New National Collections of Bromeliads for Plant Heritage

Plant Heritage is pleased to welcome three new National Plant Collections of bromeliads, Aechmea, Neoregelia and Billbergia to its growing family of National Collections.
The Collections, which are held in Liverpool by Don Billington, were initiated when he worked as an apprentice at Liverpool Botanic Gardens. Fascinated by the plants, he started collecting different cultivars and over the past 20 years has amassed over 800 plants across the three Collections.
Speaking of his love for the plants Don said: “It is a fascinating group of plants, and is very diverse. I never stop learning about them and still get surprised regularly.”
Don, who shows the Collections around the country, has been awarded 8 Gold medals for his displays and received a Gold medal at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, where he showed for the first time in 2012.
Bromeliads were given their name by French botanist Charles Plumier in honour of his friend Dr Olaf Bromel (1639-1705) a Swedish botanist. Originally from the Americas, the first bromeliad, a pineapple, was brought to Europe in the 1500’s by Christopher Columbus after his second trip to the Americas. Most plants are epiphytes, growing on the branches and trunks of other trees.
The Collections are housed in a greenhouse and new plants are sourced from growers in Holland, America and Portugal. Due to the length of time seeds take to mature (up to 7 years), plants are propagated by taking the side shoots which emerge when the plants have flowered.
Speaking on the announcement of the new Collections, Plant Heritage Conservation Officer Mercy Morris said: “Considering the enduring popularity of bromeliads as houseplants, there are remarkably few National Collections, so it is very satisfying to be able to add 3 genera in one go. They are spectacular plants and, as Don has demonstrated, do well at flower shows, where they create a very colourful display.”
For more information on Don’s Collections or to purchase plants visit:
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