Neo compacta and macwilliamsii

cutfishJanuary 23, 2010

Among the many very informative and excellent postings on this forum any contributions I can make seem to me to be rather simplistic But today I thought my experiencec might be of some use

For quite a while I have been trying to sort out, in my mind at least. Neo compacta and macwilliamsii and to obtain plants of each and their cultivars

The first problem I had was with photos. No size reference and most pictures are of flowering plants which look very similar except for the stipling of the red in macwilliamsii

I actually think many pictures are misnamed like those of cruenta and johannis

It was only after I actually saw a macwilliamsii that I apreciated the scale of the difference.

Now to the pictures. i have photographed them beside a compacta which I think (hope ) shows the difference between them.macwilliamsii seems to be a shy flower and pictures of them in flowere are elsewhere on forum

1 Neo compacta

Neo compacta and macwilliamsii B

Neo compacta and Bossa Nova

Neo compacta and Sheba

I Am now collecting cultivars of these two species and will post photos at a latter date

I hope that this is of some use and interest and I wish you all the very best and thank you all again for the help and guidance your postings give me

cheers Neil

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If you can figure out the difference between 'Bossa Nova' and 'Sheeba', let us know.

Also, 'Jeffery Block' is supposed to be a cultivar of macwilliamsii and not a hybrid. It's a great plant and you should get one for your collection.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 4:04PM
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Thanks Neil, I've wondered the difference myself. Of course people have told me there is a size difference...but that doesn't help if you can't see them.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 5:36PM
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There's definitely a size difference, my macwilliamsiis are 2 or 3 times the width of my compactas. That doesn't seem like enough in itself to call it a separate species, though. I'm not sure what the taxonomic difference is, but macwilliamsii also has nearly pink petals, whereas compacta's are a more bluish lavender. Also, macwilliamsii has a very fine white marmoration or speckling in the red portion, where compacta doesn't. This speckling is generally only visible at anthesis, but it often comes through more strongly in its hybrids.

There's also quite a size difference between Bossa Nova and Sheba, BN being much larger. Bossa Nova is supposedly a cv. of a species, whereas Sheba (despite what it says on FCBS) is a hybrid. The registry is kind of vague, it says "cv. of macwilliamsii hybrid origin". I'm not sure exactly what that means, but it lists Skotak as the hybridizer and Ultima as its sibling. I have all three of those, and Sheba and Ultima are both medium-sized plants, suitable for a 6" pot. They also both turn pinkish with white speckling when grown hard. Bossa Nova requires about an 8" pot, and no matter how hard you grow it I've never seen it turn pink or show any speckling.

This gets a little confusing because I always thought of BN as a variegated macwilliamsii, just because of the size. The lack of speckles and the petal color seem to agree more with compacta, though, and that's how it's listed in FCBS and the registry. Is there a larger clone of compacta? The one everyone grows here doesn't get more than about 8-10" across. Gee... I started out thinking I knew what I was talking about, and now I'm getting confused too! ;-)

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 6:47PM
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I just got a compacta from Micheal's last summer and it seems larger than 10" already. I also got a dwarf cruenta...which I would assume would pass on its smaller size in hybrids (I'm hoping). But then again, I guess re-shuffling its DNA might bring out the large size again. Maybe I'll try to self it and see if it is a stable genetic trait or just a particularly small cultivar (sorry, got off topic a little).

    Bookmark   January 24, 2010 at 7:12PM
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The compacta in the first picture at the tree base is 38 cms in diameter

Sometimes there is a light speckling of marmoration particularly on the older leaves of this clone as it begins to flatten aproaching anthesis. Hopefully this is visible in the photo below

here is also a photo of Neo.'Zacate (carolinae x Fireball) x macwilliamsii. Ialso have Neo.'Martin but cant locate its photo at the minute

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 8:07AM
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Here is compacta growing in a semi-shady location. Penny for size reference. It is even more compact in sun, but tends to yellow easily.

I thought I had more macwilliamsii on the property somewhere but the only one I could find is this ratty stretched-out one in deep shade. Still, it gives some idea of the size comparison (penny again).

I've been in the process of cleaning out my shadehouse, and have just thrown out all of the big clumps of Bossa Nova, Sheba, Ultima and Zacate that had taken over corners of it. No Bossa Nova to photograph, but here's Sheba in a 6" pot:

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 1:01PM
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BTW, cutfish, your compacta pic just above sure looks like macwilliamsii to me, and your description does too!

    Bookmark   January 25, 2010 at 1:04PM
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OOps. sorry all I sure messed that one up. The size reference refers to the compacta in the very first picture I posted. I then went on to coment on and post a picture of a macwilliamsii but omitted to make that clear. The picture is definately macwilliamsii which lisa confirmed as such. I knew what i was doing but I can see now that no one else would have.I hope this corrects my error of omission Thank you for pointing this out Lisa.
below is aphoto of Neo.'Martin'

Hopefully i will be able to find a few more of these cultivars in the future Thank you all for your pictures and comments

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 7:01AM
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Hi everyone,

Neil, when you started talking about Sheeba and Bossa Nova I took a lot of notice as I've never been able to find out what the difference was, and thanks to Lisa, I now Know.

Any I have seen locally, have all looked the same, and I was told by a couple of different growers that they are both the same plant and it's just that the Queensland growers call it Bossa Nova and the N.S.W. growers call it Sheeba. Is it possible that Queensland only has Bossa Nova and N.S.W. has only Sheeba? Which one then am I growing, is it Sheeba? The question remains. What ever the answer is, it's still an eye catching plant, especially when grown into a large clump in good light.

Likewise, a lot of people also find it attractive growing in low light without the pinkish blush. I was surprised at just how well it stands up to excessive heat when other Neo's grown in the same area suffer extensive damage.

Below is one of my clumps of Sheebs showing only some minimal damage from excessive heat.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 2:52PM
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That does look like Sheba, Nev. I've never seen Bossa Nova look like that.

Although I no longer have any of my own to photograph, I found the picture in the link below on a Brazilian website. That's pretty typical of how I've seen BN in nurseries like Hawaiian Sunshine, i.e. out in gallon cans on the tarp, treated as landscape material rather than as potted specimens. It tends to be fairly strappy, and the size is just too unwieldy to maintain in a pot for long, especially once it starts pupping. That why I finally got rid of mine, I prefer the smaller, more manageable cvs. As you can see, no pink tinge!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 8:47PM
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Splinter your plant looks like N. Martin

    Bookmark   January 26, 2010 at 9:50PM
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The difference between Sheeba and macwilliamsii is somewhat confusing. It seems to me that Sheeba looks like a variegated compacta that flushes pink all over and is similar in size.(to compacta) Bossa Nova looks like a variegated macwilliamsii that does not flush pink except slightly and only rarely. Bossa Nova is also significantly larger than Sheeba. seeing them together it is easy to tell them apart.

Where this gets confusing is in the Cultivar Registery Sheeba given as Cv of Vulkan x ampullacea Seed parent macwilliamsii hybrid. Bossa Nova as Cv of compacta Seed parent compacta. This would seem to be the oposite of what I would expect' except the Vulkan x ampullacea would I suppose account for the coloration of Sheeba.

What I personally learnt from all this is firstly a photo of a plant by itself with no size reference is not a great help and secondly photos can be wrongly named

cheers neil

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 8:04AM
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Neil, I truely appreciate you started a thread like this. As a newbie, I myself also often have the problem of not knowing how big a plant is.

Worse, sometimes there is no picture of the foliage at all (on FCBS) and one finds only a dissected flower rest. Cannot one who takes such a photo, already take one before all is 'destroyed'?

This is also why I like this forum and also appreciate any photos of fellow GW-ers that show views with multiple plants. One could always find a known plant and relate.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 10:28AM
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Neil, there are two Neo. Shebas listed in the registry (and no Sheeba). The first is the the Grace Goode hybrid you refer to, which has nothing to do with any of this. The second is Skotak's hybrid, which says: "cv. of macwilliamsii hybrid origin - (see Ultima) - A small upright extremely prolific clumping light green plant - small upright short stolons - spineless leaves are marginated in white w/pink suffusions and a rich red overglaze allowing the green leaf surface to show through in spots."

I'm not sure if both have been officially registered. Probably not, since the registrar would not have accepted a cv. name that was identical to one already submitted. In the last several years, however, it has been the policy of the registry to LIST as many cvs as possible, registered or not. During the period before frequent registry updates were easily accessable online, it was pretty difficult to know what your fellow hybridizers were up to, particularly if they were on different continents, so you will often see the same name inadvertantly given to Aussie and US (or Costa Rican) hybrids. There are also two Graces, two Passions, two Tangerines, etc. Once a name gets into circulation, changing it will only create further confusion, so it's better to just leave it. If there's any doubt, it can be described as Sheba (Skotak), as opposed to Sheba (Goode).

My concern now is that since the registry was moved off of FCBS and onto the BSI site, what is currently there for viewing is just a static document that hasn't been updated in several years. In addition, it is only viewable by BSI members, and not all hybridizers are members. I know our esteemed webmaster has been working on a new (and hopefully searchable) format. That is a huge project and will no doubt take some time, but in the meantime, I hope some of these other issues will be addressed by the BSI directors. I can see no benefit to making it harder for breeders (or anyone else) to access the registry, and I wouldn't be surprised if more name duplications pop up.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 12:35PM
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Currently the old registry is available in an open area called 'cultivar corner' and doesn't require BSI membership. As with anything that could change but would not benefit BSI in anyway as many hybridisers will not join BSI and defest the purpose of a 'registry'..

    Bookmark   January 27, 2010 at 1:44PM
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I can not thank you enough for the effort and time you put into answering queries and pointing others in the right direction on this forum.I have undoubtly learnt about bromeliads and their taxonomy from you than from any other source.
Sheeba was just a spelling mistake I usually correct them.
I usually use the FCBS listing which just shows 'Sheba' as skotak cultivar of macwilliamsii hybrid, but I thought I had had a win and found extra information on the Cultivar Registry (which often happens). But I now find this entry for 'Sheba very confusing on rereading it.

Neoregelia 'Sheba' * Skotak, C. cv. of 'Vulkan' X ampullacea (See 'Beverly' for listing of other cultivars) - Goode indicated in 1998 that this cultivar is probably no longer in cultivation.
Seed Parent - macwilliamsii hybrid Pollen Parent-

I never took this to mean Goode had made a 'Sheba' cultivar as well.
Thanks again Neil

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 8:44AM
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I didn't really need you to throw another name into the equation, I've had enough trouble trying to sort between Sheeba and Bossa Nova.

However, thanks for the tip about the BSI Cultivar Registry, but it's not "old" it's 2009 and a great site where I got the info. below from:

Neoregelia 'Bossa Nova' * (Bello, R.+*?) cv. of Neoregelia compacta w/well defined white margins blushing slightly pink in good light - Spineless and very stoloniferous w/longer strappier
leaves than the regular compacta - glossy leaves have small darker areas embedded in the leaves - intense red center at blooming - introduced
at the 1988 WBC by Renato Bello, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil.
Seed Parent - compacta Pollen Parent -
Baensch 128ill, PineapplePl 96, CargoRpt#2-2; #4-2; #6-5,

Neoregelia 'Sheba' * Skotak, C. cv. of 'Vulkan' X ampullacea (See 'Beverly' for listing of other cultivars) - Goode indicated in 1998 that this cultivar is probably no longer in
Seed Parent - macwilliamsii hybrid Pollen Parent -

Neoregelia 'Martin' * Skotak, C. (Deroose*) Pronounce the name 'Marteen' - Tropiflora said, "Nicely variegated plants with a macwilliamsii background that have an incredible center flush of
red when in bloom - the flush often occurs in bands of color which turns solid in time - moderate stolons and forms attractive clumps".
Seed Parent - carolinae 'Lineata' x concentrica Pollen Parent - macwilliamsii (?)
CargoRpt#6-5; #7-6

Looking at all the pictures together, the plant in the rear of pic.1 and the plant in pic.5 look the closest match to my plant. However, note in the description of 'Sheba' that Goode indicated in 1998 that this cultivar is probably no longer in cultivation.

If this is so, then my plant must be Bossa Nova.

What do the rest of you think now?

All the best Nev.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 2:07PM
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Its is an old file from FCBS a couple years is not current

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 2:42PM
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Don't get me wrong, I'm not condradicting you, I was just going by the wording at the start of the register, "The BSI Cultivar Registry Updated Thursday, November 05, 2009".

From what I've already seen of it, it's a great resource and one I didn't know I could even access without being a member of BSI.

Thanks for steering me onto it and I'm sure a lot of others will now access it as well if they haven't done so already.

All the best, Nev.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 3:50PM
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I wanted to take a picture of Bossa Nova, Sheba and Martin all three together, but my plants are mounted in various parts of the garden. Scratching through all my old pictures I found some that I feel could be shared.

First, 3 pictures of Neo Sheba. The first one was what it looked like when I got it - it is planted in a 5 inch (12,5cm) pot and was basically fully grown. The second picture was taken right in the middle of Winter when it lost all its colour and the third one when it was flowering.

Neo Sheba

Neo Sheba

Neo Sheba

And here is one with Bossa Nova on the left, Sheba on the right mounted on top of an old tree stump. It shows the difference in size. Another difference between the two, is that BN has smooth margins where Sheba has spiny leaf edges.

Neo Bossa Nova and Sheba

And just to upset the apple cart a bit more, look what the Winter sometimes does to my Bossa Nova! I thought it was approaching flowering, but not one of my Bossa Nova's ever flowered for me (I have it for 4 or 5 years now).

Neo Bossa Nova

And then here is Neo Martin - although the colour markings are a lot like those of Sheba, the important difference is that Sheba is an albo-marginated plant and Martin has its stripes in the center of the leaves.

Neo Martin

I hope this will help to clear up a bit more of the confusion!


    Bookmark   January 28, 2010 at 5:17PM
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Avane. I note your comment that Bossa Nova has not flowered for you in 4 to 5 years. I have not seen one in flower here in Brisbane at all. Similarly macwilliamsii seems to be very shy to flower. The only flower I have seen here was on a very large clump of macwilliamsii growing in the open under trees. This clump of up to 20 or more plants was multilayered with pups on pups, 3 stories high but only one dead inflorescence was evident.
Sometimes a plants gets narrow concentric red bands as if going to colour up but changes its mind. On the second picture in this topic these red lines can be seen near the ends of the leaves.
Yet lisa has shown quite a few pictures of macwilliamsii in flower. this leads me to ask could it be a climatic thing flowering the tropics but only rarely in more temperate climates.I admit this sugestion is a large leap but most other bromeliads I grow flower regularly in 1 to 2 years from pups.
To where is macwilliamsii native?.
I would be very pleased to receive some feedback on others experiences with this.
Thanks Neil

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 7:11AM
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My macw's flower in April-May, never had any issues.

    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 8:19AM
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Neil, I planted a Neo macwilliamsii at the base of a Beaucarnea. One mature plant with one pup developing on the left side. In June 2008, the original plant produced a pup on the right side at the same time that the pup on the left produced a pup.

Then a year later, June 2009, the youngest pup flowered.

And the same time as it was flowering, it also produced a pup - the 4th generation!

I should have left the plant un-desturbed to see if the latest pup will flower again next year, but it was climbing too high against my Beaucarnea, so I removed the flowering plant when it had finished flowering - but left the two pups it produced attached to the old Mother.

I do not know whether the flowering is a Tropical thing as I am still further down South than you. Cape Town compare roughly with Sydney.


    Bookmark   January 29, 2010 at 9:07AM
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Neil, sorry, I've been away for a few days. I agree that registry entry for Sheba is very confusing, and hadn't seen that. I would have taken it exactly the same way you did. The old 1998 hard copy registry that I have (as well as the 2006 PDF file on BSI referred to earlier) has two separate listings for the Goode and Skotak cvs, but it appears they have been inadvertantly combined in the new registry. This is an error, and hopefully will be corrected.

    Bookmark   February 2, 2010 at 2:19PM
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Guys, the best macwilliamsii that I can think of (I am guessing as the parentage is unknown) is Neo Sweet Thing. My plants are grown harder so the pink "waves" on the leaves are much more intense. Great little plant. Check it out and let me know what you think of the parents.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 8:49AM
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That is a nice looking plant, Dennis. It may have some macwilliamsii in it (and carolinae, of course), but those pointed leaf tips indicate there's probably something else in there too. Hard to know.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 12:51PM
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I crossed macwilliamsii with a marmorata hybrid (back when I did neo x neo crosses) and a few of the grex are pretty interesting. I'm just hoping they are still interesting in a year when they are a lot bigger.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2010 at 3:09PM
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Here are a couple of mine
Bossa nova


    Bookmark   February 5, 2010 at 10:15PM
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