Neophytum 'Firecracker' from the Boggy Creek sale

Photo by Jim Boynton

January 2003 Newsletter

Hope that everyone is starting to get ready to start using 2003. This month Fay O'Rourke and Bob Albanese will be presenting a program on the evil weevil. There are some new members that are not aware of this nasty little bug. Everyone should be alert and be able to spot the signs of damage and be ready to attack vigorously. As far as we know it is not in our area yet, but we know that it is not too far away.

Please do not forget that the meeting night has been moved to Tuesday, January7th. that is the first Tuesday of the month, at the Hope Presbyterian Church, 1698 S. Belcher Rd., Clearwater. The doors to the hall open at 7:00 and the eating will begin soon after, hope to see you there.

Last Months Meeting

Last month we had the annual holiday party. It was a covered dish affair and there was plenty of excellent food. Everyone had a great time. There were door prizes and special gift exchange. There has been a request that we do it again. The officers for 2003 took office. Fay O'Rourke is president, Anne Kavanaugh is the vice president, Gary Lund is the treasurer and Bob Albanese will be the secretary. Judy Lund will be going on the board. Marion Steele will become the new raffle person, committee chairperson, or whatever is appropriate for that position.


The Refreshment committee wants to thank everyone for bringing food to the holiday party. We had an excellent assortment of delicious food.

The Boyntons and the O'Rourkes will be bringing refreshments for the January meeting.

Electronic edition of the newsletter

This is the second month that the newsletter is being sent to some of our members via e-mail The newsletter is also posted on the internet, so I can add a link to that page for anyone that has difficulty downloading the newsletter. For everyone that would opt for getting the newsletter online the club would save postage and printing costs, which amount to 57 cents a month now or $6.84 a year. Besides saving money the newsletter would arrive quicker. In all the confusion at last month's meeting I did not put out the list for anyone with an e-mail address. I will have that list available at the November meeting. We are not going to force anyone to get the newsletter online, but if you would be willing to give it a try, be ready to sign up at the meeting.

Some changes in store for this new year

This year we will be changing the procedure of giving our a special drawing ticket for wearing a name badge to giving a ticket to anyone who brings something for the refreshment table. These tickets will be picked up at the table by the door. There will be an extra ticket for everyone who brings plants for the raffle table.

Another change will be the addition of a friendship table. This table is for plants to share with others. They should be free of disease and clean enough as not to make a mess, but do not have to be show quality or even tagged if you don't know the name.

Stay tuned, as there will be a few more changes to come, just to make the year more interesting.


Some things to remember in the new year.

  1. Wear your nametags. If you do not have one see Gary Lund.
  2. Bring plants for the raffle table.
  3. Now you can bring plants to share on the friendship table.
  4. Invite guests to come to the meetings.
  5. Sign up for refreshments so the committee knows who is going to bring the goodies.
  6. Have a happy New Year.


The next article is part of a bulletin that is published by the University of Florida, Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Services and written by Robert J. Black and Bijan Dehgan. It may be available through the Florida Cooperative Extension Service as Circular 1090. It was originally published in May 1993 and revised in March of 1994. I decided to use it as it gives a description of the most popular genera of bromeliads.

Commonly Cultivated Genera

Aechmea. Most of the 150 species in this genus are epiphytic, have deep cups to hold water and outstanding foliage all year long. The leaf edges are spined and the inflorescences are spectacular. Aechmea fasciata, one of the most popular bromeliads, is often called the urn or living vase plant because it appears to have provided a vase for its predominately pink inflorescence.
Ananas. The commercial edible pineapple (Ananas comosus) is a member of this genus. There is a variegated form of this species (Ananas comosus variegatus) that has green, cream and pink striped leaves that form rosettes 2 feet or more across. There is a smaller species, Ananas nanus, that is commonly grown as an interior plant. It has arching, 12 to 15-inch grayish-green leaves surrounding a 15- inch spike of red buds resembling a pincushion. The buds open into purple flowers which are followed by a 2-inch high, fragrant, edible pineapple.
Billbergia . Billbergias are tall and urn-shaped with spiny edged leaves. They are usually epiphytic and the foliage is often attractively variegated, banded or mottled. Although short-lived, inflorescences are very colorful.
Cryptanthus. These plants are small, terrestrial, sometimes stoloniferous with flat, basal, symmetrically arranged, variously colored mottled or stripped leaves. They are grown mainly as foliage plants but their tiny white flowers, emerging low in the cups, are very attractive. Plants of this genus are commonly referred to as "earth stars" because their leaves grow low and parallel to the ground in a star-like arrangement. The species Cryptanthus bivattatus and several of its cultivars are among the most widely grown for use as interior plants.
Guzmania. Bromeliads in this genus have thin, glossy, strap-like, smooth-edged leaves which form a water-holding rosette. There are thin brown, purple or maroon lines which run parallel along the length of the leaves. Clusters of red, white or yellow flowers appear from behind orange, yellow or red bracts on a terminal spike. They are mostly epiphytic, however, a few are terrestrial.
Neoregelia. These epiphytic bromeliads develop blue or white flowers just above the water level in the cup. The central portion of the leaves surrounding the flowers turn rosy red. The spiny-edged leaves may also have red spots and markings. Some of the species develop red leaf tips and are often called "painted fingernail."
Nidularium. Plants in this genus are often confused with those in the genus Neoregelia. They both have bird's nest type flower heads; however, Nidularium inflorescence shows the bracts rather distinctly while the inflorescence is buried in the leaf rosette of Neoregelia. These medium-sized, epiphytic plants have broad, flexible, lightly spined leaves that form an open rosette.
Tillandsia. With nearly 400 species this genus is the largest, most diverse and widely distributed genus in the bromeliad family. Most are epiphytic, except for a few species that grow on rocks. Plant species vary in size from tiny to large. Some species have leaves that are tough and string-like; others have soft, thin, strap-like leaves. In still others the lower part of the leaf is spoon shaped. Often, the leaves are covered with a gray fuzz or scales. The inflorescence is spectacular in some species consisting usually of blue flowers with brightly colored bracts.
Vriesea. With more than 200 species this genus is the second largest but most hybridized and cultivated genus in the bromeliad family. These are medium size, mostly epiphytic plants with soft or firm, variously green but often spotted, blotched or distinctly marked leaves. The usually long-lasting inflorescences have yellow, green or white flowers and brightly colored bracts. The inflorescences may be upright like a spear, pendulous or even curved. Plants in this genus are very susceptible to injury from cold temperatures.



January 7 - FWCBS meeting

July 26 August 2, 2004 World Conference, Chicago, IL


James Boynton, newsletter editor

Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society

994 Willowood Lane

Dunedin, Fl 34698