe, R. (1999) Proceedings from Bromeliads X, The Tenth Australian Bromeliad Conference, Cairns, August 1999} { Smythe, R. (2000) Bromeletter Vol. 38(1)}
Rob Smythe’s Environmentally Friendly “Canola White Oil” for Use on Scale Insects: (Differs from commercial white oils that are made from paraffin/mineral oils as it degrades more quickly in bright light (within a couple of days) and can be washed off after that time.)

White Oil Mixture from Canola:
- - - 750 ml Canola Oil, 3 Tablespoons Sil detergent and 1250 ml water

Scale Spray
300 ml Canola White Oil Mixture, 300 ml vinegar* or ammonia*, 4 L water
*Vinegar brand does not matter
*Ammonia: Use ‘Superior’ brand as my tests have shown it does not have any phytotoxic detergents added.
*When plants are colouring up (our winter), use the acid formulation
*When plants are in growth use the stronger formulation (ammonia)

Some Precautions
Spray the plant during overcast or wet weather. If you must use it during fine weather, spray it on in the evening. After a few hours, or in the morning in the latter case, use a strong jet of water to wash the bulk off. Be sure to wash out the vase. Very thin film is safe for Neoregelias in Townsville. Now during the next couple of days UV light and moisture will degrade the canola oil. Some of it will be turned into weak acids that will dissolve in water but a fine layer of white wax can form which lifts off in a day or so. This wax has what we chemists call carboxylic acid groups which also make it very slightly soluble in water.

So if you have done things correctly you have put a small film of oil over the plant, softening and smothering the scale. Paraffin oils (garden white oil) will do the same but it stays in place, blocking the trichomes (scurf) and the underlying breathing/transpiration apparatus of the plant (stomata) preventing the taking up of moisture and nutrients. Bromeliads have most of their stomata on the underside of the leaf so special care should be taken when spraying there. Plants should not be thickly closed in as to exclude light from this area.

I use preventative spraying in autumn and spring (when the scale is at the crawler stage and vulnerable to attack by corrosive chemicals) and I only spray the top surface. If I find a plant subsequently showing scale on the top surface I remove it and spray it while upside down as well as on top. One good spray is usually enough.

What Can Go Wrong?
- The mix was developed for neoregelias. Soft leafed plants like guzmanias growing in the shade would need considerable testing.
- Too much canola oil can lead to a change in chemistry. Instead of getting a soluble decomposition product which, of course, washes away, you form what we chemists call a condensed aldehyde polymer, which can form a film under such conditions. This polymer will coat the leaf like a coat of paint that has not set and the plant can smother. If it is not thick, black sooty mould will form on it and destroy it. If you find a build-up of sticky stuff or the leaves go black you need to scrub the plants with detergent. Best to avoid the problem by using a thin film even if you have to treat the plants a second time.
- The oil can damage new leaves emerging from the water if the oil is left in the vase. Anyone spraying insecticide knows the problem well. Insecticides come dissolved in things like xylene which make a milky white emulsion in water but after spraying on bromeliads the oil base rises and settles on the water surface and wrecks new growth.
- You may think, as with paraffin-based white oils, that the plants should be put in the shade. No! THEY MUST BE LEFT IN BRIGHT LIGHT TO DEGRADE THE CANOLA OIL.
- Don’t mix ammonia and vinegar together as one destroys the activity of the other.
- When plants (Neoregelias) are coloured up use vinegar (actually enhances red colour and cleans calcium deposits off the leaves as well). When plants are in their greener stage use the ammonia.
- Rob says: “I often use the vinegar spray just to brighten up the plants when I am expecting brom visitors. The other positive thing is that vinegar prevents mosquitoes. Strangely, adult larvae don’t appear bothered too much, but immature larvae don’t survive.”

. . . Lynn Hudson – Cairns (From Bromelcairns Newsletter, 2008 #6)

‘Photosynthesis” means ‘putting together with light’ and is the food-making process of plants and the chief function of leaves. The chlorophyll absorbs light and carbon dioxide combines with water, forming sugars that in turn combine with nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus and produce starch, fat, proteins and vitamins.

The diversity of bromeliads is their main attraction to we humans. The various leaf shapes and widths, thicknesses, colours and patterns determine where they grow in habitat. It also indicates where we need to place them in our gardens to produce happy plants.

Plants That Need High Light
- The open rosette neoregelias where the water evaporates quickly—they need to have water in the centre.
- Tubular-shaped plants like billbergias hold water and the light on the water produces a lens effect onto the inner leaves.
- Narrow, rounded leaves are designed to shut out the sun’s rays without burning or scalding the leaves.
- Epiphytic plants grow upside down and sideways and cope with high light as they have few leaves and reflective scales or hairs called ‘trichomes’.
- Dry habitat plants have scales (trichomes) to collect moisture and reflect the sun’s rays—e.g., tillandsias. The more silver the plant looks the more trichomes it has to be better able to survive in arid habitats. These plants should not be wet at night. When they are wet they stick firmly flat on the plant: the trichome is deactivated, and the plant cannot respire.

Plants That Need Shade
- Discolored leaves—plants that are green on top and red underneath are designed to capture as much light as possible for photosynthesis. Light passes through the leaf and is reflected back by the red pigment so they fully exploit light to their best advantage. They prefer to live in deep shade, but in too much shade your plant will grow lanky.
- Multi-layered light green leaves—e.g., vrieseas—allow some light to penetrate the top leaves and be collected by the lower ones. They prefer reasonably deep shade, but not too dark as you could get a plant with few leaves.
- Mono-layered leaves—e.g., cryptanthus. Every leaf blade can be viewed from the top and there is little overlap, so each leaf can intercept the bulk of overhead light to use. These are medium shade plants.
- Thin, light-coloured leaves—e.g, guzmanias—are used to warm and moist areas so they need less sunlight. They will grow well in reasonably deep shade, but not too dark or the inflorescence will lean out, looking for light.
- Fenestrations—these are the markings on leaves of plants like Vriesea fosteriana and V. fenestralis. They are windows that allow light to pass through to the others underneath. ‘Windows’ are more prevalent on younger leaves and on the lower sections of older leaves.
The windows allow light to pass through and be reflected back off the water that accumulates in the plant. They are plants that grow in moderate shade.

The white powdery markings on bromeliads are made of ‘scurf’ (trichomes). It is there to catch food particles and moisture for the plant to convert to food.

...By Neville Wood 2008
After I started to have some initial success growing bromeliad species from seed I read all I could find about hybridizing, especially Neoregelias which are my favourite broms. What I did learn was that it is very different from hybridizing orchids, a venture I had been involved with many years before.

The main difference is that Cattleya orchid pollen is large and usually consists of only two segments. Because of its large size it’s not known to be transferred by insects in this country—for example, it is quite easy to hold a segment in a pair of forceps or even your fingers. With this type of pollination the hybridizer has almost complete control over what pollen goes where and by first removing the pollen from the pod parent (mother) one can be almost certain that if fertilization is to occur, it can only take place with the introduced pollen from the other selected plant (father). Secondly, because the flowers are so large, it is easy to identify the flower which has been pollinated by attaching a reasonably large name tag to it.

With neoregelias, things are much different. Firstly, the pollen is like powder and consists of hundreds of grains which can easily be transferred by insects such as ants or flies. To stop this happening the hybridizer has to “get there first” and isolate the plant so insects don’t have access to it. It’s also a good idea to remove the pollen from the plant to be pollinated so that it can’t be self pollinated--i.e., fertilised by its own pollen. The stigma (female flower part) only remains receptive for a short time after the flower opens so the pollen from the other flower needs to be introduced as soon as possible. Once the pollen has been introduced, the flowers that were pollinated need to be identified. Because neoregelia flowers are so small this is usually done by inserting a small triangular sliver of plastic label into the pollinated flower and, as the flower begins to die, it closes around the plastic and holds it in place.

Now my view is this: how can the average back-yard hybridizer be sure that even by taking all reasonable precautions to prevent an accidental pollination occurring, that some type of insect hasn’t already been and done the job with pollen from who knows where? I had the experience of making a cross using Neoregelia concentrica as the pod parent and N. ‘Charm’ X N. ‘Cracker Jack’ as the pollen parent and because I only used pollen from the one plant I didn’t bother to tag the flowers. I pollinated six flowers in all but when the capsules were ready to harvest there were only five so I assumed they must have all been from the cross I made except one which didn’t take. However, knowing what I know now, maybe my crosses all failed and the resulting seed capsules were the result of pollination by some insect. Who knows?!

The hybrids which eventuated were a mixture of all types which is what is expected with hybrids as they can throw back to parents used in previous generations. Some were like both parents but some were also very much like Neoregelia spectabilis which was in flower at the same time but some distance away. This indicated to me that either an insect must somehow have deposited some N. spectabilis pollen on the N. concentrica flower or maybe one of the parents has N. spectabilis somewhere back in its parentage.

I know that Neoregelia concentrica is a species, which rules that theory out. I thought maybe the other parent, N. ‘Charm’ X N. ‘Cracker Jack’ could have N. spectabilis somewhere in its parentage and began a search of the F.C.B.S. photo index. I found that ‘Charm’ is a cross between two species, N. marmorata and N. chlorosticta, so that rules out that side of the family. On the other hand, N. ‘Cracker Jack’ is a hybrid of unknown parents, so could this be where the spectabilis influence comes from? It’s either that or insects have transferred the pollen from my N. spectabilis. Who knows?!

The point I am trying to make is how can the ‘learner hybridizer’ be sure that the cross has been made with only the pollen he/she introduced? Even after the hybridizer has introduced the desired pollen is it still possible for an insect to introduce pollen from another source and complicate the cross even more? The only thing you can be sure of is who the mother is!

With all of these stumbling blocks, I decided I wouldn’t try interfering in the hybridizing process and would just let nature take its course. I realise that with hybrids I have no control over what eventuates, and I can only guess that some of the seedlings may have some features like the mother, but, as for the rest, I don’t have a clue as to what the resulting plants will be like. It is still nevertheless very interesting and I look at it like a lottery as there is a degree of excitement and anticipation of what the prize might be.

I guess the bottom line is that whether the offspring are good or bad they will be something new and unique and something only I will have, so I think I’ll continue to let nature take its course and wait for the surprises with the offspring. It’s a part of the hobby that costs very little and gives a lot of enjoyment in return and I would encourage fellow growers to also give it a go. You might just find it very interesting.

...By Ron Parkhurst, Olinda, Hawaii.
(From Bromeliad, Journal of the Bromeliad Society of New Zealand Inc., November 2008 Vol. 48(11), in turn reprinted from BSI Journal, 2005)

I have come to the conclusion that gardens were probably the first forms of art known to man. From arranging plants in a landscaped design, man was able to creatively express basic forms of art using plants, rocks, wood and other elements to compose works of art for visual pleasure. Today, art has evolved to include many media, such as sculpture, painting, woodworking, dance, ceramics and theatre, just to name a few.

Bromeliads are the perfect plant for any art piece or garden because of their diverse shapes, colours and markings. Because some bromeliads are epiphytes, they make excellent attachments to driftwood and rock bases. This is exactly what I did to create the piece titled ‘Hinahina’, which in Hawaiian means Spanish moss or Tillandsia usneoides. First, I searched for a suitable base and since Hawaii has an abundance of lava rock, it was not hard to find an unusual rock piece with lichen already growing on it. Next, finding the right pieces of wood to attach to the lava rock base was also easy to find in Hawaii. Since we are surrounded by ocean, driftwood is the natural selection of choice. This is where a person can get creative by finding unusual shapes of wood and attaching them to your lava base. I also like manipulating other colours of lava rock to the rock base or using something contrary such as smooth beach pebbles.

Once the basic shape of your now sculptured piece comes to form, adding bromeliads is the easy part. I just wire them on the wood and cover them with green moss. When I mount bromeliads on a rock, I just manipulate the hole to hold the plant roots by adding moss and poking it tight with a screwdriver. Finally, I hang some hinahina or Spanish moss.

Art Maui is the largest and most prestigious juried art show in Hawaii. Never before has a person entered and been accepted using live plants as art and this may now give a renewed meaning to art. I am equally happy that the plants used were bromeliads, one of my favourite plants. Of course, the icing on the cake was when I received a phone call from Art Maui, to tell me that my art piece had been sold for several hundred dollars and all in the name of ‘art’.

I am sorry that I earlier missed welcoming our new Librarian, Laurie Dorfer, and Assistant Librarian, Warwick Varley, who were elected to these positions at our AGM in August.
Pat McIntyre, who has such a very long way to travel to attend our meetings, has taken care of our Library since August 2004, with Assistant Librarians Ted Clare and Dawn Climent working with her during those years.
Thank you all!

Reference Guide - BROMELIACEAE
Compiled by Peter Waters (Bromeliad Society of New Zealand)

9 genera1217sspRonnbergia14
16 genera1014sspPseudananas1
-33%32 genera821ssp

Overall, 57 genera, 3052 species
The major determinant for these subfamilies is the way they set seed:
- Subfamily Bromelioideae: Berrylike fruit.
Another distinguishing characteristic is that they all have spines on the margins of their leaves.
- Subfamily: Pitcairnioideae: Winged seeds (with the exception of the genus, Navia), making them easily dispersed by the wind.
- Subfamily Tillandsioideae: Their seeds are winged with little, silky, featherlike parachutes that enable the seed to be borne aloft by the breeze.
All the bromeliads of this subfamily have spineless leaves. {Ed.}

— a large colourful range of bromeliads, both species and hybrids of many genera. Includes a very large range of tillandsias.
A mail order list of tillandsias is available upon request. We also specialise in orchids, cacti, succulents, hoyas, bonsai and carnivorous plants. PLUS gems, fossils, natural history, books and much MORE!
810 Springvale Road, BRAESIDE VIC 3195. Ph: 03 9798 5485, FAX 03 9706 3339
E-mail: Website:
Open 9 am – 5 pm 7 days a week

Located at REPTON (a few miles south of Coffs Harbour)
Specialising in SPECIES and VARIEGATES from mostly imported stock.
Beautiful Tillandsias, Vrieseas (including ‘silver’ species), Guzmanias, Aechmeas, Neoregelias, etc.
Send S.A.E. for MAIL ORDER list of quality plants.
Proprietor: Peter Tristram C/- P.O. Box 2, BONVILLE, NSW 2441

M.J. PATERSON (Margaret)
212 Sandy Creek Road GYMPIE, QLD 4570
Large range of Bromeliads for sale, especially our own hybrid Neoregelias and Tillandsias
Do call in if you are up this way, but please phone first.
Phone/Fax: (07) 5482 3308 Email:

Ross Little and Helen Clewett
Aechmea, Alcantarea, Guzmania, Vriesea, Tillandsia, Neoregelia and many more
114 Pine Street, Wardell. P.O. Box 385, WARDELL, NSW 2477
Phone/Fax: (02) 6683 4188 Email:

Specialist Grower of Tillandsia Seedlings and other Genera
Hard grown to suit all Australian conditions
Wholesale and Mail Order only
P.O. Box 612, HURSTBRIDGE, VIC. 3099
Phone: (03) 9718 2887 Fax: (03) 9718 2760 E-mail:

BROMELIADS AUSTRALIA The Larnach Family – Robert, Gleness, Jamie and Jennifer
Supplier of quality Bromeliads with 35 years’ experience! Home of “Aussie Dream Series” and other Australian Hybrids!
Collectors’ plants are available in a wide range of genera
We welcome wholesale and retail customers by appointment. Please contact us.
Mail Order also available! Phone/Fax: 02 4359 3356 Mobile: 0418 471 754

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Updated 15/02/09