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My taxon study is pitcher plants/ Nepenthes sp.  I observed all pitcher plants that can be found during BoB trips which are Lambir Hills National Park of Sarawak, Mount Kinabalu, and Maliau Basin of Sabah.  I do hope to find some pitcher plants while I was in Gaya Island but limited access to its forested area.  Thus, I could only observed the pitcher plants at those three places.

I choose pitcher plant as it is interesting to study a carnivorous plant which is out of my field of study(plus, they are easily recognizable plant).  However, they are quite difficult to identify  for some of the species as they have terrestrial and aerial pitchers(sometimes different shape and color of pitcher), different ages of pitcher which resulting in color differences, and also hybridization between two species that form a new hybrid.  

I managed to observe 9 types of pitcher plants and I only able to identify 4 species which are Nepenthes albomarginata, N. bicalcarata, N. villosa and N. gracilis based on Clarke (1997), Steiner (2002) and Phillipps and Lamb (1996).  Mesquite program by Maddison and Maddison (2008) was used to construct a dendogram to show the species relatedness from Nepenthes characteristics differences as below:
Figure 1: Nepenthes plant structure (adapted from Clarke, 1997)

Peristome Stripes Striped / Not stripped
Surface Small / Raised, pronounced
Flatness Flattened / Not flattened
Thickness Broad / Thin
Pitcher Shape Round / Cylindrical 
Hair Hairy / Not hairy
Lid Size Broad / Narrow
Position Above pitcher mouth / Away
Shape Rounded / Elongated
Hairy appendages Absent / Present
Wings Fringed wings Absent / Present
Hair Absent / Present

Table 1:
Character Matrix for Mesquite program
* Mesquite nexus file (you will need Mesquite program installed to view this)

Figure 2:
Dendogram of Nepenthes species observed, derived from Mesquite program.

Dendogram above doesn't intend to solve the systematic relationship for the pitcher plants, but more on showing the relatedness for all the pitcher plants observed.  

Nepenthes albomarginata

Nepenthes bicalcarata

 Nepenthes gracilis

Nepenthes villosa

Species 1

Species 2

Species 3

Species 4

Species 5


Clarke, C. (1997).  Nepenthes of Borneo.  Natural History Publications (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd., Kota Kinabalu.

Phillipps, A. and Lamb, A. (1996).  Pitcher-Plants of Borneo.  Natural History Publications (Borneo) Sdn. Bhd., Kota Kinabalu.

Maddison, W.P. and Maddison, D.R. (2008).  Mesquite: A modular system for evolutionary analysis.  Version 2.5.                                     http://mesquiteproject.org

Steiner, H. (2002).  Borneo:Its Mountains and Lowlands with their Pitcher Plants.  Toihaan Publishing Company Sdn. Bhd., Kota     Kinabalu.

Last updated March 2009.  Contact Wan at muhdikhwan_idris[AT]yahoo.com.my