Nepenthes nigra

Nepenthes nigra


Nepenthes nigra Nerz, Wistuba, Chi.C.Lee, Bourke, U.Zimm. & S.McPherson in McPherson, New Nepenthes 1: 469 (468-491, fig. 401-427). 2011 sec. McPherson 2011
    • Type (designated by Nerz, J., Wistuba, A., Lee, C.C., Bourke, G., Zimmermann, U. & McPherson, S. R. 20111): Eyma 3970, Tomongkobae Mts, 9.10.1938 (holotype, BO)
  • 1. Nerz, J., Wistuba, A., Lee, C.C., Bourke, G., Zimmermann, U. & McPherson, S. R. 2011: Nepenthes nigra, a new pitcher plant from Central Sulawesi, pp. 469-491. – In: McPherson, S. R., New Nepenthes 1


Stems climbing up to 5 m long. The stem of climbing plants is cylindrical or triangular in cross section, up to 12 mm in diameter, with internodes up to 8 cm long. The stem may be green, reddish or entirely black.
Leaves sessile lanceolate, up to 22 cm long and 4.5 cm wide, glabrous. Usually semi-amplexicaul in ground rosettes and wholly amplexicaul in climbing vines. Venation is indistinct. Tendrils are up to 8 cm long and uncoiled in ground rosettes, and up to 20 cm long and usually coiled in climbing vines. All parts of the lamina are yellowish green, except for the midrib, which is light yellow or reddish.
Lower pitcher ovate and inflated in the lower third to half, before narrowing to become cylindrical, slightly infundibular or slightly tapered towards the pitcher opening, up to 23 cm tall and 4.5 cm wide. Wings up to 18 mm wide fringed with narrow filaments up to 12 mm long, run down the front of the pitcher. The pitcher opening is set at an oblique angle and elongated below the lid. The peristome is cylindrical, though often flattened, and up to 4 mm wide. It is lined with thin, blade-like ribs up to 2 mm high and spaced up to 2 mm apart. The ribs are elongated on the inner margin to form narrow, needle-like teeth up to 4 mm long. The teeth are particularly long below the lid. The lid is cordate to ovate with an obtuse apex, up to 4 cm long and 3 cm wide. The lid lacks an appendage. The spur is filiform and up to 8 mm long. The upper surface of the pitcher lid is lined with narrow, occasionally branching filaments up to 2 cm long. The filaments generally emerge around the margins of the upper surface of the lid, and are often arranged in dense bundles close to the spur. The pitcher exterior is black or very dark brown, and variably mottled with small patches of dull green or yellow. In exceptional plants, the exterior of the pitcher may be entirely black. Often, the indumentum of the pitcher may cause the exterior surface to appear brown or orangey. The peristome is entirely black, although the blade-like ribs and teeth of the peristome are often yellowish green for several days after the pitcher opens, darkening with age. The interior of the pitcher and lower surface of the leaf are white or pale purple. The lower surface of the lid is yellowish green or reddish, and the upper surface is black or brown with small, yellowish green flecks.
Nepenthes nigra exhibits the tendency to produce large numbers of intermediate pitchers, which resemble lower and upper traps, but bear prominent wings and a tendril attachment from the back of the pitcher. Intermediate pitcher may be the predominant pitcher type produced prior to the development of a climbing stem. True lower pitchers are produced only very briefly by seedlings and young plants.
Upper pitchers are ovate in the lower quarter to third, before narrowing to become cylindrical towards the pitcher opening, up to 14 cm tall and 3.5 cm wide. The front of the pitcher is flat, broad, and lacks wings (in contrast to the intermediate pitchers). The pitcher opening is set at an oblique angle, and is slightly elongated below the lid. Filaments may be present on the upper surface of the lid, but usually in smaller numbers than in lower pitchers if expressed at all. The peristome is tightly cylindrical, up to 4 mm wide, and in contrast to the lower pitchers, lacks blade-like ridges, being instead lined with flat ribs up to 0.5 mm high, spaced up to 0.5 mm apart. The ribs may form teeth up to 0.5 mm long on the inner margin. All other parts are similar to the lower pitchers. The colouration of the upper pitchers is consistent with the lower traps, except that the peristome is often pure, yellowish green, becoming brown or black as it ages, and the interior of the pitcher is pale yellowish green or white.
Remarkably, the distinctive black colouration of the lower and upper pitchers of Nepenthes nigra seems to develop even in semi-shaded conditions and not as a consequence of intense sunlight. Even so, cultivated specimens often develop reddish brown pitchers.
Inflorescence is a racemose panicle, bearing up to 80 flowers. The peduncle is up to 35 cm long and 8 mm wide at its widest point. The partial peduncles are 1-flowered. The lowermost flowers may have bracts. Tepals are oblong to lanceolate. The androphore is usually 2-3 mm long as the flowers open, lengthening to 7 mm long as pollen is shed. The fruit are up to 2.5 cm long. Valves 3 to 5 mm wide, not strongly attenuate towards both ends. Seeds filiform, up to 15 mm long. All parts of the male inflorescence are pale yellowish green, except for the anther heads, which are pinkish red prior to the shedding of pollen.
Indumentum of soft, orangey brown hairs up to 1.5 mm long covers the exterior of the pitchers, the upper surface of the lid, the tendrils and often the developing fruit. The leaves and stem are glabrous.A


Belongs to Nepenthes sect. Tentaculatae Cheek & JebbB

Distribution (General)

Indonesia, SulawesiA


The specific epithet is derived from the Latin nigra (black) and refers to the distinctive colouration of the pitchers and stem.A


Terrestrial in mossy montane forest, montane shrub and in small open clearings and on cliff sides, epiphytic in thick moss cushions on smaller cloud-forest trees; 1500-2700 m a.s.l.A


A. Nerz, J., Wistuba, A., Lee, C.C., Bourke, G., Zimmermann, U. & McPherson, S. R. 2011: Nepenthes nigra, a new pitcher plant from Central Sulawesi, pp. 469-491. – In: McPherson, S. R., New Nepenthes 1
B. Cheek, M.R. & Jebb, M.H.P. 2016: A new section in Nepenthes (Nepenthaceae) and a new species from Sulawesi. – Blumea 61: 59-62


CountryDateCollector + collecting numberHerbariaTypeScanDerivatives
Eyma 3970, Tomongkobae Mts, 9.10.1938 (holotype, BO)
Citation: Eyma 3970, Tomongkobae Mts, 9.10.1938 (holotype, BO)