The Hybrid Detective

The concept of these articles, and a great many of them, are from "UD", "Uncle Derek", aka "The Hybrid Detective", so he deserves an introduction...
Derek Butcher, of Adelaide, Australia, has spent more than 20 years as a self professed "pseudobotanist," working to unravel the intricacies of Bromeliacae. He is well known in Australia for his book, "An Amateur's Guide to the Greyish Leaved TILLANDSIOIDEAE" to help interpret his favorite genus, and his checklist to keep order in the hybrids produced in his country. He is the first Australian to have a Bromeliad species named after him - Puya butcheriana. He also maintains the most comprehensive list of Bromeliad genera names, changes, and synonyms, stretching back to pre-Linnaeus ! (Link = TaxonList maintained in Netherlands). For almost 100 years, Derek operated the "Cultivar Register" for the Bromeliad Society International (BSI) and loves nothing better than the challenge of piecing together "the story" behind any Bromeliad. On these pages he shares with us some of his "cases" relevant to Australian Hybrids. (2008 - Derek has now also volunteered for the "Committee for Endangered Bromeliads in Central America".)

Other learned authors will be added as articles become available.

Past articles from Detective Mysteries:
Detective Derek 02/05: Neoregelia Kent’s Blue.
Lost Hybrid Neoregelia Fairy Dust.
DD 06/05: Vriesea Elfi.
DD 07/05: Vriesea Jeanie's Feather. (See also DD0906)
DD 08/05: Billbergia Collevii.
DD 09/05: Aechmea Lalinda.
DD 10/05: Tillandsia tectorum Enano.
DD 11/05: Hechtia tillandsioides.
DD 11/05b: Aechmea organensis, (Coral Beauty, Graceful/gracilis).
DD 11/05c: The Golden Oldies.
DD 12/05: Neoregelia Princess Caroline.
DD 05/06: Tillandsia Laurie. Natural hybrid of brachycaulos x schiedeana.
DD 06/06: Neoregelia lilliputiana, ampullacea, Lillipet and Night Spot.
DD 06/06b: Plant Labelling, Aechmea Stefanie.
DD 09/06: More of Vriesea Jeanie's Feather.
DD 10/06: Neoregelia The Rose = Lokelani.
DD 10/06b: Encholirium magalhaesii / subsecundum by Len Colgan.(& correction)
DD 12/06: Canistropsis seidelii var. welteri
DD 12/06b: Neoregelia Red Waif / Cayenne
Philately Broms on Stamps.
DD 01/07: Neoregelia ‘Oeser’s Nova’
DD 01/07b: Neoregelia ‘Bill Morris’
DD 01/07c: Neoregelia concentrica and ‘Ferris’
DD 01/07d: Neoregelia laevis / simulans
DD 03/07: Vriesea morrenii
DD 05/07: Fosterella latifolia / villosula
DD 06/07: Ae. Que Sera
DD 07/07: Vr. flammea versus poenulata.
DD 02/08: N. carcharodon now Blue Shark.
DD 02/08b: Billbergia, Quesnelia, xBillnelia, or Aechmea Pinegrove Lass
DD 03/08: Neoregelia uleana now Yuletide
DD 05/08: Ae. triticina to guarapariensis to roberto-seidelii
DD 06/08: N. princeps
DD 07/08: International Bromeliad Cultivar Register
DD 10/08: Tillandsia Natural hybrids. Derek Butcher
(See also EG 02/20: Eric Gouda)
DD 02/09: Bill. Purple Haze & Pink Piglet.
DD 03/09: Vr. Snow-White.
DD 05/09: Down with formula !
DD 06/09: Edmundoa ‘Alvim Seidel’
DD 07/09: Ae. Polyantha
DD 07/09b: T. sagasteguii
DD 08/09: T.mooreana, kalmbacheri, cretacea, inflata.
DD 08/09b: What is a Mule ?
DD 09/09: A voyage of discovery. T. balbisiana as havanensis.
DD 10/09: Portea petropolitana var. Extensa.
DD 10/09b: Aechmea caudata take 3 !
DD 11/09: Neoregelia sapiatibensis.
DD 12/09: Tillandsia Hal’s Nidus.
DD 12/09b: Bromelia balansae in Australia.
DD 12/09c: Fosterella in Australia.
DD 12/09d: Vriesea ‘Goldfinger’.
DD 02/10: Tillandsia ‘Scurfy’.
DD 02/10: Tillandsia ‘Uluru’.
DD 07/10: Billbergia ‘Leodiensis’ & ‘Elvenia Slosson’.
DD 10/10: Vriesea Ginoti.
DD 11/10: Tillandsia Silver Candelabra.
DD 12/10: Tillandsia Victoria.
DD 03/11: Neoregelia Panama.
DD 03/11b: Neoregelia Big Bands.
DD 04/11: Neoregelia Fallan.
DD 05/11: Tillandsia ‘kaoldii’ or is it 'kolbii' ?
DD 06/11: Neoregelia Red of Rio
DD 07/11: Tillandsia ‘Hondurensis'
DD 08/11: Herbaria discoveries
DD 09/11: Alcantarea ‘Landsendt Blue Grey'
DD 11/11: Vriesea ‘Royal Hawaiian'
DD 11/11b: Ae. gamosepala group
DD 12/11: Is B. brasiliensis a hybrid ?
DD 12/11b: The Shy Tillandsia
DD 01/12: Quesnelia ‘Red Face'
DD 01/12b: Tillandsia ‘Silver Berger'
DD 01/12c: Tillandsia ‘Chalky White'
(and subsequent challenge? to registration)
DD 02/12: xNeophytum ‘Lymanii', Ian Hook
DD 03/12: Neoregelia spectabilis & Variegated (Jaffa)
DD 03/12b: T. lineatispica or T. fasciculata ‘Fingers’
DD 03/12c: xQuesmea ‘Marj’ versus Ae. fraseri
DD 03/12d: Dyckia ‘Rabbit Warren Group’
DD 04/12: Vr. ‘Highway Beauty’, ‘RoRo’, ‘Shiraz’ and other combinations.
DD 05/12: Nid. ‘Red Queen’/‘Nat DeLeon’.
DD 05/12b: Deuterocohnia ‘Little Marj’
DD 09/12: Tillandsia schiedeana Colour?
11/12: Photosynthesis by Don Beard
DD 11/12 & 04/13: Nid. longiflorum or Nid. innocentii ?
DD 08/05: UPDATE Billbergia Collevii.
DD 01/13: Neo. Bullis's Margaret
DD 02/13: Vriesea Gemma Gold
DD 03/13: Puya Moray
DD 04/13 & 11/12: Nid. innocentii versus Nid. longiflorum
DD 07/13: Pit. inermis
DD 08/13: T. Moonlight
DD 10/13: Billbergia Windigig Special
and comparison with B. buchholtzii No. 1 and with B. nana
DD 11/13: Tillandsia capitata 'Peach' & 'Guatemalan Peach'
DD 11/13b: Billbergia ‘Chas Webb’/‘Breauteana’
DD 11/13c: Puya butcheriana
Detective Ian: The story behind some names.
DD 01/14: Puya berteroniana
DD 02/14: Grandfathering in - Australian bigenerics.
DD 03/14: Most Ananas are Cultivars.
02/14: Key to Tillandsia Diaphoranthema
DD 05/08: Ae. triticina to guarapariensis to roberto-seidelii
UPDATE 02/14 - "and back to guarapariensis"
Ae. callichroma by Peter Franklin 1994
DD 10/13: Billbergia Windigig Special
and comparison with B. buchholtzii No. 1 and with B. nana - 2014 update.
DD 07/14: Deuterocohnia brevifolia ssp. chlorantha now c.v. 'Chlorantha'
DD 08/14: Edmundoa lindenii that nearly was Edmundoa fragrans
DD 12/14: Tillandsia ‘Evita Plus’.
DD 10/14: Billbergia ‘Beaut Ruby’.
DD 01/15: Neoregelia ‘Wild in Oz’.
DD 02/15: Tillandsia ‘Pochutla’.
DD 08/14: Edmundoa lindenii update.
DD 05/15: xCryptbergia should be xBiltanthus
DD 06/15: Beginners Guide to Names
DD07/15: Tillandsia capillaris
DD 09/15: Tillandsia "Chooks".
DD 08/11: Herbaria discoveries
DBSA 08/15: Tillandsia Rust
DD 01/17: Holm’s Tillandsia hybrids.
DD 02/17b: Neoregelia ‘Skotak's Orange Crush’
DD 11/13b: Billbergia ‘Chas Webb’/‘Breauteana’ update
DD 02/17: DNA / New species & Cultivars
DD 03/17: Taxonomy for Beginners
DD 06/17: T. ‘Cocoensis’ and ‘Moraisensis’
DD 06/17b: Ae. fasciata article
DD 05/18: Edmundoa ‘ROSEA’
CL 02/19: A Matter of Energy - Chris Larson
DD 03/19: Bromeliad roots - Lloyd Goodman
DD 11/19: Tillandsia Revue 2019
Link Ant-Plants, free e-book by Derrick Rowe
DD 04/20: Source abbreviations on labels
EG 02/20: Natural Hybrids of T. argentina & others previously published as species.
DD 06/20: Encouraging root growth on Tillandsias.
DD 08/20: Fragrant Tillandsia by Robert Reilly
DD 10/20: Protogyny in Tillandsias
DD 11/20a: Origin and Pronunciation of Bromeliad Genera Names
Detective Ian: Notes on Dyckia
Special Isolation Treats - moved here from home page.
1 - A new *Indexed Journals* box has been added to home page. Covering BSA, Illawarra, and Far North Coast Newsletters.
2 - A stunning presentation to the 2020 Aust. Tillandsia Day by Hiro Takizawa.
3 - 'Gardening Australia' interview with Vic Przetocki *Click here*
4 - Bruce Dunstan's presentation growing Tillandsias in Australia to La Ballona Valley Bromeliad Society - YouTube.
5 - Peter Tristram's presentation "40 Years Growing Down Under" to La Ballona Valley Bromeliad Society Zoom meeting - YouTube.
6 - Tillandsias in Czech Republic (Jan Maruska). La Ballona Valley Bromeliad Society Zoom meeting - YouTube.
7 - Worthy read & eye candy 'EXOTICA ESOTERICA'

10/23 Eight Essays by David Benzig.


DD0317 Bromeliad Taxonomy for Beginners by Aaron Smythe, March 2015.

My reasons for writing this document was firstly, I love bromeliad species and secondly, I wanted something other than drawings to help differentiate the various parts of the bromeliad as described in situ. I have attributed different botanical terms to photos of the three main components described by botanists. These components are;
1. The "plant itself". Usually the leaves, sheaths and blade are commented on.
2.This next one is the inflorescence (the fertile part of the plant) and contains such features as peduncle of the inflorescence, bracts and rachis.
3.The flower which involves petals, sepals, ovary, pedicel, floral bracts anther, stamen and stigma.
4. The implements that I use
There are also various Latin terms to describe diverse components of those listed above such as colour, shape pattern etc. I will not go into these here but can be researched in the link below-,0,800
When identifying a bromeliad these terms can be used to rule “in or out” for a species.

1. The “plant itself"

The plant structure of a bromeliad is formed by a rosette of leaves radiating from a crown. The focal parts of the leaf are the leaf sheath, leaf blade, apex and margin. The leaf sheath is the wider bottom part of the leaf that wraps around the base. The leaf blade is the upper part which protrudes from the blade. The apex is the tip or end of the leaf and the margins are the outside of the leaf. A bromeliad plant can be arranged alternately (distichous) as well as rosette (polystichous).

2. The Inflorescence

Only the non-ambiguous fertile section of the inflorescence is marked here. The section considered to be the inflorescence for the plant is thought of differently amongst botanists but should mean all parts for displaying flowers including peduncle.
The area holding the inflorescence is the “peduncle of inflorescence” which is the stalk of the inflorescence. The “stipe” is a term used to cover the bottom part of a branch.
Peduncle bracts are located on the peduncle. Bracts are a modified type of leaf.

3. The Flower Itself

The flowering structure has 3 main external parts which are the petal (leaf like structure), sepal (contains the petals) and floral bract.
The internal components in this picture are the anther (the pollen bearing part at the top of the stamen and the stigma (the top of the female portion of the flower that receives pollen). There are 6 x anther, 1 x stigma and 3 petals in bromeliads. The stigma is the terminal section of the female organ, which is called a carpel. The anther is the terminal section of the male organ, which is called a stamen.

4. The Implements that I use.

From left - Tape measure for the larger measurements, tweezers, a sharp scalpel type knife, a digital calliper for the smaller measurements and a magnifying glass as I am not as young as I used to be.
I have been told by those who have been doing this sort of thing for a long time that I am very brave as taxonomy will drive me insane and that all taxonomists argue! I have tried to keep this simple for myself and others who are venturing down the road of deciphering species and their descriptions.
All you will need to do now is learn the Latin (link to glossary above) that describes colour, pattern, shape etc and take your measurements.
Have fun and as Lyman Smith said "Botany is an art as well as a science."
Aaron Smythe, Cairns, March 2015

Two colour Charts as supplied by Derek Butcher.
- From H.A.Dade, "Colour Terminology in Biology" 2nd ed. 1949
- Graf's colour chart from Isley's Tillandsia book.

Updated 30/10/23