Derek the Hybrid Detective

DD0512b Deuterocohnia ‘Little Marj’
named by Chris Larson.
registration by Derek Butcher, May 2012

In ‘Uncle Derek says’ on the website you can read the following:
“Meanwhile, I had a friend Chris Larson from Melbourne who was doing a trip to NW Argentina in 1988 and I asked him to keep an eye open for the smaller Deuterocohnia. He reported seeing many mounds (or polsters) of plants where individual plants in the same clump varied in size depending on shade etc. BUT he and Marj MacNamara did find in one area very small plants, one of which I was also lucky to acquire from him.”

They were growing in what could be called a niche environment. The usual dry rolling hills up the top of this valley were observed at the start of the dry period and again at the end of the dry. No mosses or peperomias were up on the hills no more than 30 metres away - 20 metres up the cliff and 10 metres back from the edge. But the river valley contained an abundance of these plants. This totally different life zone, with ferns, begonias, T. Tenuifolia, T. Australis & of course T. Albertiana (as this was the type locality of this species), was where ‘Little Marj’ was collected. The valley was probably no more than 40 metres across the river valley, at the widest – with totally different vegetation to what surrounds the valley. This plant did not appear to form mounds, or grow in the “typical” caulescent manner usually associated with this group.

Here the plants were only 3 cm in diameter and closer to Lyman Smith’s interpretation. This says ‘Leaves not over 22mm long’ = ‘brevifolia’ and ‘Leaves 50-150 mm long = ‘lorentziana’. What happens to plants with leaves from 23 mm to 49 mm long is a puzzle. The most common form of D. Brevifolia in Australia has leaves 25mm long which puts it in limbo land but closer to D. Brevifolia than D. Lorentziana! Clearly this latest collection was at the smaller end of the scale.

Derek Butcher’s plant has been forming a bigger and bigger clump. So much so it has been attracting attention from other Bromeliad growers. Offsets had been sold by Chris and Marj so it must be quite widespread in Australia. The time has come to bite the bullet and give this particular clone a Cultivar name because it is different. The only one that is close in size is D. Brevifolia ssp. chlorantha but that has leaves with many whiskery spines.
Marj died in 2011 and what better way to commemorate her than naming this plant after her.

Reg Doc 5/2012

Deuterocohnia ‘Little Marj’

Derek Butcher 05/12

Updated 24/05/12