Deuterocohnia brevifolia forma chlorantha (Argentine Ball) - A small dense and attractive terrestrial bromeliad that forms dense mounds (called pollsters) to a foot tall or more composed of tiny 1-inch-wide rosettes of sharp tipped triangular leaves with tiny teeth along the margin and appear whitish from the covering of light reflecting trichome hairs. We have never seen this particular small form bloom, but other Deuterocohnia brevifolia we have in our collection have chartreuse colored flowers in winter to early spring that are nestled into the leaves. These flowers are interesting but not particularly showy.
Plant in full to part sun in a well-drained soil and irrigate occasionally in the pot to very little if planted in the ground. Hardy to around 20 °F. A very interesting plant in a rock or succulent garden setting or kept as an unusual potted plant that with time will cover the pot, and sometimes flow down onto what-ever surface it is placed.
This plant has circulated in the trade under the names Abromeitiella chlorantha or A. brevifolia ssp. chlorantha. It is native to Argentina in the region of Tucuman and southern Bolivia where it can be found clambering over the rocks on steep slopes in an arid climate were fog supplies much of its water needs. Though seemingly quite different from other species of Deuterocohnia, Abromeitiella were formally synonymized with the genus in 1992 by American botanists Michael Spencer and Lyman Smith in "A revision of the genus Deuterocohnia Mez (Bromeliaceae. Pitcaimioideae)" published in Bradea 6, the journal of the Rio de Janeiro Herbarium. The genus was named for the German botanist Ferdinand Julius Cohn with the preface Greek word 'deuter' (or 'deutero' meaning "second" (or second Cohnia) as the name Cohnia had already been used to describe an orchid. The original name Abometitiella was coined by Carl Christian Mez in 1927 to honor the German botanist Johannes Abromeit. Previously the plants in the genus had also been included in the genus Pitcairnia and this group of bromeliads in the sub-family Pitcairniodae are considered to be among the most primitive of the family. The specific epithet is a reference to the short leaves and the form chlorantha, which formally was elevated to the species or to the subspecies level, means "green flowered", but current treatment has synonymized it within the species, so we treat it as a form. A beautiful 2-foot-wide mounded specimen of this species in a low bowl planter went for $4,000 at the 2021 Lotusland Exceptional Plant Auction. This 30-year-old plant had been donated by Santa Barbara bromeliad growers Dorothy and John Warnock. We also grow the larger silver white leafed species, Deuterocohnia lorentziana.
The information about Deuterocohnia brevifolia forma chlorantha displayed on this page is based on research conducted in our nursery library and from online sources we consider reliable. We will also relate those observations made of this plant as it grows in our nursery gardens and in other gardens that we have visited, as well how the crops have performed in containers in our nursery field. We will also incorporate comments we receive from others and welcome hearing from anyone who has additional information, particularly when they share cultural information that would aid others in growing it.