image of bromeliad genre

Portea (por'te-a) is a small genus of only seven species some of which are strikingly beautiful. It was discovered in Brazil in 1856 and was cultivated in 1885 by Marius Porte, a French collector Most of the Portea are large with a hearty rosette of thick leaves with aggressive spines along the margin. The only species of a reasonable size raised as an indoor pot plant is Portea kermesina. Although other Portea can be grown in pots they require a larger area inside the house.

Portea petropolitana was named for the Brazilian city of Petropolis, near which it was found. It stands about three feet tall with an inflorescence of blue and pink which adds another three feet to the plant. It grows well in full sun. It multiples readily and becomes a beautiful grouping with long-lasting flowers in a few years.

Portea kermesina is a smaller plant which grows to about two to three feet tall with a carmine red inflorescence that reaches only a few inches beyond the leaves. Although P. kermesina typically has a red inflorescence (kermes is an Arabic word for carmine) Lyon Arboretum has a large bed of a P. kermesina cultivar which is almost albino.

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