The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting April 18, 2004

1:30 p.m.

April, 2004

Winter is Over – When Will This

Warm Weather Ever End?

President Linda Stagnol – 386/760-6842

Vice President – Jay Thurrott – 386/761-4804

Secretary – Calandra Thurrott - 386/761-4804

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 386/673-2648


Do you know anyone like this? They spend all Winter compaining about the cold and can’t wait until Summer returns…and then when it does, they spend all Summer complaining about the heat – they can’t wait until Winter weather returns! When it’s dry they complain that there is no rain and then when the rainy season begins they wonder ‘won’t this rain ever stop?" Sometimes I think that the subject is irrelevant – some people just get a certain amount of enjoyment out of complaining…and it doesn’t really matter what the complaint concerns. I mention this thought because it occurred to me recently when Calandra and I were enjoying a day of near perfect weather at the Leu Gardens Spring Plant Sale. I was thinking that it doesn’t get much better than this when I overheard a couple (obviously not from around here) complaining that the weather in Florida is just the same all of the time and how can people stand it? Some people just enjoy complaining… and maybe that’s a hobby for them – sort of like growing bromeliads. They trade stories of their complaints, try to impress each other with the quality and size of their complaints, and if there were a competition, would certainly try to win a ribbon for the finest, most culturally perfect complaint.

Did you get a chance to visit the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach during the Flower Show? Our group was well represented with nearly 30 entries in the bromeliad division - I saw lots of blue ribbons there. Only one award of merit is given in this division and an entry from our club (Neo. Johannis ‘DeRolf’) was presented with this award. Congratulations are in order to Charlotte Mueller who arrived out of breath on Wednesday to enter two bromeliads in the show – after having just returned to town . She saw the request in last month’s newsletter for everyone to "please, please" enter at least one plant in the show and felt she had to participate. She was rewarded with two blue ribbons for her efforts. Thanks Charlotte – you’re a real trooper! Our club also picked up the top award in the educational exhibits section for our native Florida bromeliads display/weevil exhibit. I happened to be a clerk serving on the judges panel evaluating the exhibits, so I couldn’t help but overhear their conversations. The judges were quite taken with the originality and presentation of the material in the exhibit and made their decision without hesitation! Incidentally, you can really learn a lot by helping out in a show like this one. If you have some free time available next year, try volunteering to help out in either the horticulture entries (you get to see all of the entries and help in their classification and placement) or as a clerk (hear first-hand what impresses the judges and what turns them off in both horticulture and design entries). The show chairmen are always looking for willing volunteers and I can guarantee that you will end up learning a few new things in the process!

Bromeliads from A to Z: G is for Guzmania – the Designer Bromeliad

We left off last time with the "D"s and a brief discussion of the genus Dyckia. There are a few bromeliad groups beginning with the letters "E" and "F" but they’re not widely grown, so this month we’ll move on to the "G"s where we again find some obscure groups but we also encounter the genus Guzmania. This group of plants is named in honor of the Spanish naturalist Anastasio Guzman. Surpisingly, this is a relatively new designation. Check out some older publications and you may see this group listed as Caraguata, Devillea, Massangea, Schlumbergeria, Sodiroa, and Theocophyllum. Confusing? Of course it is. Hopefully the name Guzmania is here to stay for a while. You may recall that we often break the family Bromeliacea into three subfamilies: the Bromelioideae, the Pitcairnioideae, and the Tillandsioideae. Guzmanias fall under the Tillandsioideae subfamily and share a number of common features with the other member - Tillandsias and the Vrieseas. Most noticeably…their leaves are spineless. Often plants in the Guzmania group are confused with the Vrieseas. This is understandable particularly when they are not in bloom. Guzmania leaves are usually soft, smooth-edged and often have thin reddish lines (described as ‘pencil lines) running longitudinally. Vriesea leaves are also soft and smooth-edged but they lack the thin pencil lines and the leaf tips frequently appear pinched and turn downward. In the wild Guzmanias are found in shaded, humid environments ranging from Southern Florida (yes, we have two native Guzmanias in Florida – G. monostachia and G. monostachia variegata) through Central America, and as far south as Panama (they have a G. monostachia also, but the bloom is brighter than ours). The long-lasting inflorescence, often described as a stacked arrangement of bracts, is an extremely vivid combination of bright colors surrounding yellow or white flowers. Guzmanias have been extensively hybridized to accentuate desirable features found in the species plants with the end result that we can now choose from a bewildering assortment of Guzmania hybrids with blooms ranging in color from white to pink, red, purple, yellow, orange, and every shade in between. Not surprisingly, with such an easily accessible variety of colors and long lasting inflorescences, these plants have found favor with interior designers and are often seen in magazine layouts, hotel lobbies, shopping malls and airports. If you look closely, Guzmanias are often seen in the backgrounds of movies and television shows and realtors suggest that a few strategically placed Guzmanias in bloom give a very favorable impression to prospective home buyers. Appropriate culture conditions for Guzmanias also favor the ‘designer’ reputation of these plants. They can tolerate the low light conditions found in the home better than most bromeliads and groupings of similar or even contrasting blooms can provide a dramatic accent of color to any room.

Many Guzmania varieties do very well outdoors in our area, although they may require some protection during the winter. If you are looking for a cheerful plant that can be grown to bloom under all manner of neglect, consider Guzmania lingulata var. minor. I’ve grown this plant in my yard for many years with little trouble other than damage to the soft leaves by browsing insects. If you are not partial to the orange to red bloom of the species plant, there are small lingulata hybrids readily available in many different bloom colors that have been produced from this species and they all share the same cold hardiness – as well as heat tolerance that make this plant a true prize winner. For those of you partial to variegated plants G. ‘Ice Cream’ has been a favorite for many years and was described in a Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies newsletter as possibly one of the finest variegated bromeliads available. Many of the larger hybrids are derived from G. lingulata var. major and can be found in an even greater variety of colors. Prefer a little variety in the style of the bloom? Try selecting G. wittmackii with it’s very tall bloom spike and showy bracts arranged in ladder-like fashion in red, pink, or lilac. …and if you like reeeaallly big plants, try G. ‘Fleur D’anjou’ – with its 6" wide leaves and 3’ tall bloom! Are you looking for more of a challenge in bromeliads? Try growing some of the higher altitude varieties that require cool growing conditions. G. musaica, G. vittata, and G. lindenii are beautiful plants, but they seem to suffer in the Florida summers and will decline rapidly under less than perfect culture. The rewards are worth the effort though and a well grown specimen of any of these varieties is sure to find a place at the head table of judged shows.

If you haven’t already, add a few Guzmanias to your collection. For an easy to care for plant with an exceptional long lasting bloom Guzmanias are hard to beat…but wait, that describes most bromeliads doesn’t’ it?

Tales from the Web:

At the risk of repeating myself, let me just say that there is some really terrific material available on the Internet and if you haven’t already done so – you owe it to yourself to sit down at a keyboard (try this at your local library) and at least look at the Florida Council site ( You will be amazed at what is out there! Recently I received a copy of some correspondence from Charles Dills of California in response to an inquiry from a new hobbyist about an old favorite - Tillandsia ionantha. Now I think that we all have at least one variety of this little jewel in our collections. For many of us, this was the first bromeliad that we were exposed to. It’s found in stores everywhere (unfortunately, its frequently mounted on refrigerator magnets) and it seems like there are more forms of T. ionantha than you can shake a stick at. Well, Mr. Dills has shaken his stick at the forms and he put together the following table:

Tillandsa ionantha – a guide to its cultivars. (See also Journal Bromeliad Society 43(4):161. 1993)

T. ionantha ….

Apretado Synonym for v. ionantha

Cone head unknown origin

Druid albino form – white flowers

Fuego from Guatemala, leaves stiffer than v. stricta

Handgrenade very large form from Honduras-Cathcart

Haselnuss name used in Germany - ? Peanut

Huamalula very large form. Synonym for v. maxima

Peach from Taxco, Mexico

Peanut synonym for v. stricta forma fastigata

Penito large form similar to v. apretado from Bromeliafolia, Guatemala

Pink Champagne v. ionantha x v. Druid

Renate variegated form

Rosita synonym for v. stricta

Rubra from Guatemala, more soft open rosette with a fluffy silver appearance

Zebrina cultivar with light cross-markings on the leaves

Club Roster

Several requests have been made by club members for a list (club roster) of members and their phone numbers and addresses – so that they can get in touch with fellow members if the need arises. This has been a touchy subject with some clubs and there was a discussion about this during our last meeting. None of those present had any reservations about having information about them available for the rest of the club members, but if anyone has an objection to having their names and addresses distributed to the membership contact me (Jay Thurrott) before the next newsletter goes out. Next month I will enclose a membership roster in the mailout of the newsletter. This will ensure that only our membership will receive the roster . The copy of the newsletter that gets posted on the FCBS website will not include the roster – nor will newsletters mailed to other newsletter editors.

Again, if you do not wish your name and address distributed to the other members, contact me before the mailing of the next newsletter.

Upcoming Events

May 1,2 – South Fl. Bromeliad Society show and sale at Fairchild Tropicla Gardens, Miami

May 7th ,8th ,9th – Central Florida Bromeliad Society’s Annual Mothers Day Show and Bromeliad Sale at the Florida Mall in Orlando. Fri., Sat. - 10:00am to 9:30pm, Sun. – 11:00am to 6:00pm. Standard BSI judged show and plant sale. Contact Betsy McCrory at 407/348-2139 for details.

May 17 – Halifax Council of Garden Clubs Spring Luncheon at the LPGA

May 16 - 5th Annual Bromeliad Bonanza at Blossom World Bromeliads in Sanford

May 17-22nd Second International Orchid Conservancy Congress at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Fl.

June 25, 26 – Sarasota Bromeliad Society.s show and sale at Selby Gardens in Sarasota

August 9th-15th Sixteenth World Bromeliad Conference in Chicago, Illinois

Oct. 23rd Extravaganza hosted by the Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society. Make your plans now! The plant sale will be held at the Florida botanical Gardens in Largo. A rare plant auction and banquet will be at the host hotel – Holiday Inn Select, 3535 Ulmerton Road in Clearwater. Room rate is $75/night. The banquet will be $19.95/plate.

Oct. 30, 31 – Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society’s annual sale at Terry Park in Ft. Meyers.

Below: Photo of FECBS display

at the Ocean Center from 2003. Thanks to

Evelyn Santus for providing this picture.