|These are beautiful epiphytic plants from southeast Asia and Malaysia which have developed a remarkable close relationship with certain kinds of ants. Cavities form in the bulbous stem where the ants maintain their nests. In return for the shelter, the ants provide protection to the plant by fending off other insects and herbivores. The ant waste material also provides the plant with fertilizer to spur its growth. Fortunately the ants aren't necessary in order to cultivate these plants in the greenhouse.|
|The first plant pictured (above)is a Hydnophytum species. The leaves are somewhat thickened and succulent. You can see tiny flower buds in the upper leaf axils of the main stem. These will produce the small white four parted flowers (above right)which in turn will produce the small, sweet, orange berries shown below.|
The seeds germinate easily when exposed to warmth and moisture on an epiphytic growing mix such as bark like that used for orchids.Cultivation is fairly easy if you can meet the main requirements of warmth and high humidity combined with good drainage.
©2001 by Dan Sorensen