The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next regularly scheduled meeting Sunday, July 9th - 1:30p.m.

July, 2000

This Month’s Meeting:Slide Show

President - Jay Thurrott - 904/761-4804

Vice President - Bud Martin - 407/321-0838

Secretary - Bob Roberts - 904/446-8626

Treasurer - Ted Nuse - 904/673-2648


Blossom World Tour and Seminars to become an annual event! – That’s right, you heard it here first. June’s scheduled field trip to Blossom World in Sanford was so popular with all who attended that Bud has agreed to make this an annual event. For those of you who missed it, Bud Martin and Alan Bennett opened the nursery to FECBS members, Seminole Bromeliads Society members and the general public on June 11th. There were seminars on plant selection and culture and Peggy Nuse conducted a terrific class on floral arranging. Mike Fink and family brought their gas grill and everyone was treated to a picnic lunch with hamburgs and hotdogs with all the fixin’s. Thanks Mike – great job. There was even a choice of deserts with some excellent cookies form Matilda of the Seminole club and, surprise…a birthday cake for someone who will remain nameless, but has reached the big Five O! Seriously though, this was a very nice affair and our thanks go out to Bud and Alan who worked so hard in getting everything together for this event. This resembled a "mini" Extravaganza and had something for everyone. The greenhouses looked great and I think everyone left with some new plants and smiles on their faces. Mark your calendar now for next year’s Blossom World open house – same time, same place (second Suday in June).

Topic for the July Meeting – It’s been a while since we’ve had a slide show of bromeliads at our meetings and there are quite a few good programs available through BSI, so we’ll have a show for you this month. There are a usually a lot of plants in bloom in the summer, so we are also asking you to bring one or more of your favorites for "Show and Tell". What do you have in bloom at the moment?

What’s Blooming-
Summertime is often a time for Guzmanias to "show their stuff" – especially the small lingulata cultivars. G. lingulata minor looks very nice right now and G. ‘Amaranth’ is just about to bloom. I’ve also noticed quite a few Nidulariums in bloom – in particular, Nidularium innocentii var. innocentii, N. bilbergioides v. citrinum(I think this goes by another name now), and N. ‘Leprosa’(a very pretty, spotty plant).

Remember those Billbergia seeds that Jane C. distributed three years ago (actually it was Jan.12, 1997)? Mine has put out a beautiful bloom and…surprise!…it’s not Billbergia zebrina like we thought, but Billbergia brasiliensis instead. Please correct your tags.

Mike F. reports that his Vriesea ‘Vulcan’ which bloomed last year has erupted in a cloud of seed.

After many years, I have finally gotten a Tillandsia cyanea to bloom for me. This may not seem like much of an accomplishment to those who have these in bloom on a regular basis, but it’s a real victory for me! This is one of those plants that I just haven’t quite gotten the knack of growing well. Maybe there’s hope for me yet!

Miscellaneous –
Our best wishes for a speedy recovery go to Mary Caslen who has been laid-up with a knee injury.. It was good to see her at the Blossom World tour. And next time you see her husband Bob, ask him to show you his snake bite scars!

Included in the last issue was page 1 of the glossary from the Padilla book "Bromeliads". These are terms that you often see in books or hear used in discussions about bromeliads. They are words that you may not be familiar with and may have difficulty looking up in your Funk & Wagnel dictionary. So, here it is – part 2:


PEDUNCLE - the primary flower stalk

PELTATE - shaped like a shield. A peltate scale is one that is attached from its lower surface instead of from its margin or edge.

PENDENT- hanging down from its support

PERIANTH - the sum of sepals and petals

PETIOLE - the stalk or stem of a leaf

PINNATE - like a feather; having leaflets on each side of a common petiole

POLYSTICHOUS - in many ranks or rows

PSEUDOBULB - a thickened or bulb-form stem borne above the ground


PUNCTULATE - clotted; marked with minute spots

RACEME - a simple, elongated cluster with stalked flowers that usually flower from the base

RECURVED - curved backward

REFLEXED - bent abruptly backward

RESTINGA - hot, rocky section of southern BraziI

RHIZOMATOUS - with underground stems

SAXICOLOUS - growing on rocks

SCALES - (on bromeliads) minute, flat absorbing organs through which many bromeliads obtain their water and nutrients

SCAPE - the stem of the inflorescence, usually extending beyond the leaves

SCURF - scales

SECUND - having leaves or flowers turned toward the same side

SEPAL - one of the separate leaves of a calyx

SERRATED - toothed; with teeth pointing forward

SESSILE - with no stalk: attached by the base; sitting

SHEATH - the leaf base when it forms a vertical coating surrounding the stem

SIMPLE INFLORESCENCE - a single, unbranched raceme or spike; not compound

SPATHE - a large bract or pair of bracts enclosing a flower cluster

SPECIES - subdivision of a genus

SPICATE - in the form of a spike, as in an inflorescence

SPIKE - a compact, elongated inflorescencein which the flowers are sessile or apparentlv so

STOLON - a shoot that bends to the ground (although many of the smaller Neoregelias may not bend to the ground, but instead stick out from the main plant -JCT) and takes root, giving rise to a new plant at its tip

STOLONIFEROUS - sending out or propagating itself by stickers or runners that are disposed too root

STROBILATE - cone-shaped

STYLE - the stem part of a pistil or the seed-bearing organ of a flower

SUBCYLINDRICAL - somewhat, not completely cylindrical

SUBDENSE - somewhat, not completely dense

SUCCULENT- juicy; fleshy; soft and thickened in texture

SYNONYM - a name that is in the literature and catalogs other than the valid name of a particular plant

TERETE - circular or cylindrical in cross-section; also slenderly tapering

TERMINAL - as applied to leaves, those at the end of the stem

TERRESTRlAL - plants growing in the ground

TOMENTOSE - densely woolly or pubescent

TRIPINNATE - three times pinnate

TYPE PLANT- the originally described plant (until a newly discovered plant is formally described in the literature, it is not recognized as a species-JCT)

UTRICULAR – baglike (as in Tillandsia utriculata-JCT)

XEROPHYTIC - growing in a dry situation and subsisting with a small amount of moisture

Branches, bugs, and bunnies -
Well, we’re into the peak of the summertime season and the peak of the bromeliad growing season, as well. Unfortunately, this is also the time of year that we are most likely to be bothered by storms, pests, and even animal attacks on our plants. At least the "fire season" is drawing to a close! Squirrels often "prune" new growth on trees and, in the process, drop everything from tiny twigs to fairly large branches onto the ground below. Of course, the ground below is where I have my bromeliads and they bear the brunt of this aerial bombardment. It never fails to amaze me how a tiny twig dropped from the top of an oak tree can land with its pointy end down so that it neatly skewers the leaves of my most prized plants. And, of course the full-sized branches that fall manage to crush several leaves at a time There’s probably some principal of physics to be observed here that’s similar to the one concerning which side of buttered bread is most likely to hit the floor first – only in this case it’s "a falling object always lands in such a way as to inflict the most damage to a bromeliad." Furthermore, the amount of damage done is directly proportional to the value of the bromeliad struck.

This is also the time of year that we need to be on the look-out for insects. Grasshoppers, snails, and scale generally are the source of additional leaf damage to plants that survived the fall out from the trees. All of these can be controlled if you catch them soon enough. Sprays can halt most grasshoppers in their jouvenile (nymph) stage, but once they become adults a good beating with a heavy object is the only thing that gets their attention. Snails and slugs are said to be partial to beer, and can be lured to their deaths by using this as an attractant, but I haven’t been able to confirm this. Actually, I can’t bring myself to part with a perfectly good bottle of beer – it just doesn’t seem right to waste it!

It’s hard to believe that scale is also an insect, but it is. Scale seems more closely related to the seashore’s barnacle than to anything else. Both of these creatures are mobile only when still in their infancy. At maturity both develop a hard shell around themselves and no longer can get around. But then, they don’t need to, since in both cases their food supply is all around them. Because of this protective shell, scale can be difficult to control once it gets established on a plant. The key then is preventive control. Maintain good housekeeping around your plants, allow plenty of air movement, and immediately quarantine any plant that you notice the first signs of scale on. For mild cases try an insecticidal soap or one of the Cygon sprays. For more severe cases it may be best to dispose of the plant infected. If you live around the Halifax area and have your bromeliads directly in the ground, you will have to live with scale. It’s in topsoils around here and it’s a fact of life. Keeping your plants in pots seems to provide a pretty good degree of protection and often the next generation (pups) will be unaffected if separated from the parent early enough.

All bromeliads are edible to some degree and this fact does not seem to be missed by many of our woodland friends. I’ve seen gopher turtles munching on bromeliad leaves (if a protected animal species eats a protected plant species, is a crime committed?…and who do you call?), squirrels eating young Tillandsias and tearing into the center cups of Neoregelias to get water, and, although I haven’t seen them at it, I’m sure that rabbits wouldn’t miss the opportunity to dine on bromeliad leaves if given a chance.

Faced with all of these dangers to the health of our bromeliads, why do we keep trying to grow that perfect, blue ribbon plant? Maybe it’s the challenge or maybe it’s like the mountain climber’s anwer to a similar question – because it’s there!