BSI Logo

Bromeliad Cultivar Register


General Instructions for the Registration Of Bromeliad Cultivars

Efforts by hybridizers to improve the appearance of the bromeliad have been very successful with new colours, shapes and sizes being introduced everyday. The sheer number of new introductions has made the collector and grower much more selective in what he is able to collect and grow. Frustration has occurred when a grower has attempted to acquire a certain choice clone or cultivar and received instead a plant with the same name but of different character and appearance. This happened because, in the past, emphasis was placed on naming the grex rather than the individual clone or cultivar. <b>Today the registration process of the Bromeliad Society International is concerned solely with registration of named cultivars.</b>

<b>GREX</b> is a term that means "seedling batch" (all the progeny resulting from making a hybrid). More often than not, a GREX, especially one with complex hybrids in the cross, will contain plants differing significantly in appearance. A CULTIVAR is an individual which has been selected from a GREX because of a particular attribute or combination of attributes. It is clearly distinct, uniform and stable in its characteristics, and when propagated by vegetative division, pupping or by tissue culture, retains those characteristics because it is of identical genetic makeup. Thus, when a CULTIVAR is given a name and distributed, one can be assured that all plants with this name have the same characteristics and uniformity. This is the main reason why we register only named cultivars, and with the cooperation of every bromeliad grower, collector and breeder, the confusion of the past can be avoided. If the plants of a seedling batch are all basically identical (as in a true F1 crossing) and prove to retain their characteristics through propagation by pupping, then all the plants can be registered under one CULTIVAR name. The use of a GREX formula to identify a parent is allowed on the Registration Form but is frowned upon. Only one plant of the GREX would have been used in the breeding program and should have been worthy of a name in its own right!!

<b>CULTIVAR GROUP</b> replaces the concept of Grex and covers all plants that look similar irrespective of parentage. As an example, in the Bromeliad Cultivar Registry 1998 there are listed cultivars of Neoregelia carolinae but we will be going further than that and include hybrids that have a look of Neoregelia carolinae about them to form a cultivar group. Because better known species names are fairly static and are defined we intend to use them as much as possible thus Carolinae group or Concentrica Group etc. As this develops it will mean that enquiries can be made on look-alike cultivars via this cultivar group code. It may even develop that different genera will have different solutions but each must be simple and easy to understand.

<b>SPORT</b> is a visible asexual mutation. A SPORT is acceptable as a CULTIVAR provided it is reasonably stable. Although uncommon in many CULTIVARS, it generally arises in the form of variegation. It is also liable to change. Therefore, we will want to know the identity of the plant whose offset produced the mutation. There is a much closer relationship between a plant and its sport relative than in a grex relationship and this link will be shown in the Bromeliad Cultivar Registry.


The most important decision you must make before attempting to register a cultivar is to satisfy yourself that the cultivar is truly unique and recognizable. Cultivars should be grown through several cycles of pupping and blooming to ensure that they are stable and reproduce consistently. Another reason for having the period of testing is so that you have more than one plant in existence. It would not be in the interests of Registration if there were only just the one plant and nothing to propagate asexually when this dies.

"Recognizable" should mean that the cultivar has unique characteristics which allow it to be identified or recognised without a tag, especially by someone other than yourself. This decision is yours to make and your best judgment is required to prevent the registration of large numbers of essentially ivery similar or even identical plants under different cultivar names. For instance, if you make a hybrid grex consisting of a variety of clones or cultivars, selecting and registering only the truly unique clone or clones is the most appropriate way to proceed. The next appropriate thing to do is to destroy the balance of the grex.


In many cases this will be minimal because your coloured photo will do this for you but things like height and width are essential. Indicate in the appropriate space the plant or cultivar group your cultivar most resembles. This makes the Cultivar easier to visualize. A written description of the feature or character that makes the cultivar unique is also required because this is a reminder to the Applicant that the Cultivar they are registering is clearly different. The applicant may use the plant the cultivar resembles as a reference. For instance,Aechmea 'Ensign' may be described as resembling Aechmea orlandiana but having green leaves with white margins suffused with red.

Any bromeliad cultivar may be registered: a unique cultivar of a species plant, a new, unknown or undescribed species (eg. Neoregelia 'Fireball') or a hybrid with unknown parentage. It must simply fit the definition for cultivar as described above.

New cultivar registrations must be accompanied by at least two or more photos (must be digital J-Pegs) and be well-lit. One photograph should show a full frame overall view of the plant with another showing the inflorescence as close-up as possible with fresh flowers visible. Either of these, or perhaps another photograph, should show the feature or character that makes the cultivar unique, such as a side-on view of it's growth habit. Watch to see that the background is not busy and does not detract from the plant.


The database into which the information from the registration sheet is entered is an open one which will allow updating, adding additional information, or changing data at any time. If you learn anything further or get a better photograph please let us know.


The cultivar name you choose should follow the guidelines below:

If any of the requested data is unknown, please so indicate in the appropriate space. If you have any questions or require assistance, the Cultivar Registrar will be happy to assist you. Dated: June, 2018.

Geoff Lawn
BSI Cultivar Registrar

- Back