Hatchimotoshinzan Posted June 19, 2014 Report Share Posted June 19, 2014 I noticed that one other member identified P.superbum from Queensland as having a relationship with ants. On this point there might be a difference of opinion as the motive or evolutionary induced gain fro such a partnership. When I used to hike the Everglades thirty years ago vittaria lineata and Polypodium aureum were common sites in Palmetto canopies. These were always also inhabited by Carpenter ants. Both gained some kind of advantage but are not obligate. This is common with many types of epiphytes. Of the 18 or species of Platycerium (the number gets bigger and smaller each day) and several hundred cultivars there are only two that I know have evolved with ants. The first is Platycerium madagascariense, from the cloud forests of N.E. Malagasy. and Platycerium Ridleyi, from around 30-40 meters in the canopy closer to sea level in parts of Malesia. They have two types of leaves, sterile fronds and fertile fronds. The two plants are not closely related but their sterile fronds are extremely similar. They have a waffled expression many have compared to brain matter. The sterile fronds completely enclose around a branch and in time more layers of these will form. This has been one of the problems in watering these in horticulture.The waffled areas provide natural tunnels for the ants and a multi storied "domatia" over time. P.madagascariense is probably more closely related to P.elissii and P.ridleyi to P.coronarium based on spore patch distribution. Both of these ferns are considered generally either short lived for very difficult to grow. The original introduction of P.madagascariense saw the oldest plant dying at age five. There is something they have in common besides the sterile fronds:They are always colonized by ants-even in doors in a house. Another interesting point is that they are considered to be the utmost bug-magnets. Everything will attack them and have no interest in any other one of your plants. A single roach such as Periplaneta americana will chew the bud out of a large plant-killing it-in the course of an evening. I now grow these inside in chambers. Regards Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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