Hydnophytum papuanum (small pot)


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Hydnophytum is a genus of epiphytic myrmecophytes (ant plants) native to Southeast Asia, the Pacific region and also extending into Queensland in northern Australia.
They form a symbiotic relationship with ants. Ant plants provide habitats for ant colonies high up into the forest canopy, protecting them from the elements and also predators because of the spines. Hollow, smooth-walled tunnels form within the caudex with external entrance holes, providing an above-ground home for ant colonies. Ants likewise provide defense for the plant and prevent tissue damage, swarming to defend their home if disturbed. Ant colonies also provide nutrients to the plants by leaving wastes within the tunnels inside the caudex. Special glands lining the tunnels then absorb nutriment for the plant. This symbiosis allows the plants to effectively gather nutrients (via the ants) from a much larger area than the roots ever could cover.