Saturday, 19 July 2008

Somebody Reads This Blog! Talikubo Update

Isn't the internet wonderful!

Within hours of posting my question on Talikubo, I had an answer from a gentleman from Texas, Brandon McHenry

The plant you have on your blog for which you are looking for an identity is Dischidia cleistantha.

[It certainly is - here's the flower]

Dischidia is a family of epiphytes from SE Asia and Australasia. It is closely related to Hoya although it is vegetatively a much smaller plant and the flowers are usually not showy. Almost all of the species have close relationship with ants and many have evolved interesting vegetative aspects to attract ants. They are some with pouch leaves where ants can build nests within, another type have disk shaped leaves pressing against the trunk which again act as ant shelter. Two other types of Dischidia are not designed to attract ants (although they usually are found around the aerial ant nests), having either flat thick leaves (as in D. hirsuta) or bearing small knob-like leaves along very long internodes (eg D. bengalensis). Researchers have traced the movement of radioactive carbon and nitrogen atoms from ants to plants, confirming that the plants assimilate matters brought in by the ants.

See this for photos of other Dischidia species.

I'll be peering round my Dischidia later this morning with a magnifying glass, looking for ants. I had no idea that these plants share their place in life (forgotten the technical term) with ants. That is, if it stops raining.

I also have at least one other Dischidia species in my garden, and other plants that may be related.

Dischidia plant?Number 1. I think I'll give myself the first chance of identifying this one. No flowers yet, but it has established itself well on the coconut tree I draped it over, a month or so ago.

Number 2.

This is also very weird. We found it in the jungle, wrapped tightly round a rotten piece of bamboo (see lower part of right hand photo).

The leaves have 'sucker pads' at each leaf base.

For a long time, it languished, but has recently grown some new leaves. It has now run out of bamboo, so perhaps it wonders where it's going to go next. Perhaps when it's finished wondering, it might put out some flowers, in gratitude for having a new home, and even some very casual care.

I'm afraid that Brandon McHenry is going to get deluged with Identify This! requests from me.

I'll be blogging some more about weird Philippine plants from time to time.

No comments: