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Photography of Hydnophytinae flowers

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Hello all,

in another post, Jeff mentioned the importance of flowers and inflorescences for taxonomy of Hydnophytinae

I completely agree and believe that by studying just the material in cultivation we could gain quite a bit of information.


The problem is:

How do you remove intact flowers? While this might work for some Hydnophytum species, it's essentailly impossible for Myrmecodia or Myrmephytum - if you try to pull out a flower, you end up with just the corolla and you'll never get the ovary and style. The only chance I see to get the whole flower that I see is the dissection of a whole shoot. Not an option for a valuable plant IMHO...  


If you have any technique I'd be very interested to learn how to do this.

All the best



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I have had some success using a dissecting microscope with a camera attached to get flower photos of Mymrecodias. I use a razor blade to carefully slice thru the corolla, top and bottom, and then remove one side of the corolla tube.  Positioning the flower under the lens is the hardest part.  Here is a series of photos I took of a plant I got from "Carnivores and More" as "Myrmecodia species with a bicolor caudex from Irian Jaya."  In those photos with a ruler the markings are in millimeters.  Note the ring of hairs at the base of the tube.


The way I understand it this plant was at one time thought to possibly be a young version of Myrmecodia lamii.  It does have winged clypeoli as you can see in some of the photos.  But now, with real lamii plants around I suspect this is an unidentified or undescribed species.


As you learn quickly with these ant-plants growing conditions have a huge impact on the morphology of the plant.  The second last photo is my plant (3 inch pot) grown under lights in my basement in the state of Michigan, USA.  The last photo is two seedlings (also 3 inch pots) from my plant being grown in a greenhouse in Florida, USA.  No bicolor caudex - totally dark brown and showing much more character!








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Hi Jeff,


Yes, the cut of the corolla and the flower photos were all done on the intact plant - the second photo below is proof -you can see the cut flower I was photographing on the stem.


Yes the ring of hairs is visible on all the flower photos in my first reply above where you can see the very bottom of the corolla tube. (photos 1,2,3 and 5)  The hairs are so low in the tube that it is almost as if the hairs are sitting on the top of the ovary.  One more extreme close-up photo in this post highlights the hairs better. 


Also here are some stem shots showing the stems and clypeoli that you asked for.  The alveoli are not really visible on this species - it is almost as if the flowers and fruits peek out from behind the clypeoli.








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