Ants


Well, here we are in the middle of winter in Zone 5, and you would think
there couldn't be anything happening outside that relates to aroids. Wrong!

Last Sunday (12/29) was a bit on the warm side, up into the forties (F),
but in general our nighttime temps have been in the teens and twenties. I
was walking through the garden picking up debris, and came across a big
Arisaema triphyllum seed head laying on the ground. I picked it up and the
bottom was swarming with ants, and the fleshy part of some of the fruits
had been eaten away. Strange-- maybe it had fallen on top of a nest, and
the warm weather had inspired them to come out. About 20 feet away was
another seed head on the ground-- same thing, it was covered with ants.

I had heard that arisaema seeds were distributed by ants, and had found
them working on ripe seed heads in late summer/early fall. But I certainly
didn't expect to find them doing it in mid-winter, and to have gone some
distance from their nests in cold weather to find the seeds. There must be
something pretty potent in the fruit that attracts them.

Any other aroid/ant experiences out there?

--Roy Herold
North Reading, MA




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