Pitcher plant (Nepenthes pervillei)

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Nepenthes pervillei habit
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Pitcher plant fact file

Pitcher plant description

KingdomPlantae
PhylumTracheophyta
ClassMagnoliopsida
OrderNepenthales
FamilyNepenthaceae
GenusNepenthes (1)

Nepenthes pervillei is a pitcher plant native to the Seychelles. It is a climbing plant that can sprawl to seven metres along the ground or in the trees as a vine (4). The leathery, green leaves are broad at the base, and tapering to their tip; they form rosettes (5) along the reddish-brown stems of the plant (2). The middle vein (or ‘midrib’) of each leaf extends beyond the main portion of the leaf and forms either a tendril or develops into a pitcher (2). The mature pitchers are goblet-shaped flasks that can be up to 21 cm long (2). They vary in colour from red, green, yellow or orange and are topped by a circular lid (2). Brownish-cream flowers are borne on loose clusters (5) on branching inflorescences that can be up to 40 cm long (2). Fertilised female flowers develop into the club-shaped seed capsules (5). As the capsules dry out, the valves separate, allowing the seeds within to be dispersed by the wind (4).

Size
Pitcher length: up to 21 cm (2)
Leaf length: up to 25 cm (2)
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Pitcher plant biology

Nepenthes pervillei is a carnivorous plant, which traps prey in its pitchers. Insects are attracted to the pitcher by a fragrant odour, but the waxy surface of the inner wall does not provide support, and the plant’s victims tumble into the fluid below. A powerful digestive acid is then released from the pitcher walls, which consumes the prey (2).

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Pitcher plant range

Endemic to the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean, Nepenthes pervillei is found on the islands of Mahé and Silhouette within the archipelago (2).

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Pitcher plant habitat

Inhabits a variety of island vegetation including scrubland, mist forest, moss forest and high altitude vegetation (4).

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Pitcher plant status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List 2002 (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

IUCN Red List species status – Vulnerable

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Pitcher plant threats

Although this pitcher plant appears to be locally abundant it is only known from a total area of 47 hectares and therefore qualifies as Vulnerable under IUCN categories (4).

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Pitcher plant conservation

Picher plants are listed under Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), which restricts trade in wild-collected plants (3). In addition, much of the range on Mahé fall within the Morne Seychellois National Park and only authorised personnel are allowed access to the vulnerable habitats on Silhouette Island in an effort to protect the wealth of animal and plant life found there (4) (6).

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Authentication

Authenticated (02/05/2006) by Justin Gerlach. Scientific Co-ordinator, The Nature Protection Trust of Seychelles.
http://islandbiodiversity.com

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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Inflorescence
The reproductive shoot of the plant, which bears flowers.
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References

  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2003)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org
  2. Wise, R. (1998) A Fragile Eden. Princeton University Press, New Jersey.
  3. CITES (September, 2003)
    http://www.cites.org
  4. Malcomber, S. (1989) A Survey of the Nepenthes pervillei communities in the Seychelles. Publisher unknown, location unknown.
  5. Robertson, S.A. (1989) Flowering Plants of the Seychelles. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  6. Gerlach, J. (2006) Pers. comm.
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Image credit

Nepenthes pervillei habit  
Nepenthes pervillei habit

© Christopher Kaiser-Bunbury

Christopher Kaiser-Bunbury
c.kaiser-bunbury@biology.au.dk

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