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Stone Jaguar

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Everything posted by Stone Jaguar

  1. Stone Jaguar


    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
  2. Stone Jaguar

    Squamellaria vanuatuensis

    As always, thanks so much for always keeping up the hunt for the missing Grail, Derrick! J
  3. Again, beautiful shots. The embossed leaves are very interesting and reminiscent of Squamellaria guppyana. I think Frank mentioned there are two closely related species from this group in this region. Did you find both?
  4. That is a gorgeous ecotype, Andreas. Amazing form. Thanks for all these wonderful photos from your most recent excursion. J
  5. Stone Jaguar

    Anthorrhiza chrysacantha

    Very nice, striking species! Seems somewhat reminiscent to some of the Myrmephytum arfakianum that you have shown here. Wonderful to have you posting again. Jay
  6. Stone Jaguar

    Squamellaria guppyana flowering in cultivation

    Great news for the community! I find this to be one of the most attractive of all hydnophytines in cultivation. It combines attractive foliage with a very striking caudex and, of course, the added curiosity of being one of only a handful of hydnophytines known to be dioecious. It is also even faster growing than the very vigorous S. kajewskii and S. imberbis. Unfortunately, I have two large flowering males but hope that we can mix these genes up with Frank's female in 2018 so as to be able to bring this species into broader cultivation in 2019. Jay
  7. Greetings after a prolonged absence. After having flowered and hand-pollinated a sexual pair of Squamellaria kajewskii for the past nine months, I was very pleased to note that one of my 15 month-old S. guppyana opened its first flower yesterday. I have included an image for reference. I was struck by how small the corolla is compared to its putative sibling species. The anthers are in contact, almost looking fused and reminiscent of some asclepiad flowers. Both of these Solomon island hydnophytines are remarkable for the speed with which they grow in cultivation in my collection. Of the two, S. guppyana is by far the faster; indeed, by a wide margin it is the fastest growing hydnophytine I have experience with. The confusion that surrounds some of the characteristics differentiating these two species, originating with a mixed collection for one of the types, appears to have again crept into the key included in Chomicki and Renner's recent revision of the genus. The floral characters (corolla length x width) they cite are mixed. As is evident here, it is S. kajewskii that has a long, slender corolla tube, not S. guppyana The leaves and caudexes are as described in the paper. As an aside, S. guppyana appears to be somewhat intolerant of very bright light when greenhoused. Unlike S. kajewskii and most other hydnophytines in cultivation, I would recommend some shade over the plants to avoid premature leaf drop. Cheers, J
  8. Stone Jaguar

    2017 Forum year in review

    Thanks as aways Frank for doing all the heavy lifting here since inheriting the forum from previous founder/administrator. I have long been puzzled why such an image-rich and plant family-diverse forum has so little participation after quite a strong start under Andreas. There is certainly keen interest in myrmecophytes as is evidenced by the volume of new publications and a small but robust market in antferns, hydnophytines, ant-dischidias and ant-orchids, but very few people seem to be interested in posting. There were previous arguments made that the "competing" Facebook ant plant fora were sucking all the oxygen/enthusiasm out of the community, but I see that engagement on both Todd Kramer and Derrick Rowe's FB pages have also tailed off substantially from volumes of postings last year. In any case, a lot of interesting happenings in ant plant land, not the least of which is that all five genera of hydnophytines are now in cultivation in the EU and the US (I would guess Japan and Singapore as well, but unsure) and that a lot of very desirable "new" species have found their way into cultivation over the past 18 months. A number of these species will see very limited releases into commercial markets in the US and elsewhere over the next year. In addition, I have been working on sourcing two attractive Peruvian antferns that are not in cultivation yet and hope to obtain living material sometime in 2018 to bring the number of myrmecophytic Microgramma spp. in cultivation to six. All in all, the very best of times for growers to be interested in the cultivation of myrmecophytes! Hopefully, we can restart the forum in January with a new round of engaged members from all over the world. Cheerio, Jay
  9. Stone Jaguar

    A fantastic new seed source.

    Thanks very much for posting all of this information here, Derrick. This is, indeed, an amazing resource for people set up to import seed and care for seedlings. Cheers, J
  10. This very attractive northeastern Australian species is not in wide cultivation yet and is rare outside of Australian collections. Robert Pulvirenti has shown images here of his plants being grown in Queensland. The larger of my seed-grown plants has just begun to flower and fruit, so I thought forum members might find it interesting to see images of this species in fruit taken early last month. Plant is in 15 cm basket for reference. Quite slow growing until this year. It seems to thrive with warm-hot temperatures coupled with lots of moisture. I posted an image of this plant in March in the thread on H. ferrugineum. In the intervening six months the plant and its sibling have bulked up quite a bit, but still do not show entry holes. The fruit is distinctive; almost striped on close examination, tip brown, two large seeds. Rita Kupke, a Queensland forum member who has a great deal of success with this species, confirms this is normal coloration for ripe H. ferrugineum fruit. Seed germinated immediately when cleaned and sowed. Cheers, J
  11. Stone Jaguar

    My little système

    Everything looks fine. You may want to increase the light intensity on your seedlings since they are etiolating. Ciao, J
  12. Greetings. Although many forum members are quite familiar with this species through interaction with plants in their own collections, there are not a lot of good images available of fully mature Hydnophytum puffi that illustrate what they are capable of achieving in terms of size when in cultivation. I have attached a pair of photos take yesterday of my original plant, obtained as a seedling from our own esteemed Frank Omilian five years ago. The plant is established in a 20 cm/8" basket. Total canopy spread is ~75 cm/30". During the winter this species sheds leaves on a constant basis so it looks a little bit ratty now, but this is also peak flowering and fruiting period. The combination of a very striking caudex with a spreading, almost acacia tree-like canopy is most attractive. I find that many orchid and carnivorous plant people who visit the greenhouse that are not otherwise too impressed by hydnophytines find H. puffii extremely appealing. Of all of the hydnophytine species that I grow, this one is the most amenable to bonsai-type training and cultivation. Given its prolific nature, this species is fast becoming a common species in cultivation. It would be great if we had some fresh accessions to augment a genetic base that apparently derives from a single wild plant. J
  13. Well done, Robert. Wouldn't worry about the repot. These things fruit promiscuously when older, as you can see. I don't think I've ever lost one in cultivation and it must be one of the spp. I have most of. Jay
  14. Stone Jaguar

    Squamellaria guppyana flowering in cultivation

    Hi again, Frank. No, that is just a senescent calyx of a precocious flower. They can hang on for a surprising amount of time on some hydnophytine species (part. in a few Hydnophytum spp.). They are often very confusing when one is peering through the canopy for early fruit. Please note that the flowers on both my male S. guppyana are very short-lived...perhaps 12 hours? I have noticed that when they first open in the morning, the anthers are in full contact as can be seen above. It is only much later in the day when they separate a small amount that pollen (white/gray) is evident under magnification. Your experience with squams exactly mirrors mine; by a wide margin they are the fastest growing epiphytic stem succulents that I have worked with. I wonder what Andreas's experiences are in his collection, both with these and the other Fijian species? Perhaps he can chime in here (with photos!!!). This male is still in a 15 cm basket for scale. Just two years old now. Photo was taken about three weeks back. It has definitely gotten more robust with more sunlight and heat since then. Have just moved it a bit lower down from the roof panels.
  15. Stone Jaguar

    Squamellaria imberbis in cultivation

    Great job with this Frank! Growers of hydnophytines worldwide should rejoice in the fact that we have seen the number of species in cultivation multiply by a factor of eight or 10 over the past several years and that four of the five genera now have self-sustaining populations in cultivation. J
  16. Superbly-grown and extremely vigorous group of plants, Robert. To growers in the US and the EU, please note that there is no evidence of the leaf lesions/corky patches/spots in Robert's photos that are sometimes ubiquitous in our collections. The notion that this condition is naturally occurring must be dispelled by the community. Clearly, this nasty pest has not made it to Oz, and hopefully never will. Likewise, I have seen no evidence of it in my examination of images of a noteworthy collection of a friend in Singapore.PLEASE make an effort to only ship completely clean plants to new growers!! J
  17. Stone Jaguar

    Variation in M. platytyrea sub.antoinii "Southern form"

    Hi, Robert. I agree that the Mossman Gorge ecotype of M platytyrea can be surprisingly hardy for a TRF plant. I grow my two largest examples in a cool orchid house and they seem not to be bothered one bit by winter overnight temperatures below 10 degrees C/50 F for brief periods. Younger plants are, however, a different kettle of fish and seem to be exceptionally prone to rot very quickly when grown cool and moist. They appear to require good light at all sizes otherwise the large leaves grow etiolated and floppy. These plants bear no real resemblance to PNG plants I grow of the nominate subspecies. What a nicely grown series of plants! J
  18. Since the intricate interior architecture of caudexed ant plants is one of their many attractive features, I thought that I'd share the results of some experiments I have made over the past 18 months on removing stem sections from both healthy and damaged plants of different sizes to make them suitable for display. The first point to note is that it is mostly a waste of effort to section these plants when the are young and actively growing, since a healthy smaller plant will scar quite rapidly and grow over the wounded tissue in fairly short order. I have found that it is best to wait until the caudex is more or less of full adult size, which may require some patience and/or acquisition of a six to 10 year-old specimen. With a very sharp, sterile knife in hand, begin by slicing off just enough stem to reveal a representative view - on a flat plane - of the tunnels and chambers. Leaving most of the stem intact will allow for subsequent slices to be made as a "refresh" every couple of years to keep the chambers fully exposed, while leaving more than half of the original stem intact throughout the process After slicing the caudex, usually on a vertical plane, I dust the wounded surfaces with either Captan fungicide or powdered charcoal and place the plant in a bright, well-ventilated space until the wound is completely dried and healed (usually 60-90 days). I suggest that extra care be taken when watering the plant during this period, since even fungicide dressed plants can rot if the wound is sprayed with any frequency. Small areas of rot can be addressed by some careful cuts with a sterile, sharp blade to completely clean tissue, then rinsed with dilute hydrogen peroxide. The final product usually attracts a lot of positive commentary from visitors to the collection. This is an eight year-old Myrmecodia tuberosa var. papuana planted in a 25 cm/10" basket that has been sliced horizontally through its "shoulders" to deal with a persistent, cold-induced terminal rot. The plant is about 60 days since the cut was made, and the exposed tissue is dry and hard to the touch. Whitish color is residual Captan powder that has not been washed off during the healing period. In this particular case, the plant is sprouting new growths on the upper edge of the wound, so it will ultimately end up with a basket of stems above the cross-sectioned stem. Cheers, J
  19. Stone Jaguar

    Sectioning Hydnophytines for Display

    Jeff: Yes, the plant is vigorously sprouting on the upper edge of the cut, as they invariably do when they are healthy and survive. I have used this technique on both healthy and plants with localized apical and basal rots. You should be aware that it is extremely difficult to salvage hydnophytines infected with systemic rots. I have the advantage of being able to access and use a wide variety of agri-chem that would not be available to a home grower in the EU, and even then it is very difficult to save plants that are fully infected. Powdered charcoal is certainly not my preferred choice for treating wounds, it's just that this is something that anyone around the world can get they're hands on easily...it is certainly better than applying nothing at all. Flushing freshly-cleaned wounds on stems and caudexes with dilute hydrogen peroxide is a very useful trick if you haven't tried it already, and would try that prior to dusting cut surfaces with charcoal powder. These plants all require excellent ventilation when older. Seedlings can be in drenched terraria and so forth for quite some time. Yes, I have rooted stem cuttings of a number of genera. From my perspective, only useful for breeding. J
  20. Stone Jaguar

    Myrmecodia tuberosa 'Bogor Gardens'

    Hi, Robert. Beautifully grown plant, as always. I think you're right about the suspected ecotype. This is exactly like the better "armata" types sold in the 'States from a couple different Bornean (i.e. Bako NP) and SE Asian accessions. As yours illustrates, a well-cultivated specimen really is a fantastic caudiciform succulent. J
  21. Hi, Frank. Thank you! I think you may have momentarily confused this with the Leiden H simplex accession, which also is a one-off, I believe. Art Vogel, formerly curator at Leiden, posted partial accession data here in August 2014. It was collected at Nabawan, Interior Division, Sabah in December 1995. This is a fully lowland tropical locality, as are the other collection localities listed in the published description of H. puffii. I know that at least a couple growers in Asia are making an effort to get a new batch of wild-collected seed into cultivation. I now suspect that the seasonal slow motion leaf shed - that apparently everyone on the forum experiences, no matter where their location - is an adaptation to facilitate avian access to ripe fruits on the wiry stems. For sure it is far more abrupt and dramatic when the temps are allowed to drop too much, but they abort fruit at that point, too. J
  22. Stone Jaguar

    Myrmecodia tuberosa on the Philippines

    Great photos, Marco. They are particularly interesting since we see so few photos of wild P'ppine myrmecodias. My experience with a couple of accessions so far is that they develop root spines much later than myrmecodias from other origins, so are inermous for a couple years. Jay
  23. This plant is from a mixed batch of seeds that I received from Pinoy Plants in mid-2006. This plant is being grown in California, but I have several others in Guatemala. It seems to be rather slow growing when compared to other Hydnophytum spp. that I cultivate. It has a very interesting and distinctive form with large, slot-like entry holes concentrated on one end of a somewhat elongate caudex that is a common feature to all of these plants that I have. Algal/moss growth on the caudex is a byproduct of very high relative humidity in the cool tropical greenhouse that it's located in. While the plant flowers fairly well at this time of year it has so far refused to fruit reliably so may require manual pollination. As is evident in the first image, the canopy is extremely "bushy" when the plant is unstressed. Ciao, J
  24. Hi, Frank. Todd edited the post and appears to have removed the image of a fruiting formicarum. Thanks for the additional info. I had only gotten as far as Quezon Province with him as an origin. I think we must have gotten seeds right around the same time. J
  25. Stone Jaguar


    Again, I think Frank has come up with a simple, elegant, crowd-sourced "fix" that avoids any real P&L implications for the forum administrator/s. Selling plants to fund a few Benjamins' worth of annual maintenance fees would seem to be more trouble than its worth, since a price overage might be technically construed as income, no? I would hope that we get a rush of donors as people check into the site and see that it is user funded, ad that the bite is quite manageable for almost anyone. It would be nice to see it adequately funded for the next few years, not just the next few months... J