Font Size


How to Write Your Plant Labels

An important part of your bromeliad collection is the labelling. If you are going to the trouble of growing a nice plant the effect can be spoilt by a label written in a shoddy manner or in the incorrect format. It is particularly important when entering your plants in competitive shows.
If the plant is a species, then the genus should have a capital letter and small letters for the remainder of the label. The same is true for varieties and other botanically described forms. When printed, italics are used, although not necessary for your labels:

Tillandsia fasciculata
Tillandsia fasciculata var densispica
Neoregelia carolinae forma tricolor

Cultivars are as the name suggests, cultivated varieties and are plants that differ from the species or varieties to a recognizable degree. Their names are written with a capital letter and are enclosed in single quotes and we do not put this in italics when printing. They may be found in the wild or in cultivation. Strictly speaking it is not necessary to include the species on these labels but in practice it is helpful to know that this plant is a species and to differentiate from the next group:

Billbergia vittata ‘Domingos Martins’
Neoregelia johannis ‘DeRolf’
Aechmea gamosepala ‘Lucky Stripes’
Vriesea fosteriana ‘Red Chestnut’
Aechmea orlandiana ‘Ensign’

Cultivars also refer to this group, which are the product of crossing two species or hybrids, and these can only be propagated by offsets. When bromeliads are raised from seed there can be considerable variety in the progeny, particularly if the parents are themselves, hybrids, and the total issue is called the grex. A good example is Neoregelia Aussie Dream, a very diverse group of variegated plants, of which over 30 now carry a distinct name and these are cultivars. Once again the cultivar starts with a capital letter and has single quotes:

 Tillandsia fasciculata

Billbergia vittata 'Domingos Martins'

Neoregelia ‘Kahala Dawn’
Aechmea ‘Burgundy’
Billbergia ‘Catherine Wilson’

A cultivar name can occasionally be used for a species found in the wild, but not yet described by a botanist and formally named:

Neoregelia ‘Fireball’

This leaves a group of plants with unofficial names, such as ‘Variegata’, ‘Albomarginata’, giant form, red form etc. The best way to handle these is to follow the format we use in our Bromeliad Journal and that is to use brackets and anglicise where possible:



Neoregelia carolinae (variegated)
Neoregelia ‘Kahala Dawn’ (albomarginated)

Tillandsia bulbosa (large form)

Some examples where the importance of writing the labels correctly is demonstrated:

Neoregelia tigrina a species
Neoregelia ‘Tigrina’ a cultivar of Neoregelia ampullacea
Neoregelia princeps a species
Neoregelia ‘Princeps’ a cultivar of Neoregelia carolinae

An another example where there is confusion because the ‘incomplete’ name does not have the species:

Neoregelia ‘Inferno’ a cultivar of Neoregelia carolinae
Neoregelia ‘Inferno’ a hybrid between Neo marmorata and Neo ‘Royal Robe’

  Neo 'Kahala Dawn' (albomarginated)


You are here: Home Articles How to Write Your Plant Labels