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New Meat-Eating Plant Discovered in Cambodia

New Meat-Eating Plant Discovered in Cambodia

Scientists in Cambodia’s remote Cardamom Mountains have discovered a new species of carnivorous pitcher plant that eats meat in order to flourish in otherwise impoverished soils.

Researchers from Fauna & Flora International (FFI) discovered that the large red and green pitchers of Nepenthes holdenii are actually modified leaves designed to capture and digest insects.

An unusual adaptation seen in this new species is its ability to survive during drought periods when fires regularly decimate the rest of the plant life.

François Mey, a French botanist and Nepenthes expert who described the plant said: ‘This amazing species may be the most drought-tolerant of the genus. Thanks to a large underground tuber, it has the ability to endure extended periods of drought and fires’.

The new species is being called the Holden Pitcher after British photographer Jeremy Holden, who first found the plant during the FFI survey.

“The Cardamom Mountains are a treasure chest of new species, but it was a surprise to find something as exciting and charismatic as an unknown pitcher plant,” Holden said.

Biologists claim that the discovery of this plant reinforces the need for continuous exploration and protection of biodiversity. 

The new pitcher plant joins a green-blooded frog and a number of new reptiles that have recently been discovered in the Cardamom Mountains.

Mey and Holden are currently working on a book devoted to the carnivorous plants of Cambodia.

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Image Credit: Jeremy Holden

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55 comments

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2:12PM PST on Jan 14, 2012

Can't wait to see yhe campaign PETA is going to run against these meat eaters :-)). And if they're edible, would a vegan eat one?

4:24PM PST on Jan 13, 2012

Interesting, thank you.

7:29AM PST on Jan 13, 2012

Fascinating

6:38AM PST on Jan 13, 2012

wow

5:21PM PDT on Jun 2, 2011

cool

9:53AM PDT on May 25, 2011

And would you like fries with that cheeseburger Mr. Plant? May I call you Robert?

7:24PM PST on Jan 4, 2011

Interesting! LITTLT SHOP OF HORRORS!!!!!

3:54PM PST on Dec 8, 2010

They had a great carnivorous plant exhibt at horticultural museum in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco in Oct. It may still be there, if so check it out.

2:34AM PST on Nov 25, 2010

Thanks.

6:17PM PST on Nov 19, 2010

thanks for the article.

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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