The Florida East Coast Bromeliad Society

Next meeting Sunday, October 10, 2004


October, 2004

2004 Bromeliad Extravaganza

October 23rd

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


Thank you everyone who attended last month’s meeting. It was a hot and sweaty affair due to the a/c not working right in the Garden Center (I’ve been assured that it will be fixed in time for this month’s meeting), but it was good to see everyone and to hear that they had survived last month’s storms. Thank you Mike F. and Richard T. for bringing in all of those plants for members.

You may notice that this newsletter is not quite as long as you would expect (every other month is intended to be 4 pages, the "off-months" are 2 pages). My apologies for this, I simply haven’t had the time to work on it. We can blame it on the hurricanes (in fact, I think I’ll use that excuse for everything for the next 6 months or so!), but it’s really just my fault. I’ll look to do better next month.

By now we’ve all had enough of hurricanes. First Charley, then Frances, and now Jeanne – this has been an extraordinary season…and keep in mind that it’s not over yet! I hope everyone has survived the storms with minimal damage and that your plants have endured the winds and torrential rains that have been changing our landscape. Now that we’re into the Autumn months and should begin making preparations for the approaching cooler weather, the thought occurred to me that in addition to lists of cold-hardy bromeliads maybe we need to develop a list of hurricane- resistant bromeliads.

Heading the list of most resistant would have to be the terrestrials – particularly those with thin spiny leaves and, of course, these would be the terrestrials planted in the ground, since those in pots are simply spiny missiles in hurricanes. Bromeliads to be included in this group would be the stiff leaved varieties like Bromelia balansae, the Dyckias, Hectias and Puyas, but not the grassy, thin-leaved types like most of the Pitcairnias – these leaves have a tendency to whip about and shred when wind speeds begin to exceed what most people would consider safe speeds on the Intestate highway system.

Tillandsias would be next on my list of survivors, provided that they can be located after the winds subside. Some of my plants ended up travelling considerable distances and I’m still searching for others, so I would also suggest either attaching a tracking device or tying a tether line to those Tillandsias not firmly attached to a mounting medium (next month we’ll discuss ways of untangling snarled tether lines).

Another property to consider in determining the hurricane resistance of bromeliads should be their ability to return to a normal, upright position after being struck by large falling objects. Some research could probably be done on this – sort of like crash resistant testing of automobiles. As an example of this, an Ae. nudicaulis in my collection was reduced to "pancake thinness" by a falling pine tree, yet three weeks later it’s once again recognizable as a bromeliad - although not likely to win any blue ribbons soon in judged shows. My Billbergias and Vrieseas don’t seem to be quite as resilient and inclined to return to their normal shapes. The Billbergias in particular have developed a significant lean that looks like many of the trees in my yard. At this point they seem more intent on producing pups than straightening up.

Neoregelias, particularly those with a low profile rosette of leaves proved themselves quite resistant to the ravages of our recent hurricanes due, no doubt, to aerodynamic advantages over some of the taller, bulkier bromeliads. What was gained in reduced wind resistance was lost however in damage to the leaves sustained from falling sticks, acorns, squirrels, and other miscellaneous debris.

Fortunately, hurricanes are not an every day occurrence, and in fact represent such an unusual weather phenomenon that I expect that few studies have been done on their impacts on local plant communities. If, however, we are entering a cycle of more frequent and intense storms as some television weather personalities have suggested, it may be time to consider selecting bromeliads for your collection based on their "hurricane resistance"…just a thought.

If you haven’t already, you need to plan on attending this month’s Extravaganza – hosted by the Florida West Coast Bromeliad Society on October 23rd & 24th. This event will coincide with their society’s 50th Anniversary. Congratulations and best wishes for the next 50!
There is always a plant sale at Extravaganzas. This one will be at The Florida Botanical Garden (12175 125th Street North in Largo).
Sale hours will be from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 pm., a holding area is available for purchased plants. There will be guided tours of the Gardens at 10:00 am; 12:00 pm. and 2:00 pm. for a fee of $1.00 per person. Food vendors (they’ve got my attention!) will be on site from 11:30 am. until 4:00 pm. For vendor/sales information contact Gary Lund 727-586-5865 or

Another traditional feature of Extravaganzas -the Banquet - will be held at the Holiday Inn Select, 3535 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater Florida 33762. The Banquet, a "Florida Style Buffet" starts @ 6:00 pm. and the cost is $19.95 for each individual.

The Menu:

Cheese and fruit, fresh vegetable tray with dip, selection of salad, roast beef carved by the Chef, crab legs, chicken, baked potato with all the trimmings, medley of vegetables, rolls and butter, dessert, coffee, decaf and tea. The reservation form is at the bottom of this page.

… and what’s an Extravaganza without a


This year’s auction will start @ 7:30 pm. in the banquet room. Auction plants are provided by the Florida Council via individual clubs, additional donations of appropriate plants and items are respectfully requested. To make donations contact Michael Kiehl, #941-488-4011.

Rooms are available for a reduced rate of $79.00 per night, contact the hotel for reservations, mention the event the "BROMELIAD EXTRAVAGANZA on October 23rd."

Holiday Inn Select, 3535 Ulmerton Road, Clearwater, Fl. 33762, 727-577-9100



Checks ONLY made payable to F.W.C.B.S.






Upcoming Events:

10/09/04 – Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies quarterly meeting hosted by the Bromeliad Society of South Florida

10/9/04 and 10/10/04 – Annual Fall Plant Festival at the University of Florida Botanical Gardens, Tampa. Open at 10a.m. each day, $3 admission fee

10/11/04 – Halifax Council of Garden Clubs. First meeting of the year. 10a.m.

10/23/04 – Bromeliad Extravaganza (see details elsewhere in this newsletter).

March, 2005 – Spring Master Gardener’s sale at the Volusia County Fair Grounds (we’ve already received an invitation, but I’ve misplaced it and don’t remember the date)

Two completely formed blooms on a single plant - Vriesea fenestralis. How unusual is this?