Nepenthes northiana

Nepenthes northiana


Nepenthes northiana Hook.f. in Gard. Chron. n.s. 16: 717, t. 144. 1881 sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
    • Unknown type category: Borneo, Sarawak, Jambusan, Curtis s.n. (K)
  • =Nepenthes spuria Beck in Wiener Ill. Gart.-Zeitung 20: 187. 1895 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 20011
  • 1. Type: not located
  • =Nepenthes nordtiana Boerl. in Handl. 3(1): 54. 1900 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
  • =Nepenthes northiana var. pulchra Hort. ex Macfarl. in Bail. Std. Cycl. Hort. 4: 2129. 1922 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
  • =Nepenthes decurrens Macfarl. in Kew Bull. 1925(1): 35. 1925 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
    • Isotype: Borneo, Sarawak, Baram, Hewitt 100 (BO)
    • Lectotype: Borneo, Sarawak, Baram, Hewitt 100 (K)2
    • Isotype: Borneo, Sarawak, Baram, Hewitt 100 (K)3
  • 2. pitcher & stem, 3. infl.

Other sources

Nepenthes decurrens Macfarl.: Danser, B. H. 1928: – Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg, sér. 3, 9: 282, f. 3 (as Nepenthes decurrens Macfarl.)
Danser, B. H. 1928: – Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg, sér. 3, 9: 342
Phillipps, A. & Lamb, A.L. 1996: Pitcher Plants of Borneo: 119, f. 64
Jebb, M. H. P. & Cheek, M. R. 1997: A skeletal revision of Nepenthes. – Blumea 42(1): 1-106: 69
Clarke, C. M. 1997: Nepenthes of Borneo. – Kota Kinabalu: Natural History Publications: 113, f. 75


Terrestrial shrub or climber, 1-4 m tall. Stems 4-6-angular-rounded, 1-2.2 cm diam., with 4 wings, each c. 5 mm wide, decurrent from the leaf base above and abruptly uniting above the axil below, and on the same side of the stem; short shoots with internodes c. 1 cm long, wings forming a saddle-like shape; climbing shoots with internodes 7-8 cm long. Leaves coriaceous, sessile to weakly petiolate; leaves of short shoots long-elliptic to spathulate, 20-59 by 7-11 cm, apex acute with tendril peltate by several mm, base attenuate, forming an ill-defined, winged petiolar area 2-4.5 cm wide, clasping the stem for 1/2 its circumference, the wings decurrent, initially sheathing, then patent; leaves of climbing stems narrowly oblong-elliptic to ligulate, 37-60 by 4.4-6.5(-9) cm. Longitudinal nerves 3 (or 4) on each side of the midrib in the outer half, prominent above and below. Pennate nerves patent, straight, little branched, conspicuous above and below. Lower pitchers recumbent, ellipsoid, 14-36 by 5.8-12.5 cm, with two fringed wings 5-10 mm wide, the fimbriae 5-7 mm long, 2-4 mm apart; the mouth oblique, slightly concave, narrowly ovate; peristome flattened, with ribs 0.2-0.3(-0.5) mm high, 0.7-1 mm apart, 5 or 6 striae between each ridge, outer edge of peristome 12-40 mm broad, gradually widening towards the lid, dentate, folded into 12-16 shallow teeth 3-7 mm long, inner edge appressed to pitcher wall, 5-10 mm wide, the margin with falcate teeth 1 mm long; column absent; lid as large or larger than mouth, held at 45° elevation from mouth, narrowly elliptic, 5.5-15 by 3.2-5 cm, apex rounded, base cordate, lower surface lacking appendages, midrib raised, glands restricted to a thickened area about half the width of the lid and running nearly its length, absent from the midrib, circular or transversely elliptic, bordered, black, 0.2-0.3 mm diam.; spur c. 5 mm long, entire. Upper pitchers cylindrical-infundibulate, 20-36 by 6-8 cm, fringed wings running the length of the pitcher, 3-4 mm wide, fimbriae 3-7 mm long; peristome rounded, 2.5-4 cm wide in the widest part, ribs to 1 mm high; lid 7-9 by 3-4 cm. Male inflorescence c. 145 by c. 10 cm; peduncle 33 cm long, 7 mm diam. at base; partial peduncles 2-flowered, 7-22 mm long; bracts 2-3 mm long, absent in some inflorescences; pedicels 17-35 mm long; tepals ovate, 3.5-4 by 2.5-3 mm; androphore 1-3 mm long; anther head 1.5-2 by 2-3.5 mm. Infructescence c. 103 cm long; peduncle 46 cm long, 1 cm wide at base, with a pulvinus c. 1.5 cm wide; partial peduncles 4-5 cm long; pedicels 2.8-3.2 cm. Fruits with valves 25-28 by 3.5-4 mm. Seeds fili-form, 8 by 0.3 mm (probably immature). Indumentum of sessile red glands on lower surface of leaf blade and outer pitcher and lid intermixed, on the outer pitcher, with simple, patent red hairs 0.5 mm long; partial peduncles to lower surface of tepals and ovary fairly densely covered in coppery coloured, 1 or 2 branched appressed hairs 0.3 mm long. Colour of the pitcher yellow or pale green marbled red; peristome red often striped yellow and green; lid pale green suffused with olive.A


Nepenthes northiana is restricted to limestone in a small area of Sarawak. It is not likely to be confused with any other species in Sarawak on account of the very large, ovoid, recumbent lower pitchers with a broad, sinuate peristome protected by a narrowly elliptic lid. Nepenthes mapulensis, which occurs also on limestone, on the opposite side of Borneo, shares these characters, but is immediately distinguished by its terete, puberulent, flexuose stems which lack the unusual saddle-shaped ridges seen on the short stems of N. northiana.
Nepenthes decurrens, based on a specimen with only upper pitchers, was possibly described because, at that time, the only specimens of N. northiana available to Macfarlane had lower pitchers. Nepenthes northiana is only known from the Bau region near Kuching, whereas the type of N. decurrens was said to have been collected at Baram. If the Baram referred to is the Baram River, some 500 km to the north-east, it seems astonishing the species has not been recollected there or found in the other limestone areas in between. Hewitt’s numbering system provides no positive clue, but it is of note that a specimen of Trevesia burckii Boerl. (Araliaceae) at K also bears the number Hewitt 100, and was collected on Mt Poi near Kuching.
Beck based his N. spuria on part of Hooker’s original protologue of N. northiana. He regarded the English text and f. 144 to represent a separate species. There seems no justification for this.
This species came to the attention of the world through a painting by Marianne North. When this was seen by the nurseryman Harry Veitch, he arranged for his collector Charles Curtis to obtain the plant for his London nurseries from whence Hooker described it from live plants and dried pitchers.
Plants of this species growing in open rocky places will flower freely as non-climbing shrubs, lacking upper pitchers. However, in lightly wooded areas, upper pitchers, as well as lower, are abundantly produced (pers. obs.).A

Distribution (General)

Borneo: Sarawak (near Bau).A


Bare or lightly wooded limestone cliff faces and slopes with permanent water seepages; 40-800 m.A


A. Cheek, M. R. & Jebb, M. H. P. 2001: Flora Malesiana - Nepenthaceae, Series I, Volume 15. – Leiden: Nationaal Herbarium Nederland, Universiteit Leiden branch


CountryDateCollector + collecting numberHerbariaTypeScanDerivatives
Curtis s.n.K
Citation: Borneo, Sarawak, Jambusan, Curtis s.n.

Specimen summary: K
Unknown type category of Nepenthes northiana Hook.f.

Hewitt 100BO, K(2)
Citation: Borneo, Sarawak, Baram, Hewitt 100

Specimen summary: BO
Isotype of Nepenthes decurrens Macfarl.

Specimen summary: K
Isotype of Nepenthes decurrens Macfarl.