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Myrmecophila tibicinis

Discussion in 'Orchid Species' started by Ricardo, May 7, 2012.

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  1. Ricardo

    Ricardo Slave of demanding bird

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    The inflorescence topped out at six and a half feet tall. It kept growing against the shade cloth roof and this twisted part of the inflorescence to the side. However when I lowered the plant almost to the floor, the inflorescence righted itself and kept on growing. The plant is absolutely covered with ants which infest with particular fervor the inflorescence due to the nectar glands in the flowers.
    IMG_5083.JPG IMG_5080.JPG
     
  2. tenman

    tenman Well-Known Member

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    Very nice shot. Does ayone know if anyone has seriously looked into why this group has such tall lnflorescences, evolutionarily speaking?
     
  3. Ricardo

    Ricardo Slave of demanding bird

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    I don't know if this has been the subject of research. I visited a deserted island, about fifty miles away from Puerto Rico that has a huge, Psychilis orchids population. Many of the plants were growing over rocks that were under the cover of shrubs. Their inflorescences were just tall enough to put the flowers right over the top of the leafy canopy that the shrubs provided. This may be an adaptation to make the flowers more visible to potential pollinators.
     
  4. goods

    goods Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I've also seen pictures of Schomburgkias (I know they've been re-named) blooming in the breaks of the forest canopy, and the length of the spikes put the flowers above the upper branches. I'd say the idea of making the flowers more available to pollinators is a good hypothesis. Anyone know the natural pollinator?
     
  5. Alexey

    Alexey Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Length of spike is striking.
     
  6. Marni

    Marni Well-Known Member Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I do love the flowers, but the plant won't make a great coffee table centerpiece.
     
  7. Ricardo

    Ricardo Slave of demanding bird

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    It could be appropriate for the coffee table if you are hosting a party for NBL :D players.
     
  8. Uluwehi

    Uluwehi angraecoids, dendrobiums and more Supporting Member

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    Your habitus photo is so cool. Do you have to worry about birds eating the flowers? On O'ahu the bulbil birds really love to eat Myrmecophila flowers and flower buds.
     
  9. Ricardo

    Ricardo Slave of demanding bird

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    Local birds don't bother Myrmecophyla flowers. But in the mountains Bananaquits have, on a few ocasions, made incisions on Cattleya flower buds that have not opened to look for nectar. But generaly birds don't bother the flowers, with a single exception. The exception are the Dendrobium that produce tubular flowers, those are almost immediately probed by local hummingbirds, I had one Dendrobium mikayei plant that bloomed from time to time but whose flowers lasted only for a brief time, that was how I discovered the hummingbirds were taking the pollinia of all the flowers. The same happens with Dendrobium secundum.