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Family: RUBIACEAE 

 Hydnophytum formicarum
 

Photo by Nicholas Plummer.

  
Author:  William Jack 1823
Family:  Rubiaceae
Habitat:  Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam
Soil:  Peat - Branches
Water:  Maximum
Sun:  Medium
Thickness:  30 centimetres
Height:  40 centimetres
Flower:  White
Reproduction:  Seeds/Cuttings
Pop names:  -
Synonyms:  "H. formicarium"


Ant entrance.


A large plant from Copenhagen Botanical Garden.


Plant in a German BG.

This member of the RUBIACEAE family was described by William Jack in 1823. It's found in the jungles in Cambodia,Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. It's a epiphyte, and needs a lots of moist, but not much sun. It can be reproduced both by cuttings and seeds. The caudex will get op to 30 centimetres, the branches 40 centimetres.

The caudex is hollow, and forms a perfect nest for the ants, which protect the plant, and gets home and sweet sap in exchange. It get a lots of white small flowers, and small red fruits.

H. formicarum, have 6-12 pairs of veins in their leathery leaves, brownish and rough caudex with ridges, ant entrances only along the soil line, flowers 3-4 millimetres.
It is considered by Dr C. R. Huxley to be an ochlospecies, which simply means a species that is so variable, it has not been possible to define population parameters. That seems obviously, when the plants from Cambodia was found.

Often confused with H. moseleyanum which have 3-4 pairs of veins in their slightly succulent, silverish and smooth caudex without ridges, ant entrances spread all over the lover half of the caudex, flowers 4-5 millimetres.

Sub-family: Rubioideae. Tibe:Psychotrieae. Sub-tribe: Hydnophytinae.

In my experience, the seeds should be sown within a week after opening the fresh fruit.

It needs righter high humidity.

  

  
Plants from the eastern Cambodia - found on a market, used as medicine plants
  

 
Plants in Copenhagen from a new seed batch.