Shop Orchid Care OrchidTalk Orchid Forum Weather Station Links Nursery

Welcome to OrchidTalk Orchid Forums


The Friendliest Orchid Community on the Internet!


  •  » Learn to Repot your Orchids
  •  » Learn Orchid Care Tips and Secrets
  •  » Find the perfect Orchid for your Growing Environment
  •  » Chat with Orchid Growing Professionals

OrchidTalk - "Bringing People Together to Grow Orchids Better!"


Let us help you grow your Orchids better; Join our community today.


YES! I want to register an account for free right now!


Register or Login now to remove this advertisement.

Results 1 to 9 of 9
Like Tree7Likes
  • 5 Post By pavel
  • 1 Post By tradceci
  • 1 Post By pavel

Something a bit different ... ant plants

This is a discussion on Something a bit different ... ant plants within the The Jungle forums, part of the Land Plants category; Back in late September/early October friend of mine introduced me to an acquaintance of his ...

Click here to increase the font size Click here to reduce the font size
  1. #1
    pavel's Avatar
    pavel is offline change is the only constant
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    whatever will bloom
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    8,643
    Member's Country Flag
    Recipes
    3

    Default Something a bit different ... ant plants

    Back in late September/early October friend of mine introduced me to an acquaintance of his at a conservatory. As a result, we got to do a bit of a "behind the scenes" wandering about while we talked. We came upon an area devoted to the gent's interests -- ant plants. As we talked about them, he seemed quite surprised and pleased that I knew a bit about them. Upon leaving he bestowed a few seeds upon me. I planted them and they germinated without any issue about two weeks after planting. Little buggers are just NOW -- 8 months later -- finally forming their first set of true leaves. (Makes orchids look down right speedy.) That's a 3in (7.5cm) pot they are in by the way.



    Recently stopped by to visit that friend of mine and he had something for me that his acquaintance asked be given to me. This is a two year old ant plant and though it still has a long way to go, it is downright HUGE compared to my little seedlings.





    Oh and for those who might wonder just what an ant plant is ... These are a Family of epiphytic plants that have a symbiotic relationship (meaning both species benefit) with species of minute arboreal ant species. As the plant grows, tunnels and canals develop inside the trunk/caudex with openings to the outside. The ants colonize these tunnels and thereby gain a home in the trees without having to carve them out of wood or making the incredibly long trek to the ground to dig one out. In return, the plant receives some nutrients from the ants' feces and also gains protection from a number of herbivorous creatures as the ants are VERY protective of their home, attacking anything they perceive as threat to their plant.
    Attached Images Attached Images   

  2. #2
    Chris1140's Avatar
    Chris1140 is online now Senior Member
    My Grow Area
    Windowsill
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Paphiopedilum, Phalaenopsis
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    701
    Member's Country Flag

  3. #3
    k_andreev's Avatar
    k_andreev is offline Senior Member
    My Grow Area
    Greenhouse
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Los angeles,California
    Posts
    1,496
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    wow 2 years and you got this tree.how tall for tree and how long it take to become a big tree?

  4. #4
    Anteater is offline Senior Member
    Real Name
    Taylor
    My Grow Area
    Under Lights
    Join Date
    Nov 2012
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Elko, Nevada
    Posts
    201
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    That's interesting. Thanks for posting that.

  5. #5
    Brutal_Dreamer's Avatar
    Brutal_Dreamer is offline Dreaming with my eyes open...
    Real Name
    Bruce Brown
    My Grow Area
    Greenhouse
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Cattleyas & Slippers
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    34,003
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    Never read of these before. Very cool!

    Cheers,
    BD

  6. #6
    tradceci's Avatar
    tradceci is offline Senior Member
    Real Name
    Carmen
    My Grow Area
    Outside 24/7
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    I can't decide!
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Gender
    Female
    Location
    Puerto Rico
    Posts
    314
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    Ha! As I read, I thought of myrmecophylas which have a similar simbiotic relation with ants. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

  7. #7
    pavel's Avatar
    pavel is offline change is the only constant
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    whatever will bloom
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    8,643
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by k_andreev View Post
    wow 2 years and you got this tree.how tall for tree and how long it take to become a big tree?
    LOL No, Kitty. I did not grow this plant up to this size. An acquaintance did so and it only recently came into my possession so I cannot take any credit for its current size. As far as becoming a "big tree" ... the answer is never. These types of plants will max out at the height of a medium to standard size cattleya (more likely the medium sized).

    There are however, a large number of different types of plants that also have a similar relationship with ants -- and some of them are trees. The most well known are some of the species of Acacia trees. These trees have enlarged thorns which house ants and the tree even provides some food for the ants. Again, the ants involved are extremely protective of their tree and will attack just about any insect or even larger animal that tries to feed on their tree. The ants have even been observed to prune away vines that try to attach themselves to their tree.


    Quote Originally Posted by tradceci View Post
    Ha! As I read, I thought of myrmecophylas which have a similar simbiotic relation with ants. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing.
    Yes, indeed, Carmen. As far as I know, Myrmecophila is the only genus of orchids that has a similar relationship with ants. This relationship likely explains why members of this genus have such long flower spikes -- only way to lesson the odds of the pollinator getting attacked or driven away by the ants.

  8. #8
    Chris1140's Avatar
    Chris1140 is online now Senior Member
    My Grow Area
    Windowsill
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    Paphiopedilum, Phalaenopsis
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    701
    Member's Country Flag

    Default

    When I was little we had an ant tree in the yard. It was a black locust that was home to a large number of black carpenter ants. It was situated near the house and occasionally a few ants found their way inside, but it didn't bother us. Sometimes you would see small heaps of sawdust so apparently the ants were excavating. When the house was sold the new owners had the tree removed.

  9. #9
    stateless's Avatar
    stateless is offline Senior Member
    Real Name
    ed
    My Grow Area
    Outside 24/7
    Favorite Orchid(s)
    vanda,
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    south florida
    Posts
    2,429

    Default

    cool, like the caudex form

Similar Threads

  1. other plants
    By vangie in forum The Jungle
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: March 28th, 2011, 01:28 PM
  2. My new plants!
    By Brutal_Dreamer in forum Eye Candy
    Replies: 66
    Last Post: October 9th, 2009, 11:29 PM
  3. When you get new plants...
    By Elena in forum New Growers: Ask the Senior Members
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: March 17th, 2007, 04:18 PM
  4. And some of the plants....
    By Tmai in forum A Kodak Moment: not necessarily plants...
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: December 10th, 2006, 05:42 PM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
OrchidTalk --An Orchid Growers Discussion Forum brought to you by River Valley Orchidworks. A World Community where orchid beginners and experts talk about orchids and share tips on their care, cultivation, and propagation.