Raja Nephentes - for Anenome (Ozgur)
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This is an example of Raja Nephentes - the largest pitcher plant. I am dedicating it to Ozgur Eriz - one of Bayram's students who is studying Botany at Edge University.|
This was on my list of must see's in Borneo - also Rafflesia, Orangutan, Rhinocerous Hornbill and Probocis Monkey. I saw them all and have posted pictures of all but the hornbill.
Nepenthes rajah is an insectivorous pitcher plant species of the monotypic Nepenthaceae family. It is endemic to Mount Kinabalu and neighbouring Mount Tambuyukon in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo. N. rajah grows exclusively on serpentine substrates, particularly in areas of seeping ground water, where the soil is loose and permanently moist. The species has an altitudinal range of 1500 to 2650 m a.s.l. and is thus considered a highland or sub-alpine plant. Due to its localised distribution, N. rajah is classified as an endangered species by the IUCN and listed on CITES Appendix I.
N. rajah was first collected by Hugh Low on Mount Kinabalu in 1858. It was described the following year by Joseph Dalton Hooker, who named it after James Brooke, the first White Rajah of Sarawak. Hooker called it "one of the most striking vegetable productions hither-to discovered". Since being introduced into cultivation in 1881, N. rajah has always been a much sought-after species. For a long time, it was a plant seldom seen in private collections due to its rarity, price, and specialised growing requirements. Recent advances in tissue culture technology have resulted in prices falling dramatically, and N. rajah is now relatively widespread in cultivation.
N. rajah is most famous for the giant urn-shaped traps it produces, which can grow up to 35 cm high and 18 cm wide. These are capable of holding 3.5 litres of water and in excess of 2.5 litres of digestive fluid, making them probably the largest in the genus by volume. Another characteristic morphological feature of N. rajah is the peltate leaf attachment of the lamina and tendril, which is present in only a few other species.
N. rajah is known to occasionally trap vertebrates and even small mammals. Drowned rats have been observed in the pitchers of N. rajah. It is one of only two Nepenthes species documented as having caught mammalian prey in the wild, the other being N rafflesiana. N. rajah is also known to occasionally trap other small vertebrates, including frogs, lizards and even birds, although these cases probably involve sick animals and certainly do not represent the norm. Insects, and particularly ants, comprise the majority of prey in both aerial and terrestrial pitchers.
All Nepenthes pitchers share several basic characteristics. Traps consist of the main pitcher cup, which is covered by an operculum or lid that prevents rainwater from entering the pitcher and displacing or diluting its contents. A reflexed ring of hardened tissue, known as the peristome, surrounds the entrance to the pitcher (only the aerial pitchers of N. inermis lack a peristome). A pair of fringed wings run down the front of lower traps and these presumably serve to guide terrestrial insects into the pitchers' mouth. Accordingly, the wings are greatly reduced or completely lacking in aerial pitchers, for which flying insects constitute the majority of prey items.
N. rajah, like most species in the genus, produces two distinct types of traps. "Lower" or "terrestrial" pitchers are the most common. These are very large, richly coloured, and ovoid in shape. In lower pitchers, the tendril attachment occurs at the front of the pitcher cup relative to the peristome and wings. Exceptional specimens may be up to 40 cm high and capable of holding 3.5 litres of water and in excess of 2.5 litres of digestive fluid, although most do not exceed 200 ml. The lower pitchers of N. rajah are probably the largest in the genus by volume, rivaled only by those of N. merrilliana, N. truncata and the giant form of N. rafflesiana. These traps rest on the ground and are often reclined, leaning against surrounding objects for support. They are usually red to purple on the outside, whilst the inside surfaces are lime green to purple. This contrasts with all other parts of the plant, which are yellow-green. The lower pitchers of N. rajah are unmistakable and for this reason it is easy to distinguish it from all other Bornean Nepenthes species.
Mature plants may also produce "upper" or "aerial" pitchers, which are much smaller, funnel-shaped, and usually less colourful than the lowers. The tendril attachment in upper pitchers is normally present at the rear of the pitcher cup. True upper pitchers are seldom seen, as the stems of N. rajah rarely attain lengths greater than a few metres before dying off and being replaced by off-shoots from the main rootstock.
Upper and lower pitchers differ significantly in morphology, as they are specialised for attracting and capturing different prey. Pitchers that do not fall directly into either category are simply known as "intermediate" pitchers.
The peristome of N. rajah has a highly distinctive scalloped edge and is greatly expanded, forming an attractive red lip around the trap's mouth. A series of raised protrusions, known as ribs, intersect the peristome, ending in short, sharp teeth that line its inner margin. Two fringed wings run from the tendril attachment to the lower edge of the peristome.
The huge, vaulted lid of N. rajah, the largest in the genus, is another distinguishing characteristic of this species. It is ovate to oblong in shape and has a distinct keel running down the middle. The spur at the back of the lid is approximately 20 mm long and unbranched.
N. rajah is noted for having very large nectar-secreting glands covering its pitchers. These are quite different from those of any other Nepenthes and are easily recognisable. The inner surface of the pitcher, in particular, is wholly glandular, with 300 to 800 glands/cm˛.
Although N. rajah is most famous for trapping and digesting animals, its pitchers also play host to a large number of other organisms, which are thought to form a mutually beneficial (symbiotic) association with the plant. Many of these animals are so specialised that they cannot survive anywhere else, and are referred to as nepenthebionts. N. rajah has two such mosquito taxa named after it: Culex rajah and Toxorhynchites rajah.
N. rajah is known to hybridise relatively easily in the wild. Hybrids between it and all other Nepenthes species on Mount Kinabalu have been recorded. Due to the slow-growing nature of N. rajah, few hybrids involving it have been artificially produced as of yet.
horias, nazirbadar, Adanac, nglen, anemone, marianas, zulfu, CeltickRanger, siggi, boreocypriensis, horia, rousettus, matatur, xTauruSx, roges, uleko, Pitoncle has marked this note useful
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- [2010-01-29 8:18]
What a great capture and dedication for our friend Ozgur Eriz.
Great click and pic with very useful note.
thanks for sharing
a great dedication to our friend Ozgur Eriz; a very beautiful and interesting picture, superb sharpness and marvellous colours.
- [2010-01-29 9:24]
Thanks for sharing this interesting plant.
- [2010-01-29 10:38]
What an unusual plant you present to us here James. The image quality is top notch as always, great work and thank you.
- [2010-01-29 11:01]
Hi James. Something special from your archives today. Such a unusual plant .With the lid on the top. It has some amazing colour and markings with your picture shows so well. And a nice dedication to the young man. TFS.
Wonderful photo of this carnivorous plant that we have also in our greenhouse of Botany Garden. Thanks a lot for this great gift to me. I honoured because you are one of the great photographer of this beautiful site.
thanks you very much.
What a beautiful carnivore plant!
I like the colors and details.
excellent close-up film photo of this Rain Forest plant,
with fine POV, DOF and the way it is framed, excellent focus
sharpness and details, beautiful warm luminosity, TFS
- [2010-01-29 13:04]
Superb close-up shot of this unique plant. It is also interesting to show the plant and animal systematics are work independently. Because the genera name Raja also use in Zoology for rays.
TFS and G's,
- [2010-01-29 13:30]
A nice capture of this Raja Nephentes. Very good details and a lovely composition. Thanks a lot for sharing.
Best regards Siggi
Very interesting flower with great note. And a fine dedication.
Surely, dear Özgür will like this. You have done it very well. Bravo and TFS.
it's impressive to see this flower in wild nature, never had this chance. I only know them from botanic-houses or plant-stores where you can buy them. But they can't live long here, not the right place.
So thanks for this shot, I like it very much
Sabine - wishnugaruda
Hi Bro james,
Incredible capture of this beauty from wonderful POV with impeccable details, great DOF and delightful composition. Nice dedication to good student Özgür:)
TFS and have a nice night and WE!
- [2010-01-30 0:11]
This is indeed quite a sight and i'm guessing a first for TN, too.
What an amazing plant...i wish i'll be able to see one with my own eye, too, one day :)
The details and colors here are excellent and show the typical features of this type really well. I'm actually a bit sad you didn't find it in a better setting, so you could isolate it better from the rest of the vegetation...but i guess we can't really control where we find stuff so rare and beautiful like this.
Anyway, it's still a very lovely find and post and i'm happy to read that you managed to find and photograph all the things on your list while you were in Borneo...sounds like it was a heck of a trip ;)
Cheers and TFS
This is a bit subject for you after many animal posts. But it is very beautiful. your shot also nice.
Nephenthes are famous plants on our botanical books. Once I saw it in a glasshouse of botanical garden.
You are lucky to see and take photographes. Thanks for sharing this beautiful presentation, James.
best wishes and have a nice weekend, my friend
A beautiful pitcher plant among the forest litter in fine form and colouration James, you've expertly captured this image in good focus and detail to display its salient features quite nicely MF, TFS indeed!
Hello James, amazing shot of this interesting plant with nice details and composition.
TFS and regards,
- [2010-01-30 10:46]
This superb dedication to Ozgur.
An herb that I've never seen one before.
Super your idea to present us and habitat where live, congratulations.
It is truly a fantastic plant. Great documentary shot and informative note. There are an unusual species of moths associated with this plant. Catterpillars of the genus Nepenthophilus (family Psychidae) and species Autoba radda (Noctuidae) are eating other insects trapped inside Nephentes
- [2010-01-30 23:50]
How fantastic to have managed to see all the species you aimed for on Borneo!! We only managed to see some small pitcher plants and the Proboscis monkeys when we were in Sarawak.
This large specimen is most impressive and I love its details and colours that you captured so well.
TFS and best wishes, Ulla
- [2010-01-31 4:47]
this is a lovely presentation of the monkey cup. I have seen it during my climb at Mount Kinabalu.
very sharp and clear shot of the plant. I like the grasses at the foreground too. very graphical.
well composed shot and I enjoy reading the note too.
Trčs belle publication valorisant bien le sujet par l'appréciation de la finesse des détails et de la délicatesse des couleurs.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.