I'm baaaack

Perry Malouf (pmalouf@access.digex.net)
Sat, 10 Dec 1994 07:32:39 -0500 (EST)

Hello everyone,
I returned yesterday from my jaunt through SE Asia, where
I spent a week in Taipei, Taiwan, three and a half weeks in Thailand,
and one week in Kinabalu Park in East Malaysia. Except for the last
destination, Nepenthes were pretty hard to come by. I saw some for
sale at a weekend market in Taipei--there were two types. I'm not
really great at identifying Nepenthes on sight, but I'd guess that
the two types of plants were N. ventricosa and N. mirabilis (pink
form). The former was selling for around US$4 and was propagated
locally. The latter was selling for US$40 and was imported from

In Thailand, the only Nepenthes I saw were also for sale
at a weekend market. They were small plants with correspondingly
small pitchers, and I couldn't identify them. My Thai friend asked
about Nepenthes at every plant market we visited. What he found out
was that when plants with nice pitchers are available, they sell
fairly well. The vendors also said that they order the plants from
the south of Thailand. I was under the impression that Nepenthes
are also found in the north of Thailand up in the mountain, but none
of the vendors ever heard of the plants coming from there. These
were commercial vendors, though, who don't go on botanical treks to
look for plants. While in the north I asked one guide about
Nepenthes, and I showed him some photos from nature Malaysiana. This
fellow apparently grew up in the northern forests and hunts there.
He recognized the plants in general, and said that he's encountered
a few in the northern forests. He offered to take me there, but it
involved a two day trek at minimum and the price was correspondingly
high because this would be a private expedition. I asked if he was
sure about the plants, even proposing that he be paid nothing if we
found no Nepenthes, and he seemed up to the challenge. But, I was
too skeptical to put out the time and money. A lot of these people
are after the almighty dollar (Chang Mai, Thailand is a popular tourist
attraction), and once they find a selling point they will explore it
as a dentist probes a cavity.

I would like to write about my visit to Kinabalu Park in a
later installment, since most of the exciting Nepenthes exploration
happened there and so a separate article is warranted. I'm also happy
to entertain questions from any curious readers out there.

I'm still trying to reset my biological clock, and dig out
from under the mound of mail that greeted me upon my return. It's
nice to be back.


Perry Malouf