The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next regularly scheduled meeting Sunday, March 10, 2002 – 1:30p.m.

March, 2002

Show Time - 2002!

President - Jay Thurrott - 386/761-4804

Vice President - Bud Martin - 407/321-0838

Secretary - Bob Roberts - 386/586-6221

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 386/673-2648


The program: Getting ready for a show – and we’re not just talking about plants! Bring in any plants that you would like help with in grooming for the show and sale. We’ll go over the schedule and finalize plans for the booth sales and display. And on the topic of the show…Everyone must have at least one plant that is a worthy entry, so let’s get them entered! We can help beforehand in filling out the entry forms. Do you need help in getting the plants to the Ocean Center for entry? We can help! It’s up to you though to make this show a success. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a rare plant

to display – the audience for this show is the general public – and they will be impressed and thrilled with any bromeliad as long as it has been

repotted in a clean pot and any damaged lower leaves have been removed. Our main goal this year is to get as many entries in as we can. Do you have anything in bloom? That’s a sure-fire blue ribbon if it’s cleaned up properly. If you have any questions, call us or talk to us at the meeting. Let’s get 100% member participation!

And don’t forget plants for Show and Tell – that was a very interesting one last month. This is a part of our monthly meetings that I especially enjoy – how are you bromeliads doing…what do they look like…are they in bloom…what problems have you run into…what successes have you had…?

Spring is Here!

Ok, so it’s not here-at least according to the calendar, but I’m willing to say that we’re far enough into the month now to where the risk of a killing freeze is pretty low. We’ve also had enough warm weather to wake many of the bromeliads from their winter siestas and some of them can benefit from a little fertilizer…and repotting…and separating offsets…and checking for scale. In short – it’s time to get up off the couch (the Olympics are over anyway) and get out there and do a little work in the yard or garden or greenhouse or wherever else you raise your bromeliads. Time’s a wasting!.

From the Web:

Ken Marks is the BSI Webmaster (and has been doing an outstanding job in this position, by the way!) and was recently the victim of a previously undescribed bromeliad pest. If any of you suffer from low blood pressure the following, from a recent posting on the Web, is sure to make it rise. If you already suffer from high blood pressure, do not read the following:

Forget the weevil, I've got bigger pests......of the two legged variety. Returning from California for the Thanksgiving holiday, I found my backyard collection decimated.
Turns out the person who has been stealing bromeliads from my backyard a couple at a time over the past year decided to take advantage of my absence and help themselves to a mother-load. I say "them" because they made one "collecting trip" too many to my yard. It seems that plants have been disappearing from a number of the residential associations in my area, so the patrolling security company was on alert for suspicious activity. They found a parked Ford Explorer off the road next to the hedge that runs along the back of my house at 2AM. Upon investigation, they found a number of freshly dug plants in the back along with a number of plants lined up along the side of the car. Further searching turned up a lady (term used loosely here) and her 25 year old daughter roaming in my yard with a shovel. When asked what they were doing, their reply was looking for their lost cat! The Palm Beach County Sheriff was called in and they arrested the pair and had the vehicle impounded. The plants were inexplicably left at my neighbor's front door with no note or explanation. No note was left at my house, no business card in the mailbox, no message on my answering machine. I didn't even know I'd been robbed until I went to cut the grass a few days later. They must have been hitting my place in multiple trips since they took many car loads of plants including:
Nearly 50 broms (including some very rare species and hybrids)
Bananas (they dug up and took 8' tall bananas!)
Staghorn ferns
A rare Amorphophallus paeoniifolius (5' high x 5' across!)
Anthuriums in hanging baskets
To add insult to injury, it looks like the State's Attorney's office in Palm Beach County is not going to prosecute since this crime does not "rate" high enough to bother adding to the already overloaded court
docket. Latest word is that the suspect (read that as "caught red-handed low-life thief") has produced receipts for all the plants in question (from Target of all places)! Maybe I should just go to Target and buy another rare Venezuelan Brocchinia micrantha or a xNeophytum 'Sensation' which, until this revelation, I was under the impression that I could name the four individuals who have a single pup of this big brother to 'Galactic Warrior'. State Farm Insurance was going to pursue her in civil court but has dropped the case since the State's Attorney has declined to prosecute.
Things I've learned:
* A man's house is his castle, but without a moat infested with alligators it's not safe from thieves.
* Catching a thief red-handed means little to an overburdened court system.
* In a criminal case the "victim" is the "state", not the one who actually suffered loss.
* Possession is 9/10th of the law. Translation: My plants are in her yard but I cannot even reclaim them as they do not have a serial number proving them to be mine. They are commodities which could have come from
anywhere (according to the sheriff). Handwritten tags (in my handwriting) apparently mean nothing. To personally identify your plants, custom printed labels with your name/address on the back might
help (if the thief is too stupid to replace the tags). Better still, an "inventory" number written on a piece of a plastic tag and dropped between some of the inner leaves might hold up as a means of giving a
plant a serial number.
* In Palm Beach County, Florida, the best way to build a plant collection is to go collecting in other people's yard. Don't worry if you get caught - it doesn't seem to matter.

Our sympathy certainly goes out to Ken and Tammy. It wasn’t that long ago that they hosted a quarterly Fl. Council meeting at their house and Calandra , Ted, Peggy and I had the opportunity to see the Marks’ wonderful collection. Makes the phrase "homeland security" take on a whole new meaning doesn’t it?

Did’ya ever wonder?

Sometimes I see bromeliads at shows and sales that just don’t look the same as mine-either in size or leaf color. I’ve also seen where plants with the same name tags are offered on several different sales tables and they look totally different from each other. What’s going on?

We all know that nametags sometimes have a way of disappearing and trusting to memory can produce some interesting (and incorrect) names for plants. Bromeliads also have a way of changing slightly in form and color, depending on the growing conditions they are subjected to, but I don’t’ think either of these is the complete answer to this question. What you may be noticing is the difference in clones of the same named plant. It has been said that if you could somehow revisit a bromeliad show from 30 years ago, you would think that you were looking at plants very different from the ones that you see today. This also explains why there is such interest in documentation of a plant’s lineage. A good example is often seen in the plant we all know as Aechmea orlandiana. This plant has been crossed, unusual offsets selected, and seedlings nourished that may have been cross-pollinated without the grower’s awareness for so long that today’s plant bears only a resemblance to the original collected by Foster so many years ago. They all have tags that read ‘Aechmea orlandiana’, but they may look very different from each other. Over the years, the name tags may have picked up small additions like "dark form", "extra large clone" or "select" to try to keep them apart, but these may or may not be officially recognized forms and may have no validity other than in the mind of the individual who made out the tag. And then there is the other situation that occurs - where tags that once helped distiguish among truly different forms have been hastily reproduced and now just say "Ae. orlandiana". Call it "artificial evolution" if you want, but what we are really talking about here, is a plant that has strayed considerably from its original form. A third situation exists as well – species collected in the wild may show variation from one habitat to another. Most avid collectors of bromeliads recognize this and are always on the lookout for a different clone of a plant that is already in their collection. Some of these may show brighter leaf color or different flower color than others. If you doubt that such variation exists, try collecting plants that have the tag ‘Neoregelia carolinae’ – you may find that you don’t have enough space to hold all of the differant bromeliads bearing this name(you may find that even a large commercial nursery doesn’t have enough space to house all of these different plants!). It’s a different world out there from the one of bromeliad shows 30 years ago. Two different bromeliads bearing the same name tag may not resemble each other as much as we would like them to. Which plant is the "real" Aechmea orlandiana? Which one is the "true" Neo. carolinae? Let me refer you to the question of how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop - the world may never know!

Upcoming events:

March 9th - Bromeliad Class at Leu Gardens, Orlando

March 14th – 17th The Daytona Flower Show at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach

March 23rd – Bromeliads in the Landscape, Tavares

March 23rd and 24th Leu Gardens Plant sale, Orlando. 9a.m.- 5p.m. both days

April 13th Fl. Council of Bromeliad Societies quarterly meeting at Marie Selby Gardens, Sarasota

April 27th and 28th, 2002 – Sarasota Bromeliad Society Show and Sale at Marie Selby Gardens, Sarasota

May 10th – 12th Mother’s Day Show and Sale – Florida Mall in Orlando. This is the 27th annual show and sale, hosted by the Bromeliad Society of Central Fl.

May 14th-19th, 2002 -15th World Bromeliad Conference will be held at the St. Petersburg Hilton Hotel.

September 6th and 7th, 2002 – Extravaganza hosted by FECBS (that’s us!) at the Daytona Beach Resort, 2700 N. Atlantic Ave. in Daytona Beach.