Ant Plants

Discussions about the care and keeping of ants

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Joined: Mon Apr 26, 2021 1:36 pm
Location: Los Angeles

Ant Plants

Post: # 77006Post Epiphyte
Mon Apr 26, 2021 4:41 pm

Around 20 years ago I was in the Army stationed in Panama. I remember doing some training in the jungle and counting around a dozen different varieties of ants crawling on me at the same time. Biodiversity is the best.

Even though I appreciate ants, my primary passion is plants, especially epiphytes. There are actually quite a few epiphytes that ants live inside! I grow some here in the Los Angeles area.

When I learned that the AntsCanada creator bought some land to create an ant paradise I got really excited and decided to join this forum to offer some input.

I guess that I'll start by talking about my friend's big beautiful staghorn fern called Platycerium Elemeria. Right now it is growing on her avocado tree. The "problem" is that the fern has scale on it. For those of you who don't know, scale is a tiny insect "pest" that sucks the juices from plants. Ants love to milk scale kinda like how we milk cows. Virtually everybody who grows plants though hates scale and tries to eradicate it.

There is a spectacular species of staghorn in the Philippines called Platycerium grande. This is a must have plant for any botanical garden in the tropics. Does scale infest it in nature? Probably.

Virtually all plants can host scale, aphids, mealybugs and other insects that ants treat like cows. If the plant isn't strong enough though it can die. For example, several of my expensive tree Aloes died because of an aphid like insect (Aloephagus meyersi) that the ants really love. The problem was that the tree Aloes were growing in too much shade. That was my fault.

Some plants essentially skip the middlemen (the "cows") by having extrafloral nectaries, for example... Philodendron Florida Ghost According to Wikipedia 1% to 1.8% of all plants have some sort of extrafloral nectaries.

Then there are the plants that essentially function as homes for ants. Here are a few of the epiphytic ones...

Hoya imbricata
Hoya mitrata Borneo
Hoya myrmecopa
Lecanopteris (fern)
Monolena primuliflora
Myrmecophila (orchid)
Tillandsia seleriana

There are many many others.

In this youtube video you can see Hoya lacunosa growing in an ant nest on a tree... I'm not exactly sure what the relationship is in this case. But I know from personal experience that mealybugs really love Hoya lacunosa, and ants really love mealybugs... yet that Hoya on the tree sure does look really happy!

Personally I'd love to visit a natural garden with the widest variety of epiphytic ant plants. Such a place would naturally also be a paradise for the widest variety of ants!

Most ant plants aren't exactly cheap though. Is it possible for people to donate their ant plants? There's actually a forum solely dedicated to epiphytic ant plants. Ideally at least some of the members would be happy to help contribute to the growth and development of an ant paradise.

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Joined: Wed Jul 29, 2020 12:17 pm
Location: Canada, ON

Re: Ant Plants

Post: # 77009Post AM1C39
Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:49 pm

If you want to help AntsCanada posting on the forum will not really help. He is not very active on the forum and may never see your post. You will have to contact him some other way. Really found your post interesting by the way.
My current colonies:
The miniature military(formica neogagates)
the power of war(camponotus novaeborecensis)
the black hearts(crematogaster cerasi
the blazing nation(Myrmica alaskensis)

Posts: 544
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:17 am
Location: Luxembourg

Re: Ant Plants

Post: # 77018Post AntsLuxembourg
Tue Apr 27, 2021 2:35 am

I would recommend contacting him via MadVampy or his Shop. Maybe he got a business mail. But yeah your chances of being seen in his comment section on his videos is higher than being seen here. ^^
Doing some proper research is the best way to start an antcolony.

1 - Messor Barbarus
Founding colonies:
2 - Lasius Niger Colony
Need help or want to help?

Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2020 8:46 am
Location: Australia

Re: Ant Plants

Post: # 77126Post RiceAnt
Thu Apr 29, 2021 7:17 am

Wow, I am really impressed with your knowledge of plants. My mum likes to keep plants, and I personally think they really change the atmosphere of a room.

Although, I like ants alot better. But I'm planning to put some plants in a future small terrarium for them. Do you know any small plants that can be kept indoors, and will work well with ants?
Go to the ant, O sluggard,
Observe her ways and be wise,
Which, having no chief,
Officer or ruler,
Prepares her food in the summer
And gathers her provision in the harvest.

6:6-8 Proverbs

- Lasius niger
- Crematogaster cerasi

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