About CPs
The Genus Nepenthes
Nepenthes fusca
Nepenthes fusca.

Nepenthes is arguably the most glorious and spectacular genus of carnivorous plants. These are the plants that fit so many of our stereotypical visions of what a carnivorous plant should be. Many come from steamy jungles in Southeast Asia, they form enormous vines that clamber up to the trees, and their carnivorous traps are great hungry looking maws that just look carnivorous. You don't need to understand the technical details of this plant to know that it is dangerous to animals!

The first recorded observations on Nepenthes by a westerner are those by Etienne de Flacourt, Governor of a French colony in Madagascar in 1658. The name "Nepenthes" was coined in 1737 by Linnaeus to recall a narcotic (nepenthe) with which Helen of Troy snockered her guests. Most people use the Latin name as a common name, although folks who avoid using Latin verbatim coin ad hoc names such as "tropical pitcher plants" or "monkey cups," ad nauseum. I could enter into ad hominem attacks against such folks, except for the quid pro quo battle that would result. QED.

Most species of Nepenthes have small ranges located in the Sunda region, that is Borneo, Sumatra, Java, and the Malay Peninsula. However there are interesting exceptions and some of the species have surprisingly extended ranges. The FAQ pages are organized geographically, and in these pages I list all the Nepenthes species that occur in each area. Species may be listed on more than one page if they span the ranges use, so I finish my geographic discussion with a single page that simply lists all the species. (I hope that it is useful for you; it is for me!) I also indicate on my species lists the elevation category for each plant. Those plants that occur at elevations of 0-1000m above sea level are called lowland species, those that occur at elevations higher than 1000m are called highland species. Some species span these categories, so I call them lowland-highland species. This classification system is universal among Nepenthes growers, by the way.

Nepenthes species lists are marvelously controversial. There is by no means universal agreement on species lists, so do not be surprised at discrepencies between my lists and the lists of others. There are several reasons for this. First, Nepenthes can be hard to identify in the first place. Many of the species identifications depend upon pitcher characteristics, but these are not always completely reliable. Furthermore, most species produce "lower pitchers" (near the ground) which are morphologically different from "upper pitchers" (higher on the plant, often produced on flowering stems), and this dimorphism confuses identifications. Finally, all Nepenthes species can hybridize. This complicates things even more.

Read more about Nepenthes at the ICPS sarracenia.com FAQ

-- Barry Rice

Nepenthes information on the ICPS carnivorousplants.org web site:

Registered Cultivar Names
Growing Nepenthes from Seed
Nepenthes Propagation via stem cuttings

Nepenthes information in the Carnivorous Plant Newsletter:

Fleming, Ron (1979) Hybrid Nepenthes. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 8(1):10-12 ( )

Lowrie, Allen (1983) Sabah Nepenthes Expeditions 1982 & 1983. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 12(4):88-95 ( )

Marabini, Johannes (1984) A Field Trip to Gunong Trusmadi. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 13(2):38-40 ( )

Russell, Greg (1985) Sumatran Expedition, January 1985. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 14(4):97-101 ( )

James, Gary (1988) Some Observations of a Population of Nepenthes madagascariensis in Madagascar. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 17(4):102-103 ( )

Hopkins, Mike and Ric Maulder and Bruce Salmon (1990) A real nice trip to Southeast Asia. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 19(1-2):19-28 ( )

Mazrimas, Joe (1995) Rooting Nepenthes in water. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 24(4):114 ( )

Hua, YueJin and Lee Kuizheng (2004) The Special Relationship Between Nepenthes and Tree Frogs. Carniv. Pl. Newslett. 33(1):23-24 ( )

Search the CPN Index and Archive for over 225 articles about Nepenthes.

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