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Nepenthes thorelii - a resolution.

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Dear all,

As of today, Nepenthes thorelii has officially been relocated in Vietnam, within Tay Ninh province, its type locality. François kindly invited me to help him continue his search for the elusive species in order to make an official determination in the event that he discovered plants of interest.

I am pleased to confirm, firstly, that François is not actually insane after all, and secondly, that the specimens studied in situ at the so-called Sữa Đá (Sua Da) site fall neatly into the description made by Lecomte in 1909, and match the specimens at the Paris herbarium perfectly. This is therefore the first time that the species has been formally identified and collected (with minimal impact on the population) by qualified botanists in one hundred and two years. Given the recent elimination of potential communities of this taxon by poachers, details of the site will not be made public for the foreseeable future, a decision made in concert with the Institute of Tropical Biology in Ho Chi Minh -- with whom we conducted the expedition -- in order to protect this critically endangered taxon. Aside from any additional photos that we are able to provide at a later juncture, this is all the information that we can offer at this time.

Congratulations, François. I'm sure that the forum will look forward to seeing some of your own photographs in due course. I have included some of my own in the interim. We extend our thanks to the members of the research institute and the Vietnam Army for their assistance in this endeavour.

Best wishes,

Alastair.

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Lower-intermediate pitcher - an especially robust specimen.

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Intermediate pitcher.

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An upper pitcher.

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François with members of the forestry research team and new herbarium specimens. The rootstocks and additional crowns were left intact so as to minimise any impact on the population.

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Additional lower traps.

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One of a handful of flower mantids located on the scapes of this taxon. Other commensal taxa included three different types of spider.

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The partially digested remains of a scorpion found in a lower trap.

Edited by Stairs
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Aha! Fabulous news. Congratulations to François and everyone else.

It is a nice looking plant; the thought of this going extinct is unbearable!

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Fantastic news! François in particular must be over the moon after devoting so much time to studying the species ... to finally locate it in the field must be an amazing feeling.

I'm looking forward to seeing and reading more when the time comes.

Let's just hope that no information about the location leaks out!!!

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Well done to everybody involved!

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Congratulations to everyone involved.

It is great to see this rediscovered.

Now the hard work of keeping the population protected begins.

LeeB.

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Hello,

Here are a few more pictures, including a nice yellow variant of the species with yellow lower pitchers.

I will write some field reports on my blog when our travel is over (we have now 2 weeks of field work in Cambodia). This was of course a fantastic discovery and I am happy that we (The Institute of Tropical Biology of HCM, their Vietnamese colleagues, Alastair and myself) managed to rediscover this long lost species. At last. We are now working on setting proper conservation programs with the help of the Vietnamese authorities.

We will thoroughly document this species in the near future: new taxonomic and ecological informations will be provided so that everyone can now clealry understand this species.

In short: N. thorelii is a true lowland species which develops large subglobose pitchers characterized by a large bulbous peristome and a cordate (apple shape) lid. The tendrils are very long and the leaves are narrowly obovate. Upper pitchers are often pure yellow (at least as yellow as N. flava) and are narrowly infundibular and obovate at the top, a shape reminiscent of some elongated N. aristolochioides upper pitchers. A very thin indumentum covers all the plant. The species seem to occupy a very specific habitat as it grows in the drier part of swampy habitats.

I am happy to say that all surmises that I formulated in my last paper on this species (The Elusive Nepenthes thorelii) has proved to be correct, even the botanical illustration! ;-)

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A variant with yellow lower pitchers:

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Alastair Robinson with Nepenthes thorelii:

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Francois.

Edited by Sockhom

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It´s great to see that N. Thorelii is still there! :clapping:

Congratulations !

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Congratulations to ALL involved.

Francois - I can imagine just how happy you are right now :party: Hope the rest of the trip is as rewarding.

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Yeah, but were there any sundews at that site???????????

Just kidding!! :) Yes, this is an amazing re-discovery, congratulations for the great work!! Rediscovering old species is often more exciting than discovering a new specie, because of all the detective work leading up to it.

How big was the population? Were both male and female plants found? Do you think the population has a chance of survival in the long run? Do you think there are other populations in the vicinity?

Félicitations mon ami!!

Fernando

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Fernando, there were Drosera burmanii all over the place ;)

The population numbers less than 100 in the area that we were able to survey, with both sexes apparent, male dominating as always with Nepenthes. We hope to answer the last question with further research. These plants form a viable population, certainly, setting seed and remaining largely undisturbed as they are in a military zone.

Alastair.

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Alastair, François , et al.

This is first-rate work. Really top notch. I am so happy for you, and for Nepenthes thorelii!

Cheers

Barry

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Fernando, there were Drosera burmanii all over the place ;)

Oh yeah, it's good to keep an eye out for little rosetted Drosera. In large numbers they can make the ground slippery when you step on them.

:)

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Alastair Robinson with Nepenthes thorelii:

p1310434.jpg

Francois.

francois,

what are those pitchers near the foot of the other guy? looks like another species is co-existing in the same place...or my eyes could be wrong.... :shock:

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Kevyn, well noticed. The plants in question are a complex hybrid with Nepenthes mirabilis, which grows in the wettest parts of the habitat at a low density. Simple crosses were also evident in large numbers in places, forming vigorous and remarkably uniform growths.

Alastair.

Edited by Stairs

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Kevyn, well noticed. The plants in question are a complex hybrid with Nepenthes mirabilis, which grows in the wettest parts of the habitat at a low density. Simple crosses were also evident in large numbers in places, forming vigorous and remarkably uniform growths.

Alastair.

ooh....hi alastair,

thanks for the speedy reply. does the N. Thorelii population there stays true and the number of specimens are enough to cross in the wild and remain as a pure species? do you have the pictures of the other hibrids there? as i also notice that the leaf tip are reminiscence of the true n. thorelii. why i say this is because I have visited an area where 3 species co-exist namely n. rafflesiana, n. ampularia and n. gracilis. they produced a myriad of crosses and backcrosses...and it is hard to tell them apart... :pleasantry:

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Kevyn, we will discuss various aspects you raise in our paper, but a striking difference, which is key in maintaining a majority of true plants, is flowering time. The taxa at the site seem to differ significantly, and as such, the species plants are likely to reproduce with a minority of hybrid plants. These are readily apparent.

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Kevyn, we will discuss various aspects you raise in our paper, but a striking difference, which is key in maintaining a majority of true plants, is flowering time. The taxa at the site seem to differ significantly, and as such, the species plants are likely to reproduce with a minority of hybrid plants. These are readily apparent.

ooh...dont meant to question your findings, its just the curiousity in me. i have in due respect to ppl like you, francois and many others that involved in field trip discovering new things in finding the long lost species, i salute to you guys :happy: ...... looking at the hibrids created by the thais and the numbers of plants sold in the market as n. thorelii...it is indeed a mess. would this be a tc plant for hobbyist in the future like in the case of n. clipeata?

p/s; just realised that your location is in KL?

Edited by kevyn chan

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Kevyn, that's fine - if people did not question, there would be no progress! Yes, KL - saya adah rumah dekat stesen Putra, tetapi saya tinggal di Melbourne untuk beberapa bulan setiap tahun.

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Kevyn, that's fine - if people did not question, there would be no progress! Yes, KL - saya adah rumah dekat stesen Putra, tetapi saya tinggal di Melbourne untuk beberapa bulan setiap tahun.

haha...sorry to be nosy. hope you likes KL...btw, is there any collection of seeds? (for cultivation - hobbyist or private collectors)

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Congat's for finding this species again!

Great also to learn that you took herbarium specimens with a minimum of damage to the plants.

Interesting about the hybrid. When seeing the strange pitchers, I actually thought that it might be more variability in this species, but apparently not. Is the lower pitchers in the photo (which begins this thread) examples of this complex hybrid too, since they are waisted?

Regards,

Christer

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And when I popped onto Wikipedia, I found the entry had already been updated. Someone's been busy!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nepenthes_thorelii

Good luck to those going on to Cambodia ... I hope you get the chance to study that mysterious species in the Cardamoms.

Again, well done!

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Fantastic news and congratulations to everyone involved in the rediscovery. Military areas seem to provide some unintentional protection for rare animals and plants around the world and this seems to be no exception.

Regards Neil

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Hi all,

Thank you for the kind words. We hope that the Cambodian part of the trip will be successful too.

Dear Christer,

N. thorelii lower pitchers are typically subglobose which means that there is a slight hip beneath the peristome. Pitchers like the one shown in the first photo show lower pitchers that start to elongate because they are becoming intermediate.The plant I am holding show what we could call "typical" true lower pitchers.

We will document the plant in the near future (ie publishing a paper) and you will all understand the plant specific features and variability of this Vietnamese taxon. Although I have to say this species is fairly uniform especially in comparison to the highly polymorphic N. smilesii.

All the best,

Francois.

Edited by Sockhom

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