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 Billbergia subsp. var.  
Bromeliad spike.jpg
Habit: bromeliad
Height: to
Width: to
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Lifespan: perennial
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[[]] > Billbergia var. ,

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Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture

Billbergia (for the Swedish botanist, J. G. Bill- berg). Bromeliaceae. About forty tropical American evergreen epiphytal herbs, now much cultivated by amateurs and in fancy collections. A few kinds are well known to florists. A closely allied genus is .aechmea, which see for botanical differences.

The fls. are in a spike or spicate panicle, which rises from the center of the rosette of long, spiny-edged, and usually stiff, pineapple-like Lvs., showy, with 3-parted calyx and 3 long petals, 6 exserted stamens, threadlike style, and berry- like fr. The colored bracts of the fl.-clustera are usually very showy. Cf. Charles Mez, the latest monographer, inDC. Phaner. Monogr 9. Species confused:but the artificial arrangement given below may aid the gardener.

Billbergias can be cultivated best in greenhouses, planted in pans, pots, wooden cribs, or wire baskets, with loose, light material about their roots, such as pieces of charcoal, roots of very fibrous plants, or fern roots and sphagnum moss, and such material. They demand little water at the roots in winter, and nothing but light sprinkling over the foliage is required to keep them alive during that lime. But in summer, when the heat is great and they are making their growth, they can withstand an abundance of moisture at the roots as well as at the top, most of the time holding water in the funnel-like center or body of the plant. They usually produce their conspicuous showy bloom m the spring, when moisture overhead or sprinkling should be withheld in order to prolong the beauty of the flowers. They require at night a temperature of 50° to 75°, but, of course, can stand any amount of heat in summer. Billbergias, like all other bromeliads, make very good house plants, and they will thrive exceedingly well in a living-room temperature. They love plenty of light and sun. All first-class private garden establishments should have at least a few of this class of plants.—They are propagated best from suckers or sprouts, which arise from the base of the old plant, usually after it has bloomed and performed its functions. The old plant then gradually deteriorates, sending out two to five young plants from its base. These can be taken off as soon as they are hardy and substantial enough, and can be mounted or potted into the same kind of material. Then, suspended in the greenhouse, conservatory, or window for an exhibition, they thrive best.—Besides their beautiful and attractive flowers, billbergias have very handsome foliage, which is of a tough and leathery texture. Billbergias, aechmeas, and the like, are natives of the tropics, and, therefore, require a warm temperature. Aechmeas are usually larger than billbergias and tillandsias. (H. A. Siebrecht.)

In the American trade the following names have been used: B. clavata longifolia, once offered by Pitcher & Manda, is probably an Aechmea—B.fasciata-.Aechmea fasciata.—B. maxima-(?).— B. ornata-(?).—B. Quesneliana-Quesnelia.—B. rhodocyana- -Aechmea fasciata.—B. stricta-(?).

Any of the following may be expected to appear in the American trade at any time: B. andegavensis. Hort., is B. thyrsoidea X Morellii: fls. red and blue.—B. Bakeri, Morr. (B. pallescens. Baker). Fls. greenish, tipped purple.—B. Breauteana, Andre (B. pallescensXvittata),has reddish, purple-limbed fls.—B. Bruatii, Hort. (B. Bakeri x decora). Fls. greenish, bracts red.—B. Enderi, Regel. Small: fls. very deep blue; bracts coral-red. Brazil.—B. Forgetiana, Hort. Lvs. large with bands of white on a green ground.—B. iridifolia, Lindl. Fls. red and yellow, blue-tipped. Brazil.—B. Lietzei, Morr. Fls. and bracts rose. Brazil.—B. nobilis. Bull. Cat. Bracts cerise-carmine, petals green, curling spirally after flowering: Lvs. barred.—Perhaps only a form of B. decora. Poepp. & Endl.—B. Porteana, Brongn. Fls. green, the petals rolling spirally. Brazil..—B. Sanderiana, Morr. Fls. green, tipped blue. Brazil.—B. Saundersii, Bull. Fls. greenish, tipped blue: Lvs. striking, green above, reddish beneath, white-blotched and red spined. Brazil.

The above text is from the Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture. It may be out of date, but still contains valuable and interesting information which can be incorporated into the remainder of the article. Click on "Collapse" in the header to hide this text.


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