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Nepenthes

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nepenthes

Name

Pronounced ne-PEN-thayz, the name is derived from a magic potion which is said to make a person forget all suffering. Its common name is pitcher plant.

Description

Nepenthes are tropical epiphytes (they live in tree branches but are not parasitic), and they feed themselves with insects which they catch in their pitchers (water-filled funnels containing digestive enzymes). The characteristic 'lids' on the pitchers prevent rainwater from diluting the enzymes.

Origin

Philippines, north Australia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka

Family

Nepenthaceae

Varieties

The genus has about 70 different species.

Care tips

A challenging plant to grow as it needs heat and high humidity. It lives well in a greenhouse or a warm, humid conservatory. Use pots with good drainage or a basket, and use only softened, room-temperature water. Spray the plant daily to combat dry air.