Nepenthes


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Nepenthes

 

a genus of insectivorous plants of the family Nepenthaceae. They are terrestrial or epiphytic shrubs, sub-shrubs, or perennial herbs. The stems are generally prostrate or climbing and measure up to 6–20 m long; some forms are erect and short, reaching only 20–30 cm in height. The leaves are alternate and exstipulate. The unisexual flowers are usually four-parted and gathered in paniculate or racemose inflorescences. The fruit is a capsule. In mature leaves the midrib usually extends into a tendril that entwines itself around a support.

An ascidium that serves to capture insects develops at the end of the tendril. The ascidia are 5–15 cm long and 3–5 cm wide; in Nepenthes rajah, they are up to 25 cm long and 10–15 cm wide. The walls of the ascidia are often mottled with reddish spots. Insects are attracted by the nectar and the bright coloring of the ascidium; they slide down the smooth margin of the trap to the interior and drown in a fluid containing organic acids and digestive enzymes that are secreted by glandules at the bottom of the ascidium. These same glandules, after digesting the body of the insect, absorb the products of decomposition, thus compensating for the deficiency of nitrogen, phosphorus, and other substances characteristic of plants that usually inhabit swampy soils.

There are more than 70 species of Nepenthes, distributed primarily in the tropics of Asia. About 20 species are found on Kalimantan and Sumatra. A few species grow in Indochina, the Philippines, New Guinea, and tropical Australia. Many species and hybrids of Nepenthes are cultivated in greenhouses.

REFERENCE

Kholodnyi, N. G. “Charlz Darvin i sovremennye znaniia o nasekomoiadnykh rasteniiakh.” In C. Darwi Soch., vol. 7. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.

S. S. MORSHCHIKHINA

References in periodicals archive ?
For beginners, the cultivation of Nepenthes plants maybe considered challenging; but they are very rewarding.
(2009) Comparative studies on the acid proteinase activities in the digestive fluids of Nepenthes, Cephalotus, Dionaea and Drosera.
a) Whether there is any sign of a revival of Nepenthes or Nilosyrtis.
The Malaysian Nepenthes; evolutionary and taxonomic perspectives.
Nepenthes attenboroughii, a new species of carnivorous pitcher plant only known from the summit region of one mountain in the Philippines, was described in the Botanical Journal 159 in February 2009 in a paper by Alastair Robinson and co-authors.
The collaborating team has just published a paper exploring that potential in the Journal of Experimental Biology, based on the biology of the carnivorous plant Nepenthes khasiana.
His examples include butterworts that digest and absorb pollen grains that land on their leaves as well as a tropical pitcher plant (Nepenthes ampullaria) that collects leaf debris in its pitchers and various bladderworts (Utricularia), aquatic plants that sometimes catch algae and in some cases seem to maintain algae in their bladders in a mutualism.
Found in the depths of the Palawan rainforest in Central Philippines by UK botanist Stewart McPherson, Nepenthes northiana is the greatest of the giant pitcher plants, lost to science since 1907 when a bombing raid in Manila destroyed the only known specimen.
The plant was named Nepenthes attenboroughii after him, according to the British paper Telegraph.
Nevertheless, there have been numerous new species described during the period of this review and I note here some which have caught my eye (this is by no means an exhaustive list): Nepenthes chaniana (Nepenthaceae; Clarke et al.