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Nepenthes - Tropical Pitcher Plants
A genus of tropical vines producing a wide assortment of "urns" hanging from the leaf tips. There are over 100 spp., and many thousands of hybrids. The natural range extends from India to Northern Australia, as well as the Seychelles and Madagascar, with the greatest concentration being found on the island of Borneo. Nepenthes require high humidity and warm temperatures - not to be recommended for complete beginners, but most are not difficult given a little preparatory 'reading up' on the genus. "Lowland" spp. require considerably more heat and humidity than "Highland" spp.
SPECIES: N. alata - Common Name: Winged Pitcher Plant - Distribution: S.E.Asia
Quite a vigorous highland species (though some lowland forms are known,) often suited to growing in a bathroom or similar environment where an only slightly raised humidity can be provided. A fast grower which provides copious quantities of rootable cuttling every year.
SPECIES: N. albomarginata - Common Name: Monkey's Rice Pot - Distribution: West Australia
Slender, heat-loving lowland sp. producing attractive green-red pitchers, rimmed with white. Does well in a stovehouse or heated frame.
SPECIES: N. ampullaria - Common Name: Phial Pitcher Plant - Distribution: Malaysia, Singapore
A dainty lowland plant producing fat, little pitchers with most attractive colouration. Suitable for the smaller terrarium. Keep warm and half-shaded.
SPECIES: N. gracilis - Common Name: Slender Pitcher Plant - Distribution: S.E. Asia
A particularly vigorous lowland species, well suited to newcomers to the pleasures of Nepenthes growing - the pitchers are slender and graceful, and available in a variety of colours and patterns.
SPECIES: N. khasiana - Common Name: None - Distribution: India
An undemanding highland species from the Khasi Hills of Northern India - ideally suitable for beginners. Slow growing to 24", tolerates low humidity and temps (even survives occasional frosts in habitat, though this is not to be recommended in cultivation.) Endangered in the wild due to encroaching agricultural development.
SPECIES: N. macrovulgaris - Common Name: Serpentine Pitcher Plant - Distribution: Borneo
An attractive sp. producing pitchers up to 9" (occasionally 12",) handsomly mottled with red. Highland sp.
SPECIES: N. madagascariensis - Common Name: None - Distribution: Madagascar
A predominantly green species producing fat, little pitchers in abundance from a compact vine, provided temperatures are kept quite high. Eminently suited to a heated terrarium.
SPECIES: N. maxima - Common Name: Great Pitcher Plant - Distribution: S.E. Asia
A highly variable highland sp. producing attractively mottled pitchers up to 12" long. Vigorous and fast-growing, so not suitable for small terrariums.
SPECIES: N. mirabilis - Common Name: Common Swamp Pitcher Plant - Distribution: S.E. Asia
A fast grower suited to the larger terrarium/Nepenthes greenhouse - this species is quite capable of growing several inches a week in optimum conditions once it is established, so not recommended for small terrariums. Otherwise very easy and tolerant of variations in temperature and humidity, able to grow as a highland or lowland sp. N.mirabilis is the most widespread of all the Nepenthes spp., ranging from China to Australia, and preferring wetter, swampy conditions than most other spp.
SPECIES: N. rafflesiana - Common Name: Raffles' Pitcher Plant - Distribution: S.E. Asia
Also a fast grower, bearing handsome mottled pitchers from long, dark and glossy leaves. Exceptionally variable, with several distinct varieties in cultivation. Quite tolerant of variations in climate, so also suited to the less experienced/well-equipped grower. Mainly lowland, but with a few forms being found in highland habitats.
SPECIES: N. sanguinea - Common Name: None - Distribution: S.E. Asia
Blood-red pitchers produced from a compact plant suitable for hanging in a basket, or mounting in a medium to large terrarium.
SPECIES: N. ventricosa - Common Name: None - Distribution: S.E. Asia
Wonderfully pot-bellied ('ventricose',) pitchers with bright red rims. Compact habit makes this sp. ideally suited to a hanging basket. Needs plenty of heat for optimum growth, but easy enough for beginners to the genus to grow with confidence.