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Forum for Epiphytic Myrmecophytes

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  1. Yesterday
  2. Hi Katie, Very nice photo of the snacking ant! Welcome to the ant-plant forum, we are glad to have you here. You have already brought us a wonderful gift - that link to the "indefenseofplants" blog. Fantastic site! I want everyone to take the time to check that out and bookmark that site for yourselves. Matt there has great incite into a lot of areas of biology and a knack for using photography. His work reminds me a lot of Jay's blog. Great stuff in both places! And I must thank you, Katie, for warming the heart of this retired teacher - we teachers like nothing better than seeing our students pursuing further, on their own, the knowledge we introduced them to. Thank you very much. Please keep looking around our forum, there is a lot to learn here. We keep it on the internet just for that purpose. Frank
  3. Last week
  4. Ant drinking from extrafloral nectaries on adenia glauca. I was worried when I first saw the ants all over the vines of this caudex plant, which I inherited from a friend, and thought, "uh oh...aphids?" Yet upon inspection found none. Which prompted me to do some research, and I was fascinated to learn that it has extrafloral nectaries to attract the ants. I mostly collect cacti and succulents, and was fascinated to learn about this symbiotic relationship, which I didn't know existed outside of what I thought of as the true "ant plants." This discovery, combined with my visits to the Matthaei Botanical Gardens greenhouse to see the lovely collection there, inspired my foray into the world of ant plants. Very new to it (first hydnophytum specimens purchased from Frank at the Michigan Cactus and Succulent Society show in September) and excited to learn. 🥰 http://www.indefenseofplants.com/blog/category/Flowering+Plants
  5. Earlier
  6. Photos. I am not too far away from finishing the latest version of my E/book (actually it is primarily a searchable database for use on computers) "Epiphytic Myrmecophytes, Bizarre Wonders of Nature (2019). Possibly 2020. I have re written the acknowledgement list for the many donated photos. Please advise if I have missed anyone or whatever concerns you may have. In alphabetical order they are. Akihiro Ito, Anas Sarully, (DR) Andreas Wistuba, Andy Siekkinen, Angelina Rowell, Attila Kapitany, Antone Jones, Chee Kin, D. A. Polares of Eco Catmonan, Enoch Bulunamur, Francois Mey, ‘Hort Log’, Ian Hook, Jay Vanini, Jwh Yong, Kerry Booth Tate, Mark Gregory Rule, Robert Pulverenti, Satoshi Osaka, and Waiyaki Nemani, 13 out of 17 sections are now updated with large additions (Much has changed from my and Dr Andreas visits to key habitats (and other vital inputs from academia)). All of the much larger sections (e.g. Hydnophytum) were in this first thirteen. My thought at this stage is to distribute digital copies on Dropbox, starting with my most important contributors. It is such a huge database with so many photos, it would be astronomically expensive to print; few could afford to buy it.. It brings together an enormous amount of information, photos and illustrations etc from all of the important sources and forums that I am aware of. There is much that non Facebook users miss. Here I provide a bridge. Few seem to have the initiative to share information between platforms. Facebook has proved a very necessary evil. A section devoted to ant-plant culture would truly round out this resource. Any offers? Jay, you of course would be ideal.
  7. As everyone on who reads this forum will know, ant-plant associations are everywhere around us, but are particularly evident in the tropics. Forum members are also well aware that MANY surprising discoveries in this loose group have turned up of late with - no doubt - many more to come. A number of Neotropical blueberries (Ericaceae) are currently very popular with exotic plant collectors because of their handsome foliage and beautiful flowers. Recently I discovered that several epiphytic species of the genus Ceratostema from Colombia, Ecuador and Perú also possess well-developed extrafloral nectaries (EFN) on the abaxial surface of their leaves. Since these species also develop large lignotubers, it seems that the perfect match for fat plant collectors of strange caudex and showy flowers has finally popped up in a rather unexpected family. One Neotropical blueberry species, Disterigma utleyorum, has long known to be an inhabitant of regional ant gardens and is rather infamous among regional botanical collectors for its close association with aggressive ants. A sample herbarium sheet (Wilbur 21706 ) notes, "Epiphytic and growing closely interacting with a large ant colony at its base. The ericad forms a picket fence about the ant colony capped by a 12-15 inch disk of moss." It is fairly widely distributed throughout lower montane cloud forests and foothill wet forests from eastern Costa Rica to northern Ecuador. Sadly for ant plant collectors, it is quite unremarkable in appearance. I recently noted conspicuous EFNs on the underleaf surfaces of a couple Ceratostema species that I grow in northern California, and an acquaintance has drawn my attention to a third that he has in collection in southern California. All three species (C. glans, C. sp. inderminate 1, and C. sp. indeterminate 2) are caudex forming and two are now known to produce attractive flowers. The smallest-flowered of the trio, C. glans, has typical corolla shape and color for the genus and is shown below. It is the other species that I am cultivating here that has - to put it mildly - shocked me with an unexpectedly outrageous, ongoing floral display that certainly awards it the title of "Most glamorous-looking ant plant". As far as I can determine, this is an undescribed species from an undisclosed locality in cloud forests of the NW Andes with terminal inflorescences and 2.25"/6 cm wax-coated corollas. I'll let the pictures do the rest of the talking. Fortunately for horticulture and unlike hydnophytines, most caudexed Neotropical blueberries will develop normal looking lignotubers from cutting-grown plants with time. I have two legally-imported wild-collected accessions, have rooted a couple small cuts as a trial and will also attempt to set seed next year. Ciao, J
  8. Frank


    Thank you very much to all who have contributed to the funding of our forum in the previous years! Moving into the next decade I am asking you, our members (and guests too) to once again step up and fund a month or two of our forum fees to Invision. That is the sole use of your contributions. 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. To 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. Please make your mark in 2020 by stepping up and helping with the forum funding. Thank you, Forum Administrator, Frank Omilian Thank you Ken for getting the ball rolling! Thank you Jay for your continuing support of our forum 2020 CONTRIBUTORS TO THE FORUM: January - Ken Howell February - Ken Howell March - Jay Vannini April - Jay Vannini May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December -
  9. This is a link is to an article about Mangroves but a lot of ink is spent on the epiphytes of the mangroves and this, of course, includes Rubiaceous ant-plants. Reading the article is like reading an old-fashion comic book, they spared no cost on the use of colored ink! https://smujo.id/S/2016/jogja/images/icbjogja2016-04.pdf
  10. IT IS NOT ANT-PLANTS, BUT IT IS JAY VANNINI AT HIS BEST ! Head again over to Jay's website and blog at "Exotica Esoterica". It is at: https://www.exoticaesoterica.com/ You will find an annotated version of a PowerPoint presentation given by Jay (as the keynote speaker) at the International Aroid Society on September 21, 2019 in Miami, Florida. The presentation is titled: Notes from the Fringe: Cool Aroids Hot/Hot Aroids Cool The slide show is fantastic, the images are excellent and Jay shares great insights into the philosophy and history of cultivating rare and desirable plants.
  11. This is what two fresh pollen grains looked like under reflected light before staining and treatment.
  12. I had to recheck, restain and reimage a pollen sample to find that the pollen features were consistent. In the last image I think it is interesting because this pollen looks like the exine has a croton pattern, you can see the raised croton pattern especially in the last image from the set above. It looks like interconnected rings with 5/6 triangular columns on the muri. The raised areas on the exine appear darker in color. The muri is the raised area forming the reticulated pattern, the columns on the muri form the croton pattern. The lumina are the spaces between the muri. The brochus, is a lumen ( singular of lumina ) including half the width of the muri. To measure a brochus ( singular of brochi ), measure a lumen including half the width of the muri; halfway into the muri surrounding the lumen. The measurement of that space, the brochus, could be useful to know. The pollen has an exine pattern that closely resembles a croton pattern, but it could be another type of exine patterning. More resolved images will help identify this. Hydrated, stained, transmitted light brightfield.
  13. Does anyone have information regarding the ant species that inhabit this plant? (Photo taken at central Mexico)
  14. Hi Frank, Thank you. I have observed Lec. sinuosa, lomarioides, cerebica, balgooyi, darnaedii, spinosa in the field so far. The one with the fewest ants was darnaedii. This is Lec. spinosa but there is a video. I strongly recommend you see it. aDSCN0158.mp4
  15. Hi Akihiro, These photos are just great! Nice camera work. I have grown most of the species of Lecanopteris in cultivation here in the US at some point over the last 15 years and I have never had an ant move into any of them - in my basement under lights or in a large greenhouse that also housed Rubiaceous ant-plants that have ants in them (the genus Cardiocondyle) Looking over your photos I see no ants. Have you observed ants in or on the Lecanopteris you have been photographing? Thanks
  16. The largest species of Lecanopteris. The leaf length is more than 80cm, and rhizome is more than 10cm wide.
  17. Widefield fluorescence micrograph of hydrated Squamellaria pollen. The pollen above was collected from a plant identified as Squamellaria. It has been stained to distinguish features. The linear aperture, the colpus (colpi plural), emits a yellow color on the pollen circumference. The red color is the exine. Dry Squamellaria pollen imaged with reflected light. In the autofluorescence image above the pollen is fresh and has not been stained. The pollen appears to be tricolpate, meaning there are three colpi. The cross section of the pollen in the polar orientation shows the three colpi simultaneously (blue arrows). The colpi are the three furrows in the circumference of the pollen wall. Stained pollen surface detail. I am working on more detailed images.
  18. A record of the growth rate of Lecanopteris balgooyi in Sulawesi. I would like to continue observation if possible. 2019.05.07 2019.06.05 in Sulawesi.
  19. A record of the growth rate of Myrmecodia in Sulawesi. I would like to continue observation if possible. 2017.05.07 2019.06.05
  20. Tuber like ameba. It seems to grow into a shape that some balls have gathered. The branches are angular. Ant hole looks regular. DSC_0283.NEF DSC_0119.NEF
  21. Hello Derick, Thank you for the information. I think so, too. Watch a little more growth.
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