The tuberous stem filled with a maze of tunnels and caverns readily populated by ants who find food and shelter in its structure. The tuber, or caudex fixes to trees with its roots and grows around 10-25cm across. No two are the same and they have a fascinating, textured surface of lumps, bumps and spines.
It frequently has one branch, but may produce more and they grow 10-50cm long. The oval shaped leaves are bright to mid green and grow from the end of the branch. Tiny white flowers (3mm) that can be followed by little red ornamental berries/seeds.
In the wild, they have a symbiotic relationship with ants that isn’t necessarily present when grown in cultivation. In their natural environment, from the outside you may be able to see small holes or entrances to the network of passages beneath. The plant benefits from the stinging ants as they prevent other insects, and herbivores from attacking the plant, and the waste of the ants provides it with nutrients. While the plant provides the ants with shelter.
Myrmecodia tuberosa is native to North Queensland and South East Asian tropics. It should be protected from cold, so in cool areas grow indoors, with an ideal temperature range of 21-28C and high humidity. If it drops below 10C it may shed its leaves. In the northern states it can be grown outdoors in a bright, filtered light position. You could attach it to wood, or grow in a pot with coarse potting mix – it needs perfect drainage, repot as the mix deteriorates every two or three years. Water well, then allow to dry out before watering again. Ideally use rainwater or let the tap water sit overnight. A liquid succulent fertiliser regularly will encourage good growth. If it gets too dry it may also drop its leaves. Bright, filtered light is ideal.
Supplied as: Pots
Size: 7.5 cm
Cool to Tropical