About Nepenthes

Nepenthes are carnivorous pitcher plants found across the world. Approximately 130 species are currently recognised, and at least one third occur on just one or two mountain peaks and no where else in the world. As the populations of Nepenthes are often very small, and since the plants often fetch high prices (above US $100 per plant) in cultivation, many Nepenthes species are in sharp decline in the wild, mainly due to poaching and habitat destruction. Four Nepenthes species are already either extinct, or practically extinct in the wild. Although these four species are grown in cultivation, an organised approach is required if they are to survive, as species, in the long term, because (a) strains in cultivation are scattered and most/all will eventually will be lost from horticulture in the long term, (b) as monoecious plants, a minimum of two specimens (a male and a female) are required for the species to procreate, and (c) multiple strains of plants of each sex must be preserved if significant biodiversity is to be preserved, and survival for the long term to be made viable.

The Rare Nepenthes Collection provides the permanent organisation that is required to save the four Nepenthes species, to ensure that each survives into the future making the possibility of repopulation efforts in the future an option. Specific information and images relating to these plants is viewable view the links at the bottom of this page.

One species of Nepenthes (N. thorelii) has already become extinct both in the wild, and in cultivation (see detailed account by Francois Mey, published in Carnivorous Plants and their Habitats vol. 2), and unfortunately, many more taxa are increasingly imperilled.

About the Rare Nepenthes Collection

The Rare Nepenthes Collection is based at the Hortus botanics Leiden (Leiden Botanic Garden), in Holland, under the care of Rogier van Vugt.

The Hortus botanicus is the oldest botanical garden in western Europe, dating back to its establishment in 1590 by the University of Leiden. The Hortus botanicus has developed a reputation of expertise in the field of carnivorous plants, and for many decades, has assembled an extensive collection of great international value.

Celebrated international scientists such as Clusius, Boerhaave, Linnaeus and Einstein were connected to the Hortus botanicus, and the garden continues to be very active in the fields of botanical research and education, particularly in connection with the cultivation and preservation of endangered species. For more info please visit our website www.hortusleiden.nl

Above, part of the Nepenthes collection at Hortus botanics Leiden 

Accessions in this Ark

Currently, the Rare Nepenthes Collection consists of the following plants:

Nepenthes aristolochioides, Strain 1, (HBL20000194) from Borneo Exotics (two accessions). Sex unknown.
Nepenthes aristolochioides
, Strain 2, (HBL20000195) from Borneo Exotics (two accessions). Sex unknown.
Nepenthes aristolochioides
, Strain 3, (HBL20000196) from Borneo Exotics (two accessions). Sex unknown.

Nepenthes clipeata, Strain 1, (HBL20000507) from The Nepenthes Nursery (two accessions). Sex unknown.
Nepenthes clipeata, Strain 2, (HBL20100254) from The Nepenthes Nursery (two accessions). Sex unknown.
Nepenthes clipeata, Strain 3, (HBL20100255) from The Nepenthes Nursery (two accessions). Sex unknown.
Nepenthes clipeata, Strain 4, (HBL20100256) from The Nepenthes Nursery (two accessions). Sex unknown.

Nepenthes khasiana, Strain 1, (HBL20000192) from Borneo Exotics (two accessions). Sex unknown.
Nepenthes khasiana, Strain 2, (HBL20000194) from Borneo Exotics (two accessions). Sex unknown.
Nepenthes khasiana, Strain 3, (HBL20100257) from The Nepenthes Nursery (two accessions). Sex unknown.
Nepenthes khasiana, Strain 4, (HBL20100258) from The Nepenthes Nursery (two accessions). Sex unknown.
Nepenthes khasiana, Strain 5, (HBL20100259) from The Nepenthes Nursery (two accessions). Sex unknown. 

Nepenthes rigidifolia, Strain 1, from Malesiana Tropicals (one accessions). Sex unknown.

Help us expand the Rare Nepenthes Collection. Donate plants now to conserve these imperilled species. 

Expansion Priorities

We urgently need to expand the Rare Nepenthes Collection to ensure that we have multiple genetic individuals of both sexes of all of the imperilled species included in the collection.

We aim to secure at least five distinct genetic lineages of each sex of the above critically imperilled Nepenthes in order to secure their survival. Do you have male or female specimens of any of the above-listed plants? Can you offer (donate or sell) a plant, cutting or seeds to help us build the Rare Nepenthes Collection? If so, please contact us (using the contact page of this site) or click on the “Donate Plants / Seeds” link below.

The conservation status of many other Nepenthes taxa is also deterioriating, and the longer term goals of the Rare Nepenthes Collection is to encompass N. bokorensis, N. pitopangii, the black and elongated variants of N. rafflesiana and N. mirabilis var. echinostoma, all of which are in sharp decline in the wild.

Nepenthes bokorensis is of particular concern, and highlights the threats to Nepenthes as highly localised, but relatively little-known and low-profile plants. Nepenthes bokorensis was named only in 2009, but is already threatened of extinction. It is endemic to Mount Bokor, an extensive 1000 m high plateau located in southern Cambodia. Despite the fact that the Bokor plateau (Phnom Bokor in Khmer language) is part of the Bokor national Park, the Cambodian government has recently leased the plateau to a private company for development. Constructions of a massive tourist complex is planned including hotels, resorts, restaurants, helicopter area landing, gulf courses. Works are already in progress and the ancient small road leading to the summit of Phnom Bokor has been enlarged leading to the destruction of all the roadside populations of N. bokorensis. Only a few small populations of the species are known to survive near the summit of Mount Bokor. They occur in a large flat area which will be used to build gulf courses and other buildings. Further prospection in the extensive Bokor plateau (as well as prospections in adjacent mountains) might reveal other populations of plants but, at this moment, the only known populations of N. bokorensis seem doomed.

NGOs are unable to stop the work and the only in-situ inititative will be to try to include the remaining N. bokorensis plants in a project of botanical garden (created by the same private company responsible of the works) that will be part of the whole complex resort. Though the long term survival of the garden, if created, is unclear, and the entire garden project might be simply cancelled, now or in the future. As a result, Ark of Life is working to establish a N. bokorensis collection to save this species from extinction. If you have N. bokorensis plants which you can contribute to expand the Rare Nepenthes Collection, please contact Ark of Life using the contact page of this website.


Ark of Life would like to express sincere thanks to the International Carnivorous Plant Society ( www.carnivorousplants.org ) and Redfern Natural History Productions ( www.redfernnaturalhistory.com ) for financial support in establishing the Rare Nepenthes Collection, and to the Hortus botanicus Leiden ( www.hortusleiden.nl ) for acting as the permanent hosts of this collection.

We also are extremely grateful to Borneo Exotics ( www.borneoexotics.com ) and The Nepenthes Nursery ( www.wistuba.com ) for donating sustainably produced, tissue cultured rare Nepenthes plants to help found the collection.

Thanks also go to Ch'ien Lee ( www.wildborneo.com.my ) and Greg Bourke ( www.captiveexotics.com.au ) for kindly contributing images and information to document the deteriorating status of the Nepenthes protected by this ark of life.

Nepenthes aristolochioides

Nepenthes aristolochioides is an Indonesian pitcher plant from Sumatra that was named because of the resemblance of its pitchers to the flowers of Aristolochia, a genus of non–carnivorous vine ...(more)

Nepenthes clipeata

Nepenthes clipeata is a spectacular pitcher plant from Borneo. It originally occurred between 600-800 m altitude on the summit and cliff faces of Mount Kelam, a steep-sided granite outcrop in West K ...(more)

Nepenthes khasiana

Nepenthes khasiana is India’s only pitcher plant, and is named after the Khasi Hills region of Meghalaya State in north eastern India, where this species endemically occurs.   The majo ...(more)

Nepenthes rigidifolia

Nepenthes rigidifolia is a spectacular Indonesian pitcher plant known only from one small population near Sidikalang in the Karo Regency, North Sumatra. Originally, only 24 plants were observed in t ...(more)