Club News.

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January 2016


- 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.

Hearty congratulations to our Points Score winners for 2015.
Open: - Max Williams
Novice: - John Toolan
Tillandsia - Noel Kennon
But thanks go to all of our members who participate in our monthly competitions, as seeing all of these beautiful plants on display is one of the highlights of our meetings for many of us.


Stephen Astill, Glenrae Barker, Eileen Killingley, Doreen Netting
Suzanne Burrows, Anne-Marie Brun, Colleen Claydon, Fred Mirande
Rhonda Grant, John Toolan, Beth Clague, Meri Stefanidakis
Nina Rehak, Sandra Southwell, Eunice Spark, Pam Townsend
Neville Wood, Ian Chinnock, Carole Taylor, Jan Stammers
Sandra Carnie, Ann Kennon, Elizabeth Bevan, Val Miller
Sharyn Baraldi, Maadi McKenna, Loreen Whiddett, Carol Burgdorf
Freda Kennedy, Max Williams, June Casey, Laurie Dorfer
June Smith, Sylvia Clare, Michael Drury, Steven Dolbel
Maria Jakobsen, Steve Wain, Monica De Clouett, Vicki Joannou
Feb. 2017
Rhonda Patterson, Yvonne Perinotti, Bob Stephens, Beverley Irvine

We have arranged to hold this year’s sales day at the Uniting Church Hall in Dapto on Saturday the 27th February. Set-up will commence at 8.00 am and we will open to the Public from 9.30am to 3.00pm. Ann and Noel have volunteered to again run the instant raffle and we look forward to having our usual supply of willing helpers on the day. Sales plants, of course, are also required and we hope that you will bring along your surplus plants as it’s a great opportunity for earning a little extra pocket money!

We are delighted that Max has been able to arrange for Steve Falcioni, General Manager of Organic Crop Protectants Pty Ltd to be our guest speaker in April. There will be products for sale, discounted for our meeting.

Starting with the February 13 meeting, the Bromeliad Society of Australia will be moving to the Federation Pavilion, Castle Hill Showgrounds. Meetings will still be on the second Saturday of each month and sales plants will still be available from 12 noon, with the meeting starting at 1.00 pm. (See for further details.)

A rather belated, but nevertheless, sincere thank you to the members who have stepped up to take on positions within the Society, both at the AGM held last August and some somewhat further down the track who took on some last-minute vacancies. They include Carol Burgdorf – 1st Vice President; June Smith – 2nd Vice President; Michael Drury – Librarian; June Casey – Assistant Treasurer; Val Miller – Publicity; and Christine Stephens – Refreshments Officer.

And, of course, there are the members who continue to do the jobs that we might sometimes take for granted such as Sharyn, Sylvia and Ted who man the competition tables; Monica, Beth, Meri and Doreen on plant sales; Sandra Carnie and Pam Townsend on General Sales; Jørgen, who has stepped down as Librarian but remains a committee member, often called upon to open up his lovely home and garden for garden visits, committee meetings and the like; Neville, who we rely on for his talks at our monthly meetings, and his wonderful articles for Newslink; and Sharyn again for all of the work that she puts in all year towards our beautiful and crowd-pleasing displays, as well as all of the other little touches such as the Christmas stockings which she made as gifts for our Christmas party in December. She is usually also the one wielding the vacuum at the close of our meetings each month. June Casey travels all the way down from Waterfall by train and helps Suzanne at the Welcome Desk with raffles, etc., and Maadi and June Smith send cards and letters to any of our members on the ‘sick list’. Max and Yvonne arranged monthly meeting topics for us last year and both also are regular competitors in our monthly plants competitions, bringing in some beautiful and unusual plants. We are also grateful for Vicki and Maria’s work as Refreshment Officers and last, but by no means least, Rhonda Grant, my wonderful Minutes Secretary without whom I would have to give up my position as Secretary.
Thank you everyone!


It is with sadness that I report the passing of Carmel, who died in early December. She was a long-time member, having joined our Society in October 2003; however, after suffering a stroke she ceased membership for a time, but re-joined in 2012 when her friends, Jørgen and Maria, brought her along to meetings when she felt up to it. Carmel is remembered as a lovely, warm, outgoing person and she is missed by many.


Sadly, yet again we have to say goodbye to a very good friend who passed away on December 6th, 2015. She will be missed not only by her family but by the ‘family’ and many friends from the world of bromeliads.

Robyn began her romance with bromeliads after she closed her business, Deandar Camellia Specialist Nursery, which she and husband Don operated from a large property in Silverdale, close to Warragamba Dam. I had the good fortune to visit on several occasions and it was always a magical place, especially when the camellias were blooming, many of which Robyn had hybridised.
Robyn was a very active person, and even while busy at her nursery, she played tennis and golf with Don at the local Wallacia Golf Club, and, in between, went caravanning in the north of the State.

Robyn was a person who quickly became involved and after initially joining the New South Wales Society “just out of interest” she later joined the Bromeliad Society of Australia where she started out as Membership Secretary before becoming Vice-President, and, later, when the 2015 Bromsmatta was being planned she took on the role of co-leader of the small committee which gave us such an enjoyable and successful Conference.

As with everything she did she set her sights high, both in growing bromeliads and helping out with the various societies, and with the Australian Society she took out Open Champion in plant of the month competition and Grand Champion in their Spring and Autumn shows on more than one occasion. I very much valued her support and friendship when I was running the Judging School, and after graduation (as well as judging at the Australian Society Shows) she was invited to judge at the Royal Easter Show on at least two occasions, and also made the long trip down to judge at two of the Illawarra Shows. After becoming a member of the Illawarra Society in 2012 she also attended our meetings when she could, bringing some of her beautifully grown plants for our raffles.

Sadly, the day before the Bromsmatta Conference opened, her niggling health problems overtook her and she had emergency surgery for what would turn out to be the condition which would eventually take her from us.


March 19-20
BROMELIADS AUSTRALIA – OPEN WEEKEND – WYEE - See back page for details
April 2-3
April 9-10
COLLECTORS’ PLANT FAIR – HAWKESBURY RACE CLUB, CLARENDON Saturday 8 am – 4 pm/Sunday 9 am to 4 pm - Phone: Linda Ross 133 133 100/Email:
May 7-8
June 13-19
Sept 10-11
ILLAWARRA BROMELIAD SOCIETY – SPRING SHOW – Uniting Church Hall, Russell Street, Corrimal
2017 March 31 - April 2

February 6: Graham and Elizabeth’s travels in Thailand including Nong Nooch
March 5: Basic Hybridising, Neville Wood
April 2: Environmentally Friendly Garden Products, Steve Falcioni


October 3, 2015: Plant Results

1st = Loreen Whiddett = Guzmania hybrid
2nd = Noel Kennon = xNeophytum ‘Galactic Warrior’
3rd = Max Williams = Billbergia ‘Hallelujah’
3rd = Loreen Whiddett = Aechmea nudicaulis ‘Çosta Rica’

1st = John Toolan = Aechmea distichantha
2nd = John Toolan = xNeophytum ‘Galactic Warrior’
3rd = John Toolan = Neoregelia ‘Morris Henry Hobbs’
3rd = John Toolan = Guzmania hybrid
3rd = Glenrae Barker = Billbergia ‘Strawberry’

1st = Suzanne Burrows = Tillandsia tenuifolia
2nd = Noel Kennon = Tillandsia aeranthos
3rd = Noel Kennon = Tillandsia stricta var. albifolia

Nov. 7, 2015 PLANT RESULTS
1st = Neville Wood = Nidularium ‘Litmus’
2nd = Neville Wood = Neoregelia ‘Apricot Nectar’
2nd = Max Williams = Vriesea gigantea var. seideliana
3rd = Max Williams = Aechmea fasciata X flavorosea
3rd = Carol Burgdorf = Neoregelia ‘Screaming Tiger’
3rd = Yvonne Perinotti = Neoregelia hybrid

1st = Ian and Lydia Chinnock = Neoregelia ‘Thunderbird’
2nd = Ian and Lydia Chinnock = Aechmea nudicaulis
2nd = Glenrae Barker = Nidularium ‘Madonna’
3rd = John Toolan = Neoregelia ‘Bobby Dazzler
3rd = Ian and Lydia Chinnock = Orthophytum gurkenii

1st = Ian and Lydia Chinnock = Tillandsia leiboldiana (Purple)
2nd = Steve Wain = Tillandsia hamaleana
3rd = Steve Wain = Tillandsia streptocarpa

Jerry Raak, Gahanna, Ohio (Reprinted from BSNZ Journal, August, 2004 Vol. 44[8])

What’s that, your bromeliad is growing up looking like a soda straw? It is probably the victim of what is commonly known as ‘quilling’.

Quilling is the cementing together of the leaves, causing the plant to be very tubular in shape. It is generally caused by lack of good moisture while the plant is in an active growing period.

I have found through my years of growing that certain genera are more susceptible to quilling than others. These genera are Vriesea and Guzmania. Rarely do aechmeas quill, although I have had Aechmea racinaea var. tubuliformis and Aechmea ‘Foster’s Favorite’ quill. Within the genus Vriesea, certain hybrids and species are notoriously consistent in quilling. Among these are Vriesea X morreniana, V. ensiformis, and, unfortunately, V. ‘Viminalis Rex’ X V. hieroglyphica, which is a superb hybrid with nicely banded foliage and a fantastic, long-lasting branched, blood-red inflorescence with, of course, yellow flowers.

Within the genus Guzmania the most likely to quill are Guzmania ‘Feurn’, G. ‘Fantasia’, and occasionally G. ‘Exodus’. In addition, other species of Guzmania and Vriesea will quill if grown very dry.

Besides dry conditions, some plants, both species and hybrids, are more susceptible because the leaves secrete a very sugary, and sticky, substance known as honeydew which, if not washed off regularly and thoroughly, causes the leaves to cement together. Cold night temperatures with very low humidity will help the honeydew to thicken and speed up the process, and in particular young seedlings are extremely susceptible to quilling during this time.

Prevention: To prevent quilling, one must maintain high humidity, or quite regularly flush the plants out with water to thoroughly wash away the honeydew. There is no better way to do this than to expose the plants to a long, hard rain, be it Spring, Summer, Winter, or Autumn. Taking the plants to the shower with you may sound silly, but an equivalent bath procedure is very beneficial. Bathing a bromeliad? Maybe it sounds crazy but it works not only to prevent quilling, but also to cure it. If you have a plant that is quilling, take a mild liquid detergent, and put several drops into the tight centre cup and fill it with water to overflowing. This procedure should produce lots of suds. The soapy water will dissolve the hardened sticky substance and then with the gentle use of a flat but blunt object, such as a plant marker, the leaves may be loosened from the outermost to the innermost of the leaves around the quill. Make sure after loosening the leaves that all traces of the soapy water are flushed off the leaves with lots of water. This procedure leaves the plant clean and free to continue to grow by absorption of nutrients through the roots and the leaves.

A soapy water ‘recipe’ to prevent quilling: Our life member, Len Trotman, has put together this tried and true recipe. Note that although it will cause foaming to the centre of the plant it can be left in without any harmful effects. It’s also effective against mosquitoes, slugs, snails and other insects:

500 ml Sunlight Liquid (dishwashing liquid)/200 ml household cloudy ammonia/100ml citronella or Pine-O-Cleen disinfectant. Mix all above into container with 5 litres cold water. [See following article!-Ed.]

As this mixture is very concentrated. Use only 2 to 4 tablespoons per litre of water in the spray solution and/or 1 litre in main 200 litre holding tanks with liquid insecticides, fertilizers or fungicides.

By Daryl Ganter
(Reprinted from Bromelia Post – Central Coast NSW Bromeliad Society Inc., October 2008)

At the August meeting the question of quilling was raised by Elizabeth Pickersgill and among the different reasons and solutions offered was an idea by Jan Townsend. She suggested that the plant affected by quilling be treated with Clensel. The article by Jerry Raack (reprinted from J. Bromeliad Soc., 1982, 32, No. 6) in our September Bromelia Post talks about using detergent to treat quilling. I was not prepared to risk detergent on my plants but I remembered that Clensel foams up like detergent when enough of it gathers together.

I tried the Clensel on three of my adolescent billbergia seedlings which had been tightly bound up or ‘quilled’ for about two weeks. (I had not watered very often in the busy lead up to the Flora Festival.)
• First, all the plants were thoroughly watered.
• I made up the Clensel solution following the mixing instructions on the bottle.
• Each plant was thoroughly drenched and the spray was applied down the centre of the tightly furled leaves.
• Two of the plants responded within 24 hours. Their outer leaves relaxed and spread out as normal. They were still slightly distorted in shape so I sprayed all the plants for a second time.
• After another 24 hours all three plants had relaxed into their normal shape.
• As soon as the affected plants appeared cured I watered them thoroughly to wash off the extra Clensel (just in case).
• I have been more generous with the water since and everybody is happy.
Congratulations, Jan Townsend. It works!

By Jeffrey Kent, Vista, California
(Reprinted from The Journal of the Bromeliad Society Volume XXXII No. 1, January-February 1982)

Over the years, I have often heard the phrase: “I can’t grow guzmanias.” This kind of comment disappoints me because I feel that the inflorescences and bracts of species and hybrids of Guzmania rival the finest orchid flowers in both brilliance and durability. In the last several years many new and easy to grow hybrids, which are unequalled in the plant world for their beauty, have become available. If more growers are acquainted with the native habitats of the species, the relatively easy to provide cultural requirements for both species and hybrids might be better understood.

The majority of guzmanias are found in the mountainous regions of Costa Rica, Ecuador, Colombia and northern Peru. Rarely found near sea level, they prefer the abundant rainfall and cooler conditions which prevail at elevations from 1000 feet to over 10,000 feet. The typical habitat is a cool, moist and dark forest. The trees in such a setting are generally laden with all types of mosses and lichens. In a well-developed forest, the majority of the trees are quite tall, but the guzmanias are rarely found in the upper layer of the forest canopy. Usually they are within 25 feet of the ground; the larger species are found growing quite commonly as terrestrials in leaf mould, particularly in forests at elevations above 5,000 feet. Some species are found growing in ‘cloud forest’ environments in which the microclimates include daily periods of fog. In such regions of very high humidity, torrential rains are infrequent so the plants are watered by condensation on their surfaces.

While it is very difficult to make generalizations for the culture of all of the species in the genus, some important guidelines follow. Elevation is the major limiting factor in determining which species are suitable for culture in the various latitudes here in the USA. As a rule of thumb, the higher the elevation of the native habitat, the cooler the nights must be for successful culture.

Species from high elevations prefer high humidity and relatively little standing water in the ‘cups’. Those species found above 5000 feet are best grown in the more northerly latitudes of USA. Of extreme importance for these plants from higher elevations in culture is the exclusive use of salt-free water. Alkaline water causes the burning of the central leaves of the ‘cup’. While the use of rainwater is ideal, bottled drinking or purified water is highly recommended. Plants from lower elevations are suitable for cultivation in the southerly latitudes of the USA. During periods of extreme heat, these plants require cool, moist and shady environments. Illumination between 750 and 1500 foot candles provides the ideal light threshold for such species.

Another major factor for successful culture is a potting mix which provides a continually acid environment. One part of peat moss mixed with three parts of bark (either pine or fir can be used) is recommended as an ideal potting mix. For a fertilizer, superphosphate and dolomite can be added to the mix to yield a final pH of about 6.0. Guzmanias require acidic conditions but also need calcium, magnesium (both found in dolomite), nitrogen, phosphorus and especially potassium for optimum growth. Adding two-thirds strength fertilizer (the exact amount can be determined by the coloration of the leaves—the ideal condition consists of dark green with considerable sheen) to the water used for irrigating is recommended. Adding diluted fertilizer to the irrigation water serves the dual purpose of feeding and maintaining a low pH in the water. It is wise to check the pH (litmus paper, obtainable at a pharmacy, works well) of the irrigation water when fertilizer is added for the first time since many commercial products are somewhat basic in nature and can actually increase the pH when added to water. Fertilizer containing zinc or copper should be avoided because guzmanias tend to accumulate these toxic elements in their leaf tissues over a period of time. ‘Quilling’ is often associated with toxic levels of zinc and copper.

If extreme summer heat is a problem, the floor of a shade house or patio is preferable to the inside of a greenhouse during the summer season. In the winter guzmanias should be kept away from the drying heat of a heater, particularly since most will grow easily at about 50F [10C] if kept on the dry side. Another suitable environment for guzmanias is inside the house. If the soil is kept moist and the water in the cup is changed frequently guzmanias seem to thrive on neglect indoors. The low light conditions normally prevalent are ideal for growth and if flowering is desired artificial light can provide the stimulus!

The many hybrids available for purchase are very vigorous and easy to grow. Chosen for their rapid growth and durability, the beginner would do best to start with these. As for species, a little research will help to eliminate those species from unsuitable altitudes for any particular region of the USA. A partial list of species from the warmer climates in the USA includes G. sanguinea, G. weberbaueri, G. scherzeriana, G. zahnii (both the species and its hybrids require humidity), G. eduardii, and G. xanthobractea. A list of species from the higher elevation suitable for the more northerly latitudes of the USA includes: G. pennellii [now G. ‘Penny Wise’], G. gloriosa, G. striata, G. sibundoyorum, G. variegata, and G. lindenii. Plants in this group are more difficult to find for sale. When acquiring any guzmania, however, be certain that the plants are well-established and possess a reasonably well-developed root system. It should be apparent now that success with guzmanias is easy, if only a little thought and care are applied to their culture.

By Yuribia Vivas [Fundacion Instituto Botánico de Venezuela, Caracas, Venezuela]—JBS 56(2) 2006.

The genus Guzmania was described by Hipólito Ruiz and José Pavón (1802) in the “Flora Peruviana et Chilensis.” The type species is Guzmania tricolor, an epiphyte found and collected on Mount Pillao near Chacahuassi, Peru. The name honors Spanish naturalist Anastasio Guzmán, a student of South American plants and animals.

Guzmania is placed in the subfamily Tillandsioideae, and is distinguished from other members of the subfamily (Vriesea, Tillandsia, Catopsis, Racinaea, Alcantarea, Mezobromelia, and Werauhia by having polystichous flowers (that is, arranged in many planes on the inflorescence axis), white, whitish-yellow, or greenish petals that lack nectar scales, and having generally reddish brown-colored seeds. In general appearance, Guzmania is very difficult to distinguish from Mezobromelia since both are polystichously-flowered and may have similar color schemes, but the presence of nectar scales in Mezobromelia and absence in Guzmania is the main difference. Smith & Downs (1977), Smith (1998), Gouda (1987).

Approximately 200 species and 17 varieties of Guzmania are known, making it the third largest genus in the subfamily, after Tillandsia and Vriesea.

Species of Guzmania are distributed from the southern U.S.A. (Florida) and Mexico to Brazil and Peru, including the Antilles. They are most frequently found in cloud forests at middle elevations. The majority of Guzmania species have the capacity to store water among their leaves, which provides a unique and important niche for many forest canopy inhabitants that includes small vertebrates and invertebrates. Epiphytes such as Guzmania play an important role in the cycle of water and nutrients, and can be used as a tool in the evaluation of the level of humidity, degree of succession, and degree of disturbance.

Guzmania in Venezuela
Venezuela is a tropical country located along the northern coast of South America. It has some of the greatest biological diversity on earth, being influenced by the confluence of the Guyanese, Andean, and Caribbean phytogeographic regions. The bromeliad family is one of the most important of the angiosperms in the country in terms of species richness and ecological importance. Huber et al. (1998).

Twenty-eight species of Guzmania are currently known from Venezuela, mainly in the Andean, Coastal Cordilleran, and Guayanan states; few are found in the predominantly lowland states of Guárico, Cojedes, Barinas, and the Federal Dependences. Species range in elevation from near sea level to approximately 3500 m in the case of the subparamo species such as G. lychnis, G. mitis, G. pennellii and G. confinis.

Ten of the 28 species are considered endemic to Venezuela. These are, by major region, Guzmania mucronata, G. nubigena, G. ventricosa, G. virescens, G. acorifolia, and G. hedychioides from the Coastal Cordillera; from the Amazon Region: G. steyermarkii, G. nubicola, and G. terrestris; and from the Eastern Mountain Range, G. membranacea is endemic to the state of Sucre. It is interesting to note that G. sanguinea, a widespread species in tropical South America, is known in Venezuela only by a single herbarium specimen and a few sightings of the living plant; these from Avila National Park. Guzmania hedychioides, with large ginger-like flowers is known only from the type collection, from Henri Pittier National Park in Aragua state.

Guzmania includes many species of ornamental value, especially those with brightly colored bracts or leaves, which may also be negatively impacted by collectors. Guzmania lingulata, G. monostachia, G. lychnis and G. virescens are reported as “vulnerable” in the “red Book of the Venezuelan Flora”, which follows the categories and criteria of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources IUCN.

Hundreds of exotic bromeliads from beeautiful to bizarre
Rare and unusual Tillandsia, colourful Neos and Guzmanias, spectacular Vrieseas, dazling Aechmea....
Broms for all tastes !
Saturday/Sunday, May 17/18, 2016
You will find us at:
Concord Senior Citizens Centre:
9-11 Wellbank St, Concord, NSW 2137
Sunday 10-4, Sunday 9-12
FREE ENTRY - and bring a box
- EFTPOS - Visa, Mastercard, Debit Cards
- Books and fertilizer for bromeliads also available.
For more information please contact:
Garry Flemming - 02-6553-9868 / 0413-178-884
Peter Tristram -

Bob, Gleness, Jamie and Jennifer Larnach
49 Rutleys Road, WYEE, 2259
Saturday/Sunday, March 19-20, 2016 and Saturday/Sunday, April 2/3, 2016 9 am – 4 pm
Phone: (02) 4359 3356/04 1847 1754
(Please bring a box for purchases)
Light refreshments available for Gold Coin donation on behalf of the Kidney Foundation
Please note: No EFTPOS or Card Facilities

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Updated 05/10/16