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Nepenthes northiana

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February 23th 2009.

Thinking about it, it was really like a religious experience, some kind of bliss... It was how I felt after my trip on Lundu's road. However, I didn't have the time to analyze my feelings.

"We're heading to Bau" said my guide.



Any really dedicated Nepenthes grower knows that this small town of Sarawak and its limestone cliffs are associated to Nepenthes northiana, the very pitcher-plant named after Marianne North. - Allow me to advice you to get your hands on "A vision of eden, The life and Work of Marianne North",, a wonderful book on the great lady's work (Thanks Andy! :laugh1: ).

Like I said in my previous post, Nepenthes northiana is my favourite lowland species along with N. bicalcarata. I like how it looks, wild reptilian beauty, but I'm as much fascinated by its history, its peculiar ecology and by the fact that is a really tricky species to grow. I barely begin to know how to take care of it in culture, so thinking that I was about to admire it, high on its limestone castle was an exquisite thought.

Here we are.

In front of us, stands one of those limestone hills:




I'm taking my binoculars and before our guide even show me the plants, I spot one young N. northiana in the middle of a steep slope.

I'm being told that the main northiana colony is in another spot but I, nevertheless, want to observe this plant and while my wife is looking at me with a worried stare (or a sarcastic one?), I rush to climb like a bold adventurer in order to see this tropical edelweiss:


I'm not far from the plant, but I suddenly realize that I'm too fat to act like Ch'ien Lee so I simply take a photograph of the plant with my camera zoom. So cool. :lookeye:

The Nepenthes lover will have recognized northiana's typical foliage (plant in the middle of the picture)


After this first pathetic attempt, we 're heading toward the main colony and joy fills my heart when I discover many Nepenthes northiana growing on the cliff at about 50 meters above our heads:




I apologize for the pictures bad quality but our camera is not designed to take excellent quality pictures at that distance.

Air movement, open soil, high humidity, sunny spot, surrounding vegetation... I'm beginning to think how I will try to mimic all this in culture...

While we're trying to come closer to the plants, my guide reveals, at the summit of a very steep slope, a wonderful specimen!

Edited by Sockhom
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The pictures speak by themselves.

"Now my heart is full" sang Morrissey, one of my all-time favourite artists, and I find these words, at that moment, are really fitting.

Some other pictures taken in another spot:






Edited by Sockhom
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"Now my heart is full" sang Morrissey, one of my all-time favourite artists, and I find these words, at that moment, are really fitting.


My heart felt like it was going to explode when I saw your pictures, so I cannot agree more than I already do! Unless, of course, I actually visited, but I'm afraid that I would have never left Bau alive. :lookeye:

It's about time some really nice and documentative pictures of this wonderful plant were posted, close-up and personal, yet also capturing images of the plants in their natural habitat at Bau. More majestic than any other Nepenthes, in my opinion.

Now, for the really fun part - the science and morphology. Did you investigate what kind of soil conditions, color variations, health conditions, foliage and leaf attatchment structures, etc. that this population had? I can already see that the female flower stalks were quite large and had the pods suspended upon long stems - somewhat expectable based on pictures of the male inflorescence.

Once again, I wholeheartedly applaud and thank you for posting these wonderful experiences. I can only wish to go on such an adventure someday.


(Thank you!!!)

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A fantastic report on a beautiful species, one I have never tried to grow, thank you very much. I am glad that you liked the Marianne North book. You MUST make it to Kew one day to view her gallery.



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During my early days in researching these plants, I got a reprint of the [Kew] Gardner's Chronicles which depicted Marianne North's paintings of this species spread across the entire 8.5 x 11 inch double page, sideways, with a 17 inch pitcher, and this amazing peristome, and at the bottom of the page, in fine print, was the footnote that read: 3/4 actual size! It totally blew me away! - Rich

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this must be one of the most beautiful, perfect pitchers I have ever seen...

Edited by Amar
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Excellent report and pics François - many thanks for sharing them with us :suicide_fool-edit: A very beautiful species, if only it wasnt so difficult to grow in cultivation!


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