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justabeginner

time from flowering to seed set on Myrmecodia beccarii?

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I have a research project to complete on this species and was wondering if anyone could give me information on the time that it takes from flowering to seed production on this species? I'm expecting variation in time with cultivation techniques and location of plant.

Any information would be helpful :)

TIA

Angelina

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Angelina:

 

I have a large specimen of the southern ("spineless") form that fruits copiously in northern hemisphere early summer (June- FH July). From memory, I would say it takes somewhere around 60 days from flower to ripe white fruit. I'm sure Frank O can provide additional data on fruit formation, since he also grows this species.

 

Ciao,

 

J

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Welcome to the forum Angelina.  Myrmecodia beccarii is an interesting plant - what with the two forms, spined and not, succulent leaves and the white fruit.  (I am going to add another question to your studies - once in a while I hear talk of a pink fruited Myrmecodia beccari plant; is there any truth to that?)

 

As to when fruits form relative to flowering - I have never studied that in particular but I have been known to say "that Hydnophytums form their fruits right after flowering and Myrmecodias delay fruit production for 3 to 6 months"  This is just based on what I see happening with the plants that I grow.  I have never actually marked the position of flowers in the alveoli with colored pins, paint, maps, photos or whatever and counted days until the fruits showed up like you will need to do.

 

I note that M. beccarii has particularly good alveoli for this kind of study.  They are large and contain no hairs or bracts that clutter the alveoli of so many other Myrmecodias.

 

Now that I have put in print my observations of the timing of Hydnophytum and Myrmecodia fruits relative to flowering I am sure other forum members will point out exceptions that they have noted.

 

One final note on fruit timing.  My plant of Myrmephytum sp. with yellowish fruits from the Philippines opened its first flowers of this year on July 1st. Yesterday, August 18, I saw the disk on the tops of the fruits just starting to peak out from between the bracts.

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Angelina:

 

To add and amend a bit more info to fruiting cycles for Myrmecodia beccarii  in North and Central America; yesterday I went over tags in some seedling pots that I planted here in mid-May 2014 and note that, unlike what I recently observed in Guatemala City, Guatemala (at 14.40 degrees N) where fruiting on several medium-sized plants I grow there is a June-FH July event, in San Francisco, California (at 37.47 degrees N) peak fruiting this year was definitely skewed one month earlier in FH May and then into FH June with some stragglers appearing on the plant into later July and early August.

 

There is certainly some variation in time from flowering to fruiting in these plants, but my experience based on conspicuous northern hemisphere Spring flowering is that this species develops its fruits rapidly under pampered, greenhouse growing conditions, and that fruit persists on the plant in good, plump condition longer than a number of other Myrmecodia spp. that I cultivate. I would certainly expect growers with different conditions to see different results with their plants. As Frank points out, someone needs to look at flowering phenology in a more systematic manner across the three commonly-cultivated ant rubiac genera to put together a proper timetable for growers and others interested in them.

 

J

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Frank - Thank you :) As far as I know the beccarii that is in North Queensland only has the white/cream coloured fruits. The reddish coloured ones seem to be from PNG or Asia.

We are looking at the spined form that occurs in the Cairns area. It seems that the majority of the flowers that are left on the plants by the ants develop into fruit. Not 100% sure if it is self pollinating - yet ......

The ant interactions with this species is very interesting .....

 

Stone Jaguar - J - thank you for the additional information. I have been told by one of my professors that plants that are in the university greenhouse will flower and fruit nearly all year round under pampered conditions!

 

I assume that all of the plants that people have in their collections do not have an ant colony present?

 

This project seems to be coming up with more questions all the time! I am  a bit surprised at how little research has been done on this group.

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Frank. I have photographed dozens of M. beccarii populations from the Hinchinbrook Channel swamps in the South to Cooktown in the far north of their range and not a trace of pink fruits were ever seen. And I have also studied many habitat images of other photographers such as those of Attila Kapitany.  I think its just an oft repeated error that dates back to Huxley & Jebb's revision in Blumea Vol. 37(2) p296, (1993), which is certainly wrong because they state that fruit are pink and there is no mention of white.  Perhaps simply a memory lapse of theirs, or they used dubious herbarium samples.

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