X NEOMEA genus hybr. nov. [Aechmea X Neoregelia] by M Foster in Brom. Soc. Bull.8(5): 75. 1958
Typus et species unica: X Neomea Marnieri
x NEOMEA MARNIERI spec. hybr. nov.
[Neoregelia Carolinae (Beer) L. B. Smith x Aechmea Chantinii (Carr.) Baker]
Inflorescentia paniculata 3-5 ellipsoideo-strobiliformis multiflora densissima in foliorum rosulam subimmersa. Flores hermaphroditi sessiles. sepalis liberis, petalis violaceis liberis sine squamis nectariferis, staminum filamentis tenuissimis seriei 1 liberis seriei 2 ad petala altiuscule adnatis.
Folia subpatentia late linearia apice late rotundata impotenter mucronata, margine horride spinosa vagina integra.
Type: Cultivated at Orlando, Florida; M. B. Foster, 3023 (U.S. Nat'1 Herb.)
X Neomea Marnieri is an unusually handsome plant. The inflorescence with a very short scape, is branched and may have two to four compact, cone-shaped heads low in the center rosette; the lower portions of the center leaves turn a bright crimson red when inflorescence appears. The small flowers with violet petals surrounded with light orange sepals add to the beauty of this vigorous growing hybrid even though it does not carry the spectacularly barred leaves of its maternal parent, Ae. Chantinii.
This bigeneric hybrid, x Neomea Marnieri, is the progeny of two very striking parents so different in their "formal dress" that one would hardly expect them to be compatible. But when the pollen parent Neoregelia carolinae was used to cooperate with Aechmea Chantinii as the seed parent, the result was a very beautiful issue. Unfortunately, the loss of those singularly attractive dark green and silver horizontal bands across the leaves, along with the bright orange scape bracts on a laxly branched inflorescence holding spikes of close-fitting flowers (of Ae. Chantinii), was a great sacrifice. This proud strutting beauty gave in to the more retiring and blushing beauty of Neoregelia carolinae.
Ever since Ae. Chantinii was discovered by Baraquin, "two paces from a negro's cabin in the Amazon valley", eighty-two years ago, bromeliad growers have made many unsuccessful attempts to self-pollinate it, hoping to be able to raise it from seed, but it was of no avail. Its increase has been slow and the only propagation has been asexual, by offshoots. Even in this new bigeneric cross I had only two fertile seeds and that was just two more than I had really
expected to get, since I had made many attempts to self-pollinate the proud parent, Aechmea Chantinii, which is quite sterile to itself or almost anything else that I have tried to cross pollinate it with. As would be expected, this new cross x Neomea, is also quite sterile.
This new bigeneric species was an interesting surprise in its final results. In our first attempt to make a cross between species of two different genera we wonder what characteristics of which genus are going to predominate if the cross is successful. Especially in this instance where we use a Neoregelia species, which has a strobilate inflorescence low in the center of the plant, and an Aechmea with a tall branching inflorescence. This low, compact, flower-head habit is constant in the genus Neoregelia with every known species, whereas in the genus Aechmea inconsistencies are found. The inflorescence may be as low and strobilate as a Neoregelia, such as in the species Ae. recurvata, or the inflorescence may be a six foot open-branched one, such as in Ae. Blanchettiana.
I have named this beautiful new bigeneric in honor of M. Julien Marnier-Lapostolle of Paris, France, who so kindly presented me with a plant of the rare Aechmea Chantinii several years ago. His extensive botanical collection of tropical plants includes a very fine lot of bromeliads as well as cacti and other succulents at "Les Cedres" at Cap-Ferrat on the Mediterranean, (see Brom. Bull. p. 55, Vol. IV-1954, No. 4).
M. Marnier-Lapostolle's work with plants has been a great contribution to horticulture and his botanical collection is, no doubt, one of the finest private collections on the European continent.