British photographer Jeremy Holden recently discovered a new species of carnivorous pitcher plant in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains during a survey with Fauna & Flora International (FFI).
“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 in a press release.
Pitcher plants’ characteristic vase shape allows them to attract and trap curious insects. The insects are them slowly devoured as food. This behavior allows pitcher plants to survive in otherwise nutrient-poor soils.
Dubbed Nepenthes holdenii after its discoverer, the new species is uniquely adapted to survive fire and long droughts.
“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,” says botanist Francois Mey who described the species. The tuber is capable of regenerating characteristic pitchers once a fire or drought has passed.
The new species of pitcher plant, Nepenthes holdenii. Photo by: Jeremy Holden/FFI.
Botanist Francois Mey with new species of pitcher plant. Photo by: Jeremy Holden/FFI.
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