Bugs & Buds

 Nepenthes in Singapore


Nepenthes adnata 

Nepenthes are certainly amongst the most spectacular evolutionary products of the plant kingdom. The astonishing beautifully shaped and colourful "pitchers" are actually modified leaves evolved after millions of years to trap insects and to utilise their nutritious remains as sustenance. Some pitchers can grow to 30 cm in height and contain litres of viscous digesting fluid.
Nepenthes are the tropical pitcher plants of the old world. Despite the fact that they are the only Genus of the Nepenthaceae family, there are more than 80 species found in regions such as the tropical West Affrica, India, Northern Australia and Southeast Asia.
There are many species of Nepenthes in peninsular Malaysia. However, at the southern tip of the peninsula, Singapore, there are only three species: N. ampullaria, N. gracilis and N. rafflesiana. They used to be quite common in the country side in the 1960's. With the city development converting Singapore into a city state in the past few decades, they are however confined to fewer habitats. With a watchful eye, they can be found in Bukit Timah, Macritchie Reservoir and Kent Ridge Park.
Nepenthe ampullaria 

Nepenthes ampullaria, the Flask-Shaped Pitcher-Plant, is a very distinctive and widespread species of Nepenthes, present in Borneo, Sumatra, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore.  

Nepenthes ampullaria has largely moved away from carnivory and acquires a substantial portion of its nutrients from digesting leaf matter that falls to the forest floor. It is thus partially detritivorous.

Pitchers range in colouration from light green throughout to completely dark red. The pitchers of N. ampullaria from Singapore are almost exclusively green throughout or green with red speckles
Clusters of pitchers are also produced along the climbing stems
Upper pitchers are very rarely produced and are considerably smaller than those formed on rosettes or offshoots.

Kent Ridge Park
Nepenthes gracilis 
Macritchie Reservoir 
Female Flower 
 Male Flower 
Nepenthes rafflesiana
Lower Pitcher
Nepenthes usually produce two morphological and sometimes even ecological different types of pitchers. Young plants in the rosette stadium have lower or ground pitchers. Their mouth is looking towards the tendril and they have 'wings' on the pitcher wall.
Upper Pitcher
When the plants begin to climb, they start to produce upper or aerial pitchers. These lack of wings and the tendril is on the backside of the pitcher. Often these two pitcher types look completely different and hard to recognise as parts of the same plant
Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
Most Nepenthes grow as lianas and some can climb more than ten meters up the trees. The tendril of their leaves helps them to get hold on trees and bushes they use as support. Some grow epiphytic, others usually stay as rosettes on the ground.
Male flower
Nepenthes are dioecious, that means there male and female plants. Inflorescences are long raceme- or panicle-like. The flowers have only four leaf (sepals) which are covered with nectar glands. The pollinators of some species seem to be flies and moth but beetles, bugs and ants are also observed to visit the flowers.

Female flower
The development of the fruit capsule takes about three months. It can contain 500 or more seed. Those are very light and have long wings to carried by the wind.

Kent Ridge Park
N. rafflesiana generally occurs in open, sandy, wet areas. It has been recorded from kerangas forest, secondary formations, margins of peat swamp forest, heath forest, and seaside cliffs.

Natural Hybrid
This is likely a natural hybrid of N Rafflesiana and N ampullaria.
Lower pitcher
Lower pitchers bear the characteristic of both the parnets.
Upper pitcher

  The splendour of the flora is now captured by our skillfully craftsmen in their most natural forms.
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