|Aechmea ‘Aussie Ruby’ by Derek Butcher in Bromeletter 33(4):13. 1995
Now to the second part which also revolves around Ruby Ryde. Those of you who have Baensch's 'Blooming Bromeliads' would have immediately noticed the mistake on page 69 where an alleged Aechmea seideliana is pictured. Those who read 'Bromeletter' will know that the 'true' plant is in Australia, albeit with bluish red petals compared to white in the original description. The illustrated plant is a vigorous form of A. warasii. Oh, by the way, I sent Baench copies of Weber's original description, original drawing and a coloured photo of OUR plant just for their information. It would appear that some do not read 'Bromeletter'!
Back to Ruby who had a plant also raised from seed allegedly from Seidel which was more robust than the Aechmea seideliana and had a large inflorescence. This plant raised the temperature in Adelaide with yours truly saying it was a hybrid and Len Colgan maintaining it was a species. Eventually Len could stand it no longer and six months ago sent pieces to Elton Leme in Brazil. Both of us were on edge until a letter arrived just before I
started dissecting the aforementioned Wittrockia, which is another reason why it is in this article! Elton had never seen such a plant and could only assume it was a hybrid. However, seed raising from this plant has produced fairly consistent progeny. In the meantime , I believe it should be given a Cultivar name because it is distinct, it is an
attractive plant, and what better name than Aechmea 'Ruby' .(Now called ‘Aussie Ruby’ because there is already a ‘Ruby’ in existence in the USA) This will identify the plant and also indicate its source for future reference.
I am enclosing a line drawing of A. seideliana which seems related to A. pimenti-velosoi to remind you of the plant that should have been in Baensch' s book. It will also give you an idea of the form of Aechmea 'Ruby' which is a large form. The leaves are longer and wider. The inflorescence is 10cm long and 5cm diameter compared to 6cm and 2cm. It is 60 flowered compared to up to 20. The ovary and base of the sepal yellow compared to whitish pink. The top portion of the sepal still carmine red and petals bluish red.