The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting Sunday, January 9, 2005

January, 2005

First Meeting of the New Year!

President Linda Stagnol386/760-6842

Vice President – Jay Thurrott – 386/761-4804

Secretary – Calandra Thurrott - 386/761-4804

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 386/673-2648


Happy New Year 2005!

Time really does fly by…and it doesn’t matter if you are having fun or not…it still flies. Here we are now with another year gone by already and I’m not done with the last one yet! There were quite a lot of projects that I had in mind to complete before the end of 2004 and now, suddenly, the year is over and the projects are still unfinished. I suppose this means that I either need to quit procrastinating or set more realistic goals for myself. I’ll have to think about that…but not today, maybe tomorrow…oh wait…am I procrastinating again?

Traditionally, the New Year is a time to set resolutions on paper concerning what you are determined to do (or not do) over the coming year. This is a good time to take stock of where you are today and consider where you would like to be at the end of the next 365 days. If you haven’t already made your New Year’s resolutions, here’s some suggestions for the coming year:

  1. Next Summer I will not use the phrase "Don’t worry, hurricanes never hit this area". Likewise, during the Winter I promise not to say "Don’t worry, it won’t get that cold in our area"
  2. I will prepare for our meetings a little better. No matter how hard I try, I seem to always be forgetting something that I promised to bring to the meeting – a plant for a friend, raffle plants, information about upcoming events, questions to ask the officeers – you name it, I’ve forgotten it.
  3. I will remove pups from my plants before they multiply to the point of squeezing each other out of shape. Let’s face it, there is a difference between encouraging the clumping tendencies of some bromeliads and just plain laziness in not separating tangled masses of plants. You know that this is a problem when your Neoregelia pups begin to look like Billbergias because they are crowded together so tightly they can’t stretch out.
  4. At the first sign of scale I will treat my plants with a systemic pesticide and not just set the plant in a corner and tell myself I will get to it later. These new products for controlling scale are absolutely amazing in their effectiveness and they are very easy to use. There’s just no excuse anymore for having bromeliads covered in scale – treat them once and the scale is controlled for the better part of a year!
  5. I will resist the urge to correct members of the public who approach our sales booth wanting to buy one of those "bromelards", "bromelaids" or "air plants". I will also resist the urge to hit them upside of the head when they explain to their friend (they always travel in pairs) how to care for their new acquisition as they are leaving. The advice they give is invariably wrong!

This month’s meeting:

Election of officers for the New Year. We were going to hear recommendations from the nominating committee at the last meeting, but that was our Christmas party and nobody really wanted to conduct any business at that time.

As usual, our Christmas party was a very enjoyable affair! Good food, good friends and a great bunch of plants for the plant exchange. Thank you everyone for making this another success.

Bromeliads from A to Z:

As I recall, we left off last time with the Neoregelias. Now before we move on to the letter ‘O’, there is another ‘N’ Genus to be addressed – that would be the Nidulariums. Recently this genus was subdivided and many of the smaller stoloniferous Nidulariums were placed into the new Genus Canistropsis. Don’t look for Nidularium billbergioides any more. This is now Canistropsis billbergioides.

Derived from the Latin word "nidus" meaning "nest" referring to the short cluster of inner leaves surrounding the flowers, plants in this group all originate from Eastern Brazil. Nidulariums are considered to be easy to care for and generally are quite cold tolerant. This is a group that does very will in a high humidity, low light environment. They are also somewhat slower in maturing than other bromeliads – which means that commercial growers are not particularly fond of this group. For the hobbyist, however, this is an attractive feature. Slow growers mean that you do not have to separate and repot as often as some of the faster growing bromeliads.

Nidulariums are occasionally confused with Neoregelias, since they generally share the same characteristics of forming low, medium sized rosettes of finely toothed leaves. Color develops in the center of the rosette and the surrounding leaves may become very showy and brightly colored. These leaves often rise somewhat above the rosette in nidulariums although in some varieties a lengthened stem develops bearing the flower spike.

Every bromeliad collection should have at least one representative Nidularium in it.

Nidularium innocentii – There are several forms of this plant and each one is a terrific bromeliad. The ‘Amazonian Bird’s Nest Plant’ or Nidularium innocentii var. innocentii is a large, slow growing plant with soft wide leaves in dark purple to almost black. In bloom, the center rises somewhat to reveal red bracts and snowy white flowers

Nidularium fulgens is a medium sized plant with shiny, heavily spined light green leaves. Random dark green spots and blotches appear on somewhat off-shaped leaves that tend to be narrow at base, flaring and then tapering back to a narrow point at the tip. Inflorescence has dark red bracts and blue flowers with white edges to the petals. See the photo below of Nid. fulgens from the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies’ web site (

Nidularium ‘Leprosa’ - This is an interesting plant and apparent hybrid , although it’s exact origins and parentage are often debated. Regardless, this is an attractive medium sized plant with dark green leaves heavily speckled in brown. The inflorescence is also heavily speckled and has bright pink or purple bracts and orange flowers.


‘O’ is for Orthophytum – a rather curious group of plants. The word ‘Orthophytum’ is derived from the Greek words "ortho" for "straight" and "phylum" meaning "plant" – a reference to the lengthening of the stem that takes place during flowering rather than the development of a distinct inflorescence as is common among most other genera. For every rule there is an exception, so of course there are several species of Orthophytum that do not exhibit this behavior. These instead, develop a clustered central inflorescence and a flattened rosette of leaves similar to the Neoregelias. Orthophytum navioides is a good example of this type.

This is a small Genus containing around 26 species. Their natural habitat is confined to a portion of Brazil (Bahia, Minais Gerais) where they are found growing in full sun and usually on rock ledges. Often this is misinterpreted to mean that Orthophytums can be grown without soil, mounted on rock or wood, but actually these plants are found growing in cracks in rocks where their roots extend long distances to tap into the small amounts of soil found in these cracks. Treat these plant like Dyckias or other terrestrials and allow room for their extensive root systems.

Orthophytum leaves, and the prominent spines on them, despite their fierce appearance are usually quite flexible and rubbery. Flowers are usually white. Plants in this group tend to be very cold resistant, but require good adequate moisture to thrive. In fact, this is where many of us run into trouble in our culture practices. Give these plants plenty of water during the summer period, especially when they are first becoming established and reduce this during the winter months.

Every good bromeliad collection needs to have at least one Orthophytum. Here are some examples that you are likely to find available:

Orthophytum sucrei - This is a small plant w/short, fleshy triangular leaves resembling an aloe. The leaves take on an orange blush when in bloom. The inflorescence is a long, pale green stalk ending in a cluster of orange flowers. Offsets develop on the inflorescence as well as at the base of the plant.

Orthophytum vagans is a green leaved plant with unusually long stolons. Heavily spined and with thin, slightly recurved leaves the center rises when in bloom, the central leaves redden, and large white flowers develop. The lower leaves deteriorate as the stem grows and wanders, developing roots as it wanders.

Orthophytum naviodes – This is a small plant with thin green, heavily spined leaves. First discovered by M. Foster in 1939, described in 1940 by Smith as a Cryptanthus and, finally placed in the Orthophytum category by Lyman Smith in 1955. When in bloom the center rises and leaves redden , flattening out to reveal a cluster of white flowers - reputed to smell like Ivory Soap.

Photo of Orthophytum ‘Stellar Beauty’

Courtesy of FCBS website.

Looking ahead:

Jan. 8th Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies quarterly meeting hosted by Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society.

Feb. 5, 6 – Gardenfest at Riverside Park in Vero Beach presesented by the Garden Club of Indian River County. Over 50 vendors selling orchids, bromeliads, roses, ferns, palms herbs, fruit trees, bamboo,succulents, pottery, etc.

Feb. 12 Garage sale – proceeds to benefit

Halifax Council of Garden Clubs

Feb. 13 FECBS meeting – speaker: Michael Andreas on photography of bromeliads.

March 17 – 20 Everybody’s Flower

Show - 50th Anniversary

March 18th Bromeliad Show and Sale – Bromeliad Guild of Tampa Bay.

April 2 Master Gardener’s Sale at

Volusia County Fair Grounds. This is a half day

sale only, so don’t arrive late!

May 7, 8 Annual Mothers Day Bromeliad

Show and Sale –Bromeliad Society of Central Florida