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Forum for Epiphytic Myrmecophytes


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  1. Hi, Frank the administrator here, I ran Ezhikovich's posting thru google translate (Russian) and this is how it came out. Some of our people want to take a shot at a possible answer for this person? Hello! Half of my plants began to deform their new leaves, and the old leaves began to curl. They grow in different conditions of humidity and temperature, some on the windowsill, and others in the orchidaria. No pests, fertilizers use Osmokot. What could be the problem? I would be grateful for your suggestions.
  2. Science News, a bimonthly magazine about science topics, in it's April 25, 2020 issue has a 5 page article about various ants who have been cultivating plants and fungi; saying that they "may be the first known animals other than human to farm plants". The first page of the article stars the Philidris nagasau ants that plant Squamellaria seeds in the bark of trees on Fiji, protect the seedlings and adult plants, fertilize them with their feces and occupy the plants by living in the chambers in the caudex. None of this is new to us as Science News got all of this from Susan Renner and Guillaume Chomicki's papers that we have been following starting with their first one that revised the genus Squamellaria in 2016: (available free on line as, " Evolutionary relationships and biogeography of the ant‐epiphytic genus Squamellaria (Rubiaceae: Psychotrieae) and their taxonomic implications"). The Science News article has photos of Squamellarias in habitat on Fiji and a cross section of the caudex to show the chambers. A serious disappointment to me is that the Science News article refuses to use the word "caudex" and refers to it instead as the "bulbous base" or "blob". I am shocked about this!! Most of the rest of the Science News article is about three groups of fungus farming insects: 1) several thousand species of Ambrosia beetles, 2) about 330 species of termites in the subfamily Macrotermitinae, and 3) the Atta leaf-cutter ants (who get discussed the most). The last section of the article goes back to the Squamellaria/Philidris relationship including mention of the sugary, amino acid spiked feeding stations that form specifically to feed the ants. These form on the flowers after the flowers have been pollinated and fertilized so they are not there to draw in and encourage pollinators. Also referenced in this article is Guillaume Chomicki et al's latest paper: "Trade-offs in the evolution of plant framing by ants" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, dated February 4, 2020. I have not read this one yet.
  3. Do not leave here today without seeing Aurelien's great posting about the new greenhouse in Nancy, France. It is a FANTASTIC PHOTO TOUR! Look for it in the "Ant Plants in Cultivation" section.
  4. Hi Tommy, Welcome to the forum. We hope you find the information here useful in your plant hobby. Growing ant-plants mounted requires more effort and diligence than growing in pots and is best attempted only when you have a high humidity growing area, say 75% and over. Your plant and the overall planting look very good. The mass of sphagnum is essential in this way of growing and you need to keep the moss constantly wet, or at least moist. This is what make this way of growing more high maintenance compared to pots. The yellowing and loss of lower leaves is not unusual when the plants are stressed - like when being repotted or getting too dry. Good growing
  5. Hi George, Welcome to the forum. We hope you find a lot of useful and interesting information here. Thanks for joining us. As to your H. puffii - you are right to be concerned - the shrinking of the caudex is not a good sign. (A caudex is a swollen stem base -- a bulb is like an onion, a collection of closely wrapped leaves) . When you say "soil" we hope you do not mean soil as in what you plant a garden or regular houseplant in. These ant- plants are epiphytes - plants that live on the surface of another plant so their roots will die if they are planted in normal garden-like soil. They need to be grown in an epiphyte mix like most orchid growers use to grow orchids. Something made of bark chips, long fiber sphagnum, perlite, coconut husk chunks, etc - so that the roots stay moist but can still get air. If you passed the soil test and have the right growing media, the next thought is watering. When you water, water well, not just a little water at the surface. With epiphyte mix you can even set the pot in a small tray or container of water for 10 or 15 mintues, let all the soil components soak up their fill and than take the pot out and not water again for perhaps a week or so until the mix is close to dry again. Do you live where it is cold? If so and if what you are describing as your window growing is between the blinds and the window than your plant could be getting too cold at night Get it a little further from the window. Most of these ant-plants do not like getting below 60 Fahrenheit Cold can cause rot that often presents as a soft, shrinking caudex. Those are my thoughts on your problem based on the information you gave us. If these things I have described are not the possible problem tell us more about your growing situation, perhaps give us photos, and we will try again to help. Let me add that in my experience H. puffii is the poster child for an ant-plant that takes a definite winter rest for me (northern hemisphere, USA,Michigan). They have never grown for me during December to sometime in March or April. They just sit there and look pretty. Thanks again for joining the forum
  6. Hi Bern, I grew it in a greenhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA for about 7 years. It started out as a cutting on a piece of tree fern. When that started growing off the tree fern I nailed that to a tree trunk in the main conservatory and it has grown up that trunk about 8 feet. It has always had some of the bullate leaves but it has not flowered there. I know it got regular fertilizer, but I cannot say that it ever grew vigorously for me - perhaps that is why no flowers.
  7. Fantastic Piece Jay !!!! Just great! I can't get over how good your photos are. Beautiful flowers. The step by step instructions and photos for building that display are priceless. You know a lot of us are going to have a go at it ourselves! Thank you for your continuing support of the forum both monetarily and with your exciting and insightful posts. We appreciate you sharing so generously with us!!! Frank
  8. A common question on this forum and on the facebook ant-plant groups is "Where can I get a book about the ant-plants? We have never had a good answer to that and while there is still no traditional book to fill that need, as of today, there is a free and very thorough e-book answer of yes, YES, YES Derrick Rowe has completed the revision of his epic resource "2. Epiphytic Myrmecophytes. Bizarre Wonders of Nature, 2019" and he has very graciously given me permission to make it available here to all of us! The amount of information and photos he has assembled in this work is absolutely amazing! This is such a valuable resource that it has to be kept available on the internet and I am very happy that we have it available to us all, here and now. You will find the free download available below in the Ant Plants - general information, literature and links folder. Thank you very much Derrick for your years of work on this project and for freely providing it to the ant-plant community!!!
  9. Derrick Rowe has completed the revision of his epic resource "2. Epiphytic Myrmecophytes. Bizarre Wonders of Nature, 2019" and he has very graciously given me permission to make it available here to all of us! The amount of information and photos he has assembled in this work is absolutely amazing! This is such a valuable resource that it has to be kept available on the internet and I am very happy that we have it available to us all, here and now. There is something here for each of us. To a newbie to ant-plants this will seem overwhelming - maybe at first the best resources here for you will be the fantastic photos. More experienced ant-planters will find it very useful that Derrick has done the hard work when it comes to researching a specific species. He has done all the background work and provided all the links you need to fully understand any of these species to the best degree possible at this time. The work is composed of 17 Word files within Dropbox software. I did not have to download Dropbox before downloading the files. They are compressed files and my download placed the files as a "zipped" file in my "downloads" folder. Disk spaced used was 730 MB. The link I used to download the files is: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/4t43iclly4gn326/AABi4SH-atDda3dd4pd4TuSaa?dl=0
  10. 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
  11. 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 One of our newest members, Bern, funded May for us! Thanks for showing your appreciation for the archive we have here. I am going to lead by example for June and July! Excellent Aurélien, thank you very much for the donation and the recent posting about your work at the new greenhouse in Nancy, France Thanks Bern for stepping up for a second time this year, much appreciated. 2020 CONTRIBUTORS TO THE FORUM: January - Ken Howell February - Ken Howell March - Jay Vannini April - Jay Vannini May - Bern Mlynczak June - Frank Omilian July - Frank Omilian August - Aurélien Bour September - Aurélien Bour October - Bern Mlynczak November - December -
  12. 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
  13. 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.
  14. 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
  15. Frank


    I received the December, 2019 Invision fee of $20 USD today from an anonymous donor. A big thanks to this person who has supported our efforts here on several previous occasions, also as an anonymous donor. Your kindness is appreciated. I will post the chart for the 2020 forum fees in about a month, so please start saving your pennies, francs, yens or whatever it is you use. If some money is burning a hole in your pocket and you want to send it now, that will be just wonderful. I will start the new 2020 chart the day I get your contribution. Just send some multiple of $20 USD by paypal to your forum administrator, Frank Omilian, at frankinmi@aol.com Please indicate what name you want me to list you by (or by anonymous) Thanks again to Anonymous and all of the donors that have kept our forum on the internet these past years.
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