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Myrmecodia beccarii, how many forms?

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Myrmecodia beccarii has caused a bit of confusion, particularly in the USA as to which form is being grown by hobbyists. Some say they have the spiny form and some say they have the spineless form, so how do you tell? The answer is not that clear cut, as the commonly grown form in the USA was originally collected at Hull River near Tully which is at or near the cross-over point between the northern spiny forms and the southern spineless form. What makes things more confusing is that different parameters in cultivation can effect the amount of spines developed as far as quantity or how long it takes to develop them etc. With feedback from Jay it seems that soft grown plants at this stage take a while to develop spines as compared to wild plants or plants grown harder, such as in an open shadehouse in warm climates.  I have started to grow the Hull River form myself as a comparison, commonly called  "Selby"  in the US after the Botanical Gardens it was dispersed into the US hobby from, at this early stage in my conditions it seems to have plenty of the spiny gene. Jay thinks that the forms we grow could better be named after the area of collection rather than the amount of spines they show in cultivation and that makes a lot of sense. I believe that the term "Southern spineless form" can stay, as the southern most population of M.beccarii in Queensland is indeed spineless, it occurs from the Cardwell area south and stops just north of Townsville as you enter the dry tropics and no other Ant Rubiaceae occur past this area. Calling everything north of the Cardwell area a "Northern spiny form" no longer works though, as there has been a recent discovery of another spineless population in a remote area north of Cooktown. It was discovered by a hobbyist in far north Queensland, and I was lucky enough to photograph the plant in his collection and collect some seed from it on my trip to the northern part of my state last year. How large this population is nobody knows, as there is a lot of remote country north of Cooktown that has probably note been surveyed that well by botanists. As I live in Queensland I am lucky enough to have other forms of beccarii, one of these is very attractive in my eyes and both my plants did not develop any spines until quite mature and not all over the caudex, unfortunately I do not have collection data on these plants.There are so many remote areas in Cape York, who knows how many new forms might be discovered!

First photo shows the caudex of the "Southern spineless form" also called the "Cardwell form" after the collection site.

Second photo shows the caudex of  a 'Spiny form" from the Cairns area.

Third photo shows the caudex of the newly discovered spineless form from north of Cooktown. This form has a light brown caudex compared to the grey caudex of the southern form.

Cardwell caudex.jpeg

Cairns caudex.jpeg

nth s.less.JPG

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