Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mangrove climbers

Ant-house plant (Dischidia sp.)

This strange climber often found on mangrove trees, has two kinds of leaves. Smaller, 'normal' looking ones that are still somewhat fat. And clumps of large hollow leaves.
Ants eventually take up residence in these inflated leaves. Here the ants find safety. Meanwhile, the plant benefits by absorbing the leftover food and rubbish that the ants accumulate inside their 'house'. The plant grows roots into these inflated leaves to absorb these nutrients that are rather scarce in a mangrove.

Hoya climber (Hoya sp.)

Another climber with fat leaves, a water-conserving adaptation to the mangrove habitat where freshwater is scarce.
The climber produces a ball of waxy flowers that develop into long narrow pods full of seeds.

Derris (
Derris trifloliata)

A climber commonly seen in our mangroves, it often twists around a young tree so the tree trunk becomes deformed as it grows bigger. Eventually, the tree's growth breaks the climber, but the twisted scars remain.
This climber has pretty pink flowers that develop into flat pods.

Links to more about some of these climbers
on the Guide to the Mangroves of Singapore
Common Derris (Derris trifoliata)

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