Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Random plant event: Nepenthes NOID

I've always assumed that I probably didn't have enough room, didn't have the right conditions, or both, for a Nepenthes, so I've never attempted to grow one and ordinarily don't pay them a whole lot of attention. Last Wednesday at the ex-job, though, I happened to notice that they had one blooming, which I'd never seen before.

And, okay, it's not like it's amazing or beautiful or anything, but it's at least new. (I was sort of surprised to learn, when I went to add the tags for this post, that I've never had a Nepenthes-related post on the blog before.)

Individual Nepenthes plants are either male or female,1 and are distinguishable by the presence or absence of pollen. This particular plant is male; the yellow dots are the pollen.

Wikipedia says that Nepenthes are insect-pollinated, but the insects in question vary quite a bit ("flies . . . moths, wasps, and butterflies"), so it's not clear what insect might go for this particular inflorescence. Scent could be a clue, but I didn't detect one. It's possible (likely?) this is a hybrid variety and no natural pollinator exists anyway.


1 (Or so I'm told. Please blame any inaccuracies that may be present in this post on the internet in general, and Wikipedia in particular.)


Nick said...

You are probably lucky you couldn't smell it, they usually have unusual smells.. N. veitchii and its hybrids have a very mousey smell which seemed to me to be more apparent in the evening and night. Another plant i'm growing has fetid smelling flowers and again the smell tends to come and go a bit. Usually people will remove the flowers as they tend to sap the plants energy as well as being smelly. There hasn't been much work done on pollinators of these, my guess is flys pollinate most of the species, as they don't seem to have much that would interest butterflies and moths.

Melody said...

I've never noticed a scent from any of my blooming Nepenthes, but some species do (a variety of scents from mildly good to mildly bad.)

You really could grow a Nepenthes by the way, especially an easy hybrid. You'd have to sacrifice some space in a well lit windowsill though, or if your basement gets cool at night you could grow certain species under lights. Some hybrids can be surprisingly tolerant of lower humidity and varying temperatures, as long as they get enough light.

If you ever want to try your hand at a tolerant, (less picky about temp/humidity) Nepenthes hybrid, or want more information about what you could/should try, let me know, I'd be glad to send you a rooted cutting. They are easy to propagate and if it ever gets too tall or takes up too much space, you can cut the vine down and it'll sprout basal shoots or a new growth from along the cut vine.