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This montane species is one of the handful of shell leaved species in the genus.  Notable for the bullate foliage and the bright pinkish red color when grown in high light.  This species really appreciates cooler temps and does/looks best grown cool but can tolerate lowland temps but it will not look as nice.  The flowers are notable for their onion shape and bright blue and red corollas.


The first photo shows also a red form of Dischidia hirsuta (which to my knowledge is not a myrecophyte I just thought it would look nice on the mount).






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True Ant Garden Dischidia species. After Orivel & Leroy (2011.)

Defined as those species incorporated into an ant-carton nest as seed.

Dischidia acutifolia                            Maingay x Joseph Dalton Hooker.     Peninsular Malaysia.

Dischidia albida                                Griffith                                                 Peninsular Malaysia.

Dischidia bengalensis                       Colebrooke                                        Peninsular Malaysia.

Dischidia fruticulosa                          Ridley                                                 Peninsular Malaysia.

Dischidia hirsuta                              (Blume) Decaisne                               Peninsular Malaysia.

Dischidia longepedunculata              Ridley                                                 Peninsular Malaysia.

Dischidia punctata                             Decaisne                                           Peninsular Malaysia.

Dischidia subalata                             Warburg                                             Peninsular Malaysia.

Dischidia sp. Presumably Kaufmann’s spKfmE115                                     Peninsular Malaysia.

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There are multiple forms/clones of Dischidia hirsuta.  I have never heard of this particular one being an ant plant.  I wonder which clone that one refers to?  I have spoken to a few people that have collected the species in the wild and none have mentioned ants.


Edit:  For some reason I did not see the far right column initially.  I see that it mentions that peninsular Malaysian species.  I have a clone from that region.  I don't think Rintz even mentions ants.  Interesting.

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Hello DischidiaGuy,

these are very beautiful images and I am glad that high quality images of cultivated plants start to appear here in the forum.

I feel our two main goals should be to collect information and good images of Ant Plants here. Therefore we should not be too picky when it comes to the usage of storage space.

In configuration I removed the upload limits and so it's no problem to upload larger pictures.

IMHO, these images really deserve, to be displayed in high resolution, so feel free to post images in a larger size.

Personally, I upload my images so that the longer side is approximately 2000 pixels long. 

All the best


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Dischidia astephana Scortechini (ex King & Gamble) published in Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Part 2, Natural History, 1908.

  This unique species possesses domed, bullate and imbricating leaves.  The word bullate is often used in popular literature to describe the saccate (sac-like) domatia leaves of section Ascidiophora but this is a somewhat extended usage. However, the word bullate as primarily used by botanists aptly describes the distinctly blistered or bumpy leaves of this trunk-clasping species.  It also has attractive red flowers, which is something of a rarity in this genus and young leaves can be distinctly hairy. The species is found throughout Peninsular Malaysia especially on Leptospermum flavescens or Dacrydium trees at montane elevations around 2000 m. (6562 ft.) Indeed, both this species and a frequent close companion D. parvifolia are often the only epiphytes tolerated on host trees by resident Crematogaster ant colonies that kill other invading plants.

  Each ant colony occupies hollows in the trunk and major branches of a single tree where they excavate rotting core tissues to enlarge their nests.  (Weir & Kew 1985.)

Both D. astephana & D. parvifolia grow out of such cavities with their roots dispersed throughout decomposing tree cores, a substrate enriched by the rubbish and excreta of both ants and varied detrivores.  According to Weir & Kew (1985) although D. astephana leaves are domed, resident ants do NOT nest or deposit their rubbish beneath them.  However, I presume it is possible that these plants still gain better access to leachates due to shade provided by their imbricating leaves

  However, the seeds of both D. astephana and D. parvifolia seeds are attractive to resident ants that take them to their nests where both plant species gain opportunities to germinate and grow from tree cavities.  It seems that although D. parvifolia has no ant-house abilities, it is using similar ant-manipulative scents to those produced by D. astephana seeds; hence, D. parvifolia is probably a semi-parasite of the D. astephana & Crematogaster mutualism.  (Weir & Kew 1985.)

  In some peninsular Malayan sites, D. astephana co-occurs with the ant-house fern Lecanopteris pumila, itself very frequently inhabited by Crematogaster treubi ants and these myrmeco-epiphyte guilds dominate their local arboreal communities.

  In some of the nutrient poor heath forests of Borneo, D. astephana replaces D. major in very abundant myrmeco-epiphyte assemblages that can include Hydnophytum formicarum, Myrmecodia tuberosa, Dischidia nummularia, Pachycentria constricta or P. glauca.  It would seem therefore that D. astephana is adaptable concerning its immediate ecosystem. (Weir & Kew 1985.)

D. astephana likes good light which brings out some most attractive red colours in its foliage, as well as adequate moisture and being a high altitude tropical species it needs mild temperatures.

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