Sunday, January 18, 2015

Have a Monkey Cup

Nepenthes gracilis
 It is one of the most unique plants in Sarawak or the island of Borneo.  It is represented in the park by the Nepenthes gracilis. Commonly called the Monkey Cup, these pitcher plants can be found in the highlands or lowlands of Sarawak.  A few lowland species grow naturally or in the wild at the park, especially the open areas at Zone I and H, where they intermingle among the Resam ( Gleichenia linearis) or the Bamboo orchids (Arundina graminifolia).  Peculiar with the Nepenthes are the pitchers that nature has perfectly crafted.  The pitcher has a body, a mouth and a cover or lid.  The linings at the mouth and little ridges that curve into the body are leading signages or traps  to unsuspected ants to enter the body of the pitcher.  Inside the body somewhere at the bottom are produced liquid glands or enzymes.  These enzymes help break down the ants and other insects that fall into the body which  in most cases are filled with water to help also drown its prey.  For that matter it is said that these plants are ant-harbouring or in the old terminology 'hospitating' plants.  The pitcher plants in modern corporate terminology provides inducements or incentives to ants and other insects by its bright colour (some have beautiful red or bronze colours) and liquid glands.  The insects once attracted to the mouth or rim of the pitcher will edge into the body and down they go assisted by the slippery and waxy surface inside.  They is no way up for safety.  The pitcher takes time to digest the ants and insects using its digestive fluids.  It is for this feature that these plants are considered 'carnivorous'.  I have in another blog a good picture of the colourful Nepenthes bicalcarata which is native to Sarawak as in here. and the Nepenthese longifolia as in here.

No comments:

Post a Comment