Voracious Vegetation: Massive Meat-Eating Plants Discovered

giant meat-eating plant Nepenthes attenboroughii 2

(image via: Terraforums)

When two missionaries got lost on the remote Mount Victoria in the central Philippines in 2000, no one could have guessed that their misadventure would lead to the discovery of a bizarre but majestic variety of pitcher plant. The missionaries were rescued after 13 days, and their tales of the strange vegetation they encountered would later lead botanists Alastair Robinson and Volker Heinrich and nature explorer Stewart McPherson back to Mount Victoria on a two-month expedition. The wonders they found there made the journey more than worth their time.

giant meat-eating plant Nepenthes attenboroughii 3

(images via: Wikimedia)

The large pitcher plant that awaited them at 1,600 meters above sea level was a stunning sight. They named it Nepenthes attenboroughii after the famed British broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough. It appears that this particular plant exists only on the summit of Mount Victoria, and there are very few known specimens.

Though the above video is a different type of pitcher plant, it is in the same family as the new species. Unlike plants that kill with poison, pitcher plants catch their prey in their pitcher-shaped leaf appendages; insects and other small animals fall in and can’t escape. Though the pitcher of Nepenthes attenboroughii is large enough to trap mice, rats and other rodents, so far no such instances have been recorded.


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