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XVII International Conference 2012
Hotel Los Mandarinos, El Valle de Antón, Panamá (28-30 July, 2012)

Difficulties in classification of Heliconia
Ing. José Eduardo Àbalo
Venezuela and Panama

The classification of Heliconia species is a difficult thing in vivo, and much worse in dried material. A short recount of some of my experiences as an independent "botanist" is narrated using pictures and old documents to illustrate how easy it is to make mistakes, and how difficult it is to mend them.

Heliconias currently in cultivation in Puerto Rico

Héctor Méndez Caratini
Secretary, Heliconia Society of Puerto Rico
Assistant Editor, HSPR Newsletter


When I first started collecting in1998 there where very few species of Heliconia under cultivation in Puerto Rico, and practically no Costacaeae. Over the past decade, through the untiring dedication of various HSPR members, we now have over 250 different varieties of heliconias under cultivation in the tropical Island of PR. We also have eight privately owned Heliconia Society International/Heliconia Society of Puerto Rico Conservation Centers, scattered over the entire region. I am the owner of one of those.

Some of our HSPR members are constantly striving to develop, with the help of the hummingbird, new varieties of heliconias. Many of them have sprung up in their farms as seedling variations. New heliconias might not have cultivar names yet. A few might have erroneous names.

Taking into account that certain heliconias are known by more than one name, in different parts of the world, some of the names on the list might be repetitive. Also, there might be slight variations in color in the inflorescences, such as in the case of the different varieties of H. orthotrichas currently being grown in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. These anomalies will make it more interesting by opening up for discussion such variations, to be correctly named thereafter.

Ornamental Zingiberales Collection of the Agronomic Institute (IAC) Campinas, SP, Brazil
Carlos Eduardo Ferreira de Castro, Scientific Researcher
Charleston Gonçalves, Scientific Researcher

The IAC´s ornamental Zingiberales collection began in 1983 with the introduction of 14 species from Roberto Burle Marx's collection. In the past 30 years, this collection has provided researchers with material for many published papers.

Currently this collection includes: Heliconiaceae (47 species and 110 varieties); Costaceae, with Costus (20 species), Cheilocostus (2 species), Chamaecostus (1 specie), Dimerocostus (1 specie) and Tapeinochilos (1 specie); Zingiberaceae, with Alpinia ( 5 species), Zingiber (6 species) and Etlingera (90 genotypes); Strelitziaceae with Strelitzia (2 species) and Phenakospermum (1 specie), and Musaceae (4 species). 

Collecting of the Future - How technology will affect collecting Zingiberales by the year 2100 
Colton Collins
President, Plant Group Hawai'i, Inc.

Due to increasing rates of habitat depletion, the importance of collecting has never been greater. However, collecting and discovering new Zingiberales is a time consuming, physically demanding, and at times, dangerous process. Based on the insight of experienced collector Mark Collins, along with the foresight of his technophile son, Colton, this presentation discusses how they contemplated future technologies that could be utilized by collectors in the field. 

Handheld DNA sequencing devices, contact lenses that allow you to surf the internet, universal translators, and interactive satellite maps are just a few of the technologies that will enhance efficiency, increase the rate of discoveries, and improve overall safety of the future collector. Once thought to be only science-fiction, all of these technologies are already prototypes and are expected to revolutionize the field throughout this century. 

Adventures and Zingiberales in Colombia
Bruce Dunstan
Brisbane, New Queensland, Australia

Bruce leads us on two vicarious field expeditions to Colombia, sharing all the glorious vegetation, torrential rains, sticky mud, and fine lodgings that expeditions invariably offer up. In August 2011 Bruce traveled with Carla Black to the Cordillera Occidental in the state of Valle de Cauca, near Cali. Heliconia titanum, H. rhodantha, H. robertoi, and a handful of undescribed species were the hightlights of the journey. 

Bruce and his dauntless companions are arriving from a second expedition just as the conference begins, and will bring us as-of-yet undisclosed surprises from the all of the three mountain ranges near Medellín. Grab your boots and umbrella, and let's see what's out there!

A more just positioning of Suriname in the Heliconia world
Mr. Yodi Hermelijn and Mrs. Lydia Hermelijn-Raveles
Paramaribo, Suriname

Suriname mainly consists of undefiled Tropical Rainforest, the habitat that pre-eminently provides for the most favorable biotopes and ecosystems for the Heliconiaceae and relatives. 

Mr. Yodi Hermelijn graduated as an Agronomist, from the National Agricultural College in Deventer, The Netherlands, in 1974. Mrs. Lydia Hermelijn-Raveles is a pedagogue by profession, and has trained in horticulture.

Together they established N.V. Para Flor, an enterprise actively involved in the Ornamental and Floricultural sector for many years. Primarily they have been engaged in collecting, growing and studying Heliconias and other Zingiberales. They decided to open their collection and the plantation to the public, naming it “Botanical Resort The Garden”, as well as to compile their experiences and findings in a new book, being introduced to the public at this conference, titled: “The Red Palulu et al. Zingiberales of Suriname…. an update”. With this “update” the authors wish to present an overview of the Heliconiaceae, which to their knowledge have been found in the wild in Suriname, amongst which undoubtedly the Heliconia bihai (L.) L., locally known as the “Red Palulu”, is the most familiar, and the most common variety. 

It is also their intention to awaken so much interest and enthusiasm for the Heliconias of Suriname, to make it worthwhile for a future conference of the Society to be hosted in Suriname. 

Not just anything will do Selecting the best cut flowers for sale
Jan Hintze
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia

For those of you who don't grow flowers for sale, and maybe even for those who do, this is how you decide which flowers to grow, and what won't do. There are a whole range of factors to consider, not just based on what you like and what plants you can find. Some flowers are good, some not so good, and some don't work at all. I am going to talk about what works for us, and why - which might give you hints on what could work for you.

Panamanian Marantaceae
The common, the rare and newly described
Dr. Helen Kennedy
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Marants aren't as ooh wow, as colorful Heliconia inflorescences, but their species are more numerous in Central American forests, and they are the visitors' constant companion while traveling woodland trails and byways.

Steadily the number of described species of Marantaceae in Panama has increased, thanks in part, to the impetus provided by the Flora of Mesoamerica project of Missouri Botanical Garden. Examples of newly described Panamanian species illustrate this increase.

Here we will get to see many of the more common, with some of the rather rare, Panamanian species, with observations on pollination and other ecological interactions.

Conservation assessment and its application to the Zingiberales
Duane A. Kolterman, Ph.D.
Department of Biology, University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus

Conservation assessment proposes to identify species at risk of extinction, to establish priorities based on the likelihood of extirpation and possibilities for recovery, to determine trends and factors that threaten their existence, to design and implement appropriate strategies and activities in order to avoid and reverse their decline, and to monitor their progress over time.

Rare plants are not necessarily endangered, and vice versa. Diverse categories and criteria have been established for species (and other taxa) at risk of extinction. At an international level, the most useful categories and criteria are the ones that form the basis for the IUCN Red List.

The IUCN criteria are designed to be applicable to a wide variety of animal and plant taxa. Their application provides an opportunity to assist in the conservation of the Earth's biodiversity and perhaps to comply with international convenia in that regard.

Red Listing efforts at a local, regional and/or global scale assist in gathering available information, suggesting the need for further study …

Criteria applied to species at risk, as well as their geographic patterns in space and time, at different taxonomic levels, can assist in the identification of risk factors and in the development and implementation of conservation strategies.

Examples will be cited primarily from the genus Heliconia and other members of the order Zingiberales.

Production and use of Heliconia in Pernambuco, northeastern Brazil 
Dr. Vivian Loges
Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco

In the Northeast region of Brazil, the weather conditions are very suitable for growing Heliconia plants. The Federal Rural University of Pernambuco State (UFRPE) has maintained the Heliconia Germplasm Collection since 2003, with more than 50 genotypes. Some of these genotypes have been evaluated in terms of agronomic parameters (clump, plant and inflorescence characteristics), ornamental attributes, postharvest aspects and molecular markers. 

The results answered some of the initial questions from growers and researchers currently working on crop management and plant selection. The information obtained with this study also serves as guidelines for studies on Heliconia plant breeding programs. 

Conservation Centers of the HSI
David H. Lorence, Ph.D.
National Tropical Botanical Garden

The Heliconia Society International oversees a network of Conservation Centers located worldwide. These are repositories that maintain accurately identified and carefully documented and labeled living collections of the eight families comprising the Zingiberales order. 

Currently there are 11 official HSI Conservation Centers. These are usually botanical gardens, either privately owned or governmental, but one Center in Puerto Rico is a consortium of privately owned gardens and farms. All are voluntary participants and receive no direct funding from HSI. Each Center is unique in the growing conditions and habitat types it offers and the species it conserves. All except one (Wilson Botanic Garden, Costa Rica) are low elevation sites, however, and it is important to include additional cooler, mid-elevation sites for preserving montane and cloud forest species.

Destruction of the world's tropical vegetation continues at alarming rates and species are being lost before we even have a chance to name and catalog them. These Conservation Centers can play an important role in saving Zingiberales species from extinction.

Beastly Beauties: When Zingiberales Go Wild!
David H. Lorence, Ph.D.
National Tropical Botanical Garden

Although many Zingiberales are critically endangered by habitat destruction and other threats, still others have become invasive weeds in some parts of the world. 

This is especially true on tropical oceanic islands with fragile floras that have evolved in isolation. Seven of eight Zingiberales families have weedy members somewhere. In Hawaii there are already nine documented naturalized Zingiberales, including some very noxious, aggressive forest weeds, e.g., Hedychium gardnerianum and Cheilocostus speciosus. 

As a result, HSI Conservation Centers and growers must constantly monitor their collections and be conscientious and vigilant about introducing new weeds that may negatively impact native ecosystems. Spontaneous seedlings should be removed and plants destroyed if they show signs of becoming weedy.

Effect of three light conditions in the inflorescence production and quality of Heliconia orthotricha 'Eden Pink' and 'Lemon'
Dr. Norberto Maciel de Sousa
Universidad Centroccidental Lisandro Alvarado
Barquisimeto, Lara State, Venezuela

Heliconia orthotricha L. Andersson is an introduced species in Venezuela primarily for use as a cut "flower". In this paper we study the effect of three conditions of sun exposure, 100% (1,900 mol s-1 m-2), 37% (700 mol s-1 m-2), and 16% (300 mol s-1 m-2 ), provided by the presence or absence of shade cloth, on production and quality of the inflorescence in 'Eden Pink' and 'Lemon' grown at 10 ° NL and 500 m for nineteen months. 

In both cultivars the production of inflorescences occurred throughout the year, with the highest levels in November and December, and the largest production under 100% sun exposure, followed by those at 37% and 16% respectively. Also, the quality of the trade cut "flowers" was determined by the condition of sunlight or shade during production. Greater length of the inflorescence, longer first bract and the "flower" axis diameter corresponded to lower luminosities. Likewise, the color of the bracts was affected by light intensity; more intense hues corresponded to lower luminosities. The longest vase life in both cultivars (16 days) corresponded to reduced exposure to light (16%) and the lowest vase life to 100% light intensity - 8 to 12 days 'Eden Pink' and 'Lemon', respectively.

Heliconia 'Golden Torch' macronutrients deficiency
Ana Cecilia Ribeiro de Castro

In order to describe Heliconia 'Golden Torch' nutritional deficiency symptoms, evaluate macronutrients omission effects on growth, first flower stem characteristics and longevity, greenhouse experiments were conducted under the lacking element technique. 

Nutrient symptons occurred as follows: N, K, P, Mg and S. Deficiency symptoms were general chlorosis at - N treatment; slight chlorosis at - P and - S; dark green leaves and necrosis at - K; border chlorosis and necrosis at - Mg. 

Among the evaluated leaves, the concentration tended to a greater reduction in the third leaf. N, P and K omission affected stem length and diameter, inflorescence length and longevity, which are considered to be important market characteristics. Greater postharvest longevity is to be found at higher floral stem dry matter. Carbohydrate ratio in underground parts has positive correlation with floral stem dry matter. 

New discoveries in Costaceae
Dave Skinner
Tallahassee, Florida, USA

Dave shares photos of some of the new and different forms of Costaceae he has found in his travels in Central and South America. Some are beautiful new varieties or even new species, some are simply curiosities. From Guyana: A mystery Costus growing only on boulders and a form of Costus arabicus with an unusual character usually found in other genera. From Costa Rica: The rediscovery of Costus barbatus and a mountain mystery solved. From Ecuador: The most beautiful form of the widespread species Costus laevis. From Peru: A "twisted sister" of the ubiquitous Costus scaber. And from Panama: a hairless Costus lasius discovered less than 100 meters from this conference site.

Artistry of Plants
Glenn Stokes
Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

Glenn takes us on an odyssey through plants that offer bribes, displayed in digital images. This is a presentation where art trumps phenotype. A mélange of botanicals from 6 continents.

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