Updated January 19, 2007 at 1:07PM local time: I’ve changed this entry from Nepenthes alata to Nepenthes ×ventrata after the recently received comment and a review of these plants. The accompanying text remains somewhat pertinent, though still more relevant to Nepenthes alata. – Daniel
Winged nepenthes, or winged tropical pitcher plant, is native to the Malay Archipelago. A question not addressed in last month’s BPotD entry on Nepenthes sibuyanensis is how the pitchers grow and develop in this genus at the cellular and tissue level. Fortunately, a paper exists about these highly modified leaves: Owen, TP Jr. and KA Lennon. 1999. Structure and development of the pitchers from the carnivorous plant Nepenthes alata (Nepenthaceae) (PDF link). American Journal of Botany 86(10):1382-1390. It is intriguing to read how slight variations of what might be considered a typical leaf can be combined to produce this complex modified organ.
A few more links to visit: the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Plant Growth Facilities at the University of Connecticut has an entry on Nepenthes alata with information about its native habitat. Wikipedia also has an extensive article on Nepenthes, and notes that Nepenthes alata is one of the easier species to grow in cultivation (like the plant in today’s photograph).
Photography resource link: “The Eye and The Camera”, an article by Alain Briot for The Luminous Landscape. The essay tackles the differences between what is seen by the photographer and what is captured by the camera from both artistic and technical perspectives.