Stone Jaguar

Cultivated Hydnophytum ferrugineum fruiting

27 posts in this topic

This very attractive northeastern Australian species is not in wide cultivation yet and is rare outside of Australian collections. Robert Pulvirenti has shown images here of his plants being grown in Queensland. The larger of my seed-grown plants has just begun to flower and fruit, so I thought forum members might find it interesting to see images of this species in fruit taken early last month.

 

Plant is in 15 cm basket for reference. Quite slow growing until this year. It seems to thrive with warm-hot temperatures coupled with lots of moisture. I posted an image of this plant in March in the thread on H. ferrugineum. In the intervening six months the plant and its sibling have bulked up quite a bit, but still do not show entry holes.

 

post-61-0-18027800-1444060904_thumb.jpg

 

The fruit is distinctive; almost striped on close examination, tip brown, two large seeds. Rita Kupke, a Queensland forum member who has a great deal of success with this species, confirms this is normal coloration for ripe H. ferrugineum fruit. Seed germinated immediately when cleaned and sowed.

 

post-61-0-59377000-1444061459_thumb.jpg

 

Cheers,

 

J

 

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Thanks.

 

The plant shown above is almost five years old from seed. These were very slow for the first several years. They have only started growing faster when I moved them to a warm greenhouse this year. Still no entrance holes on either of the larger plants I have.

 

J

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Rita & Jay. The type description states the fruit is white.  Something is not right here. Maybe we have another new species or Paul Forster made an error.

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Hi, Derrick.

 

Do you have access to the type material sheets on this to check collector notes? Do you know whether Forster collected and examined living material or described it exclusively from dried herbarium specimens? I suspect it's a simple mistake that may be attributed to an immature (green) fruit. While obviously I am aware that one of Australia's Myrmecodia spp. is very much THE odd man out with regard to white fruit color, I have never seen anything lighter than very pale yellow in Hydnophytum spp. ripe fruit. If the plants we are growing are not H. ferrugineum, then there appears to be an undescribed/previously unreported species (this one) in the southern part of the Iron Range NP, since these plants most definitely aren't H. moseleyanum.

 

Cheers,

 

J

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H, ferrugineum was known to Huxley et al. back in 1978 but was not described due to the specimen lacking fruits.  As far as I am aware it was Paul Forster that collected fruiting examples but I no longer have my source for that information. Furthermore, I have not been able to access the herbarium sheets. I suspect very strongly that Paul made an error. 

http://www.jstor.org/stable/41738963?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

I hope to visit its habitat next year.

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I wonder whether someone simply transposed "flowers white" with "fruits white".

 

I believe that H&J have a report of Myrmecodia beccarii with pink fruit in their monograph...Mr. Murphy lurks eternal.

 

J

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post-54-0-26052700-1452998904_thumb.jpg

 

First flowering on a very young plant of H.ferrugineum ( 70 x 50mm Caudex ).

 

This goes to show how much genetic variation can occur even among siblings, a much larger (approx. 100mm caudex ) and older plant that grows about half a metre away has yet to produce anything. One thing this species has in common is their fairly slow rate of growth, here in south east Queensland their main growth is in the wet season ( summer and autumn), this is probably the same in their native habitat in the monsoonal climate of Cape York.

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Hi Robert,

 

Well done!

How old is your "very young plant"?

To my experiment, this plant is really easy to germinate and grow, I have good hope that our 10 months old seedling will bloom this summer...

 

All the best!

Aurélien

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Aurelien

 

I am not sure of the exact age of my plant, some where between 3 and 4 years old. The plants are easy to germinate and grow and the initial establishment growth is about the same as our other native species, but then I find that our other native species grow at a much faster rate. Even the few exotic species I have grow faster, but then I only have 4 plants of H.ferrugineum and two of these were fairly large when I got them, other seedlings might grow faster.  What I hear from other Australian growers of this species is the average size to commence fruiting is normally a caudex size of 90 - 100mm, but there are exceptions and some can start flowering at a smaller size as is the case with the one I posted.

 

Robert

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Hi Robert,

 

Thank you for these informations. Incidentally, H. ferrugineum seems to be a slow grower in comparison with "classics" like H. formicarum, H. moseleyanum  or H. perangustum?

 

With my small experiment, I've noticed that H. ferrugineum grow faster than H. moseleyanum sowed the same day!

 

The best,

Aurélien

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Robert and Aurélien:

While I agree that young seedlings of this species can grow fairly rapidly, my previous experience with this species from seed (the two x five year old plants mentioned above) is that they are very slow to start flowering. My single fruiting plant has a nice, round caudex but still no holes. Well grown plants are very handsome and distinctive in cultivation.

While my first domestically-produced seedlings initially grew at a faster rate than those from seed that I received from Rita late last summer, they have now slowed down and the imports are catching up rapidly. This suggests a "race" to put on a certain size during their intital growth spurt that coincides with Robert's observation that growth is most evident in Queensland summer and fall. In California, the young adults stop growing during the winter and early spring although the one shown above still continues to flower every fortnight or so.

It's great to read that they are now in cultivation in the EU as well as Australia, the U.S. and Singapore. Like Hydnophytum perangustum (in prep?), this a very desirable hydnophytine for growers with limited space.

J

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Happy days, while inspecting my ant plants this morning I noticed the first flower bud on my largest H.ferrugineum (>90mm caudex) and other possible nodes where flowers will probably form in the next few days and weeks. I thought I would have to wait another season for this plant to start flowering, as plants in Mackay and further north have been flowering for some time now. My two largest plants have started flowering within 8 days of each other, and when I thought about this I have come up with a likely explanation. For most plants flowering and fruiting are delayed a few days for every degree moved farther from the equator within the tropics and then sub-tropics. As a documented example in the Australian Mango Industry, in coastal Queensland a given variety of mango flowers on average 4 days later for every degree of latitude south one grows them, and in my orchard my mangoes are about 6 weeks later than in Cairns. The fact that my ant plants are growing out in the open in a shadehouse under natural light with only a partial clear cover for the cooler months it now makes sense to me why my seasonal species start their flowering cycle later than North Queensland. As for some of my my exotic species that come from areas that do not experience the harsh dry season that most of our natives evolved in, they are not very seasonal in producing flowers and fruit, and tend to produce in spurts throughout the year with a bias towards the warmer and wetter season, but this is probably something for another topic.

 

Robert

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Bonjour ROBERT

 

it is a nice surprise

 

can you tell us :

the actual temperature and the % hygrometry

 

thank for the answer.

 

jean françois

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Hi Jeff

 

 The average temperature in my shadehouse for the last week has been 19.8oC min. to 31.6oC max., the humidity at the moment at 10pm is in the high 80% and temp. is down to 23oC as we are having very light rain this evening. Just a side note that this months min. temps. have been a bit below average and the wet season has been slow to start, but for the week to come rain is predicted  nearly every day with some warmer temperatures..

 

Robert.

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Under my growing conditions in South East Queensland the  first flower on the smaller of my H.ferrugineum plants has taken 92 days to mature a fruit. My post on the 17th of Jan. shows the two flowers that resulted in these fruit, the top fruit was harvested after this photo was taken and two seeds were planted. I will harvest the lower fruit tomorrow if it comes off easily.

post-54-0-71143100-1460886032_thumb.jpg

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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.

DSCF3454.JPG

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