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Cultivated Squamellaria (was Hydnophytum) kajewskii in flower

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Greetings:

 

Both of my Hydnophytum kajewskii sown in March of 2014 have started to flower. The larger of the two plants now has a foliage spread of just over 45 cm and continues to grow very quickly; indeed it is outstripping its liberal fertilization regimen as it pushes dozens of new inflorescences. I have attached a pair of images taken this past weekend with my smartphone to show the inflorescence structure of this very interesting plant. As has been pointed out in this forum by Derrick Rowe, both this species and H. guppyanum have these elongated peduncles supporting multiple flowers. Since this is the first flower to open, I did not take measurements as they may not be representative of the flowering as a whole, but at first glance they seem to be large when compared with the other members of the genus that I grow. The clear yellow calyx and golden pollen (not clearly evident in the image) are noteworthy.

 

post-61-0-63619200-1444058526_thumb.jpg

 

For the time being I will assume that this species is self incompatible and begin to cross pollinate flowers between plants later this month in the hope I see fruit early next year.

 

post-61-0-57267800-1444058613_thumb.jpg

 

Thanks once again to Derrick, Frank Omilian and Zhon Bosco for their multiple efforts to bring these amazing epiphytic caudiciforms into cultivation.

 

Cheers,

 

J

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It's allways amazing to seed your plants with that much foliage and these sizes compared to their age! Thanks for sharing these pictures and information about this extraordinary and rare species!

All the best

Philipp

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Thanks for the great comments!

 

Andreas, the caudex on this plant is about eight cm across now at the widest point and is still subglobular, but starting to develop a number of very distinct "pimples" in a single line with raised edges indicating where holes should develop further on. The other plant is a bit smaller, probably six cm or a bit more but with a bit of a constriction on the middle of the caudex, somewhat like your Squammelaria imberbis. The other plant appears to have come from a different founder, since the color and shape of the caudex was different even when a seedling, although as a larger plant the leaves and inflorescences are the same.

 

I am liquid feeding this plant every week now since the new leaf flushes and flower initiation are just amazingly fast in response to the very warm weather we have been having in California. The greenhouse temps where these plants are hit 38 degrees C (~100 F) for a number of days in September. Fortunately, relative humidity was quite high with ventilation and exhaust fans blowing all day and the plants watered to runoff every two days. The lowland hydnophytines clearly loved these conditions, at least for that period.

 

There is no question that - from seed - this is the fastest-growing hydnophytine that I have ever worked with by the widest of margins. The two 2015 H. guppyanum seedlings I have are also growing very fast so far, five months after sowing. H. longistylum much more normal rate of growth, comparable to a H. formicarum.

 

Cheers,

 

J

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Jeff:

 

Mostly Nutricote timed release 180 day 13-13-13+micros and liquid feed Maxsea 16-16-16+micros. I also use dilute Cal-Mag as a supplemental liquid feed every two weeks.

 

The caudex is beginning to show the first signs of the distinctive entrance hole arrangements for this species. It is still subglobular but I expect it to change its shape over the next six months.

 

post-61-0-90054200-1444228767_thumb.jpg

 

Cheers,

 

J

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It will be interesting to see how the caudex develops when grown potted (that is NOT horizontally.) Will it fail to assume the scaphoid (boat-like) shape seen in many adult plants in habitat that mostly grow horizontally?  The excellent flower image is also very useful but that subject requires an entirely new thread. 

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Here is the original description of Hydnophytum kajewskii as published in the Journal of the Arnold Arboretum, xxvi, 1945 pages 25 and 26 by Merrill & Perry.  The paragraph starting with "Tuber?" is translated to English here from the original Latin.

 

"Hydnophytum Kajewskii sp. nov.

Tuber?.....; stems ramose; branches sharply tetragonal, internodes 1.5-2 cm long; leaves nearly round, 1-2.7 cm long and 0.9-2.4 cm wide, apex rounded or blunt, cordate at the base, sessile, when dry the margins are slightly recurved, rib visible on both sides and slightly thicker toward the base, 4-6 lateral veins on each side of rib, prominent above, visible or inconspicuous below, clearly oblique; inflorescences on slender peduncles in the axil, furcate; peduncle 1-1.5 cm long, tetragonal or compressed; many branches 1 cm long, densely scarred; flowers few, inserted on the branch apex, buds very visible; calyx truncate, glabrous, with 2 mm long ovary; corolla tube 3 mm long, fauces annulo-barbate, lobes 2 mm long, oblong, glabrous; filaments inserted in fauces, anthers 1.5 mm long, oblong; style nearly 4 mm long; drupes not seen.

SOLOMON ISLANDS: Bougainville: Kupei Gold Field, Kajewski 1716 (TYPE), April 1939, alt. 1000 m., growing from a huge bulb on rain-forest trees (flowers white;
fruit 6 mm. long, 4 mm. diameter, irregularly ovoid, green when ripe, with white longitudinal lines).

The leaves of this species at once call to mind the plate of Hydnophytum ovatum Becc. But in the latter species the flowers are inclosed in alveoli. As far as we know, this is the only species with small rounded leaves and pedunculate inflorescences."

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