Nepenthes Ampullaria carnivorous Print


Nepenthes ampullaria the Flask-Shaped Pitcher-Plant, is a very distinctive and widespread species of Nepenthes, present in Borneo, Sumatra, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, the Maluku Islands, and New Guinea. It is not generally considered to be closely related to any other species in the genus and is thus often used as the 'outlier' species for cladistic analyses.


Nepenthes ampullaria generally grows in damp, shady forest from sea-level to 2100 m Borneo, it occurs usually on relatively flat terrain in kerangas forest, peat swamp forest, and degraded swamp forest, at elevations of 0 to 1000 m.


Due to its unique pitcher morphology and unusual growth habit, it is difficult to confuseN. ampullaria with any other species in the genus. F. E. Lloyd translated Troll's 1932 account of this species as follows:

Nepenthes ampullaria has larg

ely moved away from carnivory and acquires a substantial portion of its nutrients from digesting leaf matter that falls to the forest floor. It is thus partially detritivorous.



Nepenthes ampullaria is a lowland plant being found mostly in shaded jungles. It is a very easy plant to grow under lowland conditions.


Cultivating Ease - Very Easy

Type - Lowland

Temperature - Keeping it warm at all times will make it grow quite fast. Although it can tolerate cold temperatures, it should be kept between 75 and 95 degrees farenheit for optimum growth.
Humidity - Should be very high at all times and it does not appreciate low humidity. Humidity should be above 75% at all times for optimum growth, and will grow faster if the humidity is higher than this.
Light - Shaded conditions. If grown in a greenhouse, it must be shaded from direct light. It grows very well in a large chamber under lights. Once a plant has grown a significant length, the growing part of the vine can be exposed to higher light levels.

Moisture - Keep the plant wet to very wet. Do not let the soil dry out.

Soil - Long Fiber Sphagnum

Size - The plant can grow several feet in diameter and significantly in length. It is an ideal candidate for larger grow chambers (4'x4'x8') under lights, or in a stovehouse in a shaded position.

Details: The key to this plant is keeping it warm with very high humidity. It will reward you with a fabulous display of pitchers. Once a vine has grown long enough, basal rosettes will spring up along its length. Basal rosettes will appear from underground near stem base. Some of these will grow into another vine over time. The plant will also send out very long runners in which another plant will develop from. Grow it in a wide pot and it will fill its growing area up with a fascinating display of pitchers. Basal pitchers remain alive for an extended period of time.

Propagation -  Taking cuttings is easy. However, the growing tip of the vine is very soft, and does not fully harden for 2-3 leaves beneath the tip. Therefore, the growing tip should be a 4 node cutting (growing tip plus 3 leaves) to keep the cutting from rotting before it becomes established. Beneath this, single node cuttings can be made. Propagation is also easily done with the basal rosettes. These rosettes are connected via a stem to the main vine underground. Over time the rosette will produce its own roots. When this happens, you can simply separate the basal rosette from the stem and pot it up. Ampullaria's will also produce underground runners which will start another plant some distance from the mother plant.

Forms - There are several varieties of ampullaria, each which is worth collecting. Some of them are:

Green form
Speckled or Striped (various forms, some with green peristomes, other with red, brown, etc.)
Red      (Giant Red / Brunei Red / Cantley's Red Williams Red)  various amounts of red colored pitchers
cv 'Harlequin' - tricolored pitchers that are solid red, streaked with purple, and speckled with green.

Upper Pitchers - This plant only rarely produces upper pitchers (in which the tendril and lid connect on the same side of the pitcher.) It has been reported that uppers may be produced after the vine grows to a siginificant length, and the tip is exposed to higher light levels. Another theory is that uppers are produced when they plant is stressed.


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