Alcantarea Notes

Alcantarea Notes
A "clearing house" of Alcantarea pictures and accompanying notes will be run in this location in an attempt to fix names to individual plants.
The following emails (from latest to oldest) will describe the logic and processes.
Photographs and comments should be sent initially to Derek Butcher, who will forward them to me.

From Derek Butcher to Ian Hook, 08/11/06
HHELP. If you read what has been said so far you will see there is a lot of talk about correctly identifying Alcantarea - you know, those LARGE Vrieseas !
I have all the descriptions on my file and I send people a CD every now and again!
NOW if you had something like Alcantarea Pending on your web site you could put photos on there for interested parties to comment on. When decisions are made they can be moved to the Alcantarea section proper.
What do you think?

From Peter Tristram to Arno King, Derek Butcher, Peter Franklin, Bruce Dunstan, Mark Paul, 07/11/06.
Hi all.
Names are certainly going to be an ever-increasing problem in this Genus. There are many more 'different' plants here than we realised and they are spread all over the place. It looks like Bill M grew a lot of these originals and I certainly got a few of these from him in the early 80s.
Mark has a fair few now and Bruce has anything he can get his hands on too so at least they will be all grown together, for a change, to compare.
Any names I gave plants came from source, Harry or Derek and very few can be accurately identified - vinicolor, glaziouana, imperialis.
With Arno, Bruce and Mark going to Brazil and checking out natural populations it seems, as Arno said, every hill has different species and there are lots of hills.

So I agree with Derek that some identifying system is needed with the ones that are probably (certainly!) not described, such as Grace, Wardell Orange (though there could be a problem here with more than one species) and so on. Peter has sent me some digitals that look exactly like plants I got from Bill and others years ago and we call extensa (probably not) and that other good looker that Peter flowered a few years back and I got a pup of which is unlike any others I have seen (Peter's digital attached for comment). I think Peter said he didn't get any seedlings. I hoped to flower it this year but maybe next - no grass pups either. Looks like a big heloisae spike but not the foliage. Was it fragrant, Peter? Your digital says PAF0294 - the photos look to be of 2 different species, extensa (??) and the less common one mentioned above. Also, where are you living now?

Mark and Bruce have brought back a heap of seed too which is going great guns so we need to agree on names - locations?? as everyone with it is consistent. These will be sold all over the place soon so we don't need to add to the confusion.
Also there will be lots of other seed being grown so communication is important. Also, Arno, I don't use the name edmundoi now as I thought it was incorrect - from memory that is the extensa plant also probably incorrect. Can the digitals mentioned here and there be posted?
Have fun,

From Derek Butcher to Arno King, Peter Franklin, Peter Tristram, Bruce Dunstan, 07/11/06.
Great to hear you are now settled - well, as much as can be expected!
Have fun in NZ but don't take their word completely regarding plant identification! :)
If we are serious about identifying plants in this genus we should start with identifying them with cultivar names so that what history we know can be recorded under such name. Plants which seem to be the same have to be identified in the same way as species by individuals or even better a group of individuals. Therefore I intend to register the name Alcantarea 'Raymond Golden Brown' and get Peter F to write down a sort of differential to the closest species he believes it to be. We have photos of the plant and its flowers so we have something to work on. While 'Viaduct 4' may well be a suitable cultivar name I will not proceed until I have the relevant photos and history. I would even move on 'Imperial White' as long as we had photos to show the unique leaf markings. We have certainly had problems in the past with the slack naming of 'regina alba'!
Identifying species is a challenge in itself but we cannot be vague about what differences we see.

Bruce sent me a photo taken in Burle Marx's garden which I had my doubts as to its correct identity even when taken from long distance.
I did send Bruce a CD of my files because he is the new boy on the block and if others want my latest copy please let me know. It is based on writings from the past and fairly authenticated photographs. I have not been able to get my grubby hands on many herbarium specimens. One thing is sure, whoever identifies an Alcantarea as A. regina wants his head read because I now have all the written history about this taxon and now know why Leme has been quiet on the subject for the last 10 years!

I am aware of the Alcantarea collection of John Catlan but nothing happens with John unless you are on the telephone or on a personal visit.
John too has a copy of my files.
We are more likely to have different Alcantarea in Australia because they have been here for years and in all probability from areas now with Alcantarea absent. Care should therefore be taken with new material coming in from Brazil which should be marked accordingly - even with collection numbers- so we can check on the validity of the identity.
Keep smiling and keep querying.
PS If your red striped Neoregelia has 'Burbank' on the label I would love a photo.

From Arno King to Derek Butcher, 06/11/06.
Hello Derek.
Hope you are well. I am sorry for lack of response to your email. I moved house to 10 acres in the country shortly after receiving it and my life has been in turmoil ever since. But things are getting better. I have 10 acres of north facing slope, surrounded by bush and it a wettish area.I have put up a 200m2 shadehouse and will start to plant out many of my Alcantareas.

I'm off to NZ in a weeks time to see a lot of Broms. They always have some interesting plants there and I learn a lot comparing notes.

As to PAF0975
I have many forms of it. It comes true from seed but there is some variation in offspring. I understand it is not the plant on the Corcovado from Bruce. However none of us have seen it in Brazil, and we saw many plants in many different collections. I believe it has come from Adda Abendroth as it has been around here since the 60's. I don't believe Olwen grew it (I knwew her collection reasonably well) and that it might have come from Bill Morrison. s John and Genny got most of the Alcantareas, check with them to be sure.

With the state of urbanisation around Rio and Sao Paulo, this plant could now be extinct in its homeland.

An interesting plant for us is the one Bobby Powell got from Olwen. It grew by the front entry to her display garden for many years. She got it as seed from AA and gave it to Bobby as a large plant. Bobby flowered it 2 years ago and Bruce grew seed on. It is very different as a juvenile to other A imperialis. Bobby had it jammed in among plants in the shade in her garden so we couldn't see its true form there. There was nothing else flowering at the time so the plants are true. They are also consistant. We call it Gold Coast or Bobby here. The parent plant is pupping so I will also get some of that to grow on. Bruce thinks the plant might be sp 'Viaduct 4', from adjacent to Viadust 4 on the road between Rio and Petropolis, related to imperialis and a great rarity in Brazil.

Have you found out anything more about any of these plants?

Also, I am growing the striped Neoregelia carolinae you were after (forget the name! - have a few here). Mine came from Olwen and looking the other day still had her original label (as well as mine).

I will be endeavouring to answer your emails more quickly from now on!

From Derek Butcher to Peter Franklin, Arno King, 16/02/06.
Subject: Re: FW: Alcantarea PAF0975 Corcovado
Peter and Arno:
Now is the time to bite the bullet. We know we cannot describe new species because we have not done the fieldwork and these sorts of things are better left with the Brazilians. What we can do is treat them as cultivars so that detail can be recorded. I take it that PAF0294 is the one that we can start calling Alcantarea 'Corcovado' if I get enough data and photographs of plant and floral structure.
These can be looked at later by the taxonomists. In fact the ideal way with Cultivar names like this is to link them to localities by name. This way we can get at least Peter Tristram and the Kiwis in line by linking to the same cultivar name!
Comments please,

From Peter Franklin to Arno King, Derek Butcher, 16/02/06.
Arno is talking about PAF0294 which is another large alcantarea that I have.
I have sent him pics of PAF0975 in case he can recognize it.
His general comments are interesting though. Every mountain range has its own personal Alcantareas!

From Arno King to Peter Franklin, 16/02/06.
Subject: Re: Alcantarea PAF0975 Corcovado
Hello Peter

Long time no hear. Had hoped to catch up with you at the conference.
Is PAF0975 the species with narrow grey leaves with some spotting? This is the species I bought from you about 2 years ago. It is very different to any other species. Mine is about 1.5 m across and I am still awaiting for flowering.

A.sp Corcovado
Is it a species? Yes consistantly comes true from seed. Very different in flower to any other species.
It appears to grow naturally on Mt Corcovado.
It is very common iin cultivation.

Has it been described? I don't believe so - it is very different to anything described. Peter Tristram calls it A edmundoi, but this is a very different sp. In NZ it is called A nahoumii a very different sp.

Have you photos?
Yes it is in flower in my garden right now.

As far as I know only 19 species of Alcantarea have been described. There are hundreds of species in Brazil - every mountain range seems to have different species. It sems no one is interested in naming them - just too big and too difficult.


Updated 09/11/06