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  Hydnophytum formicarum Jack
  Family Name : Rubiaceae

  Common Names : Baboon's Head, Ant Plant, Dedalu Api Laut, Hempedal Itik, Kepala Beruk, Pedal Itik

Baboon's Head,Ant Plant,Dedalu Api Laut,Hempedal Itik,Kepala Beruk,Pedal Itik
  • Record Info
  • Life Stage & Characteristics
    • Plant Division :
      Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Dicotyledon)
      Plant Growth Form :
      Lifespan (in Singapore) :
      Mode of Nutrition :
  • Biogeography
    • Native Distribution :
      Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, through Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Borneo, to New Guinea
      Native Habitat :
      Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest; Mountain; Coastal Forest; Freshwater Swamp Forest)
      Preferred Climate Zone :
      Local Conservation Status :
      Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))
  • Description & Ethnobotany
    • Plant Morphology :
      Growth Form: It is an epiphytic shrub with a tuber at its base. Its fleshy tuber is irregularly lobed, brown, 15–20 cm across, tunneled, and perforated where ants would reside.
      Foliage: Its opposite, short-stalked leaves have leathery leaf blades that are elliptic and 4–15 by 2.5–6.4 cm.
      Stems: The swollen main stem (or caudex) is slightly bumpy and has many holes on the surface to allow ants into the caudex that is filled with numerous tunnels where the ants inhabit. The slender, flexible branches grow out from the tip of the caudex, on which the leaves and flowers are borne.
      Flowers: Its flowers are white, 3–6 mm long, and develop in in clusters of 3–5 in flowering shoots (inflorescence) that occur in the leaf axils.
      Fruits: Its fruits are drupes that are narrowly ellipsoid, orange-red, and 4–5 mm long.
      Habitat :
      It grows on trees in lowland evergreen, montane, peat swamp, heath, and beach forests. It occurs locally in Central Catchment Nature Reserve and Pulau Pawai.
      Associated Fauna :
      Its tuber is inhabited by ants that pollinate the flowers and might help to disperse its seeds. The ripe berries are eaten by small birds.
      Cultivation :
      It can be propagated by seed or stem cutting (from the slender, flexible branches). However, plants propagated through stem cutting do not form the caudex.
      Etymology :
      Greek hydnos, tuber; Greek phyton, plant;  Latin formica, ant, referring to the plant’s association with ants
      Ethnobotanical Uses :
      Medicinal (Its stem-tubers are used as a poultice for head-aches.)
      [Others]: It is cultivated as an ornamental plant. 
  • Landscaping Features
    • Landscaping :
      It may be suitable for parks and roadsides as it is an interesting and attractive epiphyte that can be grown on trees. It can tolerate hot, sunny conditions.
      Desirable Plant Features :
      Ornamental Form
      Landscape Uses :
      Container Planting, Hanging Basket, Bonsai
  • Fauna, Pollination & Dispersal
    • Associated Fauna :
      Bird-Attracting (Fruits)
      Pollination Method(s) :
      Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Ant, Beetle, Fly, Thrip, Wasp))
      Seed / Spore Dispersal :
      Biotic (Fauna)
  • Plant Care & Propagation
    • Light Preference :
      Full Sun, Semi-Shade
      Water Preference :
      Little Water
      Plant Growth Rate :
      Propagation Method :
      Seed, Stem Cutting
  • Foliar
    • Foliage Retention :
      Mature Foliage Colour(s) :
      Mature Foliage Texture(s) :
      Foliar Type :
      Simple / Unifoliate
      Foliar Arrangement Along Stem :
      Foliar Attachment to Stem :
      Foliar Shape(s) :
      Non-Palm Foliage (Ovate; Elliptical)
      Foliar Venation :
      Pinnate / Net
      Foliar Margin :
      Foliar Apex / Tip :
      Acute, Obtuse
      Foliar Base :
  • Non-Foliar & Storage
    • Stem Type & Modification :
  • Floral (Angiosperm)
    • Flower & Plant Sexuality :
      Bisexual Flowers
      Flower Colour(s) :
      Flower Grouping :
      Cluster / Inflorescence
      Flower Location :
  • Fruit, Seed & Spore
    • Mature Fruit Colour(s) [Angiosperms & Gymnosperms] :
      Orange, Red
      Mature Fruit Texture(s) :
      Glossy / Shiny
      Fruit Classification :
      Simple Fruit
      Fruit Type :
      Fleshy Fruit (Non-Accessory Fruit: Berry)
      Seed Quantity per Fruit :
      Few (1-5)
The information given on this website has been compiled from reference works on medicinal plants and/or pron only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Reliance on this information is strictly at your own risk. You should always consult your physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.

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