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There are two varieties of Portea petropolitana that are cultivated as ornamental plants:
- Portea petropolitana var. petropolitana — native to Espirito Santo near the ocean. It may reach a height of 3 to 4 feet prior to flowering. The dark green leaves are heavily spined and form a stiff rosette. The inflorescence reaches 12 to 18 inches long, bearing colorful flowers with white lavender petals and orange sepals.
- Portea petropolitana var. extensa native to Espirito Santo. Introduced by American plant collector and breeder M. B. Foster. It is smaller in all parts compared to the other variety. It is characterized by light yellow green leaves and a coral red inflorescence with an upright rosette. The flower contains lavender petals, apple green overies, and berries that turn dark purple.