Nepenthes khasiana-Pitcher plant at Shillong.

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rashida atthar

Apr 2, 2009, 9:55:38 AM4/2/09
Dear Garg ji and all,
We saw this rare pitcher plant at the experimental botanical park, Shillong on 25 March '09.  This is a carnivorous plant classified as endangered !!  The plant depends on insects for its nitrogen. Th extended petiole is the tendril and the pitcher is actually the leaf. When the lid is open the digestion is over and when it is closed the digestion is still happening.

Rashida Atthar

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Nepenthes khasiana open and closed pitchers.jpg
Nepenthes khasiana Tendril.jpg
Nepenthes khasiana closed lid.jpg

J.M. Garg

Apr 2, 2009, 11:54:08 AM4/2/09
to rashida atthar,
Thanks, Rashida ji for the wonderful pictures.

Some interesting extracts from Wikipedia link (for pictures/ more details, pl. click on the link):
Morphology and function

The plants usually consist of a shallow root system and a prostrate or climbing stem, often several metres long, and usually 1 cm or less in diameter, although this may be thicker in a few species (e.g. N. bicalcarata). From the stems arise leaf-like expanded petioles, similar to certain Citrus spp., ending in a tendril, which in some species aid in climbing, and at the end of which forms the pitcher, considered the true leaf. The pitcher starts as a small bud and gradually expands to form a globe- or tube-shaped trap.

Basic structure of an upper pitcher

The trap contains a fluid of the plant's own production, which may be watery or syrupy and is used to drown the prey. Research has shown that this fluid contains viscoelastic biopolymers that may be crucial to the retention of insects within the traps of many species. The trapping efficiency of this fluid remains high, even when significantly diluted by water, as inevitably happens in wet conditions.[18]

The lower part of the trap contains glands which absorb nutrients from captured prey. Along the upper inside part of the trap is a slick waxy coating which makes the escape of its prey nearly impossible. Surrounding the entrance to the trap is a structure called the peristome (the "lip") which is slippery and often quite colorful, attracting prey but offering an unsure footing. Above the peristome is a lid (the operculum): in many species this keeps rain from diluting the fluid within the pitcher, the underside of which may contain nectar glands which attract prey.

Nepenthes usually produce two types of pitchers. Appearing near the base of the plant are the large lower traps, which typically sit on the ground. The upper or aerial pitchers may be smaller, colored differently, have different features than the lower pitchers. These upper pitchers usually form as the plant reaches maturity and the plant grows taller. To keep the plant steady, the upper pitchers form a loop in the tendril, allowing it to wrap around nearby support. In some species (e.g. N. rafflesiana) different prey may be attracted by different types of pitchers.

Prey usually consists of insects, but the largest species (N. rajah, N. rafflesiana, etc.) may occasionally catch small vertebrates, such as rats and lizards.[19][20] Flowers occur in racemes or more rarely in panicles with male and female flowers on separate plants. Seed is produced in a four-sided capsule which may contain 10-60 or more seeds, consisting of a central ovary and two wings, one on either side. Seeds are wind distributed.

Here are some extracts from Wikipedia link (for pictures/ more details, pl. click on the link):

Nepenthes khasiana (pronounced /nəˈpɛnθiːz ˈkɑːsiːˌɑːnə/, after the Khasi Hills, to which it is largely endemic) is a tropical pitcher plant of the genus Nepenthes. It is the only Nepenthes species native to India.

The species has a very localised distribution and is rare in the wild. Isolated populations are known to occur in the Jarain area of the Jaintia Hills and the Baghmara area of the Garo Hills, adjacent to the Khasi Hills region of Meghalaya. The Khasi people call the plant tiew-rakot, which means demon-flower or devouring-plant. The Jaintias call it kset phare, which is roughly translated as lidded fly net. The Garo call the plant memang-koksi, which literally means the basket of the devil.[1]

N. khasiana is a protected species, classified as Endangered, and is on CITES Appendix I along with N. rajah.

2009/4/2 rashida atthar <>

With regards,
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