Established in 1959




Clone Preservation Project
by Alan Herndon

Proposal for a Bromeliad clone preservation project

It has been nearly 60 years since the Bromeliad Society International (BSI) was formed and almost 50 years since the Bromeliad Society of South Florida (BSSF) was organized as an affiliate of the BSI. During this period, bromeliads have gone from American in local stores.

Along with the shift from collectible to commodity, large numbers of species were imported and huge numbers of hybrids were created to meet the demands of the mass market. As newer hybrids took over an ever larger share of the market, older clones began to disappear from sight. Many examples can be cited by people growing bromeliads 30-40 years ago. For example, we no longer have any idea where to find Aechmea fulgens discolor ‘Magnificent’, if it still exists. Nor have we seen Aechmea pineliana minuta in recent years. The small form of Aechmea tillandsioides, that was commonly grown in southern Florida 30 years ago, now seems to be represented only by the albomarginate clone.

Note that the term clone is used both to describe genetically distinct collections of species and different hybrids. In general, a clone represents a group of genetically identical plants. These clones are commonly produced by asexual reproduction (i.e., not grown from seed). Each collection of a species in the wild almost always represents a genetically distinct clone. In the same way, virtually every seedling produced by crossing distinct clones of a single species (Aechmea chantinii is a good example) represents the start of a new distinct clone. In practice, we are not going to genotype plants, we will only recognize clones where the genetic difference manifests itself in the appearance of the plant. The same considerations apply to hybrid clones. We are only concerned with clones that differ in appearance.

Some of the old clones have undoubtedly disappeared, but bromeliads are a remarkably hardy group of plants, and many of the older plants may still exist in the odd corners of small (or large) collections. As time passes, identification of these clones becomes harder as labels are lost in the normal course of events and memories fade. There is also a slow but steady loss of plants in even the best maintained collections. Natural disasters (windstorms and floods, in particular) can lead to catastrophic losses in both plants and the labels attached to the plants. However, the most serious risk of wholesale loss in older collections occur when the owners die, move or become too ill to care for their plants.

In some cases, it is important to have these older clones in hand. For instance, I have not found plants comparable to the plants we used to call Neoregelia ampullacea ampullacea and Neoregelia ampullacea tigrina. Without the plants, I cannot even guess how they relate to the Neoregelia ampullacea complex as understood today.

We propose a project to preserve these old bromeliad clones. The project will focus on providing information on what clones are available and who is growing them. Specific goals include developing a database of the different bromeliad clones in cultivation, create a list of individuals growing each clone, and provide a framework for trading and selling these clones among interested growers. Clones most in danger of being lost in cultivation will be identified in the database.

The database will ultimately include all identifiable bromeliad clones, old or new. Clones will be identified by comparison to old photos and descriptions whenever possible. Older growers, such as Nat Deleon, will also be pressed into service to help with the identification of these plants. The initial priority will be identification of
older clones, since these are most likely to have dwindled in cultivation.

Local Bromeliad Societies will play a crucial role in this project. Many desirable clones are probably waiting to be found in older collections where labels have been mixed and lost over the years. Knowledgeable local society members will be needed to ferret out these plants and establish their true identities. Local societies will also need to keep track of the individual growers in the database so all interested persons can be notified when a collection rich in desirable older clones is about to be dispersed. Finally, local Bromeliad Societies could help preserve the more important clones by including them in their plant distribution programs.

The general database should be open to all interested parties. Small commercial growers who would be willing to grow a clone that sells five to ten plants a year might find the database provides the necessary market. Collectors might find the database provides a way to exchange duplicates for money or other plants.

There should also be a membership network of people most interested in growing these plants. The primary aim is to have each clone established in more than one collection to guard against loss. Membership would be open to anyone willing to follow a few rules. Members would have to follow strict guidelines for labeling plants
and ensuring labels are not lost. The central database would include a unique identifier for each clone that could be used in labeling so individual growers would not have to maintain the complete record associated with the clone. All members would agree to provide a minimum number of free offsets (perhaps 5) yearly for the benefit of the project (other offsets may be traded or sold for the benefit of the member). Finally, in the event of a natural disaster befalling one member, other members would be expected to help restock the collection of the affected member. Benefits to members would include a ready source of information on all clones in the database and a directory of potential sources for desired plants. Members would also
receive advance notice when another members collection (or a significant part thereof) becomes available. Finally, members could expect assistance in recovering their collections from disasters.

Clone preservation project goes statewide

At the 10 Jan 2009 meeting of the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies (FCBS) representatives, Nat DeLeon urged extension of the clone preservation project currently underway at BSSF to all areas of the state. The proposal was accepted and it is time to move forward.

Given the daunting size of the overall project, we would like to start with a more reasonable subproject. We will first attempt to locate and assess the abundance of hybrids and species cultivars produced in the Miami area. This includes plants produced by Ralph Davis, Bob & Catherine Wilson, Gary Hendrix, Bullis Bromeliads and Nat DeLeon.

A preliminary listing of the plants we are searching for (by hybridizer) was compiled from the Bromeliad Cultivar Registry. We know there are errors and lots of omissions in this list, but it provides a convenient starting point. If you have any corrections or additions to this list, please send them along.

Bullis Bromeliads

Aechmea Alegria, Big Harv*, Black, Blue Moon, Blue Tango*, Burning Bush*, Hacienda, Jubilee, Little Harv*, Marcelino, Patricia, Peaches ‘N Cream*, Peggy, Pica, Pink Banners, Pink Passion, Shining Light, Tropic Torch, Yellowstone Ananas Mongo* Canmea Galaxy*
Ice Cream, Ice Milk, Poinsettia, Van Horne, Yellow Marjan,Neoregelia
    Antigua, Bailey, Ballerina, Buckingham, Carmen, Carousel,
Chardonnay, First Prize,
    Fairchild, Flamenco, Gespacho*, Isabel, Jeffrey Block*, Kiti,
Wenzel, Las Vegas,
    Little Rose*, Lois Bullis, Mackaboy, Magic Palette, Marsala, Maya, Medium Rare,
    Mocha Mint, Mojave Beauty, Moonshine*, Patricia, Peggy Bailey, Prince, Puerto
    Rico, Purple Rain, Red Pepper, Rivera, Sparkle, Spots, Sundance, Sunshine,
    Super Fireball, Tossed Salad*,
Vriesea Bananas, Caramba, Herb, Mint Julep, Queen Mariae, Sensation.

Ralph Davis

Aechmea Anonymous, Bill Hobbs, Dubiosa, Ignotus, Kashkiniana, Morris Henry Hobbs, RaRu
Canmea RaRu
Guzvriesea Jeannie
Memoria Ralph Davis, Ralph Davis, Whisky Street, Neoregelia All Red, Crown Prince, Cup of Flame, Davis’ Pink, Green Wine, Karen, Little Punk, Mac Mar, Malibu, Pink Felt, Ralph Davis, Red Best, Rio Ochre, Ruby, Ruby Lee, Spotted Maroon, Takemura Grande, Takemura Princeps, Ti Di
Nidularium RaRu, Red Queen, Ruby Lee Vriesea Bamboo Hybrids

Nat DeLeon

Aechmea Candy Stripe*, chantinii DeLeon*, Coppertone, David Barry*, Eileen,
Candy Stripe
Yellow Glow
Cherry Smash, Dubbonett, lingulata Superb, Shining Brightly, Spirit of
‘76, Star Fire, Wild Cherry
Gary Hendrix, Ralph Davis
Neoregelia Fraseana, Inferno, Orange, Purple Haze, Royal Prince, Spiralis, Spots and Dots, Stormy Weather, Super Fireball, Thunderclouds

Nidularium Sao Paulo*

Nidumea Midnight, Superstar
Ortholarium Hades
Orthomea Powderpuff
Orthophytum Blaze
Vriesea Blaze, Eileen, Juno, Perfida, Stoplight

Gary Hendrix

Aechmea Harlequin
Candy Corn
Firecracker, Shiraz
Amethyst, Angel Face,* Ariel*, Aurora, Avila, Big Mac, Bob Read’s Lad, Butterball, Cheers*, Clover, Domino*, Echo, Fiesta, Gemini, Granada*, Grape,
Green Apple*, Joseph’s Coat, Medusa, P (yes, just P), Peppermint, Pinwheel, Pollyanna, Prince, Purple Haze, Red Clover, Red Waif*, Redneck, Sailor’s
Sara Lee*, Shamrock, Tar Baby*, Tinta, Twinkle, Windemere, Yamamoto
Nidumea Kathleen
Orthophytum Blaze, Copper Penny*

If you have any of these plants, or think you have any of these plants. Please bring them 
to a monthly meeting if you think they are not commonly found in collections. (Plants 
known to be available commercially are noted with an *. Please let us know if other 
plants are available.)

Our lists are clearly incomplete for Bullis Bromeliads and, especially, Nat DeLeon. If you 
have hybrids not on the above list that you think came from either of these sources, bring 
them in.


Visit to Lavinia Acton Property
Plants with Selby Garden Accession Numbers
Update Sept. 2009
Update October 2009
Update November 2009
Update December 2009
Update January 2010
Update February 2010
Update April 2010