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[Top 5] Ant Plant Flower Varieties To Know For Gardening

Have you heard about the Ant Plant flower? Ant Plants are very helpful, enabling the ants to colonize them for mutual benefits.

Generally, Ant Plant flower varieties include Baboon’s Head, Ant House Plant, Ant Ferns, Bullhorn Acacia and others. These plants attract the ants with sweet nectary treats, while the ants help them to pollinate, transfer seeds, and protect them from predators.

Learn more about the plant and ant relationship from the article below!

What Is An Ant Plant?

Ant Plants are groups of certain plant species that form mutualistic relationships with ants.

This relationship benefits the Ant Plants as the ants offer them protection from predators and aid in pollination, while the plants offer the ants a place to nest.

Image illustrates Domatia under the leaves of Ant Plant
Domatia are small colonies for ants to nest under the leaves of some Ant Plants.

These plants invite ants by luring them using various means.

  • Ant Plants have domatia (small cavities) in the stem, root, thorns, near flowers, fruit buds, and leaves, allowing the ants to make them home.
  • Some Ant Plants also have food bodies in them that lure the ant colonies. Flowers of Ant Plants also produce nectar that can attract the ants. 

Do Ant Plants Flower?

Ant Plants are called ‘Myremecophytes’ as they form close associations with different ant species.

There are 650 genera of Ant Plants, including Acacia, Cecropia, Triplaris, Macaranga, and Tococa.

Additionally, all Ant Plants are flowering plants, and they produce flowers in their inflorescence during blooming seasons.

But some Ant Plants cannot flower, such as Ant Ferns. These epiphytic ferns belong to the plant group Pteridophytes (non-flowering plants).
Image illustrates ants hunting for aphids
Ants defend their host plant from pest attacks.

Ant Plant Flower & Their Relationship With Ants

Let’s see some Ant Plants and learn about their flowers and relationships with ants in brief.

1. Ant House Plant  

Myrmecodia Beccarii, commonly called ‘Ant House Plant’ or ‘Ant Pot Plant.’

Let’s list down certain features of this plant.

  • Plant Family: Rubiaceae
  • Native Range: Eastern Australia
  • Features: Swollen bulbous hollow stems that keep the ant colonies for protection, pollination, and organic products
  • Growth Habit: Tropical to Sub-Tropical Epiphytic Tuberous Perennial Evergreen Sub-Shrub
  • Inflorescence: Terminal Cymose (With Terminal and Lateral Flowering Branches)
  • Flowers: White and Tubular

The plant provides shelter, nectar, and pollen for the ants to eat.

2. Baboon’s Head/ Ant Plant 

Hydnophytum formicarum is also called ‘Baboon’s Head’ or ‘Ant Plant.’

Let’s list down certain features of this plant.

  • Plant Family: Rubiaceae
  • Native Range: Tropical South-East Asian Islands
  • Features: Round swollen caudex with ant colonies that protect, pollinate, and offer nutrients
Image illustrates the hollow caudex of Ant Plant
Some caudex of Ant Plants are hollow and harbor ants which assist them in pollinating their flowers.
  • Growth Habit: Tropical to Sub-Tropical Epiphytic Caudex Perennial Evergreen Shrub
  • Inflorescence: Compound Umbel (Arising From Clusters Around The Stem & Leaf Axils)
  • Flowers: White and Tubular

Similarly, the plant, in turn, offers shelter and food (nectar and pollen) to the ants. 

3. Ant Ferns 

Lecanopteris is a fern (also called Ant Fern) that doesn’t beget flowers but has some special measures to attract ants. 

Let’s list down certain features of this plant.

  • Plant Family: Polypodiaceae
  • Native Range: Tropical South-East Asian Islands
  • Features: Rhizomes (underground stem) of the plant include empty pits with ant colonies that protect, transfer the spores, and grant nutrient waste
Image illustrates the rhizome of Ant Fern
Ant Ferns have perforations in their rhizomes to harbor ant colonies.
  • Growth Habit: Tropical to Sub-Tropical Epiphytic Rhizomatous Perennial Evergreen Sub-Shrub
  • Inflorescence: None
  • Flowers: None

The rhizome of this plant offers underground reproductive space and food (spores) to the ants.

4. Bullhorn Acacia 

Acacia cornigera is commonly named ‘Bullhorn Acacia,’ due to its bull horn-shaped hollow thorns along its stem.

Let’s list down certain features of this plant.

  • Plant Family: Fabaceae (Leguminaceae)
  • Native Range: Dry Tropical Biome of Central America
  • Features: Hollow thorns in the stem are a safe haven for ant colonies which guard and offer pollination assistance
Image illustrates the ants and Acacia Bullhorn thorns
Some aggressive ant colonies are lured by sugary secretions of Acacia plants in their thorns.
  • Growth Habit: Tropical Perennial Evergreen Tree
  • Inflorescence: Densely Flowering Cylindrical Spike
  • Flowers: Yellow and Inconspicuous

The thorns of Bullhorn Acacia have nutrient-rich food products (Beltian Bodies) and nectaries that lure ants to shelter in.   

5. Trumpet-Bush/ Trumpet Tree 

Trumpet-Bush (Cecropia peltata) is a sub-shrub or tree with special leaves that rent certain species of aggressive ants.

Let’s list down certain features of this plant.

  • Plant Family: Utricaceae
  • Native Range: Mexico to Northern Brazil (Central to South America)
  • Features: Empty stem cavities and petioles of the leaves contain ant settlements which rescue, pollinate, and provide nutrients in the form of ant waste
  • Growth Habit: Tropical Perennial Evergreen Tree or Sub-Shrub
  • Inflorescence: Umbellate Spike
  • Flowers: Pale Yellow and Tiny

The plant bears sugary syrup-oozing hairy pads at the base of the leaf petioles, which help to shelter the ants.

Do You Know?

If you own an Ant Plant species, keep an eye out for Predatory Wasps.

These Wasps can entirely kill the colony of ants and arrest their babies.

Ant Plant Flower & Roles In Ecosystem

There are a number of ways by which the Ant Plant flower and ants can co-exist mutually and benefit each other, thus helping the ecosystem.

  • Ants help to pollinate the flowers by transferring pollen grains from one flower to another.
  • Some ants disperse the fatty seeds of Ant Plants by feeding them in their nests and then scattering them around.
  • Additionally, Ant Plant flowers offer refuge to the ants (especially Bromeliads), protecting them from parasites and omnivores.

From Editorial Team


A lot of Ant Plant species rarely flower indoors. However, most of them belong to tropical and sub-tropical habitats.

Hence, you can give them plenty of sunlight, watering care, and well-draining organic soil to thrive so your Ant Plants can flower.