Nepenthes ampullaria

Photography Greg Bourke © copyright 2010

DESCRIPTION: Nepenthes ampullaria is a most interesting and bizarre species of Nepenthes. It grows in heath and swamp forest, as well as wet rainforest. It prefers a more shady location than many species, where the plant spreads and forms a mat of basal rosettes and pitchers across the forest floor.Climbing stems often trail along the forest floor for many metres before climbing into the canopy, where a flower spike will be produced. Upper pitchers are rare, but a climbing stem will produce clusters of lower pitchers along it, like bunches of grapes. It is believed that the pitchers are specialised to catch and decompose fallen leaf litter.

Lower pitchers can reach 10cm in diameter but 6cm is more common in cultivation. Upper pitchers are usually less than 2cm long and do not appear to be functional traps.

The vines of Nepenthes ampillaria are used by local tribes as rope and pitchers are also used for steaming rice. These can still be found at makets even in major cities.

LOCATION: Borneo, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, New Guinea.

ELEVATION: 0-1100 meters

CULTIVATION: Nepenthes ampullaria prefers warm conditions and high humidity. It can be grown in bright light or deep shade and can be kept quite wet if conditions are good. A large pot is best for this species.

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