Nepenthes attenboroughii

Nepenthes attenboroughii


Nepenthes attenboroughii A.S.Rob., S.McPherson & V.B.Heinrich in Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 159(2): 196 (195-202; figs. 1-2, map). 2009 [The specific epithet, attenboroughii, is a commemorative, genitive noun in apposition taken from the patronym Attenborough. We have chosen to name this species after broadcaster and naturalist, Sir David Attenborough, whose outstanding television documentaries have made the world's natural history accessible and understandable to millions. As a keen enthusiast of the genus and a patron of Philippine conservation efforts, it is fitting that this spectacular new species be dedicated to him on the occasion of his 80th birthday.B]. sec. Robinson & al. 2009 wfo-0000744332
      Type: Philippines, A.S. Robinson AR001 (Philippines, Palawan, Mount Victoria, 09°22.105′N, 118°18.484′E, 1650 m, on granular, largely inorganic, ultramafic soils towards the summit,, A. Robinson AR001 (holotype; PPC!); ibid., AR002 (paratype!).)


Terrestrial upright to scrambling unbranched shrub, to 1.5 m tall. Stem terete, 2.5–3.5 cm in diameter, internodes 3–4.5 cm long. Climbing stems unknown. Rosette leaves coriaceous; lamina oblong to narrowly elliptic, 25–30 cm long, 8–10 cm wide, apex obtuse or occasionally retuse, not peltate, base shortly attenuate, sessile or subpetiolate to 2 × 4 cm, amplexicaul, clasping the stem by two-thirds to four-fifths its circumference, decurrent along internode for 2–3 cm; longitudinal veins conspicuous, arising from basal part of midrib, five to seven on each side in outer two-thirds of lamina, pennate veins numerous, almost perpendicular to midrib, finely reticulate towards margin; tendrils 30–40 cm long, broad, 4–9 mm in diameter, straight, sharply descending, flattened along adaxial surface in upper one-third. Leaves of scrambling stem as those of rosettes, but larger, 30–40 cm long, 8–15 cm wide, base subpetiolate; tendrils to 50 cm long, uncoiled. Lower pitchers brittle, campanulate to broadly tubulate, often dilating abruptly below the mouth, to 30 × 16 cm excluding lid, originating from tendril at front of pitcher; inner surface entirely glandular, c. 350–750 glands cm−2, ventral exterior surface rarely winged and usually marked by two pronounced ribs from tendril to mouth, infrequently ciliate in upper one-third; mouth oblique, orbicular to transversely elliptic, being the widest part of the pitcher, rising in the rear to a column 2–3 × 1.5–2 cm, in section an isosceles triangle with longest sides concave, formed by teeth of peristome held in apposition, to 2 cm long; peristome broad, 0.8–2 cm wide, striate with ribs to 0.5 mm high, flattened across middle at front of mouth, gently rounded at other parts, outer margin entire, occasionally sinuous on opposing sides, strongly revolute, inner margin flattened, curving sharply downwards, descending 3–8 mm, terminating in fine, conspicuously incised teeth to 2 mm long below mouth and 3 mm on the column. Lid held upright, usually 0°–20° from vertical, very slender relative to pitcher mouth, elliptic or slightly ovate, to 10 × 6.5 cm, apex rounded, base truncate to shallowly cordate, lower surface with flattened, rigid keel, up to 3 mm high at base, 3–5 mm broad, but no appendages, densely glandular except around upper one-third of keel where glands are most sparse, glands large, crateriform, conical, 0.1–0.3 mm across, with the smallest towards margin of lid, longitudinal veins conspicuous, four on each side, arising from base of midrib; spur substantial, 8–15 mm long, up to 6 mm wide at base, often bifurcated in distal one-third, each segment to 2 mm wide. Upper pitchers similar to lower pitchers, but tubulate or infundibular, 25 × 12 cm, originating from tendril to side or from rear of pitcher, expanding gradually from base and abruptly flaring widely 2–4 cm below mouth; mouth orbicular to transversely elliptic, inner surface entirely glandular, ventral ribs prominent, without cilia, occasionally bifurcating towards the mouth; peristome flattened at front and sides, to 1.5 cm wide, rising in the rear to a column to 2.5 × 1.5 cm. Lid similar to those of lower pitchers but smaller, occasionally reflexed, elliptic, to 8 × 5 cm. Inflorescence a raceme. Male inflorescence to 80 cm, 4 cm at widest point, with c. 100 flowers; peduncle 25–35 cm long, striate, 1 cm wide at base, rachis 30–45 cm, occasionally bifurcating; pedicels one-flowered, lacking bracts, to 2 mm in diameter, 1.2 cm long at base of rachis, 2 mm at tip; tepals red, broadly ovate, 4 × 5 mm, apex obtuse; staminal column 3–4 mm, anther head 2 × 3 mm of eight fused anthers. Female inflorescence to 65 cm, 5 cm at widest point, with c. 70 flowers; peduncle 45–52 cm long, to 1.5 cm at base, rachis to 20 cm, never bifurcating; pedicels one-flowered, tightly clustered in last one-third of rachis, lacking bracts, to 3 mm in diameter, 1.5 cm long at base of rachis, 1 mm at tip; tepals brown to purple, ovate, 5 × 3.5 mm, apex acute; ovary ovoid, 5 × 2.5 mm; fruit up to 20 × 8 mm, staminal surface drying black; seeds filiform, c. 7 mm long, pale brown. Indumentum of reddish-brown sessile glands evenly distributed over surface of stem, increasing in density on abaxial leaf surfaces and accounting for a slightly scabrous texture, largely absent from adaxial leaf surfaces, occurring sparsely and irregularly on tendrils and pitchers; juvenile foliage including apex of stem, underside of midrib and floral organs pubescent, with simple, densely arranged, caducous reddish-copper hairs to 1 mm long, becoming velutinous along tendril and developing pitcher; adult leaf margin ferruginous-tomentose or woolly, underside of midrib coarsely velutinous, dark golden-brown, especially in distal one-third, becoming lightly velutinous down upper one-third of tendril only; surface of pitcher and lower two-thirds of tendril largely glabrous, occasionally glaucous, a fine brown tomentum developing towards and encompassing spur; inflorescence covered with short, coppery hairs, more dense on pedicels, staminal columns and carpels and absent from adaxial surface of tepals. Colour of pitcher exterior pale yellow to light green, unmarked, reddish pigment highlighting external ribs, interior strongly flecked with maroon, in direct sunlight pitcher suffused entirely red, interior turning purple–black with quadrangular yellow–green flecks; lid green or red above, dark purple–mahogany beneath, flecked green; peristome green or yellow, boldly decorated with different shades of red, brown and purple; tendrils turning red with age; adaxial leaf surfaces dark green, abaxial surfaces light green but occasionally red or purple.A

Distribution (General)

Philippines, Palawan, Mount Victoria A


From 150 m below the summit of Mount Victoria to the 1726 m summit itself. Plants grow singly or in sparsely scattered groups amongst serpentine protrusions and stunted summit vegetation consisting of a continuous thicket of shrubs 0.8–1.8 m tall. Associated species consist predominantly of a Pleomele sp. (Asparagaceae), as well as Leptospermum (Myrtaceae), Vaccinium (Ericaceae) and Medinilla spp. (Melastomataceae), a variety of grasses, and the pseudometallophytic orchid Spathoglottis kimballiana Hook.f. (Orchidaceae).A


A. Robinson, A.S., Fleischmann, A.S., McPherson, S. R., Heinrich, V. B., Gironella, E. P. & Peña, C. Q. 2009: A spectacular new species of Nepenthes L. (Nepenthaceae) pitcher plant from central Palawan, Philippines. – Bot. J. Linn. Soc. 159(2): 195-202


CountryDateCollector + collecting numberHerbariaTypeScanDerivatives
PhilippinesRobinson, A.S. AR001
Citation: Philippines, A.S. Robinson AR001

Specimen summary: Philippines, Palawan, Mount Victoria, 09°22.105′N, 118°18.484′E, 1650 m, on granular, largely inorganic, ultramafic soils towards the summit,, A. Robinson AR001 (holotype; PPC!); ibid., AR002 (paratype!).
Type for: Nepenthes attenboroughii A.S.Rob., S.McPherson & V.B.Heinrich