Saturday, October 22, 2011

Mr Macfarlane's exquisite WC

Amongst tall grasses away from prying eyes, these would be my inspiration for truly luxurious WCs, if I am ever asked to submit a prototype.
Nepenthes macfarlanei is named after a Scottish botanist, John Muirhead Macfarlane, who authored one of the earliest monograph of this genus in 1908. Since his original description of 51 species way back then, the list of known species of tropical pitcher plants has roughly been doubled.
The species is endemic to highlands of Peninsula Malaysia and is still relatively common. The lower pitcher is urn shaped, with its pointy end anchoring it securely in the moss or soft substrate. Literature suggests it could be as tall as 30cm. So far the few specimens encountered in this recce were sitting at the ledge of precipituous drops, I presumed the reason was that the more accessible specimens had been collected by admirers.

The underside of the lid of this species has white hairs - which is unique amongst the Malaysian species. The glands secret a nectar which attract ants. Inevitably, some will drop into the pitcher.

In one of the pitchers, I found a white grub doing a back stroke.
I am not really sure if its a resident or an ingredient of the deadly broth - but the leisurely flapping of its behind seemed to suggest it was neither in pain nor danger.


Nat said...

Awesome! Great photographs! That's quite a large pitcher plant.

islaverde said...

but not as eye catching as N sanguinea.

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