Aechmea 'Forget Me Not' by Derek Butcher Jan 2017
In 1903 Messrs F. Sander & Co., St Albans, entered Class for 12 New Plants at the Ghent Quinquennial, the fifteenth International exhibition of this renowned Belgian Horticultural Society with a variegated plant called Billbergia forgetiana but nothing was added as to why it was named after Mr. Forget or a description. There is a photo of a non-flowering variegated plant with strap shaped leaves and rounded ends – see Garden Chronical 258, fig.102 on p.266 1903. In Flora Neotropica (1979) Smith & Downs treated this as a possible synonym of Aechmea lindenii var. makoyana, this species is now Aechmea comata.
Before this, in 1953 Mulford Foster had linked it to Aechmea caudata. It would seem he was unaware of the 1903 publication. See the following protologue: Aechmea caudata var. variegata M. B. Foster, var. nov. Bromel. Soc. Bull. 3:47 1953. A var. variegata foliis albo virideque longitudinaliter striatis differt.
Cultivated in OrIando, Florida since 1935. M. B. Foster No. 2834. (Type in U. S. National Herbarium). This new variety of Aechmea caudata is a striking contrast to the typical species of Ae. caudata and has been a collector's item for several years.
An illustration of this new variety is shown on page 10 of "Anzucht und Kultur der Bromeliaceen"(1950) by Walter Richter of Crimmitschau, Saxony, Germany and is listed as Billbergia forgetii, this plant has also been sold under the name of Aechmea forgetii.
Aechmea comata var. makoyana has already been transferred to the cultivar name of 'Makoyana' and for the same reasons we should treat this forgotten Aechmea caudata var. variegata in the same manner. Remembering it's origins are from cultivation, it has never been found in the wild, and was once known as Aechmea forgettii, it is not accepted in The World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. Therefore it should be added to the BCR as Aechmea 'Forget Me Not'.
What I find interesting is that this was treated in synonymy with two different species. I would agree with Foster and link this variegate with Ae. caudata. From my observations, this sporting to variegation of this variable species seems to have occurred on other occasions over the past 50 years, not only with different variegations but width of leaf.
Aechmea Forget Me Not
Was Aechmea caudata var. variegata