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

Ants on my Plants

Ants are not bad.

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If they are on your blooms,

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they are just sipping some nectar.

If they are running up and down the stems and leaves,

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Scale on Key lime tree.

you probably have aphids or scale,

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Aphids on Butterfly weed.

which the ants milk like cows.

Ants on blooms are okay.

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Ants all over your plant probably means there is a problem.

The ants are a result, not a cause.

Follow the Ants.