Ah, Nepenthes lowii, the ol’ toilet bowl for tree shrews. This tropical pitcher plant is famous for its odd upper pitchers that are not only shaped like toilets, but also act as actual toilets to climbing critters. More on that, below.
This elegant, funky Nepenthes was discovered atop Mt. Kinabalu by Hugh Low in March of 1851. Low, naturalist and British colonial administrator, wrote upon discovering N. lowii:
A little way further we came upon a most extraordinary Nepenthes, of, I believe, a hitherto unknown form, the mouth being oval and large, the neck exceedingly contracted so as to appear funnel-shaped, and at right angles to the body of the pitcher, which was large, swollen out laterally, flattened above and sustained in an horizontal position by the strong prolongation of the midrib of the plant as in other species. It is a very strong growing kind and absolutely covered with its interesting pitchers, each of which contains little less than a pint of water and all of them were full to the brim, so admirably were they sustained by the supporting petiole. The plants were generally upwards of 40 ft long, but I could find no young ones nor any flowers, not even traces of either.
The Kew Royal Botanic Gardens became home of the N. lowii type specimen (the specimen that defines a new species, being a typical example of the plant). In 1859, Joseph Dalton Hooker formally described N. lowii officially marking it a unique species of Nepenthes.