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Eric J. Gouda, 2018 Recipient of the BSI's Wally Berg Award of Excellence.

At each Bromeliad Society International (BSI) conference, the BSI's highest award, the Wally Berg Award of Excellence, is given to a specialist in bromeliads. The expert must be internationally renowned in at least four of seven areas specified in the call for nominations for the award (Bert, 2017).

At the 2018 BSI World Conference, Eric Gouda received the award. In the bromeliad world, Eric has many professional achievements and has volunteered his time and expertise for more than three decades. Despite his busy work schedule, he has routinely assisted when needed, often at an international level. Eric's areas of expertise include bromeliad ecology, taxonomy, culture, and identification. Eric is also skilled in developing and maintaining websites and in computer programming.

Eric attained a Doctorate of Science in Botany in 1987. His thesis topic was the Tillandsioideae of the Guianas. In 1994, after a brief period as Assistant Curator, Eric became the Curator of Living Collections for the University of Utrecht Botanic Gardens in The Netherlands; a position he still holds today. Early in this tenure, Eric began development of the Bromeliaceae section of the Gardens, focusing on Tillandsia species. In that capacity, he fosters various groups who visit the Gardens and teaches about neotropical plants, particularly bromeliads. Eric was also instrumental in forming the Dutch/Belgian Contact Group, which is affiliated with the BSI. He has been their chairman since 2000 and routinely gives talks; arranges field days, shows, and displays; and serves as their Newsletter Editor and Webmaster.

Eric has maintained membership in the BSI since approximately 1976. He has attended several international and regional bromeliad conferences, including BSI world conferences; and as a keynote speaker or lecturer, has given multiple presentations on collecting bromeliads in the wild and on topics related to bromeliad cultivation. Eric currently serves as a BSI International Director; and since 2013, has been a member of the Scientific Review Panel.

Since 2015, he has also been the BSI Webmaster. When the BSI Board of Directors was seeking answers to ongoing technical problems in the BSI website, Eric developed a better layout, improved the website's formatting, secured the site, and made it more user friendly. On the website, he also assists the BSI Cultivar Registrar in maintaining, updating, and expanding the BSI Cultivar Register (http://registry., an online repository for registering bromeliad hybrids and cultivars. Eric has also bred and registered a few bromeliad hybrids and assisted with developing or naming several others. These include Aechmea 'Pseudonudicaulis', which was reclassified from species to cultivar; Billbergia Gouda's Glory, Billbergia Nutant Bronze, Billbergia 'Spider, Tillandsia Little Thing, Tillandsia Pink Sugar, and Tillandsia Rocket, all bred by Eric; and Tillandsia Sesea, developed from seed supplied by Eric. In 2007, Eric also developed the BSI Seed Bank. Bromeliad growers, including Eric, contribute bromeliads seeds that are distributed to BSI members upon request.

In 2005, Eric and Derek Butcher developed the online Encyclopedia of Bromeliads (, which includes photos of species, often in native habitats; official botanical descriptions; scientific name changes; and other interesting information. Eric regularly liaises with other bromeliad botanists and taxonomists throughout the world about taxonomic issues. Bromeliad taxonomic revisions occur frequently, a result of ongoing phylogenetic studies on bromeliads. Together, Eric and Derek also maintain an online list of species-level taxonomic changes in bromeliads, with synonyms and cross-references (

Because of his taxonomic expertise in the Bromeliaceae, in 2009 Eric was appointed section editor for articles about the Bromeliaceae submitted to the journal Phyto taxa, an important international journal for botanical taxonomy ( Lastly, Eric regularly contributes to Brom-L, an online virtual bromeliad society developed established to share information and photos, discuss issues, and relate experiences of interest to bromeliad taxonomists and growers (http://

Through the years, Eric has participated in many botanical field trips, often with other botanists, throughout South America and Central America. During these trips, Eric occasionally discovers new information about previously-described taxa or discovers new taxa, adding to our understanding of the diversity, classification, CITES-status, and ecology of the Bromeliaceae. Eric has either authored, co-authored or amended the official botanical descriptions of over 50 taxa, which to date include the following:

Aechmea xlanjouwii (L. B. Smith) L. B. Smith, emend. E. J. Gouda

Aechmea maasii Gouda & W Till

Aechmea moonenii Gouda

Bromelia granvillei L. B. Smith & Gouda

Bromelia magnifica Esteves & Gouda

Bromelia tocantinense Esteves & Gouda

Cipuropsis amicorum (I. Ramirez & Bevilacqua) Gouda

Cipuropsis asmussii Gouda

Deuterocohnia carmineoviridifilora (Rauh) Gouda =>Deuterocohnia meziana subsp. carmineoviridifilora

Disteganthus lateralis (L. B. Smith) Gouda

Dyckia piauiensis Esteves & Gouda

Dyckiapiracanjubensis Esteves & Gouda

Dyckia splendida Esteves & Gouda

Guzmania altsonii L. B. Smith emend Gouda

Guzmania densispica Gouda & Manzanares

Guzmania inkaterrae Gouda & C. Soto

Guzmania monostachia forma alba (ariza-julia) Gouda

Pitcairnia cremersii Gouda

Pitcairnia floresii Gouda & Ric. Fernandez

Pitcairnia saxosa Gouda

Pitcairnia semijuncta Baker emend. Gouda

Pitcairnia vandersteenii Gouda

Puya aequatorialis forma albiflora (Andre) Gouda

Puya harrylutheri Gouda

Racinaea condorensis Manzanares & Gouda

Racinaea decipiens (Andre) Gouda & Manzanares

Racinaea decipiens var. tomensis (Smith) Gouda & Manzanares

Racinaea guacamayosensis Manzanares & Gouda

Racinaea penduliflora Gouda & Manzanares

Racinaea pulchella (Andre) Gouda & Manzanares

Racinaea terrestris Manzanares & Gouda

Racinaea tillii Manzanares & Gouda

Tillandsia ceesgoudae Gouda

Tillandsia condorensis (Manzanares & Gouda) Christenh. & Byng => Racinaea condorensis

Tillandsia copynii Gouda

Tillandsia edithae var. araucariifolia Gouda

Tillandsia funckiana var. recurvifolia Gouda in Wubben hort, ex Rauh

Tillandsia hansonii Manzanares & Gouda

Tillandsia ixioides subsp. viridiflora (Rauh) Gouda

Tillandsia machupicchuensis Gouda & J. Ochoa

Tillandsia manzanilloensis Gouda

Tillandsia melanocraterh. B. Smith emend. Gouda

Tillandsia pardoi Gouda

Tillandsia prolata (H. Luther) Gouda & Barfuss

Tillandsia renateehlersiae Leme & Gouda

Tillandsia spiculosa var. stenoglossa (L. B. Smith) Gouda =>Racinaea spiculosa var. stenoglossa

Tillandsia spiralipetala Gouda

Tillandsia tafiensis (L. B. Smith) Gouda

Tillandsia tenuifolia var. glaucifolia Gouda

Tillandsia tenuifolia var. nigrifolia Gouda

Tillandsia tetrantha var. caribaea (L.B. Smith) Gouda =>Racinaea tetrantha var. caribaea.

Tillandsia xwilinskii Gouda

Vriesea duidae (L.B. Smith) Gouda

Vrieseapleiosticha (Grisebach) Gouda =>Mezobromeliapleiosticha

One genus (Goudaea) and two species (Racinaea goudae and Pitcairnia goudae) of bromeliads have been named for Eric.

Eric has also contributed a number of scientific reports on bromeliad taxonomy. These include the following:

Gouda, E., 2017. A new species of Cipuropsis. BSI Journal 66 (2):75.

Gouda, E., & R. Gouda, 2017. Aechmea paniculata a large but not very well-known species from Amazonian Peru. BSI Journal 66 (1):20.

Roguenant, A. & E. Gouda, 2017. Marcel Lecoufle (1913-2016). BSI Journal 66 (4):272.

Butcher, D., & E. Gouda, 2016. Orthophytum saxicola. BSI Journal 66 (4):266.

Gouda, E., 2016. How variable is Neoregelia eleutheropetala ? BSI Journal 65 (4):249.

Gouda, E., & R. Gouda, 2016. A new and highly ornamental Pitcairnia species from Peru. BSI Journal 65 (4):222.

Gouda, E. J., & M. A. Wisnev. 2016. Identity of Billbergia speciosa Thunberg vs.

Billbergia elegans Mart. Ex Schult. & Schult f. BSI Journal 65 (4):239 Manzanares, J., & E. Gouda, 2016. New Tillandsia species (77 hansonii). BSI Journal 66 (4):251.

Pereira, E., & E. Gouda, 2016. A new Dyckia (D. piracanjubensis). BSI Journal 66 (3):172.

Pereira, E., & E. Gouda, 2016. New species, Bromelia magnifica. BSI Journal 66 (4):226.

Gouda, E., 2015. Notes on the polymorphic Tillandsia xiphioides Ker Gawler. BSI Journal 65 (2):111.

Gouda, E., 2015. Pitcairnia biflora, a beautiful small species. BSI Journal 65 (3):198.

Gouda, E., 2015. Notes on polymorphic Tillandsia xiphioides. BSI Journal 65 (2):111.

Gouda, E., & R. Gouda, 2015. New Pitcairnia species (P vandersteenii). BSI Journal 65 (4):222.

Esteves, E. P, & E. Gouda, 2014. A new Dyckia species (Bromeliaceae, Pitcairni oideae) from the Brazilian northeastern region. Phytotaxa 164 (4):296-300.

Gouda, E., 2014. A new variety of Tillandsia edithae. BSI Journal 64 (2):76-79Butcher, D., & E. Gouda, 2014. Most Ananas are Cultivars. Newsletter of the Pine apple Working Group, International Society for Horticultural Science 21: 9-11.

Gouda, E., 2013- A Very Rare Nocturnal Flowering New Puya from Amazonas, Venezuela. BSI Journal 62 (6):255-259.

Gouda, E., 2012. A remarkable new Pitcairnia (Bromeliaceae) species from Peru. Phytotaxa 49:9-33.

Gouda, E., 2012. A very rare nocturnal flowering new Puya from Amazonian Venezuela. BSI Journal 62 (6):255

Gouda, E., 2012.Deuterocohnia carmineo-viridiflora--a new status for a remarkable species from Bolivia and Paraguay. Die Bromelie 2012 (3): 115-117

Gouda, E., 2012. Two new species in Tillandsioideae (Bromeliaceae) of Machu Pic chu, Peru. Phytotaxa, 46:10-18.

Gouda, E. J., 2011. The correct name for Guzmania fusispica. BSI Journal 61(3):102.

Gouda, E., 2000. Checklist of Bromeliaceae of the Guianas with notes on critical species. Selbyana 20:30-39.

Gouda, E. J., & J. Manzanares, 2008. A new species of Racinaea (Bromeliaceae) from Peru. BSI Journal 58 (4): 156.

Scharf, U., & E. J. Gouda, 2008. Bringing Bromeliaceae back to Homeland Botany. BSI Journal 58 (3): 123.

Gouda, E., 1999. Bromeliaceae of the Guianas. Flora of the Guianas Newsletter 12:14-15.

Gouda, E., 1987. Flora of the Guianas--Bromeliaceae (Tillandsioideae). In Ara Gorts-van Rijn (eds.), Flora of the Guianas, pp. 1-112. Koeningstein: Koeltz Scientific Books.

Eric richly deserves the BSI Wally Berg Award of Excellence for his enduring love of bromeliads and his significant contributions to bromeliad science and the BSI.

Literature cited

Bert, T.M. 2017. Call for nominations for the BSI Wally Berg Award of Excellence./. BromeliadSoc. 1:11 13.

Caption: Figure 1. Eric Couda after receiving the BS I Wally Berg Award of Excellence plaque, presented to him by Peter Bak at his local society meeting in September 2018. Photo by Roel Tomassen.
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Author:Bert, Theresa M.; Lawn, Geoff; Wegner, Lyn
Publication:Journal of the Bromeliad Society
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2018
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