Deuterocohnia brevifolia

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Grand Chupacabra
Dec 26, 2012
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Central North Carolina
Deuterocohnia brevifolia is a particularly feisty terrestrial bromeliad. This plant has undergone several name changes, a situation that we orchid growers are all too familiar with, but I think this is the current accepted nomenclature.

The individual growths stay quite small, and these are amongst the smallest growing terrestrial bromeliads. However, as you can see, growths can persist for many years after flowering and eventually the whole thing just grows into a mat of growths, reminiscent of the way moss often grows.

Deuterocohnia brevifolia is highly adapted to a very arid lifestyle. From fall through winter I barely water it and it still shows no signs of stress. I probably over water this thing in the warmer months when it grows outdoors and gets naturally watered from rain, but fortunately for me, it seems to handle that just fine. This species loves high light, and if acclimated, it seems to handle the full North Carolina summer sun just fine, even in extreme heat. On the flip side, this is its first year growing in my minimally heated greenhouse, and so far it has tolerated temperatures flirting with freezing (for sure as low as 33F/0.5C).

Flowers aren't long lasting and like many bromeliads, they basically only last a day or two. No fragrance either. It is a seasonal bloomer, though this plant will periodically develop blooms whenever it feels like it in my care.

I call this one feisty because the leaf tips might as well be hypodermic needles. At least they don't typically break off once they've peirced the skin, but handling this plant can be unpleasant at times.


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