Friday, March 21, 2008

A Rare Dischidia cochleata

This is a very beautiful ant associated Dischidia species is described by Blume with Type specimen from Java. In The Peninsular Malayan species of Dischidia by R. E. Rintz, it has been recorded from lowland and hill forest of southern 2/3 of the Peninsula; seen once in Selangor; Reported from Malacca, Pahang and Singapore. This species is an "intermediate" ant-plant, with round-convex leaves clasping branches and twigs. Intermediate ant plant in the sense that it does not have well develop ant-housing pouch structure as D. major a native or D. pectinoides from The Philippines but possesses just simple convex-shelter for ants or other insects while many other species like D. nummularia does provide any ant shelter at all.

We were very fortunate to chance upon it on a fallen branch in a recreation stream/waterfall area in Southern Johor. The area has since been destroyed by a flash flood about 2 years ago. This specimen has exceptionally bright red flowers and capped bluish-white lobes; the leaves are covered with small random conical projections, giving it a rough and bumpy texture. So far, this is one of the most best clone ever found; more red versus orange and more textured leaves. It does reasonably well for me, enjoying intense light...some light fertilizing and grown on a stick. This clone has been introduced to a couple of friends in Thailand, Taiwan, Europe and US... but for most is challanging to difficult.

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