DR. HENRY NEHRLING (1853 - 1929)
By Derek Butcher
I have always wondered what Bromeliad life was like before BSA (Bromeliad Society of America) viz. 1950. Surely Bromeliads must have been grown in the USA before this time and only on the odd occasion did you read in the Bulletin or the Journal that there might be information elsewhere. Dr. Henry Nehrling was one who got a fleeting mention and luckily I have recently been in contact with his great-grandson, Richard Nehrling who has given me lots of literature to read. Most of my information comes from "My Garden in Florida and Miscellaneous Notes" (Estero, Florida: The American Eagle, 1944) which shows how wide his interests in horticulture were and the influence he had on horticulture generally, not just Florida. His interest in horticulture did not really start until 1890 but the next 39 years were busy ones. He started off at Gotha and his property was purchased by Julian Nally of Bromeliad fame in the 1930's and was in the Nally family until 1977. Moves are afoot to preserve what is left of this Gotha property. (If you would like to help in this worthwhile effort, please email Richard Nehrling at RNehrling@aol.com - MA)
Gotha & Naples, FL
Palm Cottage Gardens
A 1910 postcard of
Dr. H. Nehrling's property
Dr. Nehrling & his caladiums
In 1917 there was a severe freeze and Dr. Nehrling purchased another property in Naples for his more delicate plants! This property in Naples is now the "Caribbean Gardens" and keeps Dr. Robert Read busy in his "retirement".
Now let us look at the main reason for my investigations. What Bromeliads were being grown in Florida from 1890 to 1929?
Dr Nehrling took a great interest in Bromeliads native to Florida and listed and described all species known to him. There is just one exception to the current list compiled by Harry Luther which is Tillandsia festucoides. Mez reported it being in Florida but Lyman Smith doubted the reference. This is what Dr. Nehrling had to say:
"This beautiful small species, almost a miniature of T. fasciculata, is not very common; at least I have not found it outside of the Cypress swamps in Orange County south of Orlando. It grows in dense tufts. The leaves are small, recurved, whitish lepidate, and in full sun, of a pretty bluish-maroon color. I collected several specimens near my garden at Naples on small Live Oak Trees. The flowers are of a lilac color and very pretty, growing on stems of a pinkish-rose color, overlaid with a whitish bloom."
I have checked Harry's maps but cannot link the vague description to a current acknowledged species. Was it misnamed or did the plant become extinct because of man?
I will quote directly from the book but will add my own comments as to current names and other notes in italics. I found it fascinating and educational and I hope you do too. The descriptions are flowery which suggests they belong to the period between 1922 and 1929 when Dr. Nehrling wrote a weekly column in the newspaper "The American Eagle". It also suggests that he was keenly interested in Bromeliads especially in the latter years of his life.
The plants are not in alphabetical order but I did not rearrange them because their new names would complicate matters even further!
The fine collection of tropical American Bromeliads is, excepting the large number of fancy-leaved Caladiums grown in dense masses, the most charming feature of my lath-sheds. Though not yet very large, it contains a number of species brilliant when in flower and very ornamental in foliage. The Aechmeas form the largest specimens.
A. Mariae Reginae
Aechmea Mariae Reginae is the queen of the genus. In Costa Rica, its native home, it is known as the "Flor de Santa Maria" and is used there exclusively in decorating the churches. In Europe it created a sensation when first exhibited. It is described as one of the most beautiful bromeliaceous plants ever introduced; It is a robust growing plant, the leaves being 18 inches long, arranged in a vase-like way, and bright green. The flower-scape grows two feet high, and half of its length is covered with large boat-shaped bracts, some four inches long and of an intensely rich rosy pink. The flowers, which are tipped with blue, changing to salmon color with age, are arranged compactly upon the upper portion of the spike, and materially add to the beauty of this extremely grand plant. The bracts are very persistent, retaining their rich color in full perfection for several months. This species, rare yet in this country, is perfectly at home in Florida, growing more vigorously than any of our native Bromeliads. Planted on a rough-barked post, it soon takes hold and covers it almost completely in a few years. It is a fine plant for naturalizing in South Florida, as it is much more gorgeous than any Orchid known. At present another most beautiful Bromeliad sails under its name. This is even a better grower and the colors are just as brilliant, but the beauty of the bracts is ,of only short duration. The color of the leaves is rather glossy yellowish-green, and in the interior of the base they are streaked pink and brownish. This is Billbergia thyrsoidea.
This is the 'female' form of Aechmea mariae-reginae and is now a synonym of it.
A. lalindei from Colombia is similar, but a much larger plant. The leaves are green, slightly dusted with a white powder, deeply channelled and 3 to 4 feet long. The flower-stem is as long as the leaves. The flowers arranged in an oblong spike, are small greenish-white tipped with rose. The charm lies in the large, reflexed, bright red bracts which last almost a month. This is a very stately plant when well grown. I had a specimen over 6 feet in diameter. It is much more tender than the foregoing.
Probably Hohenbergia stellata
A native of Bahia, Brazil, is another very conspicuous plant, especially when in bloom. The leaves are plain deep green, about 2 feet long, and the flower-stem reaches a height of 3 feet, the evanescent blue flowers scarcely protruding from the dense mass of red bracts that give the plant its peculiar and striking beauty.
A. paniculigera from Jamaica and other West Indian Islands, is a large growing and very ornamental foliage plant In my plants I have never observed any bright color in the small bracts. The flowers are bluish-violet and of short duration, a fine plant for the wild hammock gardens in South Florida The Hohenbergia sp. of which Prof. Chas. T. Simpson of Little River, Fla, has such grand specimens naturalized in his hammock, may stand in close relationship to this Bromeliad. I received five plants from him, as well as from Mr. John Soar, who collected it in the Isle of Pines. He calls it Hohenbergia penduliflora (Hohenbergia is a subgenus of Aechmea). Prof. Simpson brought his plants with him from Cuba "I have two specimens," he writes me, "which are quite large, both on trees and growing rapidly. The leaves are often cross-barred, but not always. The arching spikes are half pendant and have heads of inconspicuous flowers. These are followed by capsules of pulp which is very rich, sweet and as sticky as bird lime. In Cuba the birds eagerly devour these seeds on account of the pulp and on flying to another tree some of it containing seed is stuck to the bark or limbs and grows. - - - - The birds have only begun to learn to eat the seeds of my plants."
This is a very pretty plant from Orizaba, Mexico. The leaves are light green, mottled with darker green, about 2 feet long and arranged in a rosette like all Bromeliads. There are no colored bracts, and the petals of the fugacious flowers are bright crimson.
Now Aechmea bracteata
Is a native of central Mexico, and like the former, perfectly hardy here. The leaves are from 2 to 8 feet long, plain green and margined very conspicuously with large spreading brown teeth. The flowers are sulphur yellow and the bracts show a little color. I received both Bromeliads from the Bureau of Plant Industry.
Now Aechmea bracteata
I received this species years ago from Mr. Erich Wittkugel, San Pedro Sula, Honduras. He had collected it in the warm and moist low-lands where it grew in company of several Stanhopeas, the Cowshorn Orchid (Schoenburghia tibiscinis), Chysis bractensis and other lowland Orchids. I grew it for years in my greenhouse in Milwaukee and brought it with me to Florida. It is a large-growing species with leaves almost a yard long, horny, pale green and edged with rather sharp spines. The flower-spike is about 12 to 18 inches tall, the bracts greenish, the flowers yellowish and the berries black with a white bloom, somewhat like a Huckleberry. The flowers were very disappointing at first. They appeared in June and never attracted much attention. Several weeks after flowering the truss began to change color, showing a light red. Each succeeding month this became more intense, and even as late as Christmas time the fruiting spike was an object of great beauty. For several years the plants I had came through our winters without harm. I usually placed a layer of Spanish Moss over them in cold weather, but in the winter of 1903 and 1904 I lost this species and quite a number of others when the thermometer fell as low as 23 degrees F. A very warm wave of several days had preceded this. I had not emptied the water from the leaf rosettes and it was frozen to ice when I examined the plants in the morning after the freeze.
Now Aechmea aquilega
From Bahia Brazil. This is one of the oldest Bromeliads in cultivation, for Loddiges figured it in the "Botanical Cabinet" (Vol. IX pl. 801) as long ago as 1824. There is nothing especially characteristic in the plain green foliage. The yellow, orange and white flowers are clustered at the tip of a stout scape, which is furnished with ample crimson bracts. A peculiarity of this plant, to which the specific name has reference, is a secretion in the flowers of a white greasy substance. It looks like wax, but if touched instantly melts into water, having a very unpleasant taste. It grows well and flowers annually after the plants have attained their full size. It is rather a large growing Bromeliad.
A native of French Guiana and quite common in collections. A beautiful medium-sized plant with a rosette of about twenty much recurved leaves, each from 1 to 1 ½ feet long, plain green on the face and slightly glaucous on the underside. The flower-spike springs from the center of the leaf-rosettes, as in all Bromeliads. It is about a foot high, branching in the upper half and bright red in color. It bears from 70 to 100 flowers, each about a third of an inch long, egg-shaped, brilliant coral red, tinted with purple on the top. It remains in full bloom for several weeks. The small berries, reddish-black in color, ripen abundantly.
A. Fulgens var. Discolor
Comes from Pernambuco, Brazil. Common in all collections. It has a similar inflorescence, but differs in the leaves which are longer, deep olive green with gray bands, and are colored purplish-violet on the underside.
A native of Bahia, smaller than the former, but much confused with it, is also rather common in good collections. Its variety, A. miniata var. discolor, shows a bright claret brown beneath.
Was introduced from the woods of southern Brazil. The leaves are only a little over a foot long, very thin and bright green. It is a very fine species, distinguished by its large raceme of boat-shaped bracts, two inches in length, and which along with the flower-stem, are bright crimson The color of the flower is crimson and violet. It flowers in winter.
A native of southern Brazil, and found in collections usually under the name of Billbergia rhodocyana, and when not in flower reminding one strongly; of a Billbergia. Its greenish-gray leaves are irregularly banded transversely with white, and are finely spine-toothed at the margins. The flowers are borne on erect stalks in dense pyramidal heads, the closely packed bracts being lance-shaped, spiny-edged and of a bright rosy-carmine color. The tubular flowers are issued from the axils of the bracts, and are greenish at the base and blue at the tips. It usually begins to flower here by the middle of July, and the bright colored bracts are as beautiful at Christmas time as when they first appeared. This exceptional persistency of the floral bracts is remarkable and adds considerably to the decorative value of the plant. This Bromeliad is perfectly hardy here.
A. Crocophylla, Brazil
Now Aechmea pectinata
A beautiful species with leaves from 1 ½ to 2 feet long, green much darker green spots and clouds. My plant, though growing in a considerable tuft, has not yet flowered.
Not common in collections these days because it needs special growing conditions.
This most beautiful Bromeliad was discovered by the famous botanical collector, Gustav Wallis, in the Andes of Colombia in 1874. It is one of the most gorgeous of the entire family and is easily grown. The plain green leaves attain a length of 1 to 2 feet. The inflorescence consists
of a cone of bracts and flowers about 4 inches long and 1 inch in diameter. The bracts are short and recurved, pointed and beset with prickles on the edges. Their color is a deep vivid red with which the tips of the small white flowers, which are just discernible, form a striking contrast. The height of the flower-stem is about 18 inches, slightly overtopping the foliage. Next to A. mariae-reginae, this is my special favorite among Aechmea.
Unable to trace. Is this a hybrid?
This resembles A. fulgens var. discolor, but it is much larger. The. underside of the leaves is purplish-violet, lepidate white, indistinctly cross barred. The plant is in full bloom now (Aug. 4) and. very brilliant The scape is about a foot high and its upper third is aglow with vivid light red. There are six short branches on the lowest part, each with four flowers, then three branches with three flowers each, and the rest are attached to the upper stem. They are egg-shaped, as large as a pea and vivid red, and protruded by the purple-violet blossoms - a beautiful combination. There are 51 flowers in the scape. This plant is as brilliant as any Orchid can be. Habitat unknown.
Suggest Aechmea comata v. makoyana which was once called Hoplophytum lineatum
This is a strong growing and very beautiful foliage plant. The leaves are from 2 ½ to 3 feet long, very thick and horny and margined with sharp teeth. The color is a bright emerald green, banded vertically with yellowish-white stripes. I received this fine Bromeliad from the Buffalo Botanic Garden under the name of Hoplophytum variegatum.
A native of southern Brazil, is one of the commonest Bromeliads in cultivation and found under many forms. The type produces leaves about 18 inches to 2 feet long, thin in texture, pale green in color and obscurely cross-barred on the underside. The flower-scape is about a foot long, the bracts are bright red, and the blossoms are mauve-scarlet, tipped with violet. Very beautiful when in flower, but of short duration. Easily grown and quite hardy.
Part describes B. pyramidalis v. concolor . See discussion in "Uncle Derek Says"
B. thyrsoidea and its numerous varieties all are found on forest trees in southern Brazil. The short leaves are not much over a foot long and plain light green. The flowers are produced in erect clusters which overtop the stiff, broad foliage. Bracts which surround the flowers are bright red. There are about 30 to 40 flowers in a spike, bright red with violet tips. Quite a number of hybrids have been raised from this easily cultivated and beautiful plant.
B. Speciosa (B. Amoena)
Now Billbergia amoena
A common species on the forest trees in the woods about Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro and common in cultivation. It is a short, stout plant with a half-crest flower scape. The large bracts are bright red and the green flowers are tipped with violet-blue.
Now Quesnelia liboniana
A native of eastern Brazil from Bahia to Rio de Janeiro. Leaves plain green, bracts inconspicuous, flowers with vermilion sepals and deep violet-purple petals. Almost hardy here.
B. nutans, Brazil
Far less showy than many other Bromeliads, yet at the same time possessing a quiet beauty of its own, notable among other features by the curious combination of its colors. It is a free-growing plant, with long, narrow, plain green leaves, gracefully recurving to all sides, while the flower-stems, which overtop the mass of foliage, are partly drooping and produce a considerable number of somewhat Fuchsia-like flowers. They are of a pea-green color, margined with blue, a very uncommon hue. My plants have formed rather large tufts and some of them are growing well in the old leaf-pockets on Palm trunks. It is easy of culture, quite hardy and flowers profusely late in fall and in winter about Christmas. The blossoms retain their beauty a considerable time.
A native of southern Brazil and one of the most beautiful of all cultivated Bromeliads. It flowers here in December. Its broad spiny-edged leaves, transversely banded with white on a grayish-green ground, are arranged in the form of a yellow cylinder some two feet in height. Out of this come the flower-spikes, droop gracefully over the sides. The membraneous bracts are
bright scarlet, while the flowers are rich purple a beautiful and very effective contrast of color. Easily grown and always attracts attention in a collection of plants.
From Bahia, Brazil. A pretty species with red, yellow and blue flowers, and green white-mottled leaves margined with red.
This seems the true species and not misidentified with B. elegans as happened in the 1950 - 1980 period
Found on trees in the woods of the Organ Mountains, Brazil. This is one of the prettiest of Bromeliads The bracts are of a delicate pink color. The flowers rich purple, white and light green-a delightful combination. Leaves bright green on both sides.
From central and southern Brazil. A noble Bromeliad. It flowers in winter and is always a plant of striking aspect. The leaves are broad and rounded into a cup-like cylinder. Their color is a deep purplish-green, relieved by bars of silvery white, this variegation making the species worth growing as a foliage plant apart from its flowers. The inflorescence is gracefully pendant, the bracts of bright rose, touched with salmon, the segments of the corolla green and rolled up like the spring of a watch. It is a striking plant in every collection and is eagerly looked for by lovers of rare and beautiful flowers.
Native of Bahia. This is one of the most gorgeous of the gems, - in fact, one of the finest of all Bromeliads. In foliage and growth it resembles the former, the leaves being rigid from 2 to 3 feet long, handsomely mottled and barred white, and arranged in a vasiform tuft The pendant flower-spike overhangs the side of the foliage. It is furnished with large bracts of a rosy crimson hue and is extremely showy. The flowers are pea-green and deep blue, which color combined with the rosy crimson bracts and mealy whiteness of the spike, forms a strange blending of tints. The stately and at the same time graceful habit and its bright inflorescence make it a very striking object. Its culture is comparatively simple.
Now Quesnelia quesneliana
Correct name, Quesnelia rufa. This is a most distinct and beautiful Bromeliad from the woodlands near Rio de Janeiro, with broad, horny, elegantly recurved leaves about 2 ½ feet long, channelled, deep green, with cross-bars of a grayish color. The flowers are borne on rather thick erect stems, clothed with bracts of a brownish color, while those surrounding the flowers are scarlet, margined with white, through which the long pale flowers with deep blue tips protrude. When in bloom it looks much like a Pineapple. In my plants the borders of the leaves are quite spiny.
B. Morelii (B. Wetherelli) Bahia
A noble and distinct species with lepidate leaves on the underside, but not cross-barred The large boat-shaped bracts which cover the drooping flower-stalks are of the richest scarlet which forms a pleasing contrast with the pale green and purple of the flowers.
There are quite a number of other fine Billbergias in my collection, but I have not yet been able to get their correct names. Others are hybrids.
The members of the genus Caraguata (Guzmania) belong to my special favorites, as all of them are very charming plants in foliage and flower.
Folding the base of their leaves together, like almost all Bromeliads, and tightly overlapping one another, a cup is formed which retains a store of water for several weeks. Every leaf being a natural gutter leading to this reservoir, the plant succeeds in gathering a little water with every shower, so that it is hardly ever actually dry. In the dry season the heavy dews supply all the water that is necessary. I have found that all the Caraguatas need water in their leaf rosettes during our warm seasons, but in winter, when the water's temperature is getting too low they easily rot. In cold weather I always empty it without injury to the plants, but as soon as it gets warm again I refill the cups. All are inhabitants of tropical mountain forests.
Now Guzmania lingulata
A common Bromeliad in the forests of the West Indies, Guiana, Colombia and Ecuador, being of dwarf growth and very beautiful when in flower. The leaves are lanceolate, thin, about 1 to 1 ½ feet long, plain green and usually striped vertically reddish-brown on the back. The number of leaves in a rosette are about 30 to 40. The flower spike is 8 to 10 inches long, forming a conical mass of brilliant crimson bracts, and contrasts strikingly with the color of the foliage. The flowers are yellowish-white and of short duration, but the brilliance of the bracts lasts for weeks. It grows well on rough-barked trees, sending out long, trailing suckers which soon take hold of the bark and in time form large and very beautiful masses, among which the brilliant flowers gleam like rubies and amethysts. They impart a charm to the landscape that can only be felt, not described.
C. Cardinalis (C. Lingulata var. Cardinalis)
Now Guzmania lingulata v. cardinalis
This is a smooth-leaved pale green form, larger in all its parts and more vigorous. It is a native of the western Andes of Colombia and Ecuador, whence it was introduced in 1876 by E. Andre. The charm of the cultivated Caraguatas is in their large imbricating leaf-like bracts on the flower scape, which are colored brilliantly red. In this variety they are 6 inches long and nearly 2 inches broad and they extend up the flower-scape nearly a foot. There are other fine forms of C. lingulata and all are worthy of cultivation.
Now Guzmania sanguinea
This exquisite species was discovered by Edward Andre in the western Cordilleras of the Andes in Colombia in 1876. The color of the foliage is a "tender green tinted with red, gradually becoming in the earlier stages of growth spotted with violet-red, which, changing later on to blood-red, increases in intensity as the flowering time approaches. The coloration varies in individual plants to the extent that some are entirely purple while others are more or less spotted" (Andre).
This species is of moderate growth, rarely exceeding 15 inches by about 18 inches in diameter. The flowers are not showy, being of a pale straw color. They form a crowded spike which barely issues from the crown. It was difficult for me to obtain a few plants of this mountain beauty from M. Chautrier, Mortefontaine, France, in 1907. They evidently found our summers too hot, but began to grow in October and November and repeated this in every succeeding year. I lost my entire stock, consisting of five plants, in the February freeze of 1917, when I also lost all the specimens of the two foregoing and Aechmea fulgens and its variety. This beautiful C. sanguinea is so distinct, so daintily attractive and so vivid that it should find a place in all choice collections. It can undoubtedly be naturalized in the cool dense hammocks of extreme South Florida. It dislikes drought and cannot stand the hot sun, but in cool shady places it is a perfect success.
Now Guzmania angustifolia
Introduced by the collector Kalbrayer, who found it on the banks of the Rio Dagua at 4000 feet altitude in the Andes of Colombia. It is the pygmy of the genus. "This is one of the prettiest of the smaller Bromeliads. It forms a compact tuft of short stems and short, narrow, dark green leaves, from amongst which the flower spikes spring. These are 5 inches long, curved, as thick as a man's finger at the base, thickening upward, owing to the overlapping of the boat-shaped bracts, which are brilliant scarlet. The flowers are about two inches long and colored rich yellow. Several plants are now in flower at Kew, one with four spikes, although' the plant is not a foot through, and nothing could be prettier. - - - Most of the Caraguatas have large bright-colored flowers and bracts, and they are easy to cultivate. To anyone in search of a distinct, beautiful little flowering plant, I would strongly recommend C. angustifolia." (W. Watson in "Garden and Forest," 1890 6.260.)
This description induced me to add this species to my collection, but it took years before I could obtain a plant. I finally succeeded, and in 1908 received a tiny plant from England. It immediately began to grow, and it flowered in the summer of 1909. The flowers were just as described only more beautiful. A freeze also ended the life of this little beauty.
Now Guzmania zahnii
This exquisite species, one of my special pets, was discovered by the collector Zahn in the mountains of Chiriqui, Central America. It is a plant of very brilliant coloring, and as a foliage plant alone occupies a high rank. In a large collection of Bromeliads it is always very prominent. Its leaves, from 20 to 30 in a rosette, are thin, lanceolate, 1 to 1 ½ feet long, 1 to 1 ½ inches broad, and narrowed gradually to a point. They are often tinged with bright red, conspicuously striped vertically with red-brown or crimson on both sides towards the base. The flower-spike is almost as long as the leaves, bracts bright red and the flowers yellow, tipped with red. The beauty of this species, when first introduced, charmed all plant lovers, and today it is found in many Orchid houses where Cattleyas are grown, imparting an additional charm to these royal flowers, especially when seen in large healthy specimens. Here in Florida it grows well and flowers regularly in a lath-house In spring the leaves are mostly yellowish-green, but as soon as the rainy season begins they gradually assume their fine red color. This plant belongs to the category of the very tender Bromeliads. For this reason it needs a good protection during cold spells. Soon after its introduction, it was taken in hand by the hybridizer, and the magnificent C. magnifica is a cross between this species and a robust Tillandsia.
C. Musaica (Massangea Musaica)
Now Guzmania musaica
This is not only one of the most elegant and beautiful of all Bromeliads, but also one of the most interesting on account of its romantic history.
Discovered in December, 1867, near Ocana, Colombia, at 3000 feet elevation by Gustav Wallis, one of the most daring and untiring of all botanical col-lectors, an enthusiast and blessed with a poet's eye; a man whose name is intimately and everlastingly connected with a large number of our most magnificent glass-house plants. This wonderful species created a sensation when first exhibited in Europe. It was only introduced with great difficulty. Wallis, as well as Roezl, another famous collector, sent over some boxes filled with these Bromeliads, but only a very few reached their destination alive. In 1873 another excellent collector,. Albert Bruchmueller (who was murdered in Ocana by a Frenchman) brought a few boxes to Europe. Some plants travelled well, but many died after unpacking. In its native home it flowers in January and February.
According to the last-named authority, the old plant produces "below the stem a stolon 10 to 12 inches long on which the roots and leaves form, the roots taking hold of the first tree or Palm they can reach. The flower spike is 12 to 15 inches tall, of a flesh-color, changing to a brilliant scarlet as it reaches maturity. The flowers are close together, white and thick, like wax, from an inch to an inch and a half long, about 20 to 25 flowers forming a bullet-shaped inflorescence which stands upright on the spike. In places where this plant grows, moisture is abundant during the whole year, but I observed that they grow more vigorously where well aired than in the thick forests. It is only found in one small district at an elevation of 5000 feet, and as it is a scrambling plant, the trees and Palms are covered with it from bottom to top. Some of the plants, when not within reach of a tree to climb upon, have five or six shoots or branches, forming quite a clump, and I noticed that they do quite as well this way, growing in a kind of leaf-mold to an enormous size, the leaves being four inches broad and 18 to 24 inches long."
This description of a collector, who found and admired it in its tropical mountain home, is very important. Though not many have reached Europe in good condition, it has been raised quite successfully from seeds obtained from its native habitat. This is truly a gem among Bromeliads, being one of the finest and most elegant foliage plants ever introduced. When well grown, either as a specimen plant or in clumps, it assumes noble proportions. The leaves are somewhat horny in texture and mosaic in appearance on account of their markings. The ground color is bright green, transversely banded very irregularly with dark green wavy lines much like illegible writing. On the underside they are banded with deep green and brown and purplish. It is this characteristic coloring, very distinct and unique and very rich and lovely, which places this species at the head of the family. In my collection it forms large and stately specimens, growing well on Palm trunks, and in a composition of leaf-mold, sand and old cow manure in pots. Care must be taken that the pots are well drained. The pots must be always kept in shady places and sufficient moisture must never lack. There is no doubt that it can be grown and naturalized in tropical Florida in dense, moist and cool hammock woods if tightly fastened to Palmettos or rough-barked trees. They also should be planted on the forest floor in rich leaf-soil. Large specimen plants on trees or on the ground are very effective. Their charm is indescribable.
We read very little in our garden literature about the species of Cryptanthus, a most remarkable and distinct genus of Bromeliads, containing quite a number of unique and daintily beautiful kinds. In my library which contains full sets of "The Garden Chronicle", "The Garden", "Garden and Forest", "Die Gartensoelt" and many others, I have scarcely found more than short notes of a few of the most common species. But nevertheless, quite a number of them are grown in almost all Orchid collections and are everywhere special favorites of the amateur. I think Cryptanthus zonatus is more common than any other Bromeliad. In all the consignments of Air Plants I received, one or the other species was present and' mostly in well grown specimens. They belong to the pygmies of the family, though growing often in large tufts, 'but they are only a few inches high and rarely taller than 6 to 8 inches. All are easily grown and soon form lovely specimens. Most of them send out stolons often 6 inches long, at the end of which a new plant is formed. All are true epiphytes, growing on the large limbs of trees in the dense shady forests of southern Brazil. I cannot find a single description of how they grow and what their associations are in their native wilds. All those I mention in the following lines are most successfully grown in leaf-mold, sand and a little old cow manure. The species vary a good deal, there being quite a number of local forms. I have adopted the names as given in J.Y. Baker's "Handbook of the Bromeliaceae" (London, 1889).
Now Cryptanthus acaulis
Comes from south Brazil. I have several fine specimens of it and clumps even on the ground and on Palm trunks. The leaves, only 4 inches long and about twelve in a rosette, are plain green above, white lepidate on the underside and very wavy. The flowers growing in the center of the leaves are pure white. It is easily grown and like all the species, perfectly hardy here in ordinary winters. I have a variety with fine bluish leaves on the face. Also known as C. acaulis.
Now Cryptanthus acaulis v. ruber
Grows in beautiful little tufts only a few inches high. The leaves are tinged with reddish-brown and overlaid with innumerable minute white specks. It is very ornamental and dainty.
From south Brazil. Is one of the larger growing species. The leaves are from 10 to 12 inches long, arranged in a stoloniferous rosette, plain, rather dark green, not so white on the underside as in C. undulatus, but tinged faintly with deep maroon. The flowers appear in the axils of the leaves and are pure white. Grows in beautiful tufts if the shoots are not removed.
C. Brevittatus (?) C. nitidus
Seems to be Cryptanthus bivittatus but no link made with C. bivittatus below!
A most beautiful plant growing about 8 inches high with fine broad leaves 8 to 10 inches long, dark olive green with a band of creamy-white on each side of the mid-rib. I have several fine specimens. It forms large tufts and is one of the showiest of the genus.
Hybrid by Witte = (lacerdae x beuckeri)
This distinct species, as well as the former, I cannot find in Baker's "Handbook". I received it through Mr. Norman Taylor from the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. It is a fine strong grower and very distinct. The leaves are mottled with a dingy pink and brownish and deep green, especially in the center. Underside white lepidate. In growth it resembles the former.
A native of southern Brazil. This is the most delightfully colored, the most charming of all the species of Cryptanthus. Prof. Charles T. Simpson has naturalized it in his tropical hammock on Biscayne Bay, and through his kindness I obtained my first plant. It grows in small rosettes only a few inches high. The beauty of the leaves is really indescribable. One must have seen the plant to know how it looks. The oblong curving leaves, only a few inches long, are undulate or waxy, green above, with two narrow pink or creamy red stripes extending the whole length of the leaf. The prevailing reddish color of the leaves is very conspicuous and the plant attracts attention even in a large collection. The underside is dull reddish brown. In the center of the rosette tiny young plants are formed which are easily detached after having attained a certain size. Planted in small pots they immediately begin to grow. This is a gem and should be grown by all flower lovers.
Pernambuco, Brazil. This is not only a very strange looking and peculiar plant, but it is extremely beautiful when seen in well-grown specimens. Like all the other species, it is perfectly hardy here in ordinary winters, and in South Florida it can be grown on trees in the hammocks with perfect success. It is a fine and impressive little foliage plant. The short and very broad and waxy leaves are deep green with many irregular cross-bars of grayish-brown. The underside is silvery-white. In the variety C. zonatus var. fuscus the leaves are brown instead of green, but the cross-bars are the same. I have beautiful specimens of both. It is one of the easiest Bromeliads to establish on trees in shady woods.
This is a dwarf plant with petiolate leaves which are of a greenish- red color and transversely marbled with blotches of green. It is a distinct little plant and easily grown. From southern Brazil.
Since I saw the first Nidularium (Nidularium means nest-plant.) in flower many years ago I have been an ardent admirer of these fine and distinct epiphytes. I have quite a number in my collection, but not all of them are correctly named. All the species are natives of Brazil. The great majority come from south Brazil, where they are abundantly met with on large forest trees. Baker enumerates about 30 species, but since his "Handbook" appeared a few new ones have been introduced. The flowers appear low down in the center of the leaf-rosette where they are arranged in a dense globose head or capitulum. Usually this capitulum is covered entirely or partly with water, and the red, mostly violet and sometimes white flowers, stand erect above the water. In almost all the species the inner leaves assume a most brilliant color lasting for months. All of them are easily grown either in pots, or in South Florida, on trunks of Palms or large rough-barked trees. They all require shade and moisture. The following species are ornaments of my collection:
A fine foliage plant. The leaves, 10 to 15 in a rosette, are rather broad and about a foot long; spreading, dull green, more or less flushed and clouded with purplish-brown, paler and somewhat lepidate on the underside. The reduced inner leaves scarcely change color when the plant flowers. Blossoms red. My plants came from the Missouri Botanical Garden. Hardy here in ordinary winters.
Now Neoregelia tristis
Of this species I have quite a number of fine specimens. The leaves are green, mottled with chocolate brown spots, especially towards the base. The capitulum is green, the flowers purple, followed by white berries. Hardy here. At present (Aug. 4) there are five specimens in full bloom, but it looks like a plebeian by the side of such gorgeous colored species as N. Amazonicum, N. fulgens and Neo. princeps, all now in their height of beauty.
While currently a Wittrockia it will probably return to Nidularium
This most exquisite species is a native of the Amazon Valley. It is always distinct - one of the aristocrats of the genus. The leaves are, as in almost all other species, 1 to 1 ½ feet long and 2 to 3 inches broad. Their color is a glossy claret-brown, suffused with green, a most conspicuous tint. There are no spots and bands. Several plants are in flower now (Aug. 4) and have been in bloom since June 15. The central leaves assume a most vivid red color long before the sessile flower-head or capitulum appears. It is this most brilliant color of the central leaves which makes this plant such an object of interest and beauty during the flowering time. The blossoms, which appear on top of the capitulum, are white. I have quite a number of fine specimens, consisting of five to six rosettes of leaves, and some of them' 4 to 5 feet in diameter. Such clumps are charmingly beautiful when in full bloom. The species is almost hardy here. I have planted it out, or rather placed it on top of the soil, where it quickly established itself. At Naples I fastened several single plants to Palmettoes, where they have formed very handsome specimens within two years.
Now Neoregelia concentrica
An interesting and at the flowering time a very beautiful species. The leaves are plain green on both sides and rounded to a cusp at their tips. When in bloom the reduced inner leaves surrounding the flower-head are beautifully tinged with purple, the flowers violet. Hardy here and very prolific.
Now Neoregelia concentrica
The leaves of this species, of which I have now a number of specimens, as I divided my large clumps a while ago, are green, often spotted with dark brown. The underside is usually thinly white lepidate and the tip rounded to a cusp. There are always a number of plants in flower in my lath-house and, though not gorgeous, they are very handsome. The color of
the somewhat shorter inner leaves is of a fine light violet tint, in some plants often dark purple. The color of the capitulum is green, and the flowers are violet-blue. It is hardy here if given a little protection.
The new plants are not formed near the base of the old plants as in most species, hut on creeping stolons. My plants have dark olive green leaves with a faint trace of purplish and they are uniformly bluish purple on the underside. The inner leaves surrounding the sessile flower-head are very brilliant bright red. A beautiful species and retains its glowing color for several months. Quite hardy.
This species is a favorite with lovers of distinct and fine plants. It is, according to Baker, the commonest and most showy of all the Nidularia. A plant in my lath-house is in flower since March, and it is at present -five months later - still a gorgeous object. The violet-colored flowers nestle in the center, surrounded by the most brilliantly scarlet inner leaves. It requires the brush of an artist to give an idea of the brilliance and dazzling beauty of these floral leaves. Quite hardy here and easily grown.
Now Neoregelia carolinae
Leaves plain green, cuspidate at the top, horny in texture. Three or four of the inner leaves surrounding the slightly raised capitulum are entirely bright red and as many more are bight red at their bases. A rather strong grower. I received my first plant under the synonym N. Meyendorfii.
Now Neoregelia pineliana
This distinct looking species come from Guiana. (This is suspect) It grows. well with me and soon forms large tufts. During flowering time the inner leaves are bright crimson.
Now Neoregelia princeps
The leaves are slightly glaucous green, unspotted, primrose underneath, often found in collections on account of its brilliant orange-scarlet inner leaves. I have had plants in full beauty for eight months. The real flowers, being small, never attract much attention, though they are very pretty violet-blue. This is one of the most exquisitely colored species and is always admired when at its best.
Now Neoregelia marmorata
As yet we do not know anything about the native habitat of this species, but it is probably found, like almost all the others in southern Brazil. The broad leaves are light green, marbled very conspicuously with deep chocolate-brown. Flowers pale violet. The central leaves do not show the brilliant color of most species when in bloom. I received my original plants from the Missouri Botanical Garden.
Now Neoregelia spectabilis
Wherever Bromeliads are grown this species is never missing. It is a strong and vigorous grower and soon forms large clumps if the young plants that form near the mother plant are not removed. Several years ago I discarded an evidently old and worthless crown by throwing it on a
heap of old leaves and other rubbish that had been raked together. The spring following I noticed two small shoots near its base. They grew rapidly and took hold of the half rotten old leaves and wood. New shoots appeared constantly and there is now a clump, consisting of over a dozen crowns, over a yard in diameter. The leaves immediately betray its identity by their conspicuous bright red tips at their ends.
The color of the leaves is much finer and brighter in the open here than I ever found it under glass. They are broad and horny in texture, green on the face, tinged with dark purple and pink and conspicuously cross-banded with purple and reddish dark brown on the underside, the whole color overlaid with a whitish hue. The inner leaves do not undergo a change when the plant flowers. The capitulum is entirely of a deep crimson color and the flowers are violet-blue. The "Red-tipped Nestplant", as visitors have called this species, is perfectly hardy here in a lath-house, It never receives special attention and is always a distinctly interesting and fine object. At Naples-on-the-Gulf I have tightly fastened some small plants on Palmettoes and all grow beautifully, though they would do much better in shade.
Now Neoregelia binoti
The dark green leaves show a few transverse bands of lighter green. They are rounded into a small cusp and are tipped with bright red at the apex. Inner leaves do not change color when the plant is in flower. The species came from Mr. H. Elbert, Buffalo Botanic Garden.
Now Nidularium innocentii v. lineatum because of the red tipped reduced leaves
Introduced by Wm. Bull of London from south Brazil and offered for the first time in his catalog for 1888. This is a most elegant foliage plant. The leaves form an attractive rosette of a very intense bright green and each leaf is lengthwise banded and striated white, each stripe being edged with creamy-yellow. "Its peculiarities are," according to Baker, "its broad obtuse leaves, striped down the central third with green ribs on a yellowish ground, the red spots that ornament the tip of its shortened inner leaves and its pure white flowers, which are not aggregated into a single central nest, but placed also in the axils of several of the red-tipped reduced leaves." I have several fine specimen plants, but no leaf is striated just like another. In some leaves the bands are more in the center and in others more near the edges. It grows beautifully in my lath-house and is as hardy as the rest.
The genus Tillandsia is one of the largest of the family. It is represented by many small and dainty medium sized and large species in Florida, all known as Air Plants. Our native T. fasciculata is one of the most brilliant members of the genus. They are most abundant in the American tropics. Mr. C. G. Pringle, who collected for many years in Mexico, was overwhelmed with their beauty and variety. "Each large tree," (in the woods near Tampico), he writes, "with huge spreading branches and leaning trunk, it may be, becomes a garden of plants. On its rough mossy surface root Ferns, Orchids, Bromeliads and Cacti; and lifted thus into the air and light, they thrive apace."
For brilliancy of color the plant world hardly produces anything equal to that of many species of Tillandsias. The beautiful T. xiphioides has showy white flowers which exhale a delicious perfume and T. dianthoidea (now T. aeranthos) has beautiful blue flowers. Both are natives of Uruguay and Argentina. In some of the parks of Buenos Aires all the branches of the huge Araucarias are decorated with these plants and when in flower at Christmas time convert these conifers into beautiful decorated Christmas trees. Mr. Alwin Berger of the Hanbury Garden at La Mortola, Italy, has naturalized these two plants and the equally interesting T. duratii, in the open. They grow on Lemon and other trees very successfully. These and many other species can easily be naturalized in our South Florida hammock woods.
I have not succeeded to enrich my collection with many of the highly interesting exotic species, but I have always kept my eye on them and now and then received new and rare kinds.. The fragrant T. xiphioides should be largely imported and naturalized. In Argentina this "Flor del aire" is largely used for making wreaths for the dead, and is often hung upon verandahs, and the Indians use them for the decoration of their churches. T. duratii is also described as producing beautiful white,(probably T. reichenbachii because T. duratii has blue petals) fragrant flowers. It is one of the finest, if not the finest of all the subtropical South American species. Tillandsia venusta and T. (Thecophyllum) Wercklei,(now Werauhia werckleana) new discoveries of Carlos Werckle in Costa Rica, are (according to one of his letters to the author) "incomparably more beautiful than, for instance, Massangea musaica.(now Guzmania musaica) These two are the most beautiful of all Bromellads."
Is very similar to our native Florida T. Balbisiana. I received this fine and curious plant from San Pedro Sula in Honduras. It not only grows well when fastened to a block of wood, but does still better planted out and tied to a large tree branch. I could never cultivate it successfully in pots.
This also came with other epiphytes from Honduras. It is a remarkable species with tufted, strap-shaped leaves, twisted like a corkscrew, and beset with silvery scales. The bracts are pink, the flowers violet in dense spikes.
A native of central Mexico and Yucatan. This is a gem. It is the elf of the genus, very small, growing scarcely more than 3 or 4 inches in height. The succulent thick leaves easily break. They are very short and pointed and there are from 25 to 45 in a dense rosette. All are covered finely with scurvy scales. The flowers issue from the center of the leaves. They peep out very conspicuously and show their bright blue-violet hue to every admirer; easily grown in pots and on the branches of trees. The succulent leaves adapt it better for dry forests than other species with less sappy leaves. Mr. Theodore L. Mead, one of our most enthusiastic horticulturists and well-known all over the world as a successful hybridizer of Orchids, naturalized this dainty little Tillandsia in his moist hammock woods, where it formed nice little tufts on the branches of large trees. It is perfectly hardy here. My specimen came from him.
T. Lindenii (Wallisia Lindeni)
No other Bromellad ever introduced from the American tropics has created such a sensation as this Tillandsia when first shown in flower in Europe. None has been mentioned so often and with such enthusiasm in our horticultural periodical. None has been praised so much, and none has been recommended so much for cultivation. Like so many of our choicest glass-house plants, this species was discovered by the renowned plant collector, Gustav Wallis in the mountains of Huancabamba in the western Andes of central Peru. This must have occurred in the year of 1866, as Linden first exhibited it in full bloom in 1867. Local forms seem to be common in its native habitat, and a few of the most distinct have been supplied with scientific names. Even seedlings show variation. In fact, I have not yet seen two of the latter which were perfectly alike. All, however, are extremely beautiful.
I have several forms in my collection, but the finest ones are the deep cobalt blue and the purplish-red. This last variety I received under the name of T. Lindeni vera. It is undoubtedly the queen among Bromeliads. Among the whole family there is none more beautiful than this. It combines elegance of growth with beautiful fragrant flowers. Its dense tufts of narrow leaves recurve gracefully to all sides. The flower-spike which springs from the center of the tuft is about 9 inches high and covered with closely imbricating bracts of a most beautiful delicate rosy pink. The whole upper spike is flattened out for 2 or 3 inches in width, and from the axils of these bracts from one to four flowers are produced at a time. They are triangular in outline, 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter and of the richest purple color conceivable, affording a strange and beautiful contrast to the delicate pink tint of the bracts. These latter retain their color as long as the spike lasts, which is for several months, and the flowers are produced in continuous succession all through the winter months and into spring. In order to obtain an adequate idea of its great beauty it must be seen in numbers of well-grown specimens in full bloom. This description applies to the typical species as introduced by Gustav Wallis.
My cobalt-blue, white-edged Tillandsia I received under the name T. Lindeni var. Regeliana. This is a rather larger growing plant. The Blue Tillandsia is unquestionably one of the loveliest of all tropical glass-house plants, elegant in foliage and extremely brilliant in flowers. The flower-stalk rises about 2 feet high out of the center of the rosette of narrow, elegantly recurving leaves bearing on the upper part of the real flat flower-truss, consisting of deep pink closely overlapping bracts. Out of these come, - one or two at a time - large flowers of the brightest cobalt blue with conspicuous white eyes. The flowers, which are very fragrant, last several days, and when they wither other flowers come out of the bracts, and this goes on for weeks. Even long after the last flowers have disappeared the bracts remain in their brilliant colors much longer.
In my lath-house these Tillandsias grow very well in pots and come through the winter unharmed if they are protected against unusually cold weather. They are valuable and expensive plants, and therefore I have not yet experimented with them as epiphytes on trees and Palm trunks. Undoubtedly they will succeed in extreme South Florida on the large trees of shady and cool hammock woods. Tillandsias have a great dislike to soil that is at all close and adhesive. In such they will not thrive. The best material for them is the same usually given to Orchids. I use osmunda fiber, fresh sphagnum moss and soil collected where this moss grows, charcoal and potsherd's. The drainage must be good.
Tillandsia Duvali is a hybrid between two strong-growing varieties of Tillandsia Lindeni. It was raised by Duval, who is well-known in the garden world as a specialist in Bromeliads and as a hybridizer. The plant in itself is so beautiful that its flowers are scarcely missed, but it has been reported that they are very beautiful. My specimen, though rather large, has not yet flowered. The leaves are narrow and recurve gracefully to all sides.
There are at present about 300 distinct species of Tillandsiae known to science. Many of them are small and insignificant, having only a botanical interest, while a large number of others are beautiful in flower and foliage and many of them large and imposing. The future possibilities for these plants here, and especially in 'South Florida, are very promising. It is difficult to understand why Bromeliads, which for diversity of form, singularity of habit and richness of color are unsurpassed by any other family, should have so long failed to win favor with the American flower and plant lover. In Germany, Holland, France and Belgium they are as much in favor as Orchids, and some of the species and many beautiful hybrids are raised in large numbers even for the market.
The genus Vriesea consists of a large number of beautiful species, many of them brilliant, alike in foliage and flowers. According to Mez, the latest monographer of the family, there are about 84 species of Vrieseas known. They almost all have distichous spikes bearing large and showy bracts. Some of the species are veritable giants, like V. regina (now Alcantarea) (V. glaziouana,(now Alcantarea) V. gigantea, V. imperialis (Now Alcantarea) which reaches a height of 8 to 10 feet and as much in diameter. The numerous whitish flowers exhale the perfume of Jasmine. Another famous collector, the German-Bohemian Anton Roezl, discovered a similar very large species, 9 to 12 feet high, in Colombia, Province of Cauca. These very large species also grow on rocks. I have not had much opportunity to add new material to my collection. Only the smaller growing species such as are found in the European trade could be added. Collectors in South America should keep an eye on these imposing plants and should collect all the material they can.
V. Heliconioides (V. Bellula, V. Falkenbergii)
This species is common in collections and grown under one or the other of the synonyms. It is a distinct and beautiful plant with leaves about a foot long, thin and flexible, green above and tinged purplish-red underneath. The flower-stem is rose-colored, only about 6 inches long; flower bracts ovate, bright red at the base, green at the tips. Flowers white. It is a native of the Valley of the Rio Magdalena where it was found abundant on the forest trees by Humboldt. It is very tender and is easily lost during cold weather.
V. Carinata (V. Brachystachys)
A most beautiful little species from the shady moist forests of south Brazil. This is a gem. There are about 15 to 20 leaves in a rosette, about 1 ½ inches broad and 6 to 8 inches long, thin and flexible and of a bright green color. The flattened inflorescence is composed of bracts and flowers of the most brilliant parrot colors - bright yellow, red and green. The bracts are bright crimson at the base, the upper portion a dark green. The flowers are also crimson at the base, bright orange-yellow in the center, tipped with black. This color combination is very attractive. It remains in flower for a long time. Plants grown in clumps are most gorgeous. I have seen them with 5 and 6 flower-stems all in full beauty at one time. It is quite hardy and easily grown. Much used by the hybridizer.
This species comes from the Andes of Ecuador. The leaves are thin and bright green, about 1½ ft. long and from 1 to 2 inches broad. Though not as brilliant as the former, it is quite an ornament in my collection. The bracts are brownish-yellow. This has been much used in cross breeding, and many fine hybrids have been raised from it. Common in cultivation in Europe; rare in America.
V. Splendens, (V. Speciosa, V. Zebrina)
In its native home, Guiana, this is a very common epiphyte in moist, rather shady localities, and it is one of the most common Bromeliads in cultivation, raised in large quantities from seed in Europe. Years ago I saw several hundred freshly imported plants, all in Orchid baskets, in the nursery of H. A. Dreer in Riverton, N. J. It is one of the showiest of its family, being well worth growing for its foliage alone. The gracefully recurved leaves, about 1 to 1½ feet long, 1 to 1½ inches broad, are arranged in a vasiform manner. They are thin and flexible, bright green above, marked with distinct cross-bands of purplish black, especially beneath. The flower-scape stands well above the foliage, and though the blossoms are cream-colored and in no way showy, they are almost hidden beneath the large fiery-red bracts, which are arranged in a two-ranked spike and are closely imbricated. The bracts retain their brightness long after the flowers have faded - mostly for several months. This extremely beautiful Bromeliad I grow side by side with V. hieroglyphica and Caraguata musaica (now Guzmania) - the most charming trio imaginable. It especially looks attractive when planted between these two and with some good specimens of V. Saundersii and members of the hybrid Vrieseas around it. It usually flowers here in mid-summer, but sometimes a plant pushes up a flower-spike late in autumn.
A native of the woods of south Brazil. The leaves are about a foot long, thin and bright green. This neat and dainty plant of the size of V. carinata is largely grown in some European cities for the market, and many fine hybrids have been raised from it. The imbricated flower-bracts are brilliant red at the base, bright yellow in the center and tipped with green. The flowers are short-lived and not showy. An easily grown and beautiful Bromeliad. It is said that many large trees in the dense shady woods of south Brazil are covered with thousands of flowering plants and that the sight is unsurpassingly beautiful.
A native of south Brazil. I received two fine specimens from the Buffalo Botanic Garden. Leaves plain green. The bracts are greenish-yellow below and reddish-yellow above.
This distinct and very ornamental foliage plant is a native of Parana, Brazil. The flowers are not showy, though interesting, but the leaves are very handsome. It is a robust grower with foliage about 20 inches long and 3 to 4 inches broad, light green above and below, very densely marked with transverse streaks and lines of deep green, profusely dotted with brown at the base, and more sparingly at the tips. A well-grown specimen plant is a very attractive object.
A native of south Brazil. 'One of the most distinct and beautiful of all Bromeliads and a stately and exceedingly elegant foliage plant'. The rosette of leaves is from 3 to 7 feet in diameter. It is one of the most beautiful plants yet introduced, but it is not remarkable for brilliancy of flowers or bracts. The much branched spike produces only pale green bracts and rusty yellow flowers. The foliage of this Vriesea, however, is so exceedingly beautiful as to almost defy description. There are 30 to 40 leaves in the rosette, each from 2 ½ to 3 feet long and about 2 ½ to 3 inches broad. The color is a bright green, marked with very conspicuous irregular broad transverse bands of almost blackish-green. The underside is similarly marked, but the bands are reddish-crimson and chocolate instead of deep green, and the texture is thin and flexible. With me this is a rather delicate plant needing dense shade, much water in the funnel during summer and scarcely any during the winter months.
Now Vriesea gigantea
This fine species comes from Santa Catharina, south Brazil. It is a very robust Bromeliad with leaves several feet long and with flower-spikes 3 to 5 feet tall. The flower panicle has reminded me of our native Tillandsia utriculata. The flowers are inconspicuous, and the species has only value as a foliage plant, but used as such, it is very fine. The color of the leaves is pale glaucous-green, streaked lengthwise as well as across, with lines of deeper green, and in the checkers thus formed the color is creamy-white. The yellowish and green tesselated markings of its leaves have at all times a pleasing appearance. It is easily grown.
V. Saundersii, Brazil
This most distinct and handsome species has been a special favorite of mine for many years on account of its fine broad and short, elegantly recurving leaves, glaucous on the upper side, slightly freckled with white, and densely dotted beneath with claret-purple. The flowers are not showy. The scape is erect and glossy, yellowish white and the flowers are sulphur-yellow.
There are many more beautiful species, all deserving to be grown in collections and as epiphytes in the hammock woods of South Florida. The man of means who loves nature and flowers could not select a more interesting and delightful hobby than to specialize in Bromeliads in South Florida. He would not only add a pleasure to his life, above all other pleasures, but also a number of additional years to his pilgrimage on earth. An important scientific as well as horticultural knowledge also would result from such a speciality.
There is a wealth of information in the letters held in Richard Nehrling's files and I would like to share with you just two written in 1919:
Dear Dr. Calvert,
Yours and Mrs. Calvert's excellent book 'A year of Costa Rican Natural History' has been read by me repeatedly with much pleasure. I am reading it now for the third time. Though I am not particularly interested in entomology, find all your notes and descriptions exceedingly interesting and instructive. Your book should be in the hands of all nature lovers. Your remarks on Bromeliads strikes me more than anything else in your work. Bromeliads, in a horticultural sense, are my favorites. I have brought together quite a large collection which contains all the Florida species, many from Cuba, but the majority from Southern Brazil. They are to me as interesting as orchids, and all of them flourish in this humid climate quite vigorously. I have not been able to get even a few of the Costa Rican species, though my old friend Carlos Werckle promised to send me quite a number of species. He thinks that Gustav Wallis's Guzmania musiaca and Edouard Andre's Caraguata sanguinea are out rivalled in beauty by some of the Costa Rican species. You say little in your book what impressions these plants created on your mind. I presume that searching for Dragonfly larvae is responsible for this silence. Only on page 133 you speak of "a group of beautiful Bromeliads" growing on the ground beneath the branches of small trees. You have photographed this group, and undoubtedly you have done so with many other groups and single plants. Would it not be possible for me to obtain a number of photographs from you, showing these interesting and beautiful plants in their native wilds? Or if you cannot help me out do you know of anyone in Costa Rica who can? I am willing to pay you for all your trouble. Do you know the name of the beautiful species you found on the top of the Irazu about 11.,000 feet above sea level? In other places you speak of epiphytic bromeliads with leaves a yard long. My collection of Bromeliads amounts to over 100 species and 14 hybrids (Vriesea and Tillandsia hybrids).
It is a pleasure to me to tell you how much benefit and valuable information I have derived from your excellent book. Thanking you in advance for anything you can do for me along the line of Bromeliads.
I am yours most respectfully,
We do not have the letter that Dr. Calvert wrote but here is the second letter written.
Dear Dr Calvert,
On my return home from Naples-on-the-Gulf I find your very interesting letter and the set of fine photographs of Bromeliads. I thank you very much. I appreciate your kindness and courtesy more than I can tell you. Enclosed please find the amount in postage stamps for the posting of the photographs. Your excellent book has been a source of the greatest pleasure to me and I often take it from the shelf to read over this or the other chapter. You have been fortunate to find a companion that is interested in the same work and who is a great assistance to you. The photographs she took are a credit to her skill. We have quite a number of native Tillandsias here. T. utriculata often contains over a pint of water. This water is very pure and I have never found even a mosquito larva in it. I also grow many Brazilian species, all of them containing water but I never find traces of insects or other animals in the water though I have always examined it closely. This water is quickly absorbed by the heat and it is renewed by the dews at present. I shall watch the plants with intense interest when our rainy season begins.
Thanking you for again for your great kindness.
I am, yours most respectfully
What I find of interest from these letters is the reference to Volcano Irazu (See Auntie Margaret Queries for Werauhia nephrolepis/ororiensis) and the reference to mosquitos (See Articles by Rob Smythe and others)