Sir Attenborough’s Pitcher Plant
Name: Nepenthes attenboroughii
Common Name: None
Carnivorous plants, how ironic is that? Most plants absorb nitrogen from the soil through their roots, but carnivorous plants absorb nitrogen from their animal prey through leaves that have been specially modified as traps. Pitcher plants trap insects in folded leaves that create deep, slippery pools filled with digestive enzymes. Nepenthes attenboroughii is special because it is one of the largest pitchers, almost the size of an American football. Endemic to the island of Palawan, Philippines, it has only been found in one location–and such has been suggested for Red Listing as Critically Endangered.
Etymology: “The specific epithet, attenboroughii, is a commemorative, genitive noun in apposition taken from the patronym Attenborough. We have chosen to name this species after broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, whose outstanding television documentaries have made the world’s natural history accessible and understandable to millions. As a keen enthusiast of the genus and a patron of Philippine conservation efforts, it is fitting that this spectacular new species be dedicated to him on the occasion of his 80th birthday.”
Photo: Alastair S. Robinson