Nepenthes gracilis

Nepenthes gracilis


Nepenthes gracilis Korth. in Verh. Nat. Gesch. Ned. Bezitt., Bot. 19: 22, t. 1 & 4. 1840, , sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
    • Isotype: Borneo, G. Pamatton, alt. 325 m, P.W. Korthals s.n. (K)
    • Lectotype: Borneo, G. Pamatton, alt. 325 m, P.W. Korthals s.n. (L)
  • 1. Type: not located, 2. in syn.
  • =Nepenthes gracilis var. elongata Blume in Mus. Bot. Lugd.-Bat. 2: 10. 1852 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
    • Type: Singapore, N. Wallich 2244 p.p. (K-Wall)
  • =Nepenthes korthalsiana Miq., Fl. Ned. Ind. 1(1): 1071. 1858 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
    • Type: Sumatra, Sibolga, Teijsmann 538 p.p. (L)
    • Type: Sumatra, Sibolga, Teijsmann 538 p.p. (U)3
  • 3. n.v. for M. Cheek & M. Jebb, Flora Malesiana - Nepenthaceae, Series I, Volume 15. 2001
  • =Nepenthes teysmanniana Miq., Fl. Ned. Ind. 1(1): 1073. 1858 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
  • Nepenthes gracilis var. teysmanniana (Miq.) Beck in Wiener Ill. Gart.-Zeitung 20: 190. 1895 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
  • Nepenthes tupmanniana Bonstedt in Parey Blumeng. 1: 663. 1931 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001 [non Nepenthes teysmanniana Miq. 1858]
    • Unknown type category: Sumatra, Sibolga by the coast, Feb 1856, Teijsmann 530 p.p. (BO)
  • =Nepenthes laevis Korth. ex Hook.f. in de Candolle, Prodr. 17: 104. 1873 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 20014 [non Nepenthes laevis Lindl. 18485]
  • 4. in syn., 5. Type: not located
  • =Nepenthes angustifolia Mast. in Gard. Chron. n.s. 16: 524. 1881 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
    • Unknown type category: N Borneo, 1877–1878, F.W.T. Burbidge s.n. (K)
  • =Nepenthes gracilis var. longinodis Beck in Wiener Ill. Gart.-Zeitung 20: 190. 1895 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
    • Unknown type category: Borneo, Lobb s.n. (K)
  • =Nepenthes gracilis var. arenaria Ridl. ex Macfarl. in Engler, Pflanzenr. IV. 111 (Heft 36): 59. 1908 syn. sec. Cheek & Jebb 2001
    • Unknown type category: Singapore, Praman, H.N. Ridley 1473 (K)

Other sources

Jebb, M.H.P. & Cheek, M.R. 1997: A skeletal revision of Nepenthes. – Blumea 42(1): 1-106: 42
Danser, B.H. 1928: – Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg, sér. 3, 9: 290
Clarke, C.M. 1997: Nepenthes of Borneo: 90, f. 59 & 60
Adam, J. H. & Wilcock, C.C. 1998: – Sarawak Mus. J. 50: 75-77: 159
Kurata, S. 1973: – Gard. Bull. Singapore 26(2): 229
Phillipps, A. & Lamb, A.L. 1996: Pitcher Plants of Borneo: 89, f. 49
Shivas, R.G. 1984: Pitcher Plants of Peninsula Malaysia & Singapore: 29
Tamin, R. & Hotta, M. 1986 – In: Hotta, M., Diversity and Dynamics of Plant Life in Sumatra: 86


Terrestrial climber 2(-5) m tall. Climbing stems triangular (1.5-)2-4(-5) mm diam., the corners rounded or with 2 wings, wings 1-2(-3.5) mm broad, internodes of climbing stems 2.5-9 cm long. Leaves chartaceous, sessile, leaves of the climbing stems nar-rowly lanceolate (6.5-)12-19 by (1-)1.5-2.8(-3.7) cm, apex acute, rarely acuminate, subpeltate, base narrowing only slightly, decurrent by (0.4-)1-4(-6) mm into stem wings; basal rosette leaves up to 3 cm long, otherwise as leaves of climbing stems. Longitudinal nerves 4-6 from the base, on each side of the midrib, usually confined to the outer 2/3. Pennate nerves numerous, usually ascending at 45° from the midrib, then descending. Lower pitchers ellipsoid in the basal half, gradually becoming slightly constricted towards the subcylindrical upper half (5.5-)8-10.5(-16.5) cm long, (1.7-)2.3-3.7 cm wide in the lower half, (1-)1.4-2.4 cm wide in the upper half, with two fringed wings 3-5 mm broad, the fringed elements 1-2.5 mm long, 0.5-2 mm apart; mouth ± ovate, concave, peristome cylindrical in section, c. 0.5 mm wide, without ribs, outer edge entire, inner edge minutely toothed; lid orbicular to ovate, 1-3 by 1-3 cm, lower surface without appendages, nectar glands sparse, few, (6-)20-30, large and thickly bordered, orbicular, dome-shaped, c. 0.4 mm diam., the central aperture pore-like, 0.1 mm diam.; spur simple, to 5 mm long. Upper pitchers as the lower, but subcylindrical and gradually and slightly constricted in the middle, (4.5-)7-14.5 cm long, (1.4-)1.8-4(-4.4) cm wide at the base, narrowing to (0.9-)1.5-2.9(-4) at the waist and flaring to (1-)2-4.3 cm at the mouth, with two ridges c. 0.1 cm broad, lacking fringed elements. Male inflorescence (9.5-)15-22(-30) by 2.5 cm; peduncle 1.2-5 cm long, 1.5 mm diam. at base; partial peduncles 1-flowered; bracts usually absent; pedicels 5-14 mm long; tepals ovate, 2.5-5 by 1.5-2.5 mm; androphore 0.7-1 mm long; anther head 0.7-1 by 1-1.5 mm. Fruit valves 14-27(-35) mm long. Seeds fusiform, papillate at the centre. Indumentum absent from stems and upper surface of leaves; lower leaf and pitchers with scattered red sessile glands 0.1 mm diam.; pitchers also with minute scurfy brown stellate hairs, particularly in a band immediately below the peristome; inflorescence completely covered, from base of peduncle to the pedicels and ovary in appressed, thick coppery, ± simple hairs 0.1-0.3 mm long. Colour of pitchers green, red, or green mottled with red, rarely black-purple. Flowers variously described as white, green, light red or brown.A


Nepenthes gracilis is a widespread, common and weedy species. Nepenthes albomarginata and particularly N. reinwardtiana have often been confused with N. gracilis. From N. albomarginata, N. gracilis is told apart by the triangular stems, the decurrent leaf bases which run down the stem ridges, and the absence of a white band of hairs below the peristome. From N. reinwardtiana it is distinguished by the slender, gracile pitchers, the shortly-toothed peristome (vs. untoothed), the absence of eye-spots, the lid with its few, large nectar glands and the 1-flowered partial peduncles (vs. 2-flowered).
Blume cites Jack’s misapplication of the name N. distillatoria and Wallich’s Cat. No. 2244 under his variety elongata. The former is not possible to certainly identify, whilst the Wallich herbarium at K comprises at least 5 sheets with N. gracilis, and on two of these are attached specimens of N. albomarginata also. Five further sheets of this number comprise specimens of N. khasiana.A

Distribution (General)

Thailand, Sumatra, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Borneo, Sulawesi.A


Lowland peat-swamp forest, kerangas, podsol heath scrub, swamp edges or disturbed areas, e.g. roadsides; on poor soils, sometimes on sandstone or ultramafic soils; sea level to 800 m.A


A. Cheek, M.R. & Jebb, M.H.P. 2001: Flora Malesiana - Nepenthaceae, Series I, Volume 15



CountryDateCollector + collecting numberHerbariaTypeScanDerivatives
Korthals, P.W. s.n.K, L
Citation: Borneo, G. Pamatton, alt. 325 m, P.W. Korthals s.n.

Specimen summary: K
Isotype of Nepenthes gracilis Korth.

Specimen summary: L
Lectotype of Nepenthes gracilis Korth.