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Origin and Habitat: Hydnophytum perangustum grows as an epiphyte on swamp trees on Borneo. According to a note published on Facebook in January 2016 by D. Rowe “It was collected by Art Vogel then curator at the Leiden Botanical Garden, Netherlands, from a heath forest near Nabawan in December 1995. Nabawan is a small town in central Sabah south of Kota Kinabalu on Borneo Island.”
Description: Hydnophytum perangustum is an undescribed name (nomen nudum - Abbreviation n. n. A title lacking valid description). It is also known as Hydnophytum sp. “Needle Leaf” in reference to its unusually acicular (needle-shaped) leaves. The plants live epiphytically in nature. They form thick tubers, which, in natural surroundings, provides ants with shelter in its caudex (or broadened stem). The epiphyte gets sustenance by absorbing nutrients from the wastes and debris stored inside tree cavities by the ants, and the ants obtain honeydew secreted by the shoot tips of the host. And the ants defend the plant against every enemy. Hydnophytum perangustum stays compact and the caudex stays small.
Bibliography: Major references and further lectures
1) FRANK'S ANT-PLANTS “Hydnophytums: images & provenance” web: http://www.franksantplants.com/hydnophytums/
Cultivation and Propagation: Ant plants are rarely cultivated by amateur growers. These plants can be tricky to grow well and are quick to shed their leaves if they are allowed to dry out or become too cold. They needs warm temperatures all year round with high humidity and bright light, though some protection from mid-day sun may be warranted. It is possible to grow them in a mix of peat and perlite, but an open orchids substrate (sphagnum moss, chopped fir bark, and perlite) seems the best combination. The plants are watered when the mix is just barely moist. If humidity is high, plants can be mounted on cork bark plaques for a more natural appearance. Mounted plants will, of course, require more frequent watering. The roots of Hydnophytum and Myrmecodia are very brittle, so great care must be taken when repotting however, the plants seem capable of producing new roots from any part of the tuber that is in contact with a moist substrate. It can also be kept without the presence of ants, it is even strongly discouraged to let ants live in the plant when it is in the house or terrarium.
Pest and disease: Ant-plants are susceptible to scale and mealybugs.
Propagation: They are very very easy to grow from seed. The flowers are self-pollinating and produce easily fruits and seeds, but the seeds remains viable for a very short time and must be sown immediately after harvesting. The seeds germinate equally well in light and darkness, lay them on the surface of the sowing mix, do not bury them. Fresh seed germinates quickly within a week and often the day after they were sown, i.e., within twenty-four hours, and the initial swelling of the tuber is visible almost immediately. Seedlings grow rapidly if kept constantly moist. They can also be reproduced by cuttings, stems will root and grow but do not produce a tuber.
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