The Ants and the Vachellia cornigera 
A Mutualistic Relationship
by Sanna O'Sullivan 

Thank you Mr. Alain Filiz for the beautiful donation of a "Bull-horn" Vachellia cornigera this week! 

Upon entering the garden, you can now see the tree planted between the two tall stand of palms. You won't miss it's unique, swollen thorns, resembling horns of a bull. 

Native to Central American and Mexico, this tree is most known for its incredible symbiotic relationship with ants.

The ants (Pseudomyrmex ferruginea) are the protector. In the the tree's native rainforest, under thick canopies, plants compete for the dappled sunlight and space. Any epiphytic vines or trees that are in the way of
the Vachellia cornigera are chomped on by the ants. Any insects that try to eat the tree's fresh leaves will be stung and chased away. Even browsing mammals stay clear of this tree and its fierce allies. 

The tree emits a chemical, when wounded, that the ants detect and respond to quickly, protecting its host at all times. 

In exchange for the protection, the tree takes on the provider role, giving the ants everything they need in terms of food and shelter. 

Video of Simbiosis See it in action!

Glands on the stalk secret sweet nectar for the adult ants to eat. Brownish pods at the end of the leaf are nutrient packed snacks for their larvae. The ant larvae live in the hollowed out thorns, through holes dug at the base.

It is hard to measure what benefits the most from this symbiotic and mutualistic relationship between the ants and the tree. 

Though the tree does not have much to worry about here, we are excited to see if a relationship forms between the ants of the garden and this new Vachellia cornigera!

Nursery News 
Caladium Plants are 
now available at the garden! 
Our nursery is your new resource for native plants. 
If you have questions about any of the plants that we carry 
contact Andrew Street at

Garden Events  May 2016
Wedneday May 11th 
12:15 pm 
Garden Yoga with Hilary  
Yoga with Hilary runs every week rain or shine! Bring your own mat. 
$5 for garden members
$10 for non-members.

Friday May 13th
12:15 -1:15 pm
Miami Beach Gyrotonic
with Jennifer Samway
The Gyrokinesis method is a complete body conditioning and balancing system of movements that enable the spine and joints to stay open and strong. It's a progression of stool and mat based movements that energize the spinal column and nervous system to rejuvenate and re-balance the body.
Saturday May 14th 10 am-12 noon
Les Dames Seminar
Seasonal Vegan: 
Embracing Summer 
Soulful Vegan book signing
at Miami Beach Botanical Garden. Enjoy a plant based meal in the Banyan Room at the garden, and meet 
Ellen Kanner-
Miami Herald Columnist of "Edgy Veggie" and author of 

Saturday May 15th 10 am-12 noon
Compost Corral
Join us for an educational talk about composting with  Cassidy Fry and Melissa Salem. For more info email

Sunday, May 15th 
South Beach Photomarathon

Tuesday May 17th 10-11:30 am 
Meditation with Henry Brown
Take some time to relax with a healing meditation session 
in the B utterfly Room

Wednesday, May 18th 6:30-8:pm
Yoga and Qigong
Juan Pablo Barahona 
$20 in advance 
$25 at the door 
Call the garden to purchase advance tickets: 305-673-7256
Escape the stress of the city  to a unique, subtropical oasis. Join us for Yoga and Qigong pactice and a lecture by Juan Pablo Barahona from Costa Rica. 
Please bring your own mat 
for the practice. Cold pressed juice will be featured by Expressed Juice! 

Botanical Boutique
Item of the Week 
This week's featured item is the "Thymes, Aqua Coraline Collection". Home grown in the USA, Thymes products are  made form plant-based ingredients of the highest quaulity.
for a full list of fragrances. 
Questions about events? Contact us!
We would love to hear from you.
Miami Beach Botanical Garden
2000 Convention Center drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139
305-673-7256 x201