Dischidia oiantha/Dischidia sp. ‘Geri’ (Ant Plant)

Dischidia sp. ‘Geri’ on 8-25-12, #116-21.

Ant Plant

Dischidia sp. ’Geri’

Dischidia oiantha?

dis-KID-ee-uh oh-ee-ANTH-a

Ted Green gave the name Geri to this unidentified Dischidia after a succulent collector in Honolulu.

Dischidia oiantha Schltr. is the accepted name for this species. It was named and described as such by Friedrich Richard Rudolf Schlechter in Fragmenta Florae Philippinae in 1904. John Russell Perkins is listed as the “in author” which means he could have written the original description.

The genus, Dischidia R.Br., was named and described by Robert Brown in Memoirs of the Wernerian Natural History Society in 1811. 

As of 11-13-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online by Kew lists 126 species in the Dischidia genus. It is a member of the plant family Apocynaceae with 369 genera. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.

The species Dischidia oiantha is native to the Philippines. The genus as a whole is more widespread and you can click on the link to the genus below for further information.

This is also one of the genera listed as being a member of the subfamily Asclepiadoideae which was the former family. Some sources still list it in this family. Either way, both families are the Milkweed Family.

I brought my Dischidia ‘Geri’ home from Lowe’s in Greenville, Mississippi in 2012 while I was living at the mansion in Leland. The tag simply said Dischidia sp. ‘Geri’. At first, I thought this plant was a succulent because it has succulent-type leaves. I guess they are considered a succulent since there are many species listed on the Llifle (Encyclopedia of Living Forms) website, but not this particular species.

Online sources state this plant is easy to grow, but mine didn’t fare so well. Eventually, the leaves started dropping and it just slowly died. It was possibly already on its way out because I had to remove A LOT of dead leaves when I brought it home.

One website said “Dischidia sp. ‘Geri’ (formerly Dischidia oiantha). I don’t know why they say “formerly” because that species is still an accepted name. I looked at photos online and Dischidia oiantha definitely looks like ‘Geri’ to me. Then again, many species in this genus look very similar. I am sure someday the folks doing the “genetic” testing will decipher this genus as well.

I like it when you do plant research and information varies from one source to another. The length of the stems of this plant varies from 6″ to over 40’.

Interesting information about the genus Dischidia genus QUOTED from the Wikipedia article:

“Most Dischidia grow in arboreal ant nests of different species and some have developed a symbiotic relationship where the plant has developed modified leaves to either provide housing or storage. Of these, there are two types of modification to the leaves. Three species develop bullate leaves which are hollow root-filled structures. These are Dischidia complexDischidia major, and Dischidia vidalii. Both produce normal leaves in addition to the bullate leaves. These bullate leaves are formed when the outer margins of a leaf stop growing while the center of the leaf continues to grow. As time progresses the leaf margins curl under to close the gap which creates a small hole.

A number of species develop imbricate leaves which hold tightly to the growing surface. The underside of the leaf has a space that is filled with roots that the ants take advantage of. Examples of these species are Dischidia major, Dischidia astephana, Dischidia imbricata, and Dischidia platyphylla, but there are many more. Plants with this type of growth habit are sometimes called Shingle Plants, which are given this name because the leaves tend to overlap as they grow up or down the surface and give the appearance of shingles on a roof.”

Family: Apocynaceae
Origin: Philippines (C. oiantha)
Zones: USDA Zones 10a-11 (35-40° F)
Size: 6’-10’ in length… Hmmm…
Light: Light to part shade, some sites say sun.
Soil: Average, well-drained soil.
Water: Regular watering
Flowers: Produces yellow flowers in spring and summer.

Even though my Dischidia didn’t survive for long, it is a really nice plant for hanging baskets. Maybe you will do better. I will find another one of these someday and give it another shot when I have better growing conditions.

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6 comments on “Dischidia oiantha/Dischidia sp. ‘Geri’ (Ant Plant)

  1. Elisa Ocasio says:

    Saludos! Muy interesante el articulo. Me hubiera gustado que dijera en que tipo de medio o sustrato cultivarlas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Elisa! If you click on the link to Gardening Know How it says medium for growing is composed of shredded bark or coconut husks. I don’t really know because this plant didn’t live long for me. Sorry, I could not be of more help. Thanks for visiting and thanks for the comment!


  2. Kay says:

    It’s my understanding that they are are type of air plant and need a potting medium like orchid bark. Perhaps that’s why yours didn’t last very long? (I could be wrong. I’ve been trying to figure out what is that I have for about a month and kept coming across string of nickels which wasn’t quite right… I’m so happy to have finally put a name to it!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Kay! Glad to hear you finally have a name for your plant. I may try this plant again someday when I have an adequate place for it again. This is a plant that would probably look great when it is happy. If it is indeed a type of air plant that would definitely explain a lot. Take care and thanks for your comment. Good luck with yours!


  3. sabaoth says:

    Excellent text! It cleared up all my doubts. I will continue reading the other articles on the blog.

    Liked by 1 person

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