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Stone Jaguar

Squamellaria guppyana flowering in cultivation

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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

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Jay,

That's fantastic. Your plants are grown exceptionally well. It's fantastic to see the plants thrive in cultivation.

Thank you for sharing.

Todd

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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.

 

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J

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Looking fantastic, Jay. Thank you for the information on lighting in cultivation. Cory and have found that H. puffii appreciates lower light levels as well.

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Hey Jay, nice flower photos you have here.  My S. guppyanum is getting ready to bloom.  The inflorescence has gotten to the point where it is starting to branch.  No flowers have opened yet.  I came here to see what the male flowers look like - as you know I am hoping for female flowers on my plant.

When I looked at my plant yesterday it had a yellow body at the first branching point in the inflorescence  - the same as in your photo above.  I did not look at it closely - I just wrote it off as a blasted bud.  But seeing your plant here with the same thing made me wonder if maybe it is an extra-floral nectery.  We now know that some of the Squamellarias go out of their way to feed the ants per one of Guillaume Chromicki's recent papers.  Have you examined the yellow bodies and do you have any thoughts on them?   I obviously will have a closer look at the one on my plant when I get back to the greenhouse on Monday.

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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.

IMG_20170513_114620.thumb.jpg.480f4d44f6b76116017c896974c526f7.jpg

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