Nepenthes bicalcarata

from Borneo


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  • The Species

    Nepenthes ampullaria

    N. ampullaria

    Short Data
    Nepenthes ampullaria Jack

    Synonym: N. ampullaceae Low.
    Distribution: Borneo, Sumatra, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, New Guinea
    Altitudinal distribution: 0-1000 m
    Typical habitats: kerangas forest, peat swamp forest, degraded swamp forest and kerangas areas
    Pitcher size: up to 10 cm high, 7 cm wide

    N. ampullaria   N. ampullaria N. ampullaria

    N. ampullaria pitchers are usually found on the forest ground half burried in rotting foliage.


    N. ampullaria N. ampullaria
    Two unusual colour varieties.


    Nepenthes ampullaria is very easy to recognize. The pitchers are of oval shape, with a wide peristome and a narrow lid turned backwards and never covers the pitchers mouth. While the shape shows nearly no variations the colour is quite variable. Most pitchers are green but many wear brown or purple blotches, red forms are very rare.
    Lower pitchers are typically found in groups half burried in the rotting foliage of the forest ground where they look like Easter nests. These pitchers arise from rosette shoots and have a reduced lamina. Higher pitchers and those of young rosette plants can be found on normal leaves, climbing stems show again nest-like groups of pitchers on short rosette shots.
    All these are morphologically lower pitchers. The leafs of climbing stems usually don't carry any pitchers at all. Upper pitchers are extremly rare and have been observed only a few times. It is discussed that N. ampullaria produces them only under stress or that they aren't that extraordinary at all but could be high in the trees where they simply cannot be seen (N. ampullaria can climb up to 15 m high).

    N. ampullaria
    A pitcher seen from above. Unlike in other species the lid is not covering the opening.

    N. ampullaria feeds on a rather strange diet compared to other species of the genus. The prey found in the pitchers consists not only of insects (which form a smaller share than in other Nepenthes) but also on plant material. The pitchers seem not to be very attractive for insects. Instead the open mouth collects whatever falls from the forest canopy, animals, feces and plant parts.

    Typical habitats for this species are kerangas (heath) and peat swamp forests but it can also be found on degraded areas. It preferes shadowy places. The altitudinal distribution ranges from sea level to about 1000 metres. N. ampullaria is one of the most widespread species, it is found from Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore to Sumatra and New Guinea.

    N. ampullaria hybridises readily with other species. Known natural hybrids are: x albomarginata, x bicalcarata, x gracilis, x mirabilis, x rafflesiana, x hirsuta.


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