Ant Plant   
Foto info
Ant Plant
ative Photo: Prashant Awale
Common name: Ant Plant
Botanical name: Hydnophytum formicarum    Family: Rubiaceae (Coffee family)

Ant Plant is a curious shrub growing on other trees, with large tuberous base 4-5 inches in diameter, without spines, and inhabited by stinging ants which excavate the tuber. The plant has several branches with opposite fleshy, oval leaves. The leaves have 6-12 pairs of veins. Small stalkless, axillary white flowers are followed by orange berries. The plant base is hollow, and forms a perfect nest for the ants, which protect the plant, and get home and sweet sap in exchange. It can be reproduced both by cuttings and seeds. The caudex will get op to 1ft, the branches 2ft. The plant needs high humidity. Ant Plant is native to SE Asia and Andaman & Nicobar.

Identification credit: Katarina, Ritesh Choudhary, K. Karthigeyan
Photographed in Baratang, Andaman & Nicobar.
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