Pinkies up! With upper pitchers like dainty cocktail glasses, Nepenthes inermis is a fascinating carnivorous plant with unique trap characteristics, including two (!) trapping mechanisms, that we explore in detail, below. First, let’s imbibe inermis‘ background:
On September 7, 1918, H. A. B. Bünnemeijer collected the first specimen of Nepenthes inermis from Mt. Talang. Found at an elevation of 7,500 feet (1,800 m) to 8,500 feet (2,590 m), inermis is squarely in highland Nepenthes territory. Bünnemeijer returned multiple times to collect additional N. inermis specimens, and it is the fourth specimen from Mount Kerintji collected on April 26, 1920 that became the lectotype, or species-defining plant exhibiting typical characteristics. Here’s a neat illustration published in the 1927 issue of De Tropische Natuur of Bünnemeijer’s first N. inermis herbarium specimen:
N. inermis was formally described one year after this publication by B. H. Danswer in “The Nepenthaceae of the Netherlands Indies.” He described the unique plant:
This new species is easily distinguishable from all others by the peculiar pitchers without peristome and with very narrow lid. Probably it is most nearly related to N. Bongso.
The written words “Galoe-galoe antoe” and “kandjong baroek” were found on a few of the original Bünnemeijer specimens. This was the name of the plant in the local Minangkabau language.
Nepenthes inermis grows on the Barisan Mountains on the western side of Sumatra in the Indonesian provinces of Jambi and West Sumatra. The largest populations are found on Mount Belirang, Mount Gadut, and Mount Talang and even Mount Gadang. Similar to N. veitchii, it has epiphytic tendencies (growing amongst or on trees) within mossy forests, but gravity wins above 6,600 ft (2,000 m) elevation where N. inermis has more terrestrial habits and grows alongside stunted vegetation.