Aechmea 'Pseudonudicaulis' a man-made hybrid?
Subject: Bromeliaceae (Natural history)
Author: Gouda, Eric J.
Pub Date: 11/01/2010
Publication: Name: Journal of the Bromeliad Society Publisher: Bromeliad Society International Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Biological sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Bromeliad Society International ISSN: 0090-8738
Issue: Date: Nov-Dec, 2010 Source Volume: 60 Source Issue: 6
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 257434796
Full Text: [FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Some specimens are travelling from one Botanic Garden to another without a proper name and that was how we got a plant named "Billbergia sp. Brazil, Seidel 1047". How it came to Europe is not clear to me, but we got it from B.G. Vienna (Austria) who in turn got it from B G Halle (Germany).

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

I missed the first time it flowered in 2009/2010, but in January this year it was flowering again and it was obviously not a Billbergia, but seems to be intermediate between Aechmea nudicaulis (L.) Grisebach (1864:593) and A. comata (Gaudich.) Baker (1879:234). Walter Till suggested I check the publication of A.pseudonudicaulis Leme (1987:394, fig.p.401) that was described in Bradea 4(50): 394. The holotype was said to be collected in Espirito Santo, Baixo Guandu, by Alvim Seidel 1074. Flowered in cultivation on 20 Aug. 1987 (Holotype HB n.s.).

Harry Luther (2010) in his binomials, considers this closer to Aechmea comata and thus Ortgiesia rather than it being in the sub-genus Pothuava as suggested when this taxon was described.

Elton Leme was so kind as to scan the Bradea publication for me, because his article was somehow missing between all my Bradea xerox copies. When I got all the information together, the collector number turned out to be the same collector and number as the holotype and the description and drawing proved that it is the same plant.

Working with the plant I got the feeling that it is a hybrid and therefore I decided to test the pollen. Each anther only contained pollen in very small amounts and very irregular in form and size. A very low percentage and only the largest pollen germinated (growing of a pollen tube) on an Agar plate, indicating that this must be a hybrid.

Aechmea comata is from Santa Catarina and adjacent Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil and it is not likely to grow in Espirito Santo, where it could have made a natural hybrid with A. nudicaulis. Elton told me that he did not find any thing like A. pseudonudicaulis in the type area (Baixo Guandu), but this area deserves to be explored more because it is not very well known.

For now I think it would be the best to consider Aechmea pseudonudicaulis to be a man made hybrid at the nursery of Alvim Seidel and to remove it from the species list and add it to the BCR as Aechmea 'Pseudonudicaulis' (A. nudicaulis x A. comata). Maybe it got mixed up with an other plant or maybe it was a victim of an accidently label exchange that can happen in nurseries and gardens. It is a beautiful middle sized fast growing Aechmea with a very nice colored inflorescence. For the hybrid lovers a plant worth growing. The petals however are not really bright yellow, but seems to have some blue in it (not clearly seen in the pictures), making the color some what dirty yellow, something you also see in some A. comata-like clones we grow.

Literature cited

Baker, J. G. (1879) A synopsis of the genus Aechmea R. & P. Journal of Botany, 17, 161-168.

Griesebach, A. H. R. (1864) Bromeliaceae. Flora of the British West Indian Islands, pp 590-599, London.

Leme, E. M. C. (1987) Novas Bromeliaceas nativas do Brasil V Bradea, Boletim do Herbarium Bradeana, 4, 393-405.

Luther, H. (2010) An alphabetical list of Bromeliad Binomials, edn. Sarasota Bromeliad Society & Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Eric J. Gouda, Curator, Utrecht University Botanic Gardens

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