July 11, 2013

The article below is from Saddleback Valley Bromeliad Society Newsletter in California.
It was a word Doc. that I cut and pasted the words but the photos I could not do the same to. So I used my photos.  



Volume 23, Number 5
May 2013



We usually picture Dyckia as upright, extremely well-armored, neatly formed rosette-shaped plants with a very strong root system which are a “bear” to handle and repot.  An example might be Dyckia fosteriana pictured at right. This well-known species is a parent of several popular cultivars such as Dyckia ‘’Brittle Star.’


But as often found with general concept, there are exceptions.  Below are two Dyckia species which might be somewhat easier to handle when they enjoy a place in your collection.


Dyckia choristaminea is one exception to consider.  Spines are not as much a problem here.  True, this native of dryer Brazilian areas such as Rio Grande do Sul has leaf spines, but as seen at right they can be smaller, finer, and less lethal than those on many Dyckia.


This relatively smaller plant features long thin leaves which are often darker than they appear in the very strongly lit photo at right.  In natural lighting, focusing on one plant in this densely clumping, green species becomes difficult.  Each plant forms a rosette of many 6 inch long leaves that overlap other cluster members.  The owner of the cluster in the above left photo says they “believe” it contains 15 plants.  One grower, probably searching for a catchy name to sell plants, called this the “spaghetti bowl” Dyckia


Puptalk May 2013 p 6


The above left photo also gives a better impression of the leaf color under natural light.  The leaves will blush plum red with sufficient light exposure.


Dyckia chotistaminea flowers top a 10 inch flower spike and these blooms are larger than those of most Dyckia.  Flowers can reach 2/3 of an inch long and are usually yellow like those in the photo.  Orange flowers are also reported.  Flowering time is generally May/ June.  They are said by some to be fragrant.


Another exception is Dyckia estevesii.  Instead of the expected rosette-shaped plant, this fan-shaped Dyckia features leaves in parallel rows and grows on its side almost horizontally once pups appear. Prior to pupping, it forms an upright fan.  The fans can reach between 2 to 3 feet across.  This special plant is found only in the vicinity of Goias, Brazil.  It was named for its discoverer, Eddie Estavis Pereira by Rauh.


As frequently found in rarer plants, there is not a lot of information in our books.  The internet adds sometimes conflicting information.  For example, there are a few mentions that this plant is sterile and will not bloom.  However, other articles have pictures of flowers (like that taken by George Allaria below.)  Some of our friends have succeeded in flowering this plant yearly and some of us have yet to succeed


Carol and I obtained our plant from a friend who said we would find the plant’s growth habit “interesting.”  He was very right.


The horizontal shape of this plant offers handling advantages for repotting.  However, like most Dyckia, this plant presents a mass of strong roots and is very well-armored.  Strong self-protection and a root saw are suggested for those separating or repotting it.


The future of Dyckia estevesii may be uncertain.  Derek Butcher, well known bromeliad writer, said in a 2010 article that to his mind this plant can be likened to the monstrous or crested cacti forms.  If he is proven correct by future DNA analysis, this plant might be relegated to a form of another species.  As we often say, stay tuned.


Both of these plants will easily winter outside in this area but restrict watering prior to extra cold nights.                                                                                                                             Joe


Puptalk May 2013 p 7



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