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Everything posted by Derrick

  1. Derrick


    Hello Jay. Yes its a strange world we live in. Many of my valued inputs come from the resident of a remote village in Papua New Guinea that lacks almost all modern amenities, not even mains electricity. Yet communication with the outside world is now possible due to solar power, mobile phones and of course satellites. I occasionally browse the chat group forums where much is of 'the blind leading the blind' type of discourse. It tells me there is a prime need for a modern article covering the cultivation of epiphytic myrmecodomic species. Such a tome would first need to lay the basics of the plant groups covered. For example, the most pertinent of the five ecophysiological types of bromeliads (trichomes and their microbiota, roots and/or phytotelm nutrient intake strategies etc.) The structure of some epiphytic orchid roots. Drought tolerance or avoidance strategies such as in some Hydnophytum (they tend to keep their leaves) & Myrmecodia species (which tend to drop their leaves in drought.) The basics of CAM at least. Also the need for better feeding for those species that are ant inhabited species in nature. I suspect that those with a background cultivating carnivorous plants get this wrong. For succulent plant hobbyists the need of myrmecodomic plants for high humidity which is essential for their survival of frequent droughts up in their tree habitats. I am not qualified to do such a project but you Jay are probably among the world's best to do so. Perhaps send to the USA C&S soc or even publish a booklet. I await with intense interest your new website. Best wishes Derrick. .
  2. Derrick


    If one only followed this platform, one could surely be forgiven for thinking that almost nothing new was happening in the world of epiphytic ant-plants. If it were not for those very very few participants herein such as Jay Vannini there would be almost nothing of any value in these pages, which is why I now seldom visit. Sadly Jay will not participate in Facebook. Yes, they do have a bad reputation for their data mining of users, but I enjoy feeding them misinformation. At least with Facebook there are some very interesting inputs, yet it is very evident that little comes from cultivators. However, there is no reason why members that use both groups can not use a little initiative and report herein news gleaned from my forum. I am on record that I am very happy to share information but in fairness to my sources, it is polite to note where such news was obtained. Running Epiphytic Myrmecophyte Images takes up quite a percentage of my time. I do not wish to double my workload. https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/
  3. There is as yet unpublished DNA research that at least one species currently named a Hydnophyum is actually an Anthorrhiza. Thus one wonders about this plants DNA and what it might reveal.
  4. My Facebook group has received a photo of what I think is Myrmephytum selebicum reputedly from "the Sulawesi area". It is a better match to Beccari's image in Malesia two than the plant in Satoshi's photos taken on Mindano Island. It suggests there may be genetic differences between the populations of these two regions. EDIT. There is a typo in the provenance, correctly it is Bukidnon. https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/
  5. Derrick

    Avonia journal

    The December 2017 issue of the prestigious German journal Avonia has an article with photos about the ant-plants of Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. It is presented with what I hope is enough background information to encourage others to follow in my footsteps. The next issue will cover part two; the islands.
  6. Derrick

    Avonia journal

    Part two has now been published.
  7. RE: Is Dischidia pectenoides or D. vidalii the correct name . I asked the editors of the International Plant Name Index being the accepted world authority to adjudicate on this question. Due to a footnote of Beccari's in Malesia 2, p272/3 which reads. "Che a me sembra una specie ascidifera ben distincta, per la forma della foglie ramenta molto quella di Zamboanga." Essentially it refers to distinct ramenta on the species leaves, and although a minor detail, it may be considered sufficient to warrant Beccari's name having precedence. Obvously it is a debatable argument so IPNI refered this question to their full editing panel. Ramenta are thin brownish chaffy scales upon the leaves or young shoots of some plants, especially upon the petioles and leaves of ferns. http://www.ipni.org/ This is IPNI's considered opinion. From IPNI Feedback <ipnifeedback@kew.org> To IPNI Feedback <ipnifeedback@kew.org>, David Goyder <D.Goyder@kew.org>, derrick.rowe@slingshot.co.nz <derrick.rowe@slingshot.co.nz> Copy Herbarium <herbarium@kew.org>, Kanchi Gandhi (Contact) <gandhi@oeb.harvard.edu>, Kirsten Cowley (Contact) <kirsten.cowley@csiro.au>, Nicky Nicolson <n.nicolson@kew.org> Date Today 02:00 Good afternoon, Having discussed this at our group meeting, we have agreed - as David mentioned in his email - that the description of the leaves, although minimal, is valid. We therefore consider Dischidia vidalii Becc. a valid name. With best wishes, The IPNI editors - Plant & Fungal Names, Biodiversity Informatics & Spatial Analysis, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew TW9 3DS, United Kingdom Tel. 020 8332 5223, Email: ipnifeedback@kew.org
  8. Correct name Dischidia pectenoides H. Pearson published in the Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany, vol.35, p377, (1902). With a Type Description in Latin as was then required. http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/335444#page/392/mode/1up Synonym, Dischidia vidalii Becc. (Odoardo Beccari) a name used in Malesia Raccolta 2, pp272/3, (1886) with no type description, thus it is nom nud (a naked name.) http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/item/151443#page/408/mode/1up See bottom of p272. More background, An enumeration of Philippine flowering plants, vol.3, p343, (1923.) (Enum. Philipp. Fl.) or sometimes (EPFP.) http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/33502741#page/355/mode/1up Journal of Botany British and Foreign, vol.40, p270, (1902). http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/35243293#page/343/mode/1up Journal Linnean Soc. Vol 35, p376, (1901/1904) http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/335444#page/391/mode/1up. With hints of possibly more saccate species. Description. Domatia leaves are particularly inflated and again of the double cavity form seen in D. complex and it has attractive red flowers, probably a rarity in this little known genus where most flowers appear to be white. Habitat/Range. The Zambales Range and Bataan, Rizal, and Laguna Provinces on Luzon Island, Northern Philippines, where it frequently grows on the dead stems of climbing bamboo. Also frequently spelt pectinoides which is WRONG. Edit. Furthermore, I can find no illustration in Malesia 2 that could be accepted as a leptotype.
  9. An Australian entomologist friend who first introduced me to ant-plants in Australia, told me years ago about a population of plants he had discovered north of Weipa on the the Gulf of Carpentaria on the west side of Cape York Peninsula, Australia. It was a population of myrmecodias with WHITE FRUITS. Back then, it was not well known that M.beccarii was first typified and described from "a very rare specimen" found somewhere on the gulf coast back in the 1880's. Thus initially there seemed to be a possibility that it might be a species new to science. However, now that we know M.beccarii is found as far north as the Iron Range region (which is only slightly to the south of Weipa but on the other side of the peninsula) and that M.beccarii had existed on the gulf coast, it seemed most probable that it might be that species. Thus in 2015 I spent a few days in the region hoping to find a population that had been reported as common specimens. Sadly, although numerous sites were found that seemed ideal habitat, not a single Myrmecodia was found, even in locations where Dischidia nummularia a very common cohabitant was very frequent. The Melaleuca forests (prime M.beccarii habitat) showed signs of intense bush fires and the nearby Rio Tinto strip mining areas were off limits so these are possible reasons why no specimens were found. I have attempted to advise the Australia Botanical authorities of the probable presence of a unique population (very possibly genetically distinct) but I have been ignored. The following link is for the actual herbarium specimens collected from the gulf coast habitat by my friend but they have been incorrectly labelled as the very widepread species M. platytyrea subsp antoinii. which they most certainly are not (it has orange fruits). http://biocache.ala.org.au/occurrences/151fcb20-a39b-4cba-b8a8-ccf03066bf33 The Australian botanical community seem very determined not to accept their error, possibly because of the enormous power of the Rio Tinto mining empire that is completely denuding vast areas of pristine forest by removing meters of topsoil and ALL of its lifeforms so that they may then remove many meters of the underlying bauxite (aluminium ore). Now I have indisputable proof from Rio Tinto's own site analysis that Myrmecodia beccarii does (or now DID?) exist in these lands. http://www.riotinto.com/documents/SoE_Vol3_EPBC_assessment_report_part_1.pdf
  10. Derrick

    A very rare field trip opportunity

    Enoch has advised this is not such a joint arrangement as Wayaki suggests. However, the reality is that Enoch (who is a rapid learner) after leading both my and Dr Andreas Wistuba's tours of Papua New Guinea's ant-plant habitats is totally indispensible to such tours. I am very tempted to do such a tour myself but I am currently awaiting a hip replacement operation and I am an old man.
  11. Derrick

    A very rare field trip opportunity

    Here is an email recently arrived from Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea. "Hello Derrick and merry xmas to you. I am writing up a tour program with Enoch Bulunamur to do an ant plant tour and wondering if possible can you connect us to people you know off. My gmail add; waiyaki.nemani @gmail.com. Please advice if this is good to you. Thanks." This is a very rare and unique opportunity to see a large range of myrmecodomic species in habitat with spectacular scenery and wildlife. Furthermore, I can very confidently recommend your experienced guides. Both my and Dr Andreas photos provide hints of what you will see and Enoch is finding ever more populations that may prove to be new to science.
  12. I have just acquired a Facebook contact in Vanuatu whom intends to search for this rather hydnophytum like species.
  13. Anthorrhiza caerulea C. R. Huxley & Jebb published in Blumea 36 (1) 1991. This species has densely spined, conical, horizontal-growing tubers to 35 x 15 cm. with entrance holes on tuber bottoms and apexes near stems. Stems one, rarely two, topped with particularly large leaves reaching 21 x 8.5 cm. Habitats: Lower montane forests at 2000-3000 m. (6562-9843 ft.) perched in low to high positions especially on large Antarctic Beech Nothofagus trees. Range/Records: PNG; Morobe Province, north summit of Mt Shungol, Lat. 6.8583° S, Long. 146.725° E. Also on Mt. Kaindi on roadside 200 yards below Edie Creek turning (often spelt Eddie). According to Huxley & Jebb 1991 always occupied by Anonychomyrma scrutator (as Iridomyrmex) ants, a species that does not make ant-carton. However, Maeyama, & Matsumoto (2008) report the obligatory ant occupant as a carton manufacturing Dolichoderus sp. Furthermore. “It was frequently observed that occupant ants gathered the seeds of A. caerulea and buried them in their carton trails on the bark of host trees and a DNA analysis of genetic relationships within populations revealed that plants within discrete ant territories consisted of close relatives. Therefore, it was inferred that the descendants of A. caerulea were dispersed only within the territory of a certain ant colony.” (Maeyama & Matsumoto 2008.) However, I suggest there are probably occasional longer distance distributions by birds.
  14. Derrick

    A fantastic new seed source.

    I am posting this here primarily for Jay Vannini whom is among the very best cultivators of ant-plants on our planet, but his disdain for Facebook means he is probably missing an invaluable communications source because it is evident that noone on this site has the initiative to share even very important ant-plant news. I will now set some background. Papua New Guinea is not a developed country and survival there is very demanding especially in remote areas. I was asked to talk to the kids in the mission school about their local ant-plants. Many of the trees in the mission grounds were replete with myrmecophytic guilds. The school had no desks and seats and not a book or writing paper etc. to be seen. When I got home I sent the school a carton of story books but the postage just to the Alotau post office cost more than the contents. Thus expect to pay very well for initial seed offers. Yet even in very distant villages the locals have limited modern communications using smartphones and solar powered chargers. A couple of years ago I was able to reach some of the very remote islands out in the Solomon Sea which are home to a number of rubiacious ant-plants. One of our principal local ecoguides was Enoch Bulunamur who is based in the mission grounds near Siasiada Village on the mainland. He is now very interested in ant-plants and is discovering ever more new to cultivation species (indeed some not even published yet) and many are now being cultivated in the Breakthrough Mission grounds. On my visit we found Anthorrhiza areolata, A. bracteosa, A. recurvispina and what I have tentatively labelled Myrmecodia tuberosa "siasiada village" because it appears to be different from all other Huxley & Jebb 'variants' and other taxa of lesser importance. Since then Enoch has discovered ever more populations of hydnophytums some of which are yet to be published species and one that may be placed in another possibly even a new genus. Most species are not in cultivation. Enoch is now offering seed but I have advised him that he should sell first offers to the highest bidder because of course such rarities are an investment to suitably capable cultivators. This is a huge learning curve for Enoch and if he is succesful then there is a strong possibility he can extend his contacts throughour the PNG mainland so that cultivators can acquire a whole new world of interest. Already Enoch has contacts on the mainland that are reporting ripening hydnophyte seed. It is important to understand that Enoch has very very limited capital to build this venture. Currently communication to Enoch is only through Facebook. I suggest Facebook's "Ant-plant Cultivation" https://www.facebook.com/groups/1498448190449446/about/ as the best site for communication with Enoch Bulunamur but Epiphytic Myrecophyte Images https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/ offers the best site regarding accurate information regarding the various taxa. There is risk in importing seed thus it is best that it be in the hands of very capable cultivators that also ensure Enoch has the best means of getting such seed to their destination in viable condition.
  15. Derrick

    A fantastic new seed source.

    Enoch has or will have access to seed of the following species not yet in cultivation as far as I am aware. Anthorrhiza areolata. A. bracteosa, A. recurvispina, Hydnophytum orichalcum (a Jebb & Huxley unpublished species but possibly not a Hydnophytum, thus particularly interesting, H. petiolatum var argentatum which is a Jebb & Huxley unpublished new variety from Normanby Island. Myrmecodia "gurney" with reputedly pink fruits, M. tuberosa "siasiada village" which is probably a new 'variant' or may prove to be a new species. Among those fairly common in cultivation are Hydnophytum moseleyanum, the ant-fern Lecanopteris sinuosa (ripe spores survive posting fairly well and Myrmecodia platytyrea subsp. antoinii. He has also found populations of one of the large leafed Hydnophytum species that may be something new but a number of species are in cultivation. Photos of them all are recorded in https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/. Also bear in mind that Huxley and Jebb's M. tuberosa 'variants' may prove to be full species after future DNA studies. Dischidia nummularia, D. ovata and others are also possibles.
  16. 34 Myrmecodia tuberosa "dahlii" Kokopo, Gazelle Peninsula, East New Britain Island, PNG..JPG]
  17. Derrick

    Squamellaria wilsonii

    S.wilsonii was sunk by Jebb (1991) into S. imberbis. However, a 2016 Squamellaria revision by Chomicki et al., used morphology and molecular phylogenetics to re-seperate the two species. Therefore, S. wilsonii is now considered to be the species endemic to Taveuni island while the somewhat similar looking S.imberbis is endemic only to nearby Vanua Levu island. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0151317
  18. Fiji Photo's 054, Squamellaria wilsonii, Taveuni Island, Fiji..JPG]
  19. All of these images were taken in or near Kutini-Payamu better known under its former name of Iron Range National Park, Cape York Peninsula, North Queensland, Australia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kutini-Payamu_%28Iron_Range%29_National_Park IMG_0099b Myrmecodia tuberosa (papuana form) Iron Range National Park. Cape York Peninsula, North Queensland, Australia..JPG]
  20. Dischidia litoralis Schltr. (Friedrich Richard Rudolf Schlechter) published in Die Flora der Deutschen Schutzgebiete in der Südsee p359, (1905.) http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/451883#page/357/mode/1up . Reduced to synonymy of D. bengalensis by (Rintz 1980) but see Forster & Liddle, Resurrection of Dischidia littoralis Schltr. (1992.) Yet here, Livschultz 2005 refers herbarium specimens to D. bengalensis. Type. http://plants.jstor.org/stable/10.5555/al.ap.specimen.k000910994 Isotype. http://plants.jstor.org/stable/10.5555/al.ap.specimen.p00218714 Rintz 1980 a better URL. http://www.repository.naturalis.nl/document/565582 Description. It is sometimes a seaside inhabitant (litoralis means of the sea shore.) It occurs on tiny Australian islands, e.g. Dauan Island in Torres Strait, It is also reported from Madang, & Morobe Provinces on the north coast of Papua New Guinea. D. bengalensis is a confirmed myrmecophytic species.
  21. I see Iridomyrmex is still being used incorrectly in ant-plant websites. For example the Australian/New Guinea species is now Philidris cordata and has been for over two decades. However, it has been suggested that New Guinea specimens differ from Australian ones, so there may be a further name change. The Fijian endemic Iridomyrmex nagasau is now Philidris nagasau Shattuck 1992, p18. REVIEW OF THE DOLICHODERINE ANT GENUS IRIDOMYRMEX MAYR WITH DESCRIPTIONS OF THREE NEW GENERA (HYMENOPTERA: FORMICIDAE) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1440-6055.1992.tb00453.x/pdf
  22. This quite unusual and large specimen was photographed on a Pandanus tree in a small area of somewhat savanna-like grasslands. Much of the 'natural' vegetation still extant along this road is regrowth rain forest. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandanus The specimen formed a guild with a Myrmecodia species and ubiquitous Dischidia nummularia. Location was along the unsealed road along the northern edge of Milne Bay from Alotau to East Cape near the tip of the Papuan Peninsula. Note the 'bubbled' growth.
  23. Ensure that you scroll to the paper's end to see the domatia structures. Also, note that the taxonomy used raises some interesting questions.
  24. These plants were in shade and too far away for my fill in flash to help. It formed a guild with my possible H.moseleyanum and Dischidia nummularia.
  25. Derrick

    Mounting of ant plants

    I wonder if a small transparent container can be mounted above plants so that after suitably periodic fillings, nutrient containing water can slowly percolate down to the region between tuber bases and their mounts and/or basal root systems. The outlet from the water reservoir might merely be one or more small holes that permits a suitably slow flow down the mount surface, or a wick or even a combinations of both. Evening watering may help. From seeing hydnophytes respond positively and very rapidly to brief evening/night showers on Cape York Peninsula in the long dry season, it seems that hydnophyte roots are very efficient in regards to absorbing rainfall. Certainly root growth in the above plants is not natural.