N. smilesii in Kampot, Cambodia


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Hello,

I returned from Cambodia 2 days ago. It was an interesting trip.

I spent three weeks there searching for carnivorous plants. It is now my intention to write a book on the CP of that country.

I have observed 12 CP species that I will show throughout some internet field reports.

Initially, my goal was to relocate N. kampotiana in Cambodia and the true N. thorelii in Vietnam. Unfortunately, due to some logistic problems, I could not make it to Vietnam so I will look after N. thorelii on my next trip. I did not find N. kampotiana either (not enough time).

However, my trip has been very rewarding as I have found many places for Nepenthes, Drosera and Utricularia, including one new taxon.

In this first post, I want to introduce you to the most widespread Indochinese species: Nepenthes smilesii.

The Indochinese Nepenthes have been a source of confusion for many decades and until very recently, no research has been undertaken.

For a very long time, Nepenthes enthusiasts were used to know two species from Indochina: N. anamensis and N. thorelii.

I'll make it short:

All the plants known as thorelii in cultivation do not fit the type description of N. thorelii nor do they fit the lectotypes of that species.

The "thorelii" in cultivation are either other Indochinese species (some might be undescribed species) of hybrids between them.

N. anamensis has been this year synonymised with N smilesii (Mey 2009; McPherson, Robinson, Fleischmann 2009).This name is the right one to be used

N. smilesii is widespread and is clearly recognisable in the field.

Although, it can exhibits some variations, it is quite uniform and reports of N smilesii (anamensis) to be a very variable species are simply false because such assertion were made at a time where Indochina was thought to only host two species (ie N. anamensis (smilesii) and N thorelii).

I found N. smilesii in several places in Cambodia. One of them was in Kampot, in southern Cambodia.

The plant grows in dry savannah like meadow. They are exposed to full sun and to a very dry season. They are sometimes exposed to fire and can recover easily.

Humidity can be very low during the day.

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N. smilesii is mostly found in intermediate locations but can be found in true lowland conditions. This very population has been found at 16 m, almost sea level.

So how does one recognize N. smilesii from the other Indochinese species as this group includes similar species?

It's actually easy. You just need to take the time to examine some features.

In short, N. smilesii is hairy, has short tendrils, and is often a compact species. It flowers readily at a rosette stage and climbing plants are not very common.

When you're used to look after Indochinese species in the wild, you can often distinguish them by looking at the pitchers but, to the untrained eye, most pitchers of that group of species are similar.

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Edited by Sockhom
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Great stuff as ever Francois.........at last an end to the confusion is in sight

Thanks a lot for the praise.

Things will get clearer in the near future, no doubt about that.

Cheers,

François.

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Another great report Francois, and now I know what to expect from my seedlings of this species. I love that white pitcher in the last photo - I suppose this is an uncommon colour variant.

Andy

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Hello,

I have many other pictures coming...

Another great report Francois, and now I know what to expect from my seedlings of this species. I love that white pitcher in the last photo - I suppose this is an uncommon colour variant.

Dear Andy,

I'm glad you like the pictures and the plants. Actually, most of the smilesii upper pitchers I've seen in Cambodia develop those whitish colour variant. It's very beautiful indeed.

The most informative smilesii photos i've seen, keep them coming Francois...

Thanks Mark. I know you can appreciate it. I just realized that despite all the efforts made, people still don't know what smilesii/anamensis really looks like or how it grows. I have another smilesii report from another place coming. This will help to get a better understanding of that taxon too.

Cambodia ist a very interesting country!!

Do you see any reptiles?

Yes, I was with an herpetologist on Bokor Hill and he showed me some undescibed agamid species.

Cheers,

François.

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François,

Very interesting report. Beautiful landscape, as well as photos. I particularly liked the "intermediate" pitchers (next to last) and the male inflorescence.

I got a question regarding something different though:

While browsing the web, I found a small gallery (with excellent pics by the way) which had photo of an pretty upper pitcher of what is supposed to be a cambodian plant. I do realize that it might be too much to ask to get a proper identification from just this photo, but still I would be interested to know if you have an idea what it could be?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremy_holden/tags/nepenthes/

Regards,

Christer

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François,

While browsing the web, I found a small gallery (with excellent pics by the way) which had photo of an pretty upper pitcher of what is supposed to be a cambodian plant. I do realize that it might be too much to ask to get a proper identification from just this photo, but still I would be interested to know if you have an idea what it could be?

http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeremy_holden/tags/nepenthes/

Regards,

Christer

Ah ah! ah!!

You found it. ;-)

Please just wait for some hours and I will tell you everything.

I've spent many days with Jeremy Holden (a great guy and the photographer of this picture) these last three weeks and we went to see this Cambodian plant.

François.

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