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Lecanopteris deparioides globules

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I have had this fern for three years.IMAG1344.thumb.jpg.239af204b32aeb92e35115151ea5907d.jpg

There is an interesting sticky substance produced in perfect single spherical drops at almost every junction at the base of the leaflets.IMAG1346.thumb.jpg.eec18cc51cce7893fa522c28f0bb1d92.jpg1066919337_2019-07-2410-21-04(BRadius8Smoothing4)-01.thumb.jpeg.f011341e2ce2821d50fa3bacd499e44c.jpeg


Detailed image and some structures dotted in a line above the drops.723045826_2019-07-2408-49-53(BRadius8Smoothing4)-01.thumb.jpeg.c65c93b59e0f1e0d12fa4989ea00b7c1.jpeg


Some of the drops are a light sticky fluid, and some are like sticky rubber spheres.

A lecanopteris curtisii is growing alongside this plant in the same conditions but I have not noticed the drops.

Update: The L. curtisii has recently formed a few drops.

Could this be a result of guttation, or possibly nectaries?


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According to a phylogenetic tree of plants with extrafloral nectaries (foliar nectaries for non flowering plants); there are several ferns in the polypodaceae family with foliar nectaries.

I rechecked the L. curtisii again and it does have some drops forming.

The location of the drops matches the location of the nectaries of several other polypod ferns.

Also in another article:

"Bracken nectaries are present and active on both young and mature fronds, whereas Polypodium nectaries are active only on the young
fronds." (American Journal of Botany 85(5): 736–739. 1998.).

This link has interesting information on fern nectaries:



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Great shots, and excellent observations on this.

Just encountered very conspicuous extrafloral nectaries on the abaxial surfaces of the leaves on an apparently undescribed epiphytic Neotropical blueberry (probably a Ceratostema; hasn't flowered yet for confirmation).

Ant + plant relationships are everywhere we look for them.


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Thank you. The drops are about a millimeter across, very noticeable by the way they refract light, and more frequent on fronds with sori. As a test, some ants were placed on a frond and they consumed the drops, with some of the meal leftover adhering to them. 

That plant would be very interesting to see. The informative Neotropical blueberry article has great images with amazing color.


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  • 1 year later...

More nectar images. Ants love it. I am not suggesting it is safe to eat and I do not know the composition of the nectar. However, It is very sweet (don't ask how I know that). The ants feed on the ferns nectar, and I can see their abdomen expand as they gorge themselves. Many Ant species have two stomachs a private stomach and a social stomach. 




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  • 1 month later...

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