To my knowledge, there were only twelve plants of this that came into the United States from Panama. It is from Kuna Yala. This species came in as a group of seedlings and it seems as if only one was ever sold, and a handful of others were distributed among friends. I received two of these plants, and have now had them for about six years. They were more or less the same size at first. Per the recommendation of Charlot Teng I switched one of the seedlings to potting soil (they had both been potted in sphagnum). After a year or so in potting soil, the plant became more robust and significantly taller. Recently I transferred the larger seedling to clay substrate in a terrarium and after a few months, it looks as if it’s going to flower! The second seedling was also transferred to clay. You can see the difference in size between the two.
Update– the smaller of the two plants has now been grown in clay for over a year, and is nearly the same size as the original plant put in clay. The growth on the first one has plateaued and it stands about 5-6″ tall.
And the flower! It lasted less than 24 hours, but Dicranopygiums often flower multiple times over a period of months.
After the initial bloom, this plant did flower about half a dozen times over the course of about six months. Each time the blooms looked a bit bigger and a large fruiting body developed. Only this most recent time did I notice seeds had been distributed throughout the terrarium, although it’s possible the fruit had given off seed in the past that went unnoticed. They are very small and numbered in the hundreds, and were distributed more or less evenly throughout the terrarium. I collected as many as I could off the glass and split them into three equal groups to test out substrates. They are on clay, potting soil, and sphagnum. The adult plants notoriously hate sphagnum, but I have seen other Dicranopygium seedlings germinating on this medium so I thought it was worth a shot. If they do make it, they will be transitioned to another growing medium when they are a bit bigger.
Thanks to Connor McGillion for his help on collecting seeds and the reproductive cycles. There’s not much information on this genus online, although Connor did share this resource as well, Exotic Esoterica which has some excellent documentation of some terrarium suitable species.
Here is the fruiting body, which is responsible for the hundreds of seeds.
And the seed!
About two months later, the seedlings,
Update II- this Dicranopygium has made seed again. Hundreds, all over the 2′ cube it’s in. Letting them germinate on the glass last time didn’t work very well, as algae began to grow with the frequent mistings and no cleaning of the glass. I think this time I will transplant individually into peat and see how that goes.
Since its first flower over a year ago, this plant has bloomed multiple times, with a few seeding events. It does not set seed every time it blooms but maybe half the time or less. The fruiting body remains intact through each bloom. Since I don’t know much about how this species or genus is pollinated, the two plants I have are kept in close proximity in case they are not self fertile. No manual pollination has occurred and I’ve not seen any pollen. The International Journal of Plant Science put out an excellent paper illustrating the progression of a Cyclanth flower which can be viewed here.
At each recent seeding event, there have been between 200-600 seeds released. They have excellent projectile abilities and spread fairly evenly across a 2′ cube terrarium. Based on the heights I have found seed on the far end of the terrarium, I’d guess they can go quite a bit further if given room. For the most recent seeding event I harvested the newly germinated seed 4-6 weeks after release. At this point they had one small leaf and a nearly microscopic root. To clean them of the algae I rinsed them through a tea strainer. It didn’t work particularly well and I would not advise this. Unfortunately the best way to transplant seeds seems to be using fine tip tweesers (not too sharp) and manually planting each one. It is too hard to rinse the algae off otherwise.
Some seedlings I missed, on the leaf of the mother plant. They dry out easily at this stage and need to be kept constantly moist.
These are some seedlings from a prior seed collection. They are 6-8 months old and stand about 1/3 inch tall. They are grown in 100% unfired infield conditioner.
The mother plants are getting very large,
Dec 23, 2020,
the seedlings are growing very slowly and probably need more fertilizer. The adults I had to move from their terrarium due to size. They took a little while to acclimate, and the lowest leaves have turned orange, but both plants continue to grow and flower, and have set seed multiple times. The substrate is 100% akadama and only has a few other small plants in it so the seedlings will have lots of room to grow.
1 thought on “Dicranopygium sp. Guna Yala”
That plant is a beauty, and the seeds so small…
Comments are closed.