Tillandsia cyanea with 3 blooms

Photo by Jim Boynton

October 2003 Newsletter

Grant Groves will be our guest speaker for the October meeting. Grant's, who is from Winter Gardens, presentations have always been well received and he will be sharing slides from his recent trip to Peru.

Grant will be bringing plants to sell, and some show and tell artifacts that he just brought back from Peru.

Please do not forget that the meeting night is Tuesday, October 7th. That is the first Tuesday of the month, at the Hope Presbyterian Church, 1698 S. Belcher Rd., Clearwater. The doors will open at 7:00 and the meeting will start at 7:30, hope to see you there.

Last Months Meeting

I have not heard exactly what happened to our speaker for the September meeting, but she never made it to the meeting. An expanded show and tell filled the program time without any difficulty.

A rather lively discussion took place on the question of who should register and name a Bromeliad hybrid. Gyula Nemeth stated his position that only the person who made the original cross has the right to register and name a hybrid. Stating that the person who did the work should be the one to name it, and if not named should just me known by the parent plants names. While a number of people agree with this position, it is not working in effect as some hybridizers have not registered their creations.

This will create more problems in keeping everything strait in the future. The BSI is allowing anyone who has information on a hybrid to register it and name it. This allows for the plants to be described, photographed and recorded along with the plants history if available.

Since the same cross can produce plants that look very different, giving the different plants different names, will allow people in the future know exactly which plants were the parents of their new hybrid. An example of this is Dyckia fosteriana crossed with Dyckia platyphylla. This same crossing produce two different plants one is green and the other has a much grayer color. The sizes are different and the color of the inflorence and flowers are different. I had originally purchased these plants from the original hybridizer as he needed room in his greenhouse and did not want to mess with the plants any more. By registering these plants they now have separate names and Ervin Wurthmann has gotten credit for the original cross. If I had not registered these plants the history would have probably been lost as I doubt if there is anyone else in the world that would have known that Ervin made this cross. Except for Ervin himself of course and I understand that Ervin is not doing real well these days. I do not think Ervin had any interest in registering the plants originally much less in doing it now. One of these plants has been used in making another cross, but it is not known which one. If they had been registered long ago then this information could be part of the record.

There are arguments on both sides, and we will not be able to solve the controversy at our club meetings. This is a job for the BSI and right now they would like to get as many hybrids recorded and registered as possible.


Helen Dexter, Bob Dalzell, Fay O'Rourke, the Bankheads and Carol Schultz provided the refreshments for the month of September. Sara was recovering from a bout with the flu and was not at the meeting. Janet Bankhead stepped in and handled the refreshment chairman's duties, so we want to thank her for that, and everyone who helped with the refreshments.

In the confusion of trying to get the refreshment supplies home, without Sara, I forgot to get the signup list. This means that I do not know who is providing the refreshments for this month. I am sure something will show up as it usually does.

While you are at the meeting, please remember to stop by the front desk when you bring food to pick up your extra raffle ticket. You will also find the refreshment sign-up sheet at this desk for future months.


The following is an article that I found fascinating

Hopefully you remember the article from last month's newsletter on THE FIBONACCI SEQUENCE AND PINEAPPLES By: John Catlan, Well guess what there is more. The article created more of a stir than I thought it would. Several of the members were talking about it at the meeting and few swore that it works. It appears that we have people all over the state counting leaves, petals and stems. I know that the article was reprinted in the Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society newsletter called the Meristem.

Helga Tarver sent me an article from the Caloosahatchee club newsletter from June of 1968, and it is closely related.



Did you know that pineapple fruits have 8 rows of scales -the diamond shape markings on the surface -sloping to the left, and 13sloping to the right? Why is this so, and who cares anyway? Well, if you are still interested, I'll tell you. The majority of flowering plants throughout the world have their petals arranged according to the mathematical series 3,5,8, 13,21,34,55,89, 144, etc. You probably have noticed that bromeliad flowers have 3 petals, the smallest of this sequence called the Fibonacci numbers. This series, credited to Leonardo Fibonacci in about 1200 AD, is formed by starting with 3 and adding the previous number 2 to get 5, and to 5 adding the previous number to get 8, and to 8 adding the previous number 5 to get 13, and so forth. Of interest here is that the helical geometry of the flowers on the pineapple inflorescence also follows the Fibonacci series according to an 8 and 13 twist or spiral arrangement. So, during the swelling of the pineapple fruit, its scales, which are the residual locations of the flowers, appear as 8 rows sloping to the left and 13 rows sloping to the right. Right and left spiral arrangements on any plant are due to the regulation of complex growth dynamics based on the golden number phi (0.618), which permits anyone flower primordium to form and grow at an angle of 137.5 degrees to the one before and after it. The arrangement of flowers and other plant parts evolved in this manner, and which Fibonacci numbers a plant uses depends on the tightness of the spiral. The figure provided shows dots arranged at angles of 137.5 degrees along a complex spiral with 8 spirals in one direction and 13 spirals in the other, just as occurs in a pineapple fruit.

Such regularity in pineapples, other bromeliad inflorescences, the rosette placement of leaves of bromeliads, as well as many other forms in nature including nautilus shells, means that physics, chemistry, and the dynamics of growth, and not just the genes, determine the morphology of many organisms on this planet. This is so because this series is a mathematical regularity, and in contrast genes have enormous flexibility. For example, genes can tell a plant to make chlorophyll, but they don't tell the chlorophyll what color it has to be. Color is determined by physics and chemistry, and in the same way, the arrangement of items in the Fibonacci series is probably due to various dynamic constraints on plant development.

This year's extravaganza

This year’s Extravaganza, to be hosted by the Bromeliad Society of South Florida, will be held at the Miccosukee Resort and Convention Center (500 SW 177 Avenue, Miami 33194) on November 15 and 16, with set up and registration on November 14. There will be both commercial and member sales; sellers will need an identification number. Email Ed Prince at edwardjprince@aol.com or send conventional mail to 11220 SW 107 Court, Miami, FL 33176-3902 (no phone calls please).

I am sure that we will hear more about this in the weeks to come. There will be special rates at the Miccosukee Indian Reservation. Call 1-877-242-6464 for reservations and be sure to make sure that you are coming for the Bromeliad Extravaganza, as there will be a race in Homestead that same weekend and they will be taking up a number of rooms and at full rates. Give them a call as soon as you can if you want to stay the night as they will fill up quickly that weekend.

Fall Festival at Tropiflora

A big sale with outside vendors, food and many other things will be held at the Tropiflora Nursery on Televast Road in Sarasota. More information, a map and a coupon can be downloaded at http://www.tropiflora.com/festival/03fallfestival.html if you want


October 3-5 - Tropiflora Fall Festival, Sarasota

October 7 - FWCBS Meeting

October 11-12 - USF Fall Plant Sale

November 8-9 - Caloosahatchee Show and Sale, Ft Myers

November 15-16 - FCBS Extravaganza

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


James Boynton, newsletter editor

Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society

994 Willowood Lane

Dunedin, Fl 34698