Stone Jaguar

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Everything posted by Stone Jaguar

  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. No, Todd. Your plant depicted appears to be H formicarum "Pumpkin" (my denomination). This is just a very nice form of formicarum that originated from Merlin Sy. The other plant is quite different and appears to be part of the moseleyanum-types. It has very large entrance holes evident in the caudex from youth. See pictures at the beginning of the thread. These appear to provide refuge to far larger animals than ants, presumably small arboreal lizards, frogs, roaches, etc. They do not fruit like formicarum. This plant also originated, like the H. "philippinense" also in cultivation here and in the EU, from Merlin. J
  16. typo alert That aside, I think this might be a viable model to fund the site maintenance fee. This forum is a great resource for information on all aspects relating to these plants. It certainly deserves its patrons support. J
  17. Welcome to the forum. Pay no mind to this. It is just hard-headedness on one individual's part. I think almost everyone who participates here understands that unpublished names are always subordinate to validly published binomials/trinomials. While there are fairly recent examples of long-time and extensive use of names in horticulture ultimately trumping publication date (e.g. the popular indoor Neotropical palm species Chamaedorea seifrizii Burret 1938 prevailing in a published decision over acceptance of C. donnell-smithii Dammer 1905), this is not the case here. Please note that this is one example of a case where the IAPT ruled that publication date did not take precedence over long-time universal usage in horticulture. All that aside, Hydnophytum puffii it is. Cheers, J
  18. Congratulations, Frank, Andreas and Derrick, for having built, curated and maintained this forum over the past years. The community of persons interested in this group of plants really has a great resource here. Cheers, J
  19. Greetings after another prolonged absence. The amazing variety of forms and the ready commercial availability of Southeast Asian and Malesian ant fern species (Lecanopteris, Polypodiaceae) has made them justifiably popular among tropical plant collectors. They obviously find their biggest fans amongst those fern collectors that can avail themselves of warm, humid growing areas, but I have also noted over the past years that they also seem to find a following among orchid growers as well, particularly the common L. sinuosa and the rather showy L. mirabilis. Until recently, the Neotropical ant ferns (Microgramma, Polypodiaceae) were somewhat difficult to find for sale in the US and the only species that were occasionally offered by specialty nurseries were M. brunei and M. lycopodioides. Based on comments made on this and other plant fora it appears that some clones of the former species in the trade can be challenging to grow (or are maladapted?), which has been an obstacle to more rapid distribution of this species in ornamental horticulture. Subsequent accessions from new localities and comments by friends at a couple US botanical gardens as well as my own experience indicate that M. brunei is an easy to grow - if untidy - fern under warm, humid conditions. From a quick review, there are just over half a dozen described myrmecophytic Microgramma species, with the center of species diversity located in the wet forests of Peru with five species reported there. Besides Microgramma, there is a recent publication documenting the presence of external domatia on a completely unrelated fern from the Peruvian Amazon region (Polytaenium cajensense, Pteridaceae), so there are probably some interesting discoveries to be made in this field throughout the region. I am currently growing four species of ant-associated Microgramma species, two of which form conspicuous tubers along their rhizomes (M. bismarckii and M. brunei), while another has ants excavate interior tunnels along the length of its rhizome (M. megalophylla) and the last is a common associate of ant gardens throughout the Neotropical lowlands. Besides these species, I also grow five additional species of microgrammas that are not known to have ant mutualisms. I am also working with nurseries in Ecuador and Peru to add another couple species (part. M. bifrons) to my collection over the next year. I grow almost all my Microgramma species in hanging baskets filled wth NZ long-fibered dried sphagnum and topped with living sphagnum moss from either Ecuador or California. Once established, they are fertilized lightly but frequently with Maxsea as described elsewhere on this forum. Except for M. bismarckii and M. squamulosa, all species are grown in a warm, wet greenhouse. Light conditions throughout the growing area are bright for much of the day. Their growing media is kept uniformly moist to wet at all times and relative humidity is high. Many readers here will be at least slightly familiar with most of the species mentioned previously. Since M. bismarckii is not yet a common fern in cultivation, note images showing the very striking tubers/external domatia. They are surprisingly large and have a very unusual form; with slightly sharp “horns” studding the very glossy surface. This characteristic is shared with at least two of its close relatives in Peru. M. lycopodioides M. megalophylla M. brunei (recently divided) M. bismarckii Ciao, J
  20. Frank: No ants so far, but I suspect that I spray quite a bit more than you do. My occasional ant colonies in hydnophytines tend to be very short-lived for this very reason. J
  21. The caudex on this plant has just expanded very quickly to reveal where entrances will be. The dimples higher up the caudex look like the lower holes did about a fortnight ago. Note from this photo and some of Derrick's images that this species is very strongly "shot-holed", much like larger Hydnophytum ferrugineum and some PNG species. All in all, this is a very interesting and attractive species of hydnophytine. J
  22. Some sort of eriophyid/gall mite that appears to favor myrmecodias, is my latest "best guess". You would need to get the leaves under a high x dissecting microscope to be sure what is going on, IMO. Could also be other sucking arthropod pest, but certainly not merely the byproduct of relative humidity fluctuations. J
  23. If whatever caused this is what I think, yes, all of your plants in proximity should be treated, especially any hydnophytines. J
  24. Lukas. Sorry to see this condition on your plant. Quite a spectacular reaction by the plant to some sort of microscopic arthropod infestation I would guess. I would clip all the leaves at the base and gently rinse the plant with lukewarm water on a daily basis for the next several days. Do NOT clip the growing point. I'm assuming you do not have access to current generation chemical controls as a home gardener in Germany, so you might try spraying with neem oil and a surfactant at recommended rates, every five days through next full leaf flush. Neem oil is essentially useless if you don't get all surfaces and stay on it systematically for several weeks. Remember it acts like a summer oil, so keep plant out of direct sunlight or it will burn. Good luck, J
  25. IMO, don't bother chasing after this concept if you need adverts. To me, a complete turnoff on plant fora. There is enough bombardment of visual spam everywhere else on the 'net. The primary problem today is that they're are just too many free riders on internet plant fora who do not contribute anything to the discourse. I'm guessing Pokemon Go is the new shiny object that will keep the masses entertained this summer, so wouldn't expect to see any uptick in engagement. J