The Dull Bastard Neps

From: Joe Harden (
Date: Thu Nov 18 1999 - 13:59:20 PST

Date: Thu, 18 Nov 1999 15:59:20 -0600
From: "Joe Harden" <>
Message-Id: <aabcdefg3927$foo@default>
Subject: The Dull Bastard Neps


My pictures don't really do the plant justice... I would never consider it a
dull basterd! For an indoor terrarium, it is the most colorful plant I
have;most customers that walk in our office first admire this plant over the
others. Sure it may be a runt, but a very attractive one at that. And it is
thanks to these runts that many people are finally getting exposure to these

>Dear John, Joe, et al.,
>_Nepenthes_ specimens offered for sale on supermarket shelves (or
>at Thai nurseries) are most frequently the garbage resulting from
>erratic or spontaneous hybridization (i.e. the material an ambitioned
>and responsible breeder should dispose off rather than to sell it).
>Most frequently, not even the producers of these plants do know the
>parentage, and this is in most cases impossible to find out by the
>general morphology of the hybrids.

>As far as I am concerned, I do not find these plants particularly
>attractive, because they only display "general-_Nepenthes_"
>appearance (i.e. most of them do look like _N. alata_) with the
>traits of even as characteristic species as _N. bicalcarata_ entirely
>lost after a few rounds of hybridization.

>One big advantage (for some growers) of these hybrids is the usually
>higher (as compared to the parent species) resistance to adverse
>growing conditions. However, this turns rapidly into a disadvantage,
>because these dull bastards tend to displace the more sensitive (but
>usually also more outstanding) species from cultivation (in some

>This might be the reasons why only very few taxonomists or experts
>bother with supermarket plants.

>A most dangerous phenomenon associated with the spread of undefined
>hybrids is "tentative identification" by incomplete exclusion: "It
>must be _N. madagascariensis_, the only species I know that is not
>illustrated in my book (_Nepenthes_ of Borneo)." This leads to the
>wrong impression that species that are in fact rarely found in
>cultivation were easy to grow and widespread.

>If you want to have a named plant, you should obtain one from a
>reliable source. There are numerous extant _Nepenthes_ nurseries on
>the web.

>Kind regards

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