Established in 1950

Speakers list and bio

1. Andrew Devonshire, New Zealand Hybridising, The Kiwi Way
2. Peter Tristram, Australia ‘It’s all in the sequence – identity and provenance’
3. Herb Hill, USA Commercial Vriesea production: A brief history of early Vriesea breeders; Breeding techniques; Growing seed; Selecting plants for the laboratory; Commercial production of Vrieseas
4. Hiroyuki Takizawa, Japan My Amazing Journey of 28 Years Hybridizing Tillandsias.
5. Dennis Cathcart, Tropiflora- USA Bromeliad Adventures of Discovery and Friendship with Hiroyuki Takizawa
6. Pedro Nahoum, Brazil Breeding Brazilian species on the sandy soils of the Restinga.
7. Dr. Theresa Bert, USA Bromeliad Scientific Names–How Did It Come to This?


Speaker Bibliography

1. Andrew Devonshire

Andrew has been growing bromeliads, collecting bromeliads and hybridising bromeliads over the last 20 years. He has also been a member of the Bromeliad Society of New Zealand since 2002.

While alcantarea were the plants that introduced him to the world of bromeliads, it is neoregelia that have become his primary focus and he is best known for his mini to midi sized neoregelia hybrids.

Andrew’s hybridising programme is carried out at his home, a residential site on Aucklands North Shore. This approach requires a focus on space allocation and therefore the smaller sized neoregelia hybrids have proved to be ideal for this style of propagation.

Hamilton in the Waikato Region of New Zealand was Andrew’s place of birth in 1965, he moved to Auckland in 1972. Andrew has always had a fascination with plants and animals. He kept and bred axolotls (Mexican walking fish) from an early age, had a range of aviary birds including the NZ native parakeet (Kakariki) and was a member of the Avicultural Society of New Zealand.

Andrew also built up a large collection of tropical fish, native freshwater fish, native salt water fish and invertebrates. He was actively involved with the Auckland Fish keepers Association and a member of the North Shore Aquarium Society for many years.

Andrew is married to Delysse, they have three daughters McKenzie, Taylor and Casey and a granddaughter, Kaia.


2.  Peter Tristram

I have always had a love of nature, and a desire to know about natural systems.  From native flower pressings in Dad’s huge Webster’s dictionary to cicada safaris and rock and mineral collecting, my childhood was always busy.

Bromeliads entered my life early – there were billbergias in my childhood garden that fascinated me, with their tanks of water and rotting vegetation and the dazzling flower spikes that emerged. It wasn’t until I began teaching in Sydney’s far west in 1977, that I discovered them again, and so many types. I began collecting ‘broms’ in earnest and haven’t stopped since. I also married my lovely Bev, moved to the Coffs Harbour area in northern NSW where I taught for 30 years and began the process of rearing 3 wonderful children. Life was never dull!

Identification and plant taxonomy soon absorbed me too and I joined the Australian Bromeliad Society in 1977 and the BSI soon after, attending meetings, visiting many collections and purchasing available bromeliad literature. To satisfy my desire to collect the plants that I saw in the various books and journals, I began importing, mainly species, but a fair selection of hybrids and cultivars too.

With so many unidentified plants, I started to utilise the new Bromeliad Identification Centre in Sarasota, Florida, USA and visited Harry Luther at the Marie Selby Botanic Gardens in 1988, for the first time. I then attended the World Conference in Miami. There I met so many people from all over the world and established lasting friendships. I began travelling, making trips to Costa Rica, Peru, Panama, Colombia, Brazil and Europe, as well as attending many World, most Australasian and a few German Society (DBG) conferences.

I ran a small but intensive bromeliad nursery for many years, but a recent move to the Gold Coast hinterland to be nearer family, saw me downsize mainly to tillandsias. For many years I specialised in species and eventually diverged into hybridising, continuing with species seed raising too. Now, I concentrate on mainly tillandsias.

The internet has also opened up endless opportunities to share and discuss, often in real time – email, internet forums and Facebook, Instagram are the new norms in communication.

Retired? Not really!

3. Herb Hill

Herb was born in Miami, Florida. Educated at the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Geography. Worked with Ervin Worthman in the Interiorscape business; with a special interest in hybridizing bromeliads.

In 1972 he established Hill’s Raingreen Tropicals, a wholesale nursery in Lithia, Florida. Currently the nursery specialize in wholesale orchids and bromeliads produced in their laboratory. On April 14, 2023, Herb celebrated 50 years of breeding Vrieseas.

4. Dr. Hiroyuki Takizawa MD. PhD.


Dr. Hiroyuki Takizawa is a vascular surgeon from Tokyo , Japan. Hiroyuki, affectionately known by his close friends as Hiro, has specialized in microscopic vascular surgery for the last 36 years.
Hiro took an interest in exotic plants from his childhood, when he found Wallisia (Tillandsia) cyanea at eight years of age and started growing it out of his own curiosity. He has always loved plants and has a fascination for many living creatures. Hiro attended his first BSI World Bromeliad Conference in Orlando in 1996. His first field research trip to Mexico was right after that conference, which was the beginning of a love affair of exploring and studying bromeliads in the wild. After that, Ecuador, Honduras, Costa Rica via Panama, again and again to Mexico, Brazil, Venezuela twice, back to Ecuador and Colombia.

Photo Hiro
Many specialists accompanied him on these field researches, Dennis Cathcart, Enrique

Kamm, Pamela Hyatt, Elton Leme, Francisco Oliva Esteve, Eric Gouda, Charles Brewer Carias, Jose Manzanares and Chester Skotak. As a result of these collecting trips, Hiro described and published several new tillandsia species such as Tillandsia bulbosa forma alba, Tillandsia pseudobaileyi forma alba and also Tillandsia flexuosa forma alba. He has also co-published Tillandsia X marceloi, Tillandsia X bergiana and Tillandsia werner-rauhiana with Pamela Hyatt.

In 1999, he discovered Tillandsia takizawae in the Tehuacan desert in Mexico, this Tillandsia was published in 2000 in JBS Volume 50(5) by Harry Luther and Renate Ehlers in his honor.
In 2023, Tillandsia hiroi Manzan. & Gouda(JBS Volume 72(3)) and Racinaea hiroi Manzan. & Gouda were published by Jose M. Manzanares and Dr. Eric J. Gouda in his honor.

Not only exploring for plants, he has been working on creating new plants by hybridizing mainly focusing on very unusual combination hybrids using subgenus Diaphoranthema for example. Species of subgenus Diaphoranthema have very tiny flowers and Hiro’s skill of microscopic surgery has brought his hybridizing work up to the next level.
Hiro has created over 100 very unusual combination hybrids, including new bigeneric hybrids of x Racindsia(Racinaea with Tillandsia), x Barcinaea(Barfussia with Racinaea), x Tillamatodon(Tillandsia with Stigmatodon), x Vriesmatodon(Vriesea with Stigmatodon) and x Tillafussia(Tillandsia with Barfussia).
Hiro published the New Tillandsia Handbook in 1998 with Hideo Shimizu and established The Bromeliad Society of Japan in 1998. He has been President of the Bromeliad Society of Japan since then. He made many presentation as a speaker in Japanese society. In World Bromeliad Conference, Tillandsia Day 2020 in Australia and Kiwi Broms 2023(21st Australasian Bromeliad Conference).
In his presentation, many of his new original hybrids will be introduced.

5. Dennis Cathcart

Dennis Cathcart is a lifelong naturalist with a deep interest in plants. In 1976, following a decade of work in herpetology, he founded Tropiflora, LLC, a bromeliad and tropical plant nursery in Sarasota, Florida. An avid plant explorer, he and his wife Linda made frequent expeditions to many countries in Central and South America and the Caribbean. Later, they expanded their travels to Africa, Madagascar, and Southeast Asia. Their expeditions led to the discovery of many species new to science and horticulture. Hundreds of specimens they contributed reside in various herbariums and botanical gardens worldwide.

Tropiflora supplied the anchor collection for the world-famous Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. In a five-year span, they shipped three hundred fifty thousand plants by airfreight to Singapore. They made a series of trips to help with their care and installation.

Dennis is a frequent speaker at venues in the U.S. and across the globe. He has presented in Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Venezuela, Brazil, and the Bahamas.

These days he and Linda are (mostly) retired from the nursery business. Their daughter Robin and son Scott manage Tropiflora. Now a full-time, published writer, natural history remains Dennis’ first interest. He and Linda continue to explore exotic lands far and near, maintaining the life of adventure they love.

6. Pedro Nahoum, Brazil

Pedro Nahoum, age 52, is from Niteroi, a city in the Guanabara bay region of Rio, Brazil, and has acted on native plant propagation from seeds since 1986. He got a bachelor degree of Ecology from Rio de Janeiro Federal University and now is studying Biodiversity Management at the Brazilian National School of Tropical Botany, from Rio Botanical Gardens.

Pedro got specialized in Ananas and sun tolerant bromeliad genera in early 90s, so Alcantarea and other genera are under greenhouse growing and at sandy field production continuously running over the last 34 years at his production areas at the east coast of Rio de Janeiro.

As the BOTANICA POP company founder, Pedro has been participating in native plants studying, domestication and genetic innovation, with several new species discoveries and introductions into cultivation, and advanced generation hybrids of pineapple, bromeliads, cacti and Aloe produced over the last decades.

7. Dr. Terrie Bert

Dr. Terrie Bert is a longstanding member of the Sarasota Bromeliad Society (SBS) and the Caloosahatchee Bromeliad Society and has held multiple offices in the SBS. She also served the Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies (FCBS) as a representative and officer for eight years and has authored multiple articles for the FCBS Newsletter. For the Bromeliad Society International, she has been the librarian, a Florida Director, World Conference Show Chair, and Australasian Conference Judges and Show Co-chair. She has also chaired several international committees, judged several shows, contributed articles to the BSI Journal, and served as invited speaker at world conferences. Currently she is Curator of the Wally Berg Award of Excellence, a Master Judge, and member of the Judges Certification Committee. Terrie has given over 175 presentations on bromeliads to numerous U.S. and international bromeliad societies and other groups, including regional and international bromeliad conferences. She cultivates more than 2,000 different bromeliads in about 35 genera. She’s won multiple top awards in local bromeliad shows and BSI world conferences. She also obtained her Master Naturalist certification from the Manatee County Extension Service. Terrie has a Ph.D. in marine biology and recently retired from her position as a research scientist for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

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