Thursday, April 9, 2009

Monkey Cup

Pitcher Plant or Monkey Cup( Nepenthes)

I still remember during my childhood days, whenever I went up to Penang Hill by funicular train ; while moving up the hill, you were able to see the wild pitcher plants growing & creeping on the hill slopes, along the railway track. That was the first time I saw the pitcher plant.

We also called the pitcher plant , monkey cup; but scientifically it is called Nepenthes, in Greek it means” No grief or sorrow”. The name monkey cup is given, because it is observed that monkeys drink water from the pitcher plant.

Pitcher Plant, the plant that catch insects and eat meat. It is a carnivorous plant. Pitcher plant has an insect mechanism cavity formed by cupped leaves, the deep and long cavity contained liquid, and attract insects. The cavity is known as pitfall traps. They are vine forming plant.

There are two species of Pitcher Plant in Penang
White banded pitcher plant (Nepenthes albomar ginata)

This is a low hill species; brown purple pitcher with brown red color lid. The lid is bigger

(ii) Narrow- lidded Pitcher plant(Nepenthes ampullaria)

This is a common low land species; spot a small narrow lid, positioned away from the mouth of the pitcher. This ground- level pitcher plant are growing in dense clusters. It is green in color, or green with a red peristome.

Pitcher Plant is a rare species, I know it since I was small. Even now there are artificial propagated pitcher plant for sale in the market, we still must value the pitcher plants, it may be an endangered species.

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