Re: Sumatran N. alata
Mon, 20 Mar 1995 17:13:12 -0500

Concerning Nepenthes alata from Sumatra I can only say that I have three
plants from cental Sumatra, two of which were originally labeled N. alata and
the other is the plant originally collected by Bruce Sutton. Bruce was here
yesterday and we discussed this plant since it has appeared in the CP digest
and in collections under erroneous information. Bruce's plant did not come
from around lake Toba, it is from just outside Sibolga, roughly 500 ft. el.
It is a female plant and is not closely related to N. tomoriana, as it has a
rameme and not a panicle. There is a single clone, now widespread, in
cultivation in the U.S. The plant has weakly triangular stems, but the most
unique feature is that the pitchers have a vaulted (concave) lid. It is also
unique in tending to produce one flush of pitchers in summer (though it may
produce a few at other times). Lastly it is a weed. It grows and roots with
ease. This plant may represent a hybrid with gracilis or reinwardtiana, but
if so it is difficult to imagine the other parent unless it is what is being
called 'alata'. Whether this is the N. eustachya refered to, or an
undescribed species I do know.

One of the two other plants I can put no ID on. Though originally labeled
alata it is quite distinct. The pitchers are similar to the lower left
pitcure of N. alata on pg. 95 of Kondo's "Carnivorous Plants of the World in

The third plant which is from Sumatra is identical in every way to a typical
Philippine alata. It is just as vigorous, has the same growth habit, etc. It
has not flowered so this is unknown. If it is alata is does prove problematic
for biogeography, but perhaps a freak typhoon.....?