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Squamellaria guppyana

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Northern Solomon Islands by Derrick Rowe.


Northern Solomon Islands by Derrick Rowe.


Wild plants from Tunurua mangrove swamp,
north of Arawa, Bougainville Island,
Northern Solomon Islands. Photo by Derrick Rowe.


Wild plants from Tunurua mangrove swamp,
north of Arawa, Bougainville Island,
Northern Solomon Islands. Photo by Derrick Rowe.

Author: Guillaume Chomicki, 2016
Family:  RUBIACEAE
Origin:  Solomon Islands
Soil:  Epiphytic
Water:  Medium - Maximum
Sun:  Medium
Thickness:  15 Centimetres
Height:  80 Centimetres
Flower:  White
Propagate:  Seeds
Names:  Ant Plant
Synonyms:  Hydnophytum guppyanum, Odoardo Beccari, 1885
This member of the Rubiaceae family was given this name by Guillaume Chomicki in 2016. It is found in the Solomon Islands, growing as an epiphytic with some to lots of water water and some sun. The caudex can grow to fifteen centimetres in diameter, the entire plant to 80 centimetres in height. The flowers are white.

The genera name refers to the presence of fringed scales, or squamellae, which are produced within the petals in some species. The species is named after Henry Brougham Guppy, 1854 -1926, a British surgeon, geologist, botanist and photographer.

Key to the species of Squamellaria
by Guillaume Chomicki and Susanne S. Renner.

1. Species not occurring in Fiji…......………………….2
2. Endemic to Vanuatu; inflorescence covered by
    triangular papery bracts..............…S. vanuatuensis
2. Endemic to the Solomon Islands, inflorescence
    not covered by papery bracts…………....………….3
3. Lamina 5–20 cm long; peduncle 3-branched,
    with 4 or more fertile branch ends, corolla tube
    slender, at least 3 times as long as broad, tuber
    round to ovate ............ ………….....…S. guppyana
3. Lamina 2–4 cm long; peduncle 2-branched,
    with 2 or rarely 3 fertile branch ends; corolla
    tube scarcely longer than broad, tuber
    boat-shaped……………………………S. kajewskii
1. Species occurring in Fiji…..………………….…….4
4. Tuber entrance holes of 0.5–5 cm, arranged
    irregularly and concentrated at the basal
    part of the tuber, leaves 2–12 cm long, flowers
    with thin corolla tubes (2–3 mm), inhabited
    by various ant species, but not Philidris nagasau...5
5. Herbarium and living material of the following
    three species cannot be securely distinguished
    morphologically; endemic to the South East Fiji
    islands Viti Levu, Ovalau.……….......…S. tenuiflora
5. Endemic to the North West Fiji islands
    Vanua Levu and Taveuni……........…………………6
6. Vanua Levu……………………..…….S. wilkinsonii
6. Taveuni……………………………..……S. jebbiana
4. Tuber entrance holes <3 mm, in circles
    around the tuber, leaves 3–8.5 cm, flowers
    with large (4–6 mm) or thin (2–3 mm) corolla
    tubes, always inhabited by the ant species
    Philidris nagasau………......... ….………………….7
7. Flower calyx 3 mm wide, corolla tubes
2.5–3.5 mm wide squamellae absent, carpels
    three with straight pyrenes..........……….……S. grayi
7. Flower calyx 5–7 mm wide, corolla tube
    4–10 mm wide, squamellae present,
    carpels four with curved pyrenes……..................…8
8. Tuber lacking hairs but with dark brown
    protuberances  leaves oblong ..…… S. huxleyana
8. Tuber with hairs (S. imberbis, S. wilsonii)
    and/or pale protuberances (S. major, S. thekii);
    leaves not oblong except in S. major…              …9
9. Leaves not succulent, lanceolate to
    rhomboid, 1–2 mm thick …….....……………. … 10
10. Domatium globose, with hairs; species
     endemic to Vanua Levu .………....…. S. imberbis
10. Domatium flattened, with pronounced
    bilateral symmetry, with hairs, species
    endemic to Taveuni………………..……S. wilsonii
9. Leaves succulent, cordate to
    ovate-rhomboid or ovate to oblong-elliptic,
    3–4 mm thick………..........................................…  11
11. Leaves ovate to oblong-elliptic, 8–16 cm long,
    stems solitary around the domatium…..... S. major
11. Leaves cordate to ovate-rhomboid, 4–6 cm
     long, stems in clusters around the tuber…S thekii

A key to the genera of the HYDNOPHYTTNAE is found on the Myrmecodia alata page.