1 Tahrcountry Musings: My Friend Rajiv and Carnivorous Plants

Saturday, January 30, 2010

My Friend Rajiv and Carnivorous Plants

The other day I was talking to my friend Rajiv from Calicut. Rajiv is an electronics engineer by profession but crazy about wildlife and nature conservation.
 Rajiv had just returned from hiking in Munnar areas and our conversation veered towards carnivorous plants. The carnivorous plant we have in High Ranges, Drocera peltata, traps tiny insects. It is locally known as Kosuvetty. Translated in to English it means the plant that traps mosquitoes. Rajiv wanted to know whether there are plants that can trap small animals. When I told him about the Nepenthes attenboroughii that can trap a rat he was surprised. He told me that many people are not aware of it and requested me to put the details on my blog. So here it goes.
 Nepenthes attenboroughii was discovered in 2007 by Alastair Robinson, Stewart McPherson and Volker Heinrich in the central Philippines and is large enough to catch a rat. The plant was formally described only in 2009 and is named after naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough. The plant preys on insects and animals that fall into its gaping maw.
 Nepenthes attenboroughii occur only on the summit of one mountain in Palawan, Philippines.
 Nepenthes rajah, the only species of pitcher plant bigger than N. attenboroughii, has been known to digest rodents since the British naturalist Spencer St John discovered a drowned rat in a specimen in Borneo in 1862.
 The formal description of Nepenthes attenboroughii was published as;
 Robinson A.S., A.S. Fleischmann, S.R. McPherson, V.B. Heinrich, E.P. Gironella & C.Q. Peña, 2009. "A spectacular new species of Nepenthes L. (Nepenthaceae) pitcher plant from central Palawan, Philippines", Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 159(2): 195202.

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