A Plant that Feeds Ants

I was thrilled to discover my first Red Passion flower bloom last week.

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When I checked on it the second day, it had all ready closed.

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Upon closer examination, I discovered it was covered with tiny ants.

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These ants were busily scurrying between tiny green discs on the outer edges of the sepals/calyx.

I at first thought these green discs to be aphids,

but they were too uniformily spaced.

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I had to do a little research to discover their identity.

They are tiny nectaries, produced by the plant to feed the ants.

These ants in residence provide services in return.

They guard the plants against aphids and caterpillars.

If you have been following the FLOWER, you have seen my caterpillar photos,

many of which were taken on my wild Passion flower vines.

I have not seen one caterpillar on this Red Passion flower vine.

So the Red Passion plant has pet ants.

Who knew?

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FLOWER

4 thoughts on “A Plant that Feeds Ants

  1. This is very interesting. I discovered similar glands on the leaves of a cherry tree, and discovered they were nectaries like you have discovered here. Beautiful photos illustrate this wonderfully!

    Like

  2. Bonsoir Floweralley, j’aime beaucoup votre billet, c’est très intéressant et la fleur rouge est magnifique.
    Je vous souhaite un tout bon dimanche. Mes amitiés.

    Like

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