Nepenthes alata is going to help us learn a new word, today; polymorphic. Can you use it in a sentence? Nepenthes alata is highly polymorphic..? In lamen terms, it just means that this tropical pitcher plant from the Phillipines is highly variable and has plants within the species that display a variety of traits – like pitcher shape, coloration, etc. To solidify this concept, imagine a black jaguar vs. a spotted jaguar. They’re both jaguars, but they’re displaying different phenotypical, or outwardly-physical traits.
In the case of Nepenthes alata, all of these different forms, or “morphs” of the plant are considered the same species even though they have different physical, or phenotypic expression of their genes, because they all inhabit the same location, and all randomly interbreed with one-another.
By the way, if you’re looking for a great beginner’s Nepenthes, this is one of the heartiest, most forgiving species you could start with. It’s frequently hybridized with N. ventricosa to create the uber robust N. ventrata (get it? ventricosa + alata).