The Pitcher Plants: Family Nepenthaceae Dumort.

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Pankaj Kumar

Feb 14, 2011, 2:16:48 PM2/14/11
to indiantreepix
Nepenthes L. Sp. Pl. 2: 955. 1753.

Nepenthes is a group of carnivorous plants, commonly known as Pitcher
Plant or Monkey Cup. It belong to a monotypic family, Nepenthaceae.

Nepenthaceae are insectivorous plants that are easy to recognise
because of the lidded pitchers borne on the end of a twining
prolongation of the leaf. The leaf base itself is broad, further
widening to form a laminar portion that then narrows to form the
twining portion. The plants are dioecious, the inflorescences are
racemes, the flowers are rather inconspicuous, and the seeds are very
small. The family is distributed from Madagascar to New Caledonia
[Source: APG III].

The genus comprises roughly 130 species, numerous natural and many
cultivated hybrids. They are mostly liana-forming plants of the Old
World tropics, ranging from South China, Indonesia, Malaysia and the
Philippines; westward to Madagascar (2 species) and the Seychelles;
southward to Australia and New Caledonia; and northward to India and
Sri Lanka. The greatest diversity occurs on Borneo and Sumatra with
many endemic species. Many are plants of hot humid lowland areas, but
the majority are tropical montane plants, receiving warm days but cool
to cold humid nights year round. A few are considered tropical alpine
with cool days and nights near freezing. The name monkey cups refers
to the fact that monkeys have been observed drinking rainwater from
these plants. [Source: Wikipedia]

The expanded part of leaf is developed from the leaf base, as in many
monocots, the pitcher from the rest. How insects are trapped in the
pitchers has long been unclear. Recent work suggests that the rim
(peristome) of the pitcher is extremely wettable, and insects may
aquaplane when they step on it, falling in to the pitcher below where
they die and get digested; only when the rim is dry can insects walk
on it easily, and then they may get trapped when they walk on to the
wax-covered inner pitcher walls (Bohn & Federle 2004). Interestingly,
the ant Camponotus schmitzi lives in close association with Nepenthes
bicalcarata, and it can run across even the wetted rim. For the fauna
of the pitchers, see Kitching (2000), while Pavlovic et al. (2007)
discuss the physiology of lamina and trap. It has recently been found
that some species of Nepenthes with particularly large pitchers
capture the faeces of tree shrews (Tupaia montana) as they feed from
glands on the inner surfaces of the lids (Chin et al. 2010). [Source:

Meimberg and Heubl (2006).


Pankaj Kumar Ph.D. (Orchidaceae)
Research Associate
Greater Kailash Sacred Landscape Project
Department of Habitat Ecology
Wildlife Institute of India
Post Box # 18
Dehradun - 248001, India



Feb 15, 2011, 1:53:28 AM2/15/11
to efloraofindia
Excellent info, which is very useful not only for botanists but also
for all plant enthusiasts interested in knowing the importance of the
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Dr Pankaj Kumar

Nov 22, 2011, 11:05:02 PM11/22/11
to indiantreepix
Resending just for the sequence.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Mahadeswara <>
Date: Feb 15, 2:53 pm
Subject: The Pitcher Plants: Family Nepenthaceae Dumort.
To: efloraindia

Excellent info, which  is very useful not only for botanists but also
for all plant enthusiasts interested in knowing the importance of the

On Feb 15, 12:16 am, Pankaj Kumar <> wrote:

>NepenthesL. Sp. Pl. 2: 955. 1753.

>Nepenthesis a group of carnivorous plants, commonly known as Pitcher

> that some species ofNepentheswith particularly large pitchers

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