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 Anthorrhiza areolata

Photo by Derrick Rowe.  This plant was found at Sewa Bay,
 Normanby Island, D'Entrecasteaux Islands, Milne Bay Province,
 Papua New Guinea.

Author:  Camilla Rose Huxley & Matthew H. P. Jebb 1991
Family:  Rubiaceae
Habitat:  Papua New Guinea
Soil:  No; Epiphytic - Moss
Water:  Maximum
Sun:  Minimum-Medium
Thickness:  25 centimetres
Height:  50 centimetres
Flower:  White
Reproduction:  Seeds
Pop names:  Ant plant
Synonyms:  -

The unripe fruit by Derrick Rowe

The caudex with entrance by Derrick Rowe

The inflorescense by Derrick Rowe

   This epiphytic member of the Rubiaceae family was described by Camilla Rose Huxley & Matthew H. P. Jebb in 1991. It is found in the jungles of Papua New Guinea. The hollow and rough caudex will grow to 25 centimetres in diameter, the branches reach 50 centimetres in length. The flowers are white on this ant plant, while the fruits are orange-red.

Key to the Species of Anthorrhiza.
1a. Spines present on stem… = 2.
1b. Spines absent on stem or very few… = 7.
2a. Spines largely, but not exclusively confined to the inflorescence forming a cushion in the leaf axils. Leaves 4-10cm wide… = 3.
2b. Spines scattered on stem. Leaves usually less than 4cm wide… = 4.
3a. Inflorescence with fleshy ridges separating flower-producing tissue. Spines straight, usually dense on tuber. Corolla lobes greenish white. Anthers cream. = Anthorrhiza echinella.
3b. Inflorescence without ridges of tissue. Spines gently curved, usually sparse on tuber. Corolla white. Anthers blue… = Anthorrhiza  recurvispina.

4a. Lamina less than 8cm long, stipules persistent, rounded… = Anthorrhiza  stevensii.
4b. Lamina more than 10cm long, stipules caducous (easily shed), triangular or rounded… = 5.
5a. Stem dorsiventral, (flattened + distinct upper and lower surfaces) more spines on upper side, spines light brown to blackish. Leaf margin crinkled. Corolla blue… = Anthorrhiza  caerulea.
 Camilla Rose Huxley & Matthew H. P. Jebb in 1991. Papau New Guinea, 15 centimetres in diameter.  One or rarely two, unbranded stems. Pale blue/turquoise flowers. Fruits orange.
5b. Stem radially symmetrical, rarely dorsiventral. Spines golden brown. Leaf margin flat. Corolla white to greenish white… = 6.
6a. Inflorescence bracts leathery, splitting regularly, apiculate, persistent. Petals with long slender lobe tips… = Anthorrhiza  chrysacantha.
6b. Inflorescence bracts papery, tearing irregularly, not apiculate, caducous (easily shed.) Petals acute-rounded… = Anthorrhiza camilla.
7a. Inflorescence covered by leathery and papery bracts. Fruit with 4-8 pyrenes… = Anthorrhiza bracteosa.
7b. Inflorescence sunken or covered by a dense cushion of bract hairs. Fruit with 2 pyrenes… =8.
8a. Tuber surface smooth. Leaves to 17x7cm. Inflorescence narrowly cordate in outline… = Anthorrhiza mitis.
  Camilla Rose Huxley & Matthew H. P. Jebb in 1991. Papau New Guinea. Diameter 30 centimetres, height of caudex 26 centimetres Total?. Several unbranched stems. Flowers whit, fruits orange-red.
8b. Tuber surface areolate (roughened by areolae). Leaves to 11x4cm. Inflorescence arch-shaped in outline... = Anthorrhiza areolata.

The leaves by
Derrick Rowe                                       The flower by Derrick Rowe