I saw this strange plant while shopping for Chinese New Year plants. The ant plant (Dischidia pectinoides) is sold as an auspicious plant during the festive season. What's the symbolic meaning behind it? I hope someone can tell me.
At first I was hesitant to buy it because I worry that it will be difficult to care for. Moreover, I do not want it to turn into an ant's nest!
I have since discovered that it is actually quite easy to care for. The flowers bloom continuously.
Synonym: Dischidia lanceolata, Dischidia vidalii
Dischidia pectinoides is an epiphytic plant which has a symbiotic relationship with ants. Hence, it is also known as the Ant Plant.
An epiphyte grows on and depends on another plant for mechanical support but does not need the host plants nutrients.
Some leaves of this cute little climber are balloon like. In its natural habitat in the forest, this pouch serves as a cosy nest for ants in exchange for carbon dioxide.
If you are wondering if this "ant hotel" has attracted any ants from the vicinity of my home garden, well, there are still no takers yet.