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Derrick

Squamellaria (was Hydnophytum) kajewskii on Crown Prince Range, Bougainville Isl.

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The supposedly typical form of Hydnophytum kajewskii according to the literature; however, many older plants had lost this scaphoid. (boat-like) shape and were far more rotund.  post-3-0-09693500-1392323475.jpg]

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This enormous and anomalous specimen was perched in an unusually exposed position in a small tree on a very steep mountain side.  It was not until I had climbed up close to it that I could see that although it did not have the 'typical' scaphoid (boat-like) shape as described in the original literature, it appeared to be H. kajewskii.  I have recorded other specimens in the field that are no longer scaphoid.

27 Hydnophytum kajewskii Crown Prince Range, Bougainville Island..JPG]

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I have spent quite some time re-posting the previous images that for some unknown reason were no longer appearing. This editing programme surely does some weird things. Very frustrating!  And now they appear where I no longer want them. Ever more frustrating.

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Hello Andreas. I only planned to photograph the plants I found and did no dissections at all but I did find one Myrmecodia tuberosa "salomonensis" cut open by roadside vegetation clearers on the Panguna Rd.

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Hello Andreas. I only planned to photograph the plants I found and did no dissections at all but I did find one Myrmecodia tuberosa "salomonensis" cut open by roadside vegetation clearers on the Panguna Rd.

 

I find the structure so fascinating. And I guess they are not inhabited by ants.

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Great photo Derrick!

 

Did you see fruits on any of the kajewski or guppyanum plants in habitat?  As far as the ant-plants in general were concerned did plants have large fruit loads or did you get the feeling that ants and birds were harvesting the fruits as fast as they were being formed? 

 

thanks,  Frank

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Great photo Derrick!

 

Did you see fruits on any of the kajewski or guppyanum plants in habitat?  As far as the ant-plants in general were concerned did plants have large fruit loads or did you get the feeling that ants and birds were harvesting the fruits as fast as they were being formed? 

 

thanks,  Frank

 

 

Hi Frank,

of cause I can't speak for H. kajewskii, however in most cases when I found Hydnophytinae in the wild, there were only few if any fruits.

My guess always was that they are "harvested" soon after being ripe. 

Bye

Andreas

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The hydnophytums kajewskii, guppyanum and the plants I prefer to call 'longistylum' were all fruiting in August. H. kajewskii is a species popularised by Dr Matthew Jebb who is currently (???) revising this genus.  I quote H. kajewskii has the most elaborate tuber structure known which must rank as one of the most elaborate and bizarre vegetative structures in the entire plant kingdom.”  The boat-shaped tuber grows up to 25 cm in length, and 12 cm wide.  Chambers open to a pair of large’ unusually lipped entrance holes, one at each end.  These chambers are aligned in a row along the upper edge of the tuber. Its domatia may contain ants or other invertebrates such as spiders, scorpions, cockroaches and myriapods. New chambers are added one at a time to the apex of the tuber.”  http://www.botanicgardens.ie/herb/research/hydnophytum.htm (Jebb 2009.) I also quote from “The Solomon Islands and their natives” by Dr H. B. Guppy (1887.)  “Overhead, perched high upon the branches of the tall mangroves, occur the two singular epiphytes, Hydnophytum and Myrmecodia, both of which have been found to be species new to science (H. guppyanum, Odoardo Beccari. M. salomonensis Becc.) (sic.)  From the following remarks, my readers will be able to observe the peculiar features of these interesting rubiaceous plants. The large swollen base of the stem, sometimes eighteen inches in length, is occupied by cavities which are usually infested by ants that actively resent any attempts to carry off their home.” “Not infrequently, I found the ants in scanty numbers, and sometimes they were absent altogether. In the case of Myrmecodia salomonensis (sic.) and Hydnophytum inerme (sic.), they are found in considerable numbers. The chambers of H. guppyanum (sic) are usually nearly full of dirty rainwater, and contain scarcely any ants, a few cockroaches being generally found in the cavities. Those specimens, which I examined of another species of this genus that occurs on the coast trees, contained a few cockroaches, but no ants; and, on the outer surface of one of the swollen masses, I found a small crab. From my own cursory notes, it would therefore seem probable that these epiphytes may thrive without the presence of ants.”  “Hydnophytum guppyanum, Becc, (sic) a new species. The swollen tuberous portion of the stem has a characteristic scaphoid form.”Scaphoid means boat-shaped; hence, Dr Guppy surely refers to H. kajewskii as it now seems to be accepted which as I have already mentioned seems to be a reversal of original naming intentions. Herbarium materials of both H. kajewskii and H guppyanum were inadvertently mixed together on a type sheet, thereby creating some taxonomic confusion.  As already mentioned, the name H. inerme is surely incorrect for a Solomon island species; the specimen referred to is probably what I prefer to accept as H. longistylumThe Myrmecodia salomonensis is now considered to be Myrmecodia tuberosa “salomonensis” a very robust form of this widespread and highly variable ‘species’ but that is another troublesome question.  (an excerpt from my book)

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then H.kajewskii and H.guppyanum are identical or different?

on the "herbier" these two appear to have two leaves form.

on the Solomon Islands have you heard of a H.robustum

 

jeff

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H. robustum Rechinger according to Tropicos was published in Repertorium Specierum Novarum Regni Vegetabilis 11: 186. 1912.  Yet although digital copies are available on the WWW, i cannot locate it therein.  However, I suspect robustum was collected in the Bismarck Archipelago to the north of the Solomons and of course is probably just one of the many synonyms. H. kajewskii and H. guppyanum are very different species see photos of guppyanum just posted.

 

Yes, as I suspected from hints in the literature H. robustum was collected on New Britain Island (New pommern) see Frank's later post in this thread.

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Hydnophytum kajewskii, Santa Isabel Island, Central Solomon Islands. Photo Brendan Cleaver.  The species as now accepted has also been recorded on the Shortland Islands and is probably throughout the Solomons.

P1010409 Hydnophytum kajewskii, Santa Isabel Island. Photo Brendan Cleaver..JPG]

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Derrick and Jeff,

 

Do you still have an interest in the original publication of H robustum?  It is attached here as a .jpg file.

 

The original description of H. Hahlii is on the same page.

 

Frank

 

 

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