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Hoya mitrata Arthur Francis G. Kerr published in Hooker's Icones Plantarum 1950.  It appears to be genetically a sister species to the ant-house H. darwinii, yet it has a very different habit.  Orivel & Leroy (2011) list this species as a true ant-garden epiphyte.

  Both H. mitrata and H. lambii have some stem sections with extremely short internodes; however, the leaves of this epiphytic climber are more dimorphic than are those of H. lambii.  One leaf type is of the ‘normal’ laminate Hoya form but the other is of ovoid, domed leaves that group together in very tight, downward-pointing clusters that form multi-compartmented, almost globular domatia that ants can further improve by adding ant-carton.

  A first leaf clasps a host tree thereby creating a chamber beneath as in H. imbricata.  More leaves are added to earlier ones in tight, part-overlapping clusters.  These leaf clusters are frequently described as cabbage-like in popular literature because they resemble tightly packed cabbage hearts.  Leaves of a cluster point downwards, creating protective ‘umbrellas’ over interconnected, multi-chambered domatia. Once again, adventitious roots ramify throughout ant-occupied leaf clusters becoming most extensive within added ant carton.  Such roots add to the structural integrity of the nests and the plant probably provides a degree of moisture control in wet seasons by means of its transpiration.  The undersides of domatia leaves are once again dark purple while ‘normal’ laminate leaves remain green on both surfaces.

  Eight out of nine plants examined in habitat were ant occupied.  These inhabitants were not specific being from the genera Crematogaster, Pheidole, Polyrhachis, Camponotus and Technomymex but one species described only as Crematogaster sp. A. and all Polyrhachis species may not breed in H. mitrata. Sometimes more than a single ant species shared the same leaf cluster, therefore benefits to colonisers and the plants themselves must vary according to the habits and attributes of the ant species involved.  (Weissflogg et al. 1999.)

  Habitats: Dense mixed dipterocarp forests in both lowland and hill country. Range: Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Sarawak and elsewhere on Borneo Island.

  Hoya are notoriously variable in response to environmental and cultivation inputs and this species is particularly so. Strong light will keep its leaves half the size of those on shaded, more pampered plants. However, it is of easy cultivation - fast growing and attractively free flowering over many months. Moreover, it is easily available in the retail trade, possibly because it copes better with over watering than with drought. It is also a rarity among Hoya species in preferring ample root room and although it is from tropical lowlands it prefers temperatures around 10-25°C (50-78°F) making it an ideal species for indoor conditions if given suitable light.  Indeed, it may become dormant at temperatures above 30°C, (85°F.)

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The name H. mitrata Kerr (1940) was actually superseded by H. wallichiana Wall. x Wight (1834) but in 2012, Dr Michelle Rodda proposed that the newer name be retained (a nomen conservadum) because it had become so well known; which was accepted in 2013. It follows that H. wallichiana and H. mitrata are the same species.

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