Endangered Nepenthes Ark

The Endangered Nepenthes Ark is a permanent ex-situ conservation collection of Nepenthes taxa that are critically endangered, extinct, near extinct or functionally extinct in the wild.

 

The purpose of the collection is to ensure the survival of the genetic diversity of the most imperilled Nepenthes taxa to stop extinction, maintain a viable breeding population and keep alive the hope of future reintroduction back into the wild.

Why are Nepenthes Endangered?

Nepenthes (also known as tropical pitcher plants) are highly specialised carnivorous plants that occupy nutrient poor wetland habitats across Southeast Asia (with outlying populations across Australia, Oceania, Madagascar, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, India and mainland China). Around 170 species are currently recognised.

 

Nepenthes are among the most beautiful, complex and highly evolved of all carnivorous plants. The traps are formed from highly modified leaves that are decorated with (often) striking colouration and bait in the form of nectar. The complex morphology of the pitchers (e.g. highly slippery, wax-covered inner surfaces, the pitcher shape and the inward protruding inner peristome rim) cause prey to be trapped. Nepenthes mostly trap insects, but on very rare occasions, have been documented to capture prey as big as rats!

 

Many Nepenthes species (especially highland taxa) are endemic to very small geographic ranges, in many cases, the entire population of a particular taxon is found on the summit of a single mountain top. In some cases, the entire global population may consist of just a few thousand individuals.

 

The habitats of many Nepenthes species have been intensively impacted during recent decades (e.g. Genting Highlands, Mt Bokor etc.) causing many populations to be extirpated.

 

An even greater threat than habitat loss has arisen from illegal poaching. Many Nepenthes species are highly valued by horticulturists. As such, illegal poaching has devastated the wild populations of several Nepenthes taxa (see below). In fact, poaching alone is the sole reason for the extinction of Nepenthes rigidifolia.

 

Unfortunately, several Nepenthes taxa are now critically endangered, extinct, near extinct or functionally extinct in the wild.

Unlike most carnivorous plants, Nepenthes are dioecious. This presents a particular challenge. In dioecious genera, each plant is a single sex, just like each person is either male or female. A single man or woman cannot reproduce on their own, and the same is true of Nepenthes. As such, multiple strains of male and female specimens of each Nepenthes taxon must be conserved in order for a viable and genetically diverse breeding population to be maintained.

 

The Endangered Nepenthes Ark aims to stop these incredible plants from disappearing forever.

 

Ark of Life is focusing on the following taxa, which are the most critically imperilled of the genus.

A poached Nepenthes truncata plant for sale in the Philippines

Note: current CITES classification of Nepenthes taxa is woefully out of date. Nepenthes rajah is included on Appendix One, but extensive populations are permanently preserved in the excellently run Mount Kinabalu National Park (and not at any real threat of extinction), whereas several less well known Nepenthes species that are already completely extinct in the wild are included on Appendix Two (e.g. Nepenthes rigidifolia).

 

Ark of Life determinations are based on decades of field research by leading experts that visit the populations of these plants regularly.

The Ark of Life team points out, the homelands of many Nepenthes species remain inaccessible and little known. For some of the Nepenthes taxa listed below, it is possible further populations may be discovered in the future (e.g. N. aristolochioides, N. rigidifolia and N. pitopangii – all of which occur in extensive upland areas of potential habitat). The Ark of Life determinations below are made on the basis of what is currently known. If further populations of the following taxa are discovered, the imperilled status of the following plants may need to be revised. But until any further stands of the following plants are found, the status of these plants must be deemed critical. For some Nepenthes (e.g. N. clipeata, which occurs on the summit of an isolated peak, with no similar habitat nearby, the possibility of further undiscovered populations looks extremely remote).

 

Several further taxa are on the Ark of Life watchlist, including Nepenthes bokorensis, N. biak, N. mirabilis var. echinostoma and others.

SPECIES

Nepenthes aristolochioides

Nepenthes aristolochioides

Nepenthes aristolochioides is known from only three locations within the Kerinci Seblat National Park, located in the province of Jambi, West Sumatra. The type population occurred on Mount Tujuh, but has been impacted by extensive poaching by Nepenthes enthusiasts.

 

At least two populations occur on separate peaks that are much more remote and less well known, but both populations consist of just a few dozen individuals (Stewart McPherson, pers. observ.), making the total number of surviving plants in the wild critically small and at extreme risk of total extinction.

 

It is possible that further stands of Nepenthes aristolochioides occur (as the mountainous uplands surrounding the known populations of this species remain inaccessible, little explored and incompletely surveyed by botanists). But, on the basis of current observations in the field, Nepenthes aristolochioides must be regarded as one of the most critically imperilled of all Nepenthes.

 

The remaining stands of this species are small and vulnerable. The status of these populations will need to be monitored closely in the future.

Nepenthes clipeata originally occurred on the summit and cliff faces of Mount Kelam, a steep-sided granite outcrop in West Kalimantan.

 

During the 1980s, Nepenthes enthusiasts and plant collectors began to visit Mount Kelam and started to poach N. clipeata plants from the wild. Local communities in the lowlands soon learned of the value of the plants and harvested increasing numbers to sell in markets and villages. The combined effect of poaching by locals and foreign Nepenthes enthusiasts was a catastrophic decline in the wild population of this species. The loss was compounded by drought and wild fires caused by El Niño events during the early 1990s, and by 1995, N. clipeata had been driven to the brink of extinction.

 

Surveys undertaken by Irwan Lovadi in 2010 (see https://www.rufford.org/projects/irwan-lovadi/conservation-of-critically-endangered-nepenthes-clipeata-on-mount-kelam/ ) and Stewart McPherson in 2016 (see McPherson, S., New Nepenthes Volume 2, 2021, Redfern Natural History Productions) reported just a handful of surviving Nepenthes clipeata plants on Mount Kelam which were deemed functionally extinct.

 

In 2020, additional stands of Nepenthes clipeata (presumably in remote parts of the summit of Mount Kelam) were discovered by local poachers and extensively poached, although local authorities swiftly prosecuted those responsible. See the Ark of Life project video and www.cppoacher.com

 

It is not know if any populations of N. clipeata survive on Mt.kelam, and if any surviving stands are viable.

It is of critical importance that all strains in cultivation are included in the Endangered Nepenthes Ark to ensure that male and female specimens are conserved, so that a viable breeding population of this species is maintained. If you have a strain of Nepenthes clipeata, please contact Ark of Life.

SPECIES

Nepenthes clipeata

Nepenthes clipeata
SPECIES

Nepenthes khasiana

Nepenthes khasiana

Nepenthes khasiana is the only pitcher plant that naturally occurs in India. It is endemic to the Khasi Hills region of Meghalaya State in north east India. It is among the most critically endangered of all Nepenthes and fewer than twenty populations of this plant survive in the wild.

 

The wild population of this plant continues to decline as a result of expanding agriculture, coal mining, limestone extraction, road and bridge construction, and of course poaching.

 

Various in situ and ex situ conservation measures have been implemented by the Centre of Advanced Studies in Botany, at the North Eastern Hill University, the Ministry of Forests and Environment and other organisations.

The result of these measures is that some populations of N. khasiana are now permanently protected, however, the long term survival of this species in the wild will depend upon the continuing efforts to preserve the stands and habitats that remain.

To date, only five populations of Nepenthes rigidifolia have been discovered to date in northern Sumatra. For unknown reasons, each population was discovered to be unusually small and isolated.

 

Just 24 plants were observed at the type population (see Akhriadi, P., Hernawati & Tamin, R., 2004, Reinwardtia 12: 141–144), and all of these were removed by illegal poaching by 2015.

 

At least four other populations (each consisting of between 1 and 9 specimens) were subsequently discovered across nearby parts of Sumatra, but all of these have since been wiped out.

 

There are no known surviving populations of Nepenthes rigidifolia in the wild. While it is possible further stands of this species may be found, on the basis of what is currently known, this species is extinct in the wild.

 

It should be noted that the habitat of Nepenthes rigidifolia at all of the locations where this plant occurred (including the type locality), remains intact. Poaching alone drove the extinction of this species in the wild. This raises the possibility of future reintroduction of Nepenthes rigidifolia back into the wild if poaching can be stopped.

 

It is of critical importance that all strains in cultivation are included in the Endangered Nepenthes Ark to ensure that male and female specimens are conserved, so that a viable breeding population of this species is maintained. If you have a strain of Nepenthes rigidifolia, please contact Ark of Life.

SPECIES

Nepenthes rigidifolia

Nepenthes rigidifolia
SPECIES

Nepenthes pitopangii

Nepenthes pitopangii

The range and abundance of Nepenthes pitopangii in Sulawesi remain poorly understood. The type population consisted of a single specimen growing along a logging trail in secondary, recovering vegetation in submontane forest. It seems possible that the type plant grew from a stray seed, establishing itself before the surrounding forest regenerated, preventing any further stray seed from surviving much beyond germination. Soon after its discover, the type plant was poached.

 

Exploration of several peaks nearby did not reveal any further populations of Nepenthes pitopangii (see McPherson, S., Pitcher Plants of the Old World Volume 2, 2009, Redfern Natural History Productions), however, at least three small stands of N. pitopangii have subsequently been discovered on mountains across Sulawesi. Each population is small and consists of a few dozen specimens. Interestingly, while definitely the same taxon (on the basis of identical morphology), the recently discovered stands exhibit paler upper pitcher colouration (in some cases ivory-coloured with orange peristomes) compared those of the type plant (yellowish upper pitchers with orange flecks and an orange peristome).

 

It is possible that further stands of Nepenthes pitopangii occur (as the mountainous uplands surrounding the known populations of this species remain inaccessible, little explored and incompletely surveyed by botanists). But, on the basis of current observations in the field, Nepenthes pitopangii must be regarded as one of the most critically imperilled of all Nepenthes.

SUPPORT

SUPPORT THE ENDANGERED NEPENTHES ARK

Donate funding to help Ark of Life expand this collection.

Donate cuttings or divisions of plants in your collection.

The Endangered Nepenthes Ark comprises the following genetically distinct strains. Each strain is labelled with a unique “asset number”. The asset number consists of 4 letters and numerals. Each asset number is unique to a specific genetic strain. If that strain is lost, the asset number is abandoned.

ASSET CODENOTES
NEPENTHES ARISTOLOCHIOIDES
ARIS1'HBL code missing' donated by Bart Jeurnick. 'New Location, Sumatra) (Clone AW_N_arist_NM_07)

ARIS2'HBL 20180443'
NEPENTHES CLIPEATA
CLIP1'HBL 20180457' - large specimen
CLIP2HBL 20100254' - Andreas Wistuba Clone 2
CLIP3'HBL 20180445'
CLIP4'HBL 20100256' - Andreas Wistuba Clone U
CLIP5'HBL 20100255' - Andreas Wistuba
CLIP6'HBL 20130454' - Ignace Janssens
CLIP7'HBL 20000507' - Andreas Wistuba
CLIP8from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP9from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP10from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP11from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP12from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP13from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP14from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP15from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP16from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP17from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP18from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP19from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP20from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP21from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP22from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP23from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP24from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP25from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP26from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP27from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP28from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP29from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP30from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP31from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP32from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP33from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP34from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP35from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP36from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP37from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP38from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP39from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP40from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP41from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP42from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP43from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP44from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP45from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP46from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP47from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP48from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP49from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP50from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP51from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP52from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP53from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP54from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP55from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP56from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
CLIP57from 'seed batch Andy Smith 2018' CLIP8-CLIP57 all kept to ensure multiple females preserved
NEPENTHES KHASIANA
KHAS1'HBL 20100192' (in July, 2021 Ark of Life has two duplicates of this asset (cuttings from the same plant))
KHAS2'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS3'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS4'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS5'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS6'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS7'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS8'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS9'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS10'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS11'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS12'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS13'HBL code missing' - from 'seed batch Bart Jeurnick'
KHAS14'HBL code missing' - Andreas Wistuba
KHAS15'HBL 20130465' - Ignace Janssens
NEPENTHES PITOPANGII
PITO1this represents the type plant.
PIT02new location 1
PIT03new location 2
PIT04new location 3
NEPENTHES RIGIDIFOLIA
RIGI1'HBL 20140296' via Mark Rouse
RIGI2'HBL code missing'
RIGI3'HBL 20140295' via Andy Smith
RIGI4Grown by Andy Smith
RIGI5From Matt Richardson
RIGI6From Malaysiana (unknown if RIGI6, RIGI7, RIGI8, RIGI9 and RIGI10 are identical or not)
RIGI7From Malaysiana (unknown if RIGI6, RIGI7, RIGI8, RIGI9 and RIGI10 are identical or not)
RIGI8From Malaysiana (unknown if RIGI6, RIGI7, RIGI8, RIGI9 and RIGI10 are identical or not)
RIGI9From Malaysiana (unknown if RIGI6, RIGI7, RIGI8, RIGI9 and RIGI10 are identical or not)
RIGI10From Malaysiana (unknown if RIGI6, RIGI7, RIGI8, RIGI9 and RIGI10 are identical or not)

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