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Robert Pulvirenti

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

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This is the form of this Australian species that is the most commonly encountered in cultivation, and normally  called the "Mossman form" as this is the easiest place to see them growing in the wild at Mossman Gorge. In reality they occur in a much greater area in this northern part of the Wet Tropics, with isolated population in other small National Parks in the area and growing high up in trees even on Mountain tops such as Mt.Lewis. Many growers have found that they grow happily at fairly cool temperatures in highland conditions as well as lowland conditions, one Aussie forum member grows them very well in a near coastal area in Central NSW at latitude 33oS whithout  artificial heat. At this stage I have plants sourced from two different Nurserys and one from a private collector here in Australia, two of these forms are very different from each other and the third are still juveniles so will have to wait a bit longer to see.

DSCF3409.JPG

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Seedlings from both these plants are fairly uniform and retain the features of their parent plant. Seedlings of the larger plant with the tapered caudex were originally purchased as M.beccarii, but this was proven incorrect when they ripened their first pale orange fruit. This form is very fast growing and vigorous compared to the form to its right, not to say that the squat form is slow growing, the tapered form is just very fast. The following photo shows the uniformity of the seedlings.

DSCF3406.JPG

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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

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Hi Jay,

These plants are found over a range of altitudes from steamy lowland gorges to up around mountain tops, this would explain their ability to grow warm or fairly cool. I have noticed this with M.tuberosa "dahlii" which is also found over a wide range of altitudes from sea level to 1,000M. These southern plants also look a bit different from the Cape York forms as well, and many think it would not be surprising if they were split from them if any botanical work was ever done on these plants. I have never had seedling mortality in the winter, but put that down to the fact that I grow my plants in a bark, charcoal and perlite mix that dries out quicker than sphagnum and so the roots and bottom of the caudex are not always cool and wet, also careful watering in the winter. I totally agree about the light, I grow my plants hung up high under about 60% shadecloth, the brighter the light within reason the faster they grow.

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