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Forum for Epiphytic Myrmecophytes

Robert Pulvirenti

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About Robert Pulvirenti

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    Advanced Member

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Gold Coast Queensland, Australia
  • Interests
    I collect and grow Tropical Fruit trees and native rainforest fruit trees,Orchids,Antplants,Gasneriads,
    epiphytic ferns,warm climate bulbs, Anthuriums and bromeliads. I also keep native freshwater fish.

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  1. One thing I noticed about the new spineless form from north of Cooktown was the fruit colour, no matter how ripe the fruit was it always had a green tinge. All my other forms of M.beccarii have really white fruit when ripe.
  2. Myrmecodia beccarii has caused a bit of confusion, particularly in the USA as to which form is being grown by hobbyists. Some say they have the spiny form and some say they have the spineless form, so how do you tell? The answer is not that clear cut, as the commonly grown form in the USA was originally collected at Hull River near Tully which is at or near the cross-over point between the northern spiny forms and the southern spineless form. What makes things more confusing is that different parameters in cultivation can effect the amount of spines developed as far as quantity or how long it takes to develop them etc. With feedback from Jay it seems that soft grown plants at this stage take a while to develop spines as compared to wild plants or plants grown harder, such as in an open shadehouse in warm climates. I have started to grow the Hull River form myself as a comparison, commonly called "Selby" in the US after the Botanical Gardens it was dispersed into the US hobby from, at this early stage in my conditions it seems to have plenty of the spiny gene. Jay thinks that the forms we grow could better be named after the area of collection rather than the amount of spines they show in cultivation and that makes a lot of sense. I believe that the term "Southern spineless form" can stay, as the southern most population of M.beccarii in Queensland is indeed spineless, it occurs from the Cardwell area south and stops just north of Townsville as you enter the dry tropics and no other Ant Rubiaceae occur past this area. Calling everything north of the Cardwell area a "Northern spiny form" no longer works though, as there has been a recent discovery of another spineless population in a remote area north of Cooktown. It was discovered by a hobbyist in far north Queensland, and I was lucky enough to photograph the plant in his collection and collect some seed from it on my trip to the northern part of my state last year. How large this population is nobody knows, as there is a lot of remote country north of Cooktown that has probably note been surveyed that well by botanists. As I live in Queensland I am lucky enough to have other forms of beccarii, one of these is very attractive in my eyes and both my plants did not develop any spines until quite mature and not all over the caudex, unfortunately I do not have collection data on these plants.There are so many remote areas in Cape York, who knows how many new forms might be discovered! First photo shows the caudex of the "Southern spineless form" also called the "Cardwell form" after the collection site. Second photo shows the caudex of a 'Spiny form" from the Cairns area. Third photo shows the caudex of the newly discovered spineless form from north of Cooktown. This form has a light brown caudex compared to the grey caudex of the southern form.
  3. Looking at the distribution map there seems to be no specimens logged between West Java and Sumbawa Island, so the variant in Bali could be 'armata' or 'rumphii'. It could also be a variant that has not been looked at yet, this would seem a bit strange as East Java, Bali and Lombok are easy places to travel to and carry out field collections.
  4. Thought I would add a photo of the flower of this lovely species which is growing on a palm tree trunk in my little rainforest paddock . As the trees are maturing I am starting to mount more epiphytes onto them and am growing some native aroid climbers to plant out soon.
  5. Derrick, the Australian Botanists that are knowledgeable about Ant plants are aware of these populations and are also not happy with what is happening, unfortunately they can only make recommendations to the government about protecting key areas of the environment. It is up to the government to act on these recommendations and put more restrictions on Rio Tinto, so it is unfair to put the blame on Australian Botanists. At this very moment Cape York Myrmecodia beccarii are being studied and grown at Cairns University, in time they will be legally introduces into the hobby.
  6. Derrick, I agree that photographing M.platytyrea in Mossman Gorge is fairly difficult as they are high up in the trees and the underside of the plants almost always come out dark in photos because of lighting through the canopy and the fact that you are below the plant in most instances. On the 8th of October 2018 I was in Mossman Gorge trying to get a descent photo of this plant in the wild with very limited success, about a 20 minute drive north of the gorge I called in on a very keen grower of plants with Ant-plants being some of his favorites. He has over the years collected many different forms and populations and introduced them into the hobby and is always in contact with Dr. Ashley Field, Rita Kupke and myself as well as growers of other types of native and exotic plants. This provided me with a unique opportunity to photograph the Mossman Gorge and Iron Range forms of M.platytyrea sub. antoinii within a couple of hours of each other, as he has the Iron Range form growing on trees in his garden as well as other species and forms from the Cape and locally. Below is an Iron Range M.platytyrea growing in a garden about a 20 minute drive north of Mossman Gorge. Next down is a close up of the Iron Range forms caudex. Next down is a photo of a large M.platytyrea sub. antoinii in situ in Mossman Gorge. Next down is a close up of the Mossman Gorge caudex and parts of the stems.
  7. On a recent trip to far north Queensland I called in on an Ant-plant grower of 30 odd years, who has also introduced many different native forms and populations to the hobby. Living as he does in the northern end of the wet tropics in the distribution area of the southern form of M.platytyrea sub.antoinii and also in the middle of the spiny form of M.beccarii coastal distribution, he grows his plants outside in his tropical garden where they thrive with the aid of the correct species of ants which are native to the area. He was keen to show me an unusual form of H.moseleyanum from a fairly dry area of Iron Range, this plant has slightly smaller and more succulent leaves than normal, develops prickles on parts of the caudex but its most unique feature is how its inflorescences are expressed on a peduncle. On returning home I sent photos of this plant to Dr Ashley Field at Cairns University who informed me that in his field trips to the Cape he had observed H.moseleyanum plants with smooth, bumpy, pimply or almost with spines on their caudex before but never with a flowering peduncle. He asked me if I had collected seed, as it would be interesting to see if this trait would continue in subsequent populations in cultivation, I did and have sent some to Rita Kupke to grow in her Nursery, kept some for myself and also sent some to a grower in the US. Dr. Ashley Field hopes to have a closer look at this cultivated plant next time he is in the Mossman/Daintree area. . The collector of this form in part of his garden. The overall plant. Close up of the caudex. Flowering and fruiting peduncle.
  8. Its mid-winter here in SE Queensland and my ant plants have really slowed down, but several species are still producing fruit. Here is a photo of another of my young H.ferrugineum that has just ripened its first fruit. It has a caudex dia.of 65mm (2.5") and was re-potted from a 50mm (2") tube to a 100mm (4") pot 18 months ago.
  9. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the forum members who shared their experiences of growing this species both good and bad, as it was this information that ultimately led to my success in growing and fruiting this lovely species. This is the best thing about this forum, the sharing of knowledge of which there is a wealth of amongst its members. Below is a picture of the entire plant which is in desperate need of re-potting, this will be done after a few fruit have been harvested and have started to germinate, I do not want to take the risk of the plant possibly dropping immature fruit as it is the only plant I have, and only one of five in the country.
  10. Fruit at last, 27 months after planting my first ever H.puffii seed the plant has matured its first fruit. It has just over a dozen fruit on it and the first one has ripened in the first month of our winter here in the southern hemisphere, so Frank the plant seems to be following the same fruiting cycle as plants in the Northern hemisphere.
  11. Hi Jeff, this nursery doesn't have a web site, but I can attach an old catalogue.Microsoft Word - Email Cat2013.pdf
  12. The three smaller and smooth light green leaves near the top right of the photo are from a neighbouring plant that grew across and attached to this mount, they are from a D.platyphylla.
  13. Hi Frank, these poles are old recycled ones probably from the pre-treatment days and have been weathering in the elements for decades. IML stands for Iris Marie Liddle, the wife of the late David Liddle who was an Australian authority on Hoyas and Dischidias, he used his wife's initials followed by numbers for his vast collection. You can find specimens in nearly any Botanical garden or Herbarium worldwide using his numbering system, his collection of these plants was and probably still is one of the largest in the world. David used to travel through Asia, New Guinea and the south west Pacific Islands looking for new species and forms, his wife still runs the nursery in Mareebe, North Queensland.
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