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Forum for Epiphytic Myrmecophytes


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Everything posted by Derrick

  1. https://biocache.ala.org.au/occurrences/151fcb20-a39b-4cba-b8a8-ccf03066bf33 This site requests feedback yet it has completely ignored my numerous efforts to HELP them quickly and very easily correct a glaring error. Something here is not right. Is it fear of Rio Tinto? Is it academic arrogance? Is it bureaucratic incompetence? Such a mistake IS certainly an insult to the Australian botanical community but their responsible bureaucrats do nothing. Their arguments are that there is insufficient funds and the work load is too immense.
  2. First a very sincere thank you to Jay for this magnificent work. One thing I can add about the Mossman Gorge population of Myrmecodia platytyrea subsp antoinii is that its location in the wet tropics is very different from its usual locations in the monsoon rain-forests that are extremely widespread to the far north. The wet tropics do not have a very distinct 'winter' dry season while the harshest monsoon rain-forests and savannahs have 'winter' dry seasons that can last for about seven months. I have only been able to observe and photograph Mossman specimens perched high in heavily epiphyte and liane burdened trees, so I have not been able to closely compare their forms. However, suffice to say they differed from all northern populations, and I have seen these over enormous regions of Cape York Peninsula, Australia.
  3. Derrick


    Hello Jay. Yes its a strange world we live in. Many of my valued inputs come from the resident of a remote village in Papua New Guinea that lacks almost all modern amenities, not even mains electricity. Yet communication with the outside world is now possible due to solar power, mobile phones and of course satellites. I occasionally browse the chat group forums where much is of 'the blind leading the blind' type of discourse. It tells me there is a prime need for a modern article covering the cultivation of epiphytic myrmecodomic species. Such a tome would first need to lay the basics of the plant groups covered. For example, the most pertinent of the five ecophysiological types of bromeliads (trichomes and their microbiota, roots and/or phytotelm nutrient intake strategies etc.) The structure of some epiphytic orchid roots. Drought tolerance or avoidance strategies such as in some Hydnophytum (they tend to keep their leaves) & Myrmecodia species (which tend to drop their leaves in drought.) The basics of CAM at least. Also the need for better feeding for those species that are ant inhabited species in nature. I suspect that those with a background cultivating carnivorous plants get this wrong. For succulent plant hobbyists the need of myrmecodomic plants for high humidity which is essential for their survival of frequent droughts up in their tree habitats. I am not qualified to do such a project but you Jay are probably among the world's best to do so. Perhaps send to the USA C&S soc or even publish a booklet. I await with intense interest your new website. Best wishes Derrick. .
  4. There is as yet unpublished DNA research that at least one species currently named a Hydnophyum is actually an Anthorrhiza. Thus one wonders about this plants DNA and what it might reveal.
  5. My Facebook group has received a photo of what I think is Myrmephytum selebicum reputedly from "the Sulawesi area". It is a better match to Beccari's image in Malesia two than the plant in Satoshi's photos taken on Mindano Island. It suggests there may be genetic differences between the populations of these two regions. EDIT. There is a typo in the provenance, correctly it is Bukidnon. https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/
  6. Derrick


    If one only followed this platform, one could surely be forgiven for thinking that almost nothing new was happening in the world of epiphytic ant-plants. If it were not for those very very few participants herein such as Jay Vannini there would be almost nothing of any value in these pages, which is why I now seldom visit. Sadly Jay will not participate in Facebook. Yes, they do have a bad reputation for their data mining of users, but I enjoy feeding them misinformation. At least with Facebook there are some very interesting inputs, yet it is very evident that little comes from cultivators. However, there is no reason why members that use both groups can not use a little initiative and report herein news gleaned from my forum. I am on record that I am very happy to share information but in fairness to my sources, it is polite to note where such news was obtained. Running Epiphytic Myrmecophyte Images takes up quite a percentage of my time. I do not wish to double my workload. https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/
  7. Derrick

    Avonia journal

    Part two has now been published.
  8. RE: Is Dischidia pectenoides or D. vidalii the correct name . I asked the editors of the International Plant Name Index being the accepted world authority to adjudicate on this question. Due to a footnote of Beccari's in Malesia 2, p272/3 which reads. "Che a me sembra una specie ascidifera ben distincta, per la forma della foglie ramenta molto quella di Zamboanga." Essentially it refers to distinct ramenta on the species leaves, and although a minor detail, it may be considered sufficient to warrant Beccari's name having precedence. Obvously it is a debatable argument so IPNI refered this question to their full editing panel. Ramenta are thin brownish chaffy scales upon the leaves or young shoots of some plants, especially upon the petioles and leaves of ferns. http://www.ipni.org/ This is IPNI's considered opinion. From IPNI Feedback <ipnifeedback@kew.org> To IPNI Feedback <ipnifeedback@kew.org>, David Goyder <D.Goyder@kew.org>, derrick.rowe@slingshot.co.nz <derrick.rowe@slingshot.co.nz> Copy Herbarium <herbarium@kew.org>, Kanchi Gandhi (Contact) <gandhi@oeb.harvard.edu>, Kirsten Cowley (Contact) <kirsten.cowley@csiro.au>, Nicky Nicolson <n.nicolson@kew.org> Date Today 02:00 Good afternoon, Having discussed this at our group meeting, we have agreed - as David mentioned in his email - that the description of the leaves, although minimal, is valid. We therefore consider Dischidia vidalii Becc. a valid name. With best wishes, The IPNI editors - Plant & Fungal Names, Biodiversity Informatics & Spatial Analysis, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew TW9 3DS, United Kingdom Tel. 020 8332 5223, Email: ipnifeedback@kew.org
  9. An Australian entomologist friend who first introduced me to ant-plants in Australia, told me years ago about a population of plants he had discovered north of Weipa on the the Gulf of Carpentaria on the west side of Cape York Peninsula, Australia. It was a population of myrmecodias with WHITE FRUITS. Back then, it was not well known that M.beccarii was first typified and described from "a very rare specimen" found somewhere on the gulf coast back in the 1880's. Thus initially there seemed to be a possibility that it might be a species new to science. However, now that we know M.beccarii is found as far north as the Iron Range region (which is only slightly to the south of Weipa but on the other side of the peninsula) and that M.beccarii had existed on the gulf coast, it seemed most probable that it might be that species. Thus in 2015 I spent a few days in the region hoping to find a population that had been reported as common specimens. Sadly, although numerous sites were found that seemed ideal habitat, not a single Myrmecodia was found, even in locations where Dischidia nummularia a very common cohabitant was very frequent. The Melaleuca forests (prime M.beccarii habitat) showed signs of intense bush fires and the nearby Rio Tinto strip mining areas were off limits so these are possible reasons why no specimens were found. I have attempted to advise the Australia Botanical authorities of the probable presence of a unique population (very possibly genetically distinct) but I have been ignored. The following link is for the actual herbarium specimens collected from the gulf coast habitat by my friend but they have been incorrectly labelled as the very widepread species M. platytyrea subsp antoinii. which they most certainly are not (it has orange fruits). http://biocache.ala.org.au/occurrences/151fcb20-a39b-4cba-b8a8-ccf03066bf33 The Australian botanical community seem very determined not to accept their error, possibly because of the enormous power of the Rio Tinto mining empire that is completely denuding vast areas of pristine forest by removing meters of topsoil and ALL of its lifeforms so that they may then remove many meters of the underlying bauxite (aluminium ore). Now I have indisputable proof from Rio Tinto's own site analysis that Myrmecodia beccarii does (or now DID?) exist in these lands. http://www.riotinto.com/documents/SoE_Vol3_EPBC_assessment_report_part_1.pdf
  10. Derrick

    Avonia journal

    The December 2017 issue of the prestigious German journal Avonia has an article with photos about the ant-plants of Milne Bay Province, Papua New Guinea. It is presented with what I hope is enough background information to encourage others to follow in my footsteps. The next issue will cover part two; the islands.
  11. I have just acquired a Facebook contact in Vanuatu whom intends to search for this rather hydnophytum like species.
  12. Enoch has or will have access to seed of the following species not yet in cultivation as far as I am aware. Anthorrhiza areolata. A. bracteosa, A. recurvispina, Hydnophytum orichalcum (a Jebb & Huxley unpublished species but possibly not a Hydnophytum, thus particularly interesting, H. petiolatum var argentatum which is a Jebb & Huxley unpublished new variety from Normanby Island. Myrmecodia "gurney" with reputedly pink fruits, M. tuberosa "siasiada village" which is probably a new 'variant' or may prove to be a new species. Among those fairly common in cultivation are Hydnophytum moseleyanum, the ant-fern Lecanopteris sinuosa (ripe spores survive posting fairly well and Myrmecodia platytyrea subsp. antoinii. He has also found populations of one of the large leafed Hydnophytum species that may be something new but a number of species are in cultivation. Photos of them all are recorded in https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/. Also bear in mind that Huxley and Jebb's M. tuberosa 'variants' may prove to be full species after future DNA studies. Dischidia nummularia, D. ovata and others are also possibles.
  13. I am posting this here primarily for Jay Vannini whom is among the very best cultivators of ant-plants on our planet, but his disdain for Facebook means he is probably missing an invaluable communications source because it is evident that noone on this site has the initiative to share even very important ant-plant news. I will now set some background. Papua New Guinea is not a developed country and survival there is very demanding especially in remote areas. I was asked to talk to the kids in the mission school about their local ant-plants. Many of the trees in the mission grounds were replete with myrmecophytic guilds. The school had no desks and seats and not a book or writing paper etc. to be seen. When I got home I sent the school a carton of story books but the postage just to the Alotau post office cost more than the contents. Thus expect to pay very well for initial seed offers. Yet even in very distant villages the locals have limited modern communications using smartphones and solar powered chargers. A couple of years ago I was able to reach some of the very remote islands out in the Solomon Sea which are home to a number of rubiacious ant-plants. One of our principal local ecoguides was Enoch Bulunamur who is based in the mission grounds near Siasiada Village on the mainland. He is now very interested in ant-plants and is discovering ever more new to cultivation species (indeed some not even published yet) and many are now being cultivated in the Breakthrough Mission grounds. On my visit we found Anthorrhiza areolata, A. bracteosa, A. recurvispina and what I have tentatively labelled Myrmecodia tuberosa "siasiada village" because it appears to be different from all other Huxley & Jebb 'variants' and other taxa of lesser importance. Since then Enoch has discovered ever more populations of hydnophytums some of which are yet to be published species and one that may be placed in another possibly even a new genus. Most species are not in cultivation. Enoch is now offering seed but I have advised him that he should sell first offers to the highest bidder because of course such rarities are an investment to suitably capable cultivators. This is a huge learning curve for Enoch and if he is succesful then there is a strong possibility he can extend his contacts throughour the PNG mainland so that cultivators can acquire a whole new world of interest. Already Enoch has contacts on the mainland that are reporting ripening hydnophyte seed. It is important to understand that Enoch has very very limited capital to build this venture. Currently communication to Enoch is only through Facebook. I suggest Facebook's "Ant-plant Cultivation" https://www.facebook.com/groups/1498448190449446/about/ as the best site for communication with Enoch Bulunamur but Epiphytic Myrecophyte Images https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/ offers the best site regarding accurate information regarding the various taxa. There is risk in importing seed thus it is best that it be in the hands of very capable cultivators that also ensure Enoch has the best means of getting such seed to their destination in viable condition.
  14. S.wilsonii was sunk by Jebb (1991) into S. imberbis. However, a 2016 Squamellaria revision by Chomicki et al., used morphology and molecular phylogenetics to re-seperate the two species. Therefore, S. wilsonii is now considered to be the species endemic to Taveuni island while the somewhat similar looking S.imberbis is endemic only to nearby Vanua Levu island. http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0151317
  15. Correct name Dischidia pectenoides H. Pearson published in the Journal of the Linnean Society, Botany, vol.35, p377, (1902.) http://www.biodiversitylibrary.org/page/335444#page/392/mode/1up
  16. A specimen further up the host tree was twice the size of the A. recurvispina photographed.
  17. One of the interesting observations that I made while on this expedition to some very remote places in Milne Bay, is that not only are mobile smart phones fairly common there but most of the guides are on Facebook. Not being part of such a communication empire may disadvantage non participant plant collectors and will certainly curtail your learning curves. They often use small solar powered units to keep their phones charged; lighting was also solar charged.
  18. Huxley & Jebb note (page 285 of their revision) that M. tuberosa 'lanceolata', 'papuana' & 'pulvinata'(sic) form a continuum with their widespread lowland PNG 'taxon' 'muelleri' (sic.) I use "sic" because all of these H&J "forms" should have double quotation marks to distinguish them from horticultural cultivars which they are certainly not. It seems probable that this colony of M. tuberosa "Siasiada Village" may also reside somewhere under the wider umbrella of M. tuberosa "muelleri" sensu lato.
  19. Some early images here. https://www.facebook.com/groups/498723016920977/?fref=nf Administrator's note (December, 2017): To find Derrick's Anthorrhiza photos on his Facebook group you will need to do a search for Anthorrhiza photos that he posted there in December of 2015. These were "first ever" internet photos of Anthorrhizas and are worth looking up. There are some excellent photos there.
  20. Hello Frank. This species, 'form' or whatever it will finally prove to be should become available in cultivation, so the name I have used is only a pro forma label (one has few literature resources in the field). However, if it is not a tuberosa form then I have zero idea what it might be. And yes, it often grew pendent. The plant to the right is a M. platytyrea.
  21. Hello Jay et al. Although fruits were plentiful there were zero flowers which was probably due to the current drought. El Nino was impacting most areas I visited, so many plants were dehydrated and lots of them had particularly small leaves. Lots of the flatter lowland regions are now covered in palm oil plantations; nevertheless, not a single ant-plant was observed in any of the remnant vegetation seen over a long drive . Yet when I arrived at the mission just a few meters up from the Sagarai Valley floor (50m?) the very first tree I looked at was loaded with numerous plants of all three hydnophyte species listed above. These were either stand alone specimens in the Mission grounds or were right at the edge of the nearby rain forest, so their ant-plants were very exposed to the elements. The tree in this image stood right next door to the rustic 'bungalow' where I stayed and it held many specimens including mistletoes. Incidentally. the lower right corrugated iron is the 'shower'. The hardworking locals had to bring water up from the nearby creek that fortunately was still running. One used a bail from a large bucket.
  22. The plants from this location will be of particular interest to Aurelien. Many specimens were growing in the same trees as numerous M. platytyrea, Hydnophytum moseleyanum and even a few specimens of Lecanopteris sinuosa were present. Fruits were orange red so differ from the translucent ruby red of Cape York, Australian M. tuberosa and the tubers are also quite different. If they truly are one 'species' then surely they require a cultivators trinomial such as M. tuberosa "Siasiada Village."
  23. 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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