The diversity of horticultural magazines and other botanical publications in Belgium during the 19th century was quite staggering, taking into account the relatively small size of the country. Center of this productivity was the city of Gent (or Ghent, in French Gand) where the cultivation of ornamental flowers was concentrated. The region around Gent is still home of many plant nurseries, including some with bromeliads. And once in every 5 year there is the International Flower Exhibition called the Floralies of Ghent. The oldest publications with coloured plates however originated from Brussels.
The illustrations from English horticultural magazines were often used by periodicals on the European continent, sometimes with slight alterations. An example is a plate of Bromelia alsodes St. John from Curtis's Botanical Magazine, once reproduced in black-and-white in the BSI Journal (Neighbors 1977). It is printed - with only the orientation and composition differing from the original - in Sertum Botanicum - Encyclographie du Règne végétal, published beween 1828-1832 by Pierre Corneille van Geel, clergyman and botanist at Brussels. In total 600 plates were made for this work, the hand-coloured lithographs by G. Severeyns, published in 100 installments. The format was twice as large as that of Curtis's Botanical Magazine and there was no page or platenumbering. None of the 8 bromeliad drawings is original, all are pirated. The text was in French and in most cases also in Dutch and written by a "society of botanists". Their names are not given, but could have included van Geel himself or Pierre Drapiez, a Belgian naturalist. Van Geel and Drapiez were two of the founders of the the Jardin Botanique of Brussels, inaugurated in 1829. The plate from Sertum Botanicum is reproduced here (Figure 30). The original drawing of the plant - at the time named Bromelia sylvestris - in Curtis's Botanical Magazine was made at the Apothecaries' botanic garden in Chelsea, London. In 1834 Sertum Botanicum has been reprinted in Paris under the title Flore des serres et des jardins de Paris. About the same time Pierre Auguste Drapiez produced an album entitled Herbier d'amateurs de fleurs in 8 volumes (Brussels 1828-1835). The drawings for most of the 600 engravings (5 of bromeliads) were not original and the album was in fact a reissue with extra plates of Herbier Général de l'Amateur by Loiseleur-Deslongchamps, published 1816-1827 in Paris. Drapiez also directed the Encyclographie du règne végétal (Brussels 1833-1838, 6 volumes, 372 colour plates), classified as a work of mediocrity and imitation (Stafleu & Cowan 1976).
The first Belgian horticultural magazines was L'Horticulteur Belge, journal des jardiniers et amateurs, founded by Louis Van Houtte and Charles Morren in 1833 and published in Brussels. The 5 volumes (1833-1838) did not contain coloured plates but there were some black and white drawings, one of them depicting Tillandsia streptophylla (Figure 31). This new species was described here in brief terms by Charles Morren. The Latin diagnosis was from the hand of German-born Michel Scheidweiler, a teacher at the veterinary and agricultural school in Brussels who also worked in that town for the geographical institute of Philippe and François Vandermaelen. François was interested in natural history and at his institute Scheidweiler was a parttime lecturer on plantfysiology. The firm of Vandermaelen had send Henri Galeotti to Mexico to gather geological information; together with the botanical explorers Nicolas Funck, Auguste Ghiesbreght and Jean Jules Linden, Galeotti made in 1839 one of the first recorded ascents of the Pico de Orizaba, Mexico's highest mountain, without reaching the summit however. Galeotti became interested in botany and began collecting plants, mainly orchids and cacti. After 5 years he went back to Brussels where he started a nursery. He became editor of Journal d'horticulture pratique and in 1857 he started the first bulletin of the botanic garden in Brussels. Among the many plants that were send by him to Belgium was Tillandsia streptophylla. Galeotti had send along a package of seed believed to belong to the same species, but it is not clear how the seeds developed. Some 40 years later a coloured plate of Tillandsia streptophylla (Figure 32) appeared in La Belgique Horticole - Journal des Serres, des Jardins et des Vergers. The text was by Édouard Morren, son of Charles Morren, both have been directors of the botanical garden at the university of Liège. That plant was collected by Omer de Malzine in 1870. A citation from Morren's text with the plate: "The plant is remarkable for various reasons. The stem is swelled like a thick bulb, the leaves are dense, a bit succulent, and covered with a kind of raw velvet formed by the adpressed scales, which when dry form a yellowish surface. But those leaves are still more remarkable because with their narrow tips they can wrap them around the treebranches that are within reach. The epiphytic plant uses them as ropes to secure itself and to keep its balance in spite of bumps and gusts of wind". This species has been described later by German botanist Diedrich von Schlechtendal under the name Tillandsia circinnata (now a synonym), with the remark that he had not seen the description of Galeotti's plant and that it could well be the same. Charles Morren was the founder of La Belgique Horticole and edited the first 7 volumes. Édouard Morren, who was already co-editor for some years, took over after his father's dead; both men died young, in their early fifties. The subtitle of the journal La Belgique Horticole had the variations Annales d'horticulture belge et etrangère and Annales de botanique et d'horticulture during the period 1851-1885 when the 35 volumes were published in Liège. Bromeliad specialist Édouard Morren collected drawings of bromeliads and also commisioned artists to make them, this collection of 250 drawings is now at the Kew Library and some plates have been published in this journal in the period 1984-1988 in a series of articles by Lyman Smith. In the same journal containing the first article (Smith 1984) is also a reprint of a biography on Éd. Morren (Padilla 1984). The total number of plates published in La Belgique Horticole is a bit difficult to ascertain as platenumbering was not continuous and folding plates were counted double or triple, but per volume there were about 15 plates. As Morren was a promotor of bromeliads, that genus was well represented with over 100 plates; some have been reproduced a long time ago in the BSI Journal, illustrating an article on cultivars of the genus Billbergia (McWilliams 1968).
In 1844 Schlechtendal had described Tillandsia brachycaulos. The specimen after which the drawing in (Figure 33) was made, came from Mexico. It was sent by Czech botanist and explorer Benedikt Roezl to M. Kirchhoff, gardener of prince Fürstenberg at Donaueschingen (Germany). Kirchhoff also provided the aquarel. This epiphyte has a wide distribution, ranging from Mexico to Panama.
One of several Vrieseas from Brazil published in La Belgique Horticole is Vriesea scalaris (Figure 34), described by Éd. Morren in 1879 and illustrated one year later. The plant was send to Morren by Pedro Binot from Petropolis who had already introduced many plants from Brazil in Europe. Flowering lasted for several months in the greenhouse of Morren who mentions that he already had obtained some seed from crosses made with Vriesea psittacina and Vriesea brachystachys.
The fine colourful plate of Cryptanthus beuckeri (Figure 35) was published a year after this new species was described by Morren in the same journal. The plant is of unknown origin, the lectotype is a Morren Icon at Kew, possibly the same illustration as in La Belgique Horticole. It was collected by S. de Beucker, a horticulturist from Antwerp, and Morren describes it as the most elegant of the Cryptanthus species known.
Vriesea hieroglyphica (Figure 36) is a species originating from eastern Brazil, it's introduction in European horticulture was not so easy because plants imported from Brazil did not survive the long travel. This was overcome with the use of the so-called Wardian case, a container with glass like a terrarium, designed for the transportation of plants by Nathaniel Ward. A specimen of this large Vriesea sent by Pedro Binot from Petropolis arrived this way in good health in Brussels where it flowered in 1885; some months later a second plant came into flower at the nursery of Ferdinand Massange at St. Gilles. Binot also sent along the aquarel made by M. Leschaud in Petropolis that has been used as the drawing for the depicted folding plate.
Also from the last volume of La Belgique Horticole is the plate of the newly described Caraguata osyana (Figure 37). The names of the illustrators were not always recorded on a plate, but in this case in the lower left corner is that of J. Cambresier, who made the drawing, and below right the name of P. Stroobant, the lithographer. The description was made after a plant grown from seed that was obtained from a plant collected in Ecuador without exact locality by Gustave Wallis in 1875; flowering occurred in 1885. It is dedicated to Édouard Osy de Wychen, president of the royal horticultural society of Antwerp. At an exhibition in that city it was showed by Jacob-Makoy from Liège, a firm founded in 1810 by Lambert Jacob and his father-in law the florist Makoy. This species was transfered to the genus Guzmania by Mez in 1896. It is an epiphyte in the forests of central Ecuador.
Before Charles Morren started La Belgique Horticole he had directed some author journal: Annales de la société royale d'agriculture et de botanique de Gand. The illustration on the title-page of this journal with the three towers of the city of Gent is worth looking at (Figure 38). The 5 volumes from 1845-1849 were illustrated with 291, many folding, handcoloured lithographed or chromolithographed plates. Most plates were made by G. Severeyns, one of the most prominent lithographers in 19th century Belgium who started in 1829 a firm that would become the leading printing-establishment in that country.
Tillandsia bulbosa had been illustrated in Hooker's Exotic Flora some twenty years before this drawing in Annales de Gand (Figure 39) appeared, made after a specimen that could be seen flowering at a horticultural exhibition at Antwerp in 1847. This grey epiphytic Tillandsia has a distribution from Mexico to Brazil.
Some of the 9 bromeliads in Annales de Gand were new species, such as Puya maidifolia (Figure 40). The drawing was made from a plant exhibited at a flowershow in 1849 in Gent; it had first flowered in the greenhouse of Jean Jules Linden in december 1848. Funck and Schlimm collected it in Venezuela. Linden had send some material of this plant to Joseph Decaisne, a Belgian botanist working in Paris. Decaisne only received withered flowers and shrivered leaves, good enough though for him to think of the name maidifolia because the leaves looked like that of maize. Morren adopted this name although he had not seen the plant himself and therefore did not give a full description, having only the drawing at his disposal. Decaisne later made the combination Pitcairnia maidifolia, this was published by J. Planchon in 1854. The distribution of Pitcairnia maidifolia ranges from Honduras to Colombia and Surinam where it grows as a terrestrial and saxicolous plant. On the drawing the zygomorph character of the flowers is not discernable, contrary to that on a plate of the same species in the journal Flore des Serres some years later (Figure 41).
Flore des serres et des jardins de l'Europe was a monthly periodical started by Louis Van Houtte. In his twenties Van Houtte had traveled in Brazil and Central America to collect plants. Back home again he worked a few years in Brussels for the botanical garden, at the time a commercial company. He soon started his own horticultural firm in Gentbrugge (now part of Gent) where he also founded a horticultural school and served as burgomaster. The Van Houtte Hortus was very large and had its own printing department in the middle of the garden to make the catalogues of the Hortus and the magazine. Van Houtte ran the firm for 50 years. About 2100 plates were published in the 23 volumes of Flore des serres in the years 1845-1880, most of them chromolithographs by G. Severeyns, L. Stroobant and P. De Pannemaeker, however with only 20 bromeliads. The plants depicted were for sale in the nursery. Frenchman Charles Lemaire edited the first 10 volumes, he had come to Belgium on invitation by Van Houtte and had already worked in Paris for several periodicals. The list of names of other contributing botanists includes H. Baillon, E. Boissier, A. Brongniart, A. de Candolle, J. Linden, E. Carrière, J. Decaisne, K. Koch, E. Morren, H. Reichenbach, J. Planchon, M. Scheidweiler (who was also editor for some years), H. Wendland and H. Witte. The first volume was published in three languages. For vol.11-14 the title was expanded with the line "journal général de'horticulture", with vol.15-23 this had changed into "annales générales de'horticulture". Van Houtte was a member of the horticultural and botanical society in Gent and as such was one of the initiators of Annales de la société royale d'agriculture et de botanique de Gand in 1845. When he started his own journal Flore des Serres in the same year, the horticultural society was not pleased as the journals were direct competitors. Van Houtte resigned as member. After a failed attempt to merge the two journals in 1849, Morren's Annales de Gand lost the subsidy of the government and had to stop.
A new species of a new genus was Disteganthus basilateralis Lemaire (Figure 42). Lemaire writes that a living plant was send from Cayenne in French Guiana by Eugène Mélinon to the museum of natural history in Paris; later he saw this species flowering in the nursery of Louis Van Houtte where L. Stroobant made the hand-coloured lithograph. The flowers are emerging from the base of the plant, which grows as a terrestrial in wet forests and produces stoloniferous offsets, forming large colonies. Also new was Pitcairnia nubigena Planchon & Linden (Figure 43), a species "from the clouds" as the name implies. It grows at altitudes of 1800-2400 meters in the Andes in Venezuela as a terrestrial in cool moist forests. The collectors Nicolas Funck and Joseph Schlimm found it on the Paramo de los Conejos in the state of Mérida in 1847. Planchon writes that it flowered in the greenhouse of Linden in Brussels in 1852. Citing part of the description: "This species distinguishes itself among the most beautiful of its group by the gay green foliage and the brilliant racemose inflorescence with carmine flowers and vivid metallic reflection".
The plate of Puya chilensis Molina (Figure 44) was reproduced from the English Curtis's Botanical Magazine, this plant flowered at Kew in 1853. It is a species from dry coastal central Chile where it grows to 5 m. in height.
The Journal d'horticulture pratique de la Belgique, où guide des amateurs et jardiniers was published in Brussels from 1844-1857 in the unusual small format of 11x17 cm. Successive editors of the 14 volumes were Michel Scheidweiler, Alexandre Ysabeau and Henri Galeotti. There were 10 plates in each volume, among the few bromeliads was the newly described species Billbergia liboniana (Figure 45). The plant was received by De Jonghe from Libon who collected it in 1848 near Petropolis in Brazil. An offshoot of the plant flowered in 1851. The species was later transfered to the genus Quesnelia by Mez. A succeeding journal, the Journal d'horticulture pratique de la Belgique, revue de l'horticulture belge et d'etrangère with 5 volumes published in 1857-1861, was also edited by Henri Galeotti and later by Nicolas Funck. There are no plates of bromeliads in there.
While Lemaire was editor of Flore des serres he also directed in the years 1851-1854 the 4 volumes of Le Jardin Fleuriste, journal général des progrès et des intérèts horticoles et botaniques, each volume in 24 parts published by F. and E. Gyselynck, printers and lithographers at Gent. Among the 430 plates were 15 bromeliads, however they were almost all remakes of drawings from the English journals. An exception is the one of Dyckia princeps, a new species described by Lemaire and illustrated with an original drawing (Figure 46). This plant is known from the type collection only and typified on the basis of this illustration and description. Horticulturist Jean De Jonghe of Brussels writes in a letter to Lemaire: "According to his notes on his voyage to Brazil, Libon has found this Dyckia in 1847 close to the mountain Itacolumi not far from the city of Ouro Preto in Minas Gerais, where it grows on rocks. Some shoots of this Dyckia arrived at Brussels in August 1847 where they were cultivated because of their particularity. One flowered in June 1851, what a long time and how much care needed to get a first result ! In December of that year two other plants flowered".
In 1854 Ambroise Verschaffelt founded L'Illustration Horticole, journal spécial des serres et des jardins which he published for the first 16 volumes with (again) Charles Lemaire as the editor. It was the successor of Le Jardin Fleuriste. At the start it was printed by the same company as Flore des serres. Verschaffelt was a horticulturist in Gent, since 1850 in charge of the firm founded by his grandfather. He sold the firm and the journal to Jean Jules Linden in 1869; the editorship of the journal then went to Édouard André and that meant the end of the career of Lemaire. Linden was born in Luxemburg and started at the age of 19 collecting orchids. In Brazil he traveled with the collectors Funck and Ghiesbrecht and later he made travels to Mexico and the Caribbean. His renowned horticultural firms in Gent and Brussels were based on the culture of orchids and he published some beautiful illustrated books on that family of plants. With Linden as director of L'Illustration Horticole, the journal continued up to volume 43 in 1896; his son Lucien edited volume 28-43 and Émile Rodigas, botanist and zoologist at Gent, was the other editor in that period. The full title of the journal had changed in the meantime to L'Illustration Horticole, revue mensuelle des plantes les plus remarquables. The numbering of the plates restarted several times but about 1500 plates were produced including 35 of bromeliads. Many drawings and lithographs were made by L. and P. Stroobant (father and son) and P. de Pannemaeker. Mathieu Libon who worked for several firms in Belgium (Jacob-Makoy in Liège, De Jonghe in Brussels, Linden) collected in 1853 the ornamental plant described by Lemaire as Billbergia marmorata (Figure 47). The purple-mottled leaves give the plant an appearance reminiscent to marble, hence the name. It is an epiphyte from central-eastern Brazil. The generic name evolved via Aechmea to Quesnelia as explained once in an article in the BSI Journal (Read 1965). The next species illustrated here has been published twice in 1877 with a colourplate. The first time in L'Illustration Horticole under the name of Caraguata musaica by André (Figure 48). A plant was sent in 1871 by Gustav Wallis, a German gardener and explorer, from Ocaña in Colombia to Jules Linden in Belgium. The horticultural company of William Bull in England did also receive a plant and both flowered in 1875 at the same time, one in London and the other in Linden's Italian branch in Pallanza. In a second publication, shortly thereafter in La Belgique Horticole, the name had become Massangea musaica. The genus Massangea was new and named by Édouard Morren in honor of Ferdinand Massange de Louvrex who had a flowering specimen of this plant in 1877 at St.Gilles near Liège. The first description of the species had already appeared in L'Illustration Horticole in 1873 and was made from a non-flowering plant ; it was baptised by Linden and André with the name Tillandsia musaica. Now we know it as Guzmania musaica. The irregular transverse lines on the leaves forming a mosaic give the plant its name, however there are several varieties described later without these markings. Another discovery by Wallis, near Para not far from the river Amazone in Brazil in 1866, flowered in the greenhouses of Linden at Brussels in 1870. This magnificient plant (Figure 49) was named Bromelia fernandae by Édouard Morren after Fernande, a daughter of Linden; the current name is Aechmea fernandae. This terrestrial species can grow fairly large with leaves of 1.5 meter, but the height is only 40 cm.
Collected and newly described in the genus Caraguata by André was the species currently known as Guzmania vanvolxemii (Figure 50). This plant grows at 2500 m. altitude to a height of 1 m. in Colombia.
Three bromeliads are appearing in Les plantes ornamentales á feuillage panaché et coloré, two volumes published in Gent in 1873-1874 with 60 plates by P. & L. Stroobant. It was edited by Alexis Dallière, collaborators were Alfred Cogniaux and Elie Marchal. Here below are Neoregelia spectabilis and Werauhia sanguinolenta (courtesy of Koninklijke Maatschappij voor Landbouw en Plantkunde, Gent).
The last periodical from Belgium mentioned here is of some later date: Revue de l'horticulture belge et étrangère, with 40 volumes from 1875-1914. Count Oswald de Kerckhove de Denterghem was the founder and chief editor. Other editors were F. Burvenich, E. Pynaert, A. van Geert and H. van Hulle. It was the time hybridizing grew popular and that is reflected in the illustrations, of the 5 plates of bromeliads that I did see (in vol.1-24) there were 4 of Vriesea hybrids. One of these is Vriesea Gravisiana (Figure 51), a hybrid made by E. Morren and named after A. Gravis, director of the botanical institute of Liège. It is a cross of Vriesea Morreniana (also a Morren hybrid) with the species Vriesea barilletii.
McWilliams, E. (1968). Billbergia in cultivation. J. Bromeliad Soc. 18(1):7-16.
Neighbors, M.L. (1977). Bromelia alsodes St. John: a taxonomic whodunit. Journal of the Bromeliad Society 27:195-200.
Padilla, V. (1984). The legacy of C. Jacques Édouard Morren. J. Bromeliad Soc. 34(1):6-7.
Read, R.W. (1965). Quesnelia marmorata, the correct name for a well-known Aechmea. J. Bromeliad Soc. 15(2):23-26.
Smith, L.B. (1984). Morren's paintings. J. Bromeliad Soc. 34(1):4-5.
Stafleu, F.A. and Cowan, R.S. (1976-1988). Taxonomic literature vol.1-7, Ed.2. Bohn, Scheltema and Holkema. Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Figure 30. Bromelia alsodes St. John. Published as Bromelia sylvestris Willdenow ex Link. Drawing and lithography G, Severeyns. Sertum Botanicum (1828-1832).
Figure 31. Tillandsia streptophylla Scheidweiler ex C. Morren. L'Horticulteur Belge vol. 3 page 253 (1836).
Figure 32. Tillandsia streptophylla Scheidweiler ex C. Morren. La Belgique Horticole vol.28 plate 18-19 (1878).
Figure 33. Tillandsia brachycaulos Schlechtendal. La Belgique Horticole vol.28 plate 11 (1878).
Figure 34. Vriesea scalaris E. Morren. Lithography P. Stroobant, La Belgique Horticole vol.30 plate 15 (1880).
Figure 35. Cryptanthus beuckeri E. Morren. Lithography P. Stroobant, La Belgique Horticole vol.31 plate 17 (1881).
Figure 36. Vriesea hieroglyphica (Carrière) E. Morren. Drawing M. Leschaud, lithography P. Stroobant, La Belgique Horticole vol.35 plate 10-12 (1885).
Figure 37. Guzmania osyana (E. Morren) Mez. Published as Caraguata osyana E. Morren. Drawing J. Cambresier, lithography P. Stroobant, La Belgique Horticole vol.35 plate 16-17 (1885).
Figure 38. Title-page of Annales de Gand vol.2 (1846).
Figure 39. Tillandsia bulbosa Hooker. Annales de Gand vol.3 plate 142 (1847).
Figure 40. Pitcairnia maidifolia (E. Morren) Decaisne ex Planchon. Published as Puya maidifolia E. Morren. Drawing B. Léon, lithography G. Severeyns, Annales de Gand vol.5 plate 289 (1849).
Figure 41. Pitcairnia maidifolia (E. Morren) Decaisne ex Planchon. Published as Puya maidifolia 'Planchon & Linden' (error). Drawing and lithography L. Stroobant, Flore des Serres vol.9 plate 915 (1853).
Figure 42. Disteganthus basilateralis Lemaire. Drawing and lithography L. Stroobant, Flore des serres vol.3 plate 5 (1847).
Figure 43. Pitcairnia nubigena Planchon & Linden. Flore des serres vol.8 plate 847 (1852).
Figure 44. Puya chilensis Molina. Original drawing and lithography W. Fitch in Curtis's Botanical magazine vol.79 plate 4715 (1853), Flore des serres vol.9 plate 869-870 (1853).
Figure 45. Quesnelia liboniana (De Jonghe) Mez. Published as Billbergia liboniana De Jonghe. Journal d'horticulture pratique de la Belgique vol.9 plate 1 (1851).
Figure 46. Dyckia princeps Lemaire. Le Jardin Fleuriste vol.3 plate 224-225 (1853).
Figure 47. Quesnelia marmorata (Lemaire) R.W. Read. Published as Billbergia marmorata Lemaire. Drawing and lithography L. Stroobant, L'Illustration Horticole vol.2 plate 48 (1855).
Figure 48. Guzmania musaica (Linden & André) Mez. Published as Caraguata musaica (Linden & André) André. Drawing and lithography P. de Pannemaeker, L'Illustration Horticole vol.24 plate 268 (1877).
Figure 49. Aechmea fernandae (E. Morren) Baker. Published as Bromelia fernandae E. Morren. Drawing and lithography L. Stroobant, L'Illustration Horticole vol.18 plate 65 (1871).
Figure 50. Guzmania vanvolxemii (André) André ex Mez . Published as Caraguata vanvolxemii André. Drawing and lithography P. de Pannemaeker, L'Illustration Horticole vol.25 plate 326 (1878).
Figure 51. Vriesea Gravisiana. Drawing and lithography P. de Pannemaeker, Revue de l'horticulture belge et étrangère vol.16 page 49 (1890).