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  2. Derrick

    Improve your cultivation of the Hydnophytinae

    I have just received this email from ecoguide Enoch Bulunamur resident of Breakthrough Mission, Siasiada Village, Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. The mission has guest bungalows that earn income to support the communities primary school. Quote "The Scientific plant journal that you sent me finally arrived here in good condition. Though it took almost ages to reach me, I am so pleased to be in possession of one of your great works. Thank you so much for this gift, and the promotion the ant plant and people of this region have gained through your literature. Just one news, I managed to locate both Anthorrhiza bracteosa and A. areolata on the South coast from where I live. They just look slightly different from the ones on Normanby Island (etc). The funny thing is, instead of ants, huge possums also tunnel through and make their homes inside. Their tubers are so huge." Unquote. It is quite possible that such previously unrecorded mainland anthorrhizas may be genetically distinct from those on the islands off the NORTH coast of the Papuan (Birds tail) Peninsula.
  3. Philpatrick

    Myrmecodia pollen

    Pollen dimensions: ~110 μm x 54 μm. 40x objective. Myrmecodia species from Irian Jaya with winged clypeoli. Images of dry vesiculate pollen.
  4. Huxley and Jebb's 1993 Revision of the Genus Myrmecodia provides considerable information about the pollen of the various species. There is special equipment needed to see the microscopic pollen grains and a unique vocabulary needed for understanding the descriptions of the pollen. It would be nice to start developing some of this information to help with identifications of the plants. Here is a start on some of the terminology involved.
  5. Orchidman

    false scale on myrmecodia tuberosa

    The crystals only appear on the undersides of the leaves and as yet not at all on the new leaves. With the information here I am leaning to think the environmental change from the humidity changing from a varying 40% to 75 % in the greenhouse, depending on the time of day, to a constant 90% in the terrarium being the cause since the new leaves grew in this higher humidity and the older leaves growing at the lower humidity and then being moved to the new environment.
  6. Orchidman

    false scale on myrmecodia tuberosa

    These pictures do look very much like the issue with the seedling I originally brought up this issue about. As a follow up , when I returned the plant to the terrarium after washing the crystals off the leaves, the crystals again are forming on the bottom of the same (now older leaves). The newer two leaves are now larger than the original two leaves so the plants certainly seems happier than it was in the greenhouse. The two new leaves do not yet have these crystals forming on them. If it were due to any insect involvement you would expect it to occur on the new softer tissue of the new leaves not reoccurring on the older more hardened off tissue of the old leaves. Probably not due to insects!?
  7. Philpatrick

    false scale on myrmecodia tuberosa

    I did not record any magnification data and I will start to post that information. The microscope was a zoom stereo trinocular dissecting microscope on an articulating arm. The photoport is coupled with a camera body and a tethered flash gun is used for lighting. The articulating arm combined with a turn table makes it easy to navigate around to scope the plant. I will try to include measurements and use a microscope slide rule since the images have been resized and cropped. I took some pictures of the fluid before and after evaporation (1). I am not sure about composition. No fluid rushed out. I opened another "blister" with a hypodermic needle (2), the fluid inside quickly evaporates and large cell walls can be seen. (1) (2) When the ants explored them with their antennae It reminded me of how ants zone in on extrafloral nectaries of some Nepenthes. These are thicker areas on the undersides of the leaves (3) and (4). My guess is the thicker areas are formed when the process repeats on the same site or proximal, overlapping and creating a thicker layer. If it is cork tissue, I am working on images to visualize the suberin if present. (3) (4) Yes Frank you are correct, the top darker green photo is the flash illuminating the top of the leaf with reflected light. The lighter yellow photo is the flash transmitting light through the leaf from behind. I took these pictures as an easy way to see if the blisters were symetrical on front as well as back. The dark shadows on the lighter image are mainly cast from the growths on the backside. The blisters can only be seen as an outline. Yes, the newly formed blisters are crystal clear. The plant is in a terrarium with high humidity. I had a question Orchidman, are the crystals on the top side of the leaf as well as the underside?
  8. Orchidman

    false scale on myrmecodia tuberosa

    These pictures do look very much like the issue with the seedling I originally brought up this issue about. As a follow up , when I returned the plant to the terrarium after washing the crystals off the leaves, the crystals again are forming on the bottom of the same (now older leaves). The newer two leaves are now larger than the original two leaves so the plants certainly seems happier than it was in the greenhouse. The two new leaves do not yet have these crystals forming on them. If it were due to any insect involvement you would expect it to occur on the new softer tissue of the new leaves not reoccurring on the older more hardened off tissue of the old leaves. Probably not due to insects!?
  9. Hi Philpatrick, Welcome to the forum. These are some fantastic observations and great photos. I know a lot of us here are not familiar with the technology you are using so I hope you will indulge us with answers to the questions that will surely come. Including right now from me!.....laughing.... What kind of microscope are you using please. I don't think this kind of magnification comes on a dissecting microscope? I know it would be very useful to us if you could indicate the magnification for each photograph next to it. How do you know the clear sacs are water filled - did you see liquid rush out when the ants bite the blisters? You say the ants were "chewing off the blisters" They were actually eating or carrying away the clear (epidermis I assume) that was the cover of the blisters? Do you think the ants were drinking or collecting the fluid in the blisters? A few of the blisters seem to have thicker, slightly brownish walls. Can you say that you think this is cork forming? Or perhaps some artifact of the way some blisters photograph? Are you confident (given the magnification you are using and the number of blisters you looked at) that there are no small mites or other vermin in the blisters that could be causing them? And finally on the last two photos: Am I correct that the top, darker green photo, is the top of the leaf being lit from above and the bottom yellower photo is still the top of the leaf but with no light from the top and only light from below? I need some help here, what have these two photos shown you, I do not know how to interpret what I am seeing. Well, I though that was all the help I needed here but after a half hour at this only now do my old eyes see some very clear, flatter looking circles on the photos! Are these the blisters just forming and all the other ones I have been looking at have been compromised by the ants? Sorry to ask so many questions - I may force you to write a book here......laughing..... Seriously, thank you very much !!!
  10. I suspect that one of the very best ways for cultivators to improve their skills is to see plants in their natural habitats. Certainly many of the photographs shown in ant-plant forums show specimens vastly different from how they are in nature. Here is an opportunity to see and photograph a variety of anthorrizas, dischidias, hoyas, hydnophytums and myrmecodias in their natural habitats. If only two ant-plant aficionados join, then the tour's main focus will be on such plants. However, there is also much more interesting wildlife to be seen in this truly fascinating place. New Guinea is usually an extremely expensive place to visit so this tour truly is an absolute bargain. For example, when I visited Rondon Lodge above Mt Hagen town, it cost US$1.000 per night. http://gondconnect.com.au/Index.asp?pagename=UPCOMING+TOURS&site=1&siteid=8283 MILNE BAY WILDLIFE TOUR 2018. This proposed trip will run between the 16th and 30th November 2018 and offers the unique opportunity to encounter a wonderful array of wildlife from this far eastern province of Papua New Guinea. Appart from mainland sites, we will also visit the D'Entrecasteaux Islands. This all inclusive tour cost ex Cairns, North Queensland is AU$5560 p/p twin share. Based on three participants. For further details and booking form, please go to our Papua New Guinea page.
  11. Philpatrick

    false scale on myrmecodia tuberosa

    Do these liquid filled "blisters" fit the description? I also have more images to make observations from with various types of corking. The ants that were roaming this Myrmecodia were chewing off the blisters and had to be road blocked to keep the blisters intact to photograph them. I coated the leaf petiole with petroleum jelly to barricade them. This worked, though I didn't know ants could jump to the leaf and I had to eliminate launch points. To determine if the blisters developed symmetrically on the back of the leaf, two images were taken frontlight and backlight respectively. Over time the blisters dehydrated leaving a spot with a wrinkled epidermis. More blisters formed overlapping previous blister sites.
  12. Orchidman

    false scale on myrmecodia tuberosa

    Thank you for your thoughts on this I am somewhat reassured and have put the plant back in the terrarium-like enclosure that it developed the issue in as it seems to be happy in that it grew the 2 new leaves. I had rubbed of and washed the undersides of the leaves right away and so no longer have the material to look at under a magnifying lens but if it occurs again I will not freakout so quickly and will look at it more closely and perhaps take a close-up picture. Because of the rather large orchid collection I have I was of course VERY concerned if it was a pest as treating the entire greenhouse for scale is an onerous task and one I like to avoid. Thanks again for you reply
  13. One of the first ant-plants I bought on eBay, back in 2000, arrived with what looked like scale on the undersides of the leaves. The seller assured me it was not scale and encouraged me to look at it with a microscope. Sure enough, they were corky scar tissue that sure looked like scale, but all the scraping of them that I did provided no evidence of living scale insects. I have never heard the phrase "false scale" used for this until this year, 2018. I would like to know where that phrase started?! The most common explanation I have seen over the last 18 years is that the corky scar tissue I described above is the result of wild fluctuations of humidity coupled with excess water available at the roots causing guard cells on the stomata in the epidermis of the leaves to burst and be replaced by corky scar tissue. (for more explanation and photos see the two topics at the bottom of this "Diseases and other Problems" page called "White spots on my ant-plant" and "Leaf scars"). More information about this Oedema (edema) and Intumescences can be found in this fact sheet from the University of Massachusetts: https://ag.umass.edu/greenhouse-floriculture/fact-sheets/oedema-intumescences. It concerns Geraniums and also talks about other crops effected by edema. Obviously there is not material written directly about ant-plants and these edema issues as ant-plants are not a multi-million or billion dollar industry like Geraniums and sweet potatoes. Much of the research on edema issues comes out to the University of Kansas and some of it is casting doubt on on the above explanation for certain crops. (this is mentioned in the U. Mass article cited above) A second explanation for the scaring and corky growths is damage from microscopic eriophyid/gall mites. See and read the Topic two below this one: "Help, problems with M. armata" for more information on this. Finally let me point out some information specifically about Myrmecodias, Humidity and Intumescences. It is in Chapter 5 of this historic book "Manual of Plant Diseases" from 1922. The Myrmecodia information begins on page 437, but the way it is written will probably require reading more of the chapter to get the full meaning of it. I want to thank a personal contact for leading me to this resource. I hope he will join us on this forum soon and contribute directly to this topic.
  14. 🐜 I got a Myrmecodia tuberosa seedling a few months ago (2 leaves , cadex 2 cm in diameter, tiny white spots on the leaves), put it in my greenhouse and it did not progress No new leaves , cadex did not grow. I mainly grow orchids and these spots did not look like any scale I have ever seen. I put it in a terrarium and it grew two new leaves right away but produced MANY crystal-like /gelatinous looking things on the lower surface of the old leaves( enough to totally cover the leaf). The friend I got it from says this is false scale , not anything to worry about and a sign it likes the new conditions. Can anyone comment on false scale? Does this sound like it and if this as an actual a real thing?
  15. Orchidman

    Myrmecodia spec. Nord Sulawesi2

    I see the plants all orient towards the same direction I wondered what that was
  16. Frank

    2019 FORUM DONORS

    Given the success of funding the forum in 2017 and 2018 with donations from “we the members” let’s go ahead and do the same thing again in 2019. With our monthly fees to Invision being only $20 it should not “break the bank” for most of us to pitch in and fund a month or two. This small amount is keeping the fabulous photos and information we have accumulated here available to the entire world via the internet. If you want to step up and fund a month, please send me $20 USD by paypal to frankinmi@aol.com with the “note” line saying “forum” and the name you want me to use for you in the chart below (or let me know if you prefer to be acknowledged as “anonymous”). Whether you choose to fund a month or not, please, all of you, continue to share your information, insights and photos in postings to this forum. We are off to a fast start funding 2019 because of the generous donation of an anonymous donor in May of 2018. Please consider making your mark in 2019 by stepping up and funding a month. Thank you, Forum Administrator, Frank Omilian 2019 CONTRIBUTORS TO THE FORUM: January - Anonymous February - Anonymous March - Anonymous April - Frank Omilian May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December - Thank you very much to all the 2017, 2018 and 2019 donors!!!
  17. I have had this plant for several years. I had another of equal size that recently suddenly rotted. Now, this specimen has begun the same thing. I don’t understand what has happened to cause this situation, I’m turning to the knowledgeable experts on this forum to help. This picture was taken prior to its current poor health.
  18. Derrick

    Facebook.

    Hello Jay. Yes its a strange world we live in. Many of my valued inputs come from the resident of a remote village in Papua New Guinea that lacks almost all modern amenities, not even mains electricity. Yet communication with the outside world is now possible due to solar power, mobile phones and of course satellites. I occasionally browse the chat group forums where much is of 'the blind leading the blind' type of discourse. It tells me there is a prime need for a modern article covering the cultivation of epiphytic myrmecodomic species. Such a tome would first need to lay the basics of the plant groups covered. For example, the most pertinent of the five ecophysiological types of bromeliads (trichomes and their microbiota, roots and/or phytotelm nutrient intake strategies etc.) The structure of some epiphytic orchid roots. Drought tolerance or avoidance strategies such as in some Hydnophytum (they tend to keep their leaves) & Myrmecodia species (which tend to drop their leaves in drought.) The basics of CAM at least. Also the need for better feeding for those species that are ant inhabited species in nature. I suspect that those with a background cultivating carnivorous plants get this wrong. For succulent plant hobbyists the need of myrmecodomic plants for high humidity which is essential for their survival of frequent droughts up in their tree habitats. I am not qualified to do such a project but you Jay are probably among the world's best to do so. Perhaps send to the USA C&S soc or even publish a booklet. I await with intense interest your new website. Best wishes Derrick. .
  19. Hi all, I thought I'd share some of my young plants, some (youngest ones) still grown together in a container with high humidity, others divided into small groups/separately. I'm also adding the latest nepenthes Truncata 'red leaves' pitcher which is being grown next to the ant plants. Shimi
  20. There is as yet unpublished DNA research that at least one species currently named a Hydnophyum is actually an Anthorrhiza. Thus one wonders about this plants DNA and what it might reveal.
  21. My Facebook group has received a photo of what I think is Myrmephytum selebicum reputedly from "the Sulawesi area". It is a better match to Beccari's image in Malesia two than the plant in Satoshi's photos taken on Mindano Island. It suggests there may be genetic differences between the populations of these two regions. EDIT. There is a typo in the provenance, correctly it is Bukidnon. https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/
  22. Stone Jaguar

    Facebook.

    Hi, Derrick. Thanks very much for providing a link to your FB forum for those interested in this group of plants. Sadly, the evidence thus far suggests that most of the small community growing hydnophytines and other myrmecophytes is not a particularly vocal one. Certainly there appears to be more participation online by people who interact with them in the field (i.e. enthusiasts located in Malesia and some foreign researchers) and that that community does indeed seem to prefer engagement on Fakebook. As you noted, I specifically avoid that site. I find the founder a dishonest hypocrite and his product to be a loathsome parasite of the needy, the narcissistic and the very lonely, while providing only marginal real value to the arts, commerce and science. Its impact on global society and civilized discourse is, IMO, overwhelmingly negative. It richly deserves both the heavy boot of burro-cracy on its fat neck and to be the target of multiple, multi-billion dollar class actions. That opinion aside, I will be launching my own tropical natural history oriented website with a couple good friends in a few weeks that will also carry information on cultivating offbeat plants, including all genera of hydnophytines. Like others I know, I am disheartened that this particular forum did not develop the enthusiastic following that some of us believe it warranted. Sincerely, J
  23. Frank

    Avonia journal

    Congratulations Derrick but at this time any issues of Avonia after 2014 appear to be available only to members of the German society. And what percent of their content is in some language other than German?
  24. Derrick

    Facebook.

    If one only followed this platform, one could surely be forgiven for thinking that almost nothing new was happening in the world of epiphytic ant-plants. If it were not for those very very few participants herein such as Jay Vannini there would be almost nothing of any value in these pages, which is why I now seldom visit. Sadly Jay will not participate in Facebook. Yes, they do have a bad reputation for their data mining of users, but I enjoy feeding them misinformation. At least with Facebook there are some very interesting inputs, yet it is very evident that little comes from cultivators. However, there is no reason why members that use both groups can not use a little initiative and report herein news gleaned from my forum. I am on record that I am very happy to share information but in fairness to my sources, it is polite to note where such news was obtained. Running Epiphytic Myrmecophyte Images takes up quite a percentage of my time. I do not wish to double my workload. https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/
  25. Derrick

    Avonia journal

    Part two has now been published.
  26. RE: Is Dischidia pectenoides or D. vidalii the correct name . I asked the editors of the International Plant Name Index being the accepted world authority to adjudicate on this question. Due to a footnote of Beccari's in Malesia 2, p272/3 which reads. "Che a me sembra una specie ascidifera ben distincta, per la forma della foglie ramenta molto quella di Zamboanga." Essentially it refers to distinct ramenta on the species leaves, and although a minor detail, it may be considered sufficient to warrant Beccari's name having precedence. Obvously it is a debatable argument so IPNI refered this question to their full editing panel. Ramenta are thin brownish chaffy scales upon the leaves or young shoots of some plants, especially upon the petioles and leaves of ferns. http://www.ipni.org/ This is IPNI's considered opinion. From IPNI Feedback <ipnifeedback@kew.org> To IPNI Feedback <ipnifeedback@kew.org>, David Goyder <D.Goyder@kew.org>, derrick.rowe@slingshot.co.nz <derrick.rowe@slingshot.co.nz> Copy Herbarium <herbarium@kew.org>, Kanchi Gandhi (Contact) <gandhi@oeb.harvard.edu>, Kirsten Cowley (Contact) <kirsten.cowley@csiro.au>, Nicky Nicolson <n.nicolson@kew.org> Date Today 02:00 Good afternoon, Having discussed this at our group meeting, we have agreed - as David mentioned in his email - that the description of the leaves, although minimal, is valid. We therefore consider Dischidia vidalii Becc. a valid name. With best wishes, The IPNI editors - Plant & Fungal Names, Biodiversity Informatics & Spatial Analysis, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew TW9 3DS, United Kingdom Tel. 020 8332 5223, Email: ipnifeedback@kew.org
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