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Origin and Habitat: Species, Brazil. (Espirito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo);
Altitude range: This species grows near sea level.
Habitat and ecology: It is an epiphyte, native to the coastal regions of Eastern Brazil, and is therefore reasonably hardy.
Quesnelia marmorata (Lem.) Read
Bull. Bromeliad Soc. 15: 25 (1965)
- Quesnelia marmorata (Lem.) Read
- Quesnelia effusa Lindm.
ENGLISH: Crecian vase, Grecian Urn
Description: Quesnelia marmorata is an epiphyte, stemless plant up to 60(-80) tall, spreading by basal stolons about 8 cm long and 1,5 cm diameter. The long greyish green leaves form a an upright flaring tube from which the outer leaves spread like a fan and do not form a rosette. Blue-petalled flowers are subtended by rose pink bracts. Because of its tall formal shape, and ends of leaves recurved, bluish and mottled green and maroon; pendant spike, rose-pink bract leaves and blue flowers it is commonly named Grecian vase or Grecian urn.
Leaves: Few (4-7), 40-60 cm long erect, sub-recurved or strongly retroflexed at the apex. In a more or less cylindric rosette, clearly 2-ranked, irregularly banded with green and brown beneath. Sheaths nearly as long as the blades, entire 4,5-9,5 cm wide, spotted on the abaxial face, densely-scaled on both faces; blades 5-7 cm wide, oblong, broadly linear, rounded or truncate, apically spined, distantly toothed, green. S spines 1-2 mm long.
Inflorescence: Scape evident, well developed short and erect to sub pendulous, central, long as leaves or longer, slender and curved downwards,, green to rosy, with scattered indument, cobwebby, or hairless. Scape bracts erect or pendant, elliptic to lanceolate, margins entire, acute 5,5 6,5 cm long and 1,7-2,0 cm wide, rosy. Inflorescence 12-21 cm, loose, approximately pyramidal, bipinnate at the base, hairless, with 16-50 flowers, ; bracts all large, some shorter than the branches, some longer, spreading or reflexed. Floral bracts minute, broadly triangular, entire.
Flowers: to 3 cm long stalkless. Sepals to 10 mm long, strongly asymmetric, obtuse, unarmed, shortly united at the base, purple. Petals to 2.5 cm long, purple or blue.Stamens shorter than the petals and not projecting from the corolla. Ovary completely inferior.
Fruit: A berry. Cylindrical, ca. 2 cm long and 6 mm in diameter, when ripe orange, pulp very viscous hyaline, sweet.
Seeds: Ovoid to ellipsoid ca. 2 mm long.
Taxonomy: Quesnelia marmorata originally described as a Billbergia by Charles Lemaire in 1855 has soft blunt sepals, erect, regular petals, non-caudate ovules and pollen grains with pores, and does not belong with Aechmea, nor with Billbergia. It was Robert William Read, however, who reclassified it into todays valid botanical systematics in 1965.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) A. S. Barnes “The bromeliads” 1969
2) Missouri Botanical Garden, “Missouri Botanical Garden Bulletin,” Volume 55, 1967
3) Illustration Horticole 2: t. 48 1855
4) Flora Neotropica 14:1. 682A—E 1979
5) Stuart Max Walters “European Garden Flora: A Manual for the Identification of Plants Cultivated in Europe, Both Out-of-Doors and Under Glass” Cambridge University Press, 15 mar 1984
6) Alfred Byrd Graf “Exotica 3: Pictorial Cyclopedia of Exotic Plants from Tropical and Near-tropic Regions : 12,000 Illustrations, 204 Plants in Color, Guide to Care of Plants Indoors, Horticultural Color Guide, Plant Geography” Part 2 Roehrs Company, 1976
7) Vieira “Quesnelia Gaudichaud (Bromelioideae: Bromeliaceae) do estado do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil” 2006.
Cultivation and Propagation: The plant is one of the most popularornamental bromeliads due to the beauty of the foliage and of the inflorescence and grows well mounted. It is quite epiphytic, often not adapting well to growing in soil.Grows very well in trees or over rocks, where it looks particularly curious. The pink and blue flower spike is short lived, but quite stunning, as for most of this genus.
Growing substrate: It requires a well-drained, aerated, porous and moisture-retentive substratum which is rich of organic substance, but it does not grow its best in soil; best results are obtained when it grown epiphytically and roots are covered with moss or coarse crushed tree fern fibre encased in a container or wired to the surfaces of boulders, rough bark, rock walls, or tree branches. Root rot can be a problem if the soil is too moist.
Exposition: Prefers partial shade but can even tolerate the full sun.
Watering: It enjoys constant moisture from rain or sprinkler. In dry and hot climate, humidity can be increased with nebulisations utilizing water at room temperature and not calcareous. In summer, some distilled water can be left in the central cavity formed by the rosette of leaves, renewing it frequently to avoid the formation of a mosquito larvae nest, whilst in winter it is better to leave it dry, thus avoiding possible rottenness. Requires complete and perfect drainage.
Fertilizing: Apply mild solutions (one-quartet strength) of foliar fertilizer at 3-month intervals to both garden and container plants.
Hardiness: It is cultivated in open air in the tropical and humid subtropical climate countries, with temperatures which it is good to keep over the 14°C, best 20-24°C , but can withstand light frost for short periods if very dry (hardy down to -2 to -6º C, even if with damage to the foliage) in these situations it will better resist if sheltered by the winter rains, seen that the humidity and low temperatures render it more sensitive to rottenness.
Pest & diseases: It is susceptible to scale, trips and mosquitos that will sometimes breed in the pools of water that are trapped between the leaves. Mealybugs infestations are also a frequent problem.
Pruning: Remove old leaves from plant base and dead flower spikes only. Remove older plant crown when it begins to fade.
Use: Specimen plant; container plant; tropical foliage and colourful ﬂowers.
Propagation: Remove and replant offshoots from the base of the parent plant. May also be grown from seed: remove seeds from inﬂorescence and lay them uncovered on a bed of crushed tree fern ﬁber; keep constantly but moderately moist. Starting from the seed, 5-6 years are needed for the blossoming, whilst at least 3 years are needed by division. The wide scale reproduction for commercial purposes is done by micro-propagation.
Warning: Has sharp spines that deter some gardeners.
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