Nepenthes robcantleyi has a peristome that you could serve dinner off of, a pitcher volume you could cary 2 liters of soda in, and a hunger that will decimate annoying insects. It’s pretty much the perfect picnic guest.
N. robcantleyi was discovered by Robert Cantley in January 1997 on the island of Mindanao in the Phillipines during a sanctioned mission to collect seed of N. truncata. Cantley was exploring an area due to be logged when he discovered a gaggle of Nepenthes atop a small hill. He collected the last few remaining seeds from what he thought was a robust highland variety of N. truncata (the plant’s squared-off leaf morphology supported the truncata heritage). Cantley raised the seed and choose three cultivars as the mother/fathers to hybridize as a means of introducing the plant into cultivation; ‘Queen of hearts,’ ‘King of Hearts,’ and ‘King of Spades.’
N. robcantleyi is now considered a separate species altogether after Botanist Martin Cheek described it in 2011. It is thought to be related to N. veitchii, another flamboyant and beautiful tropical pitcher plant. Explorations around N. robcantleyi being an F1 natural hybrid between N. truncata and N. veitchii have been considered, but mostly ruled out.
Update: In the June 2017 publication of Carnivorous Plant Newsletter (Volume 46, No. 2), Geoff Mansell and Wally Suarez convincingly theorize that Nepenthes robcantleyi is, in fact N. x robcantleyi, a naturally occurring hybrid between N. truncata and N. nebularum (a more recently described species) or even a more complex hybrid involving these two tropical pitcher plants. Their theory is based on observations of the erratic morphology of F2, or second generation, offspring from two N. robcantleyi parents. Some have morphology much closer to that of pure N. nebularum, while others appear much closer to N. truncata. Offspring exhibit variable pitcher color – some green, others black, variable lid morphology, spur length, leaf shape and truncation, and overall pitcher shape – some squat and others narrow and green like N. truncata. The offspring tend to flower at 3 years of age, much younger than the first generation N. robcantleyi parents at 10 years, and have shorter inflorescences (flower stalks).
In the end, they conclude that the plant under examination should be referred to as Nepenthes x robcantleyi (the “x” indicating that it’s a hybrid) and, in fact, highland varieties of N. truncata are also simple hybrids of N. truncata and N. nebularum.
Will somebody sign these plants up for a paternity test?!
Unique biology of Nepenthes robcantleyi
Other notable characteristics
Other Nepenthes varieties, species & hybrids
With unique domed pitcher shape and outwardly-facing mouth, Nepenthes aristolochioides is instantly recognizable, and with pitfall, lobster, and flypaper traps, the tropical pitcher plant is a jack of all traps. So beautiful, so deadly.
Nepenthes alata is a highly variable, widely grown, and hugely rewarding tropical pitcher plant. It's great for beginners looking to cut their teeth on an easy-to-grow and pitcher-prolific species.
A heavy-hitting lowland Nepenthes species with broad variability and even broader size. It was treasured by Victorian-era botanists for its beauty and it's easy to see why, even today.
To say Nepenthes ampullaria is unique, among a sea of unique Nepenthes, would be an understatement. The plant leans heavily on a vegetarian diet, playing host to critters that help it digest debris that falls from the forest canopy above.
Nepenthes albomarginata looks like it’s going on a date, all dressed up with a classy white collar. The characteristic band of white under the peristome serves a unique purpose, though - and it’s not for attracting the ladies or gents - rather, a specific type of prey.
Known as the "splendid pitcher plant" for good reason. It combines the most beastly characteristics of a flanged, spikey peristome with the handsome refinement of a cylindrical pitcher shape. It's like a lion in a tuxedo - it will bite your face off, but will do it with style.
Nepenthes robcantleyi x hamata
This gorgeous hybrid Nepenthes is what happens when you take two beauties, N. robcantleyi and N. hamata, and make a celebrity baby.
This tropical pitcher plant has black pitchers and a branched spur on the backside of where the lid and peristome meet. - Kind of like cowboy spurs, but less pokey.
Nepenthes lowii x truncata
This robust Nepenthes hybrid adopts the huge peristome of N. truncata pitchers and gaping mouth and lid of N. lowii. It's truly one beast of a tropical pitcher plant!
With knife-sharp hooks for a peristome, Nepenthes hamata is insect nightmare fuel and, hands-down, the most vicious looking tropical pitcher plant. If I were an insect, I'd refer to this as a Nope-enthes.
Ever imagine what would happen if a vampire bit a Nepenthes? Really? Me too! Well, wonder no more. Nepenthes bicalcarata is our fanged tropical pitcher plant.
Tropical Pitcher Plant
The Tropical Pitcher Plant, or Nepenthes, is an exotic and refined bug catcher. Some even grow large enough to catch small mammals.
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 lucky enough to stumble across their secrets.
With upper pitchers like dainty cocktail glasses filled with honey, Nepenthes inermis is a fascinating carnivorous plant that uses both flypaper and pitfall trapping mechanisms.
With a peristome you can serve dinner off of, pitcher volume you can cary 2 liters of soda in, and a hunger that will decimate annoying insects, it's the perfect picnic guest
Translation of sanguinea is "blood red" - suiting name for a Nepenthes with pitchers so red that they almost appear purple.
Nepenthes x ventrata
The name is a combination of "ventricosa" and "alata," like "Brangelina" but with Nepenthes. Because it's easy to grow, popular in cultivation, and has a celebrity name, it's a star in my book.
is an extravagant, fuzzy tropical pitcher plant that hugs and climbs tree trunks as an epiphyte.
Nepenthes mikei Nepenthes mikei is a beautiful highland tropical pitcher plant discovered in 1989 by Bruce Salmon, Ricky Maulder, and Mike Hopkins on an expedition to Mount Pangulubao in Sumatra. The plant was first [...]
Nepenthes truncata A grand lowland Nepenthes, N. truncata is known to swallow entire rats whole. How can you tell? The smell, unfortunately. And the bones. They don't digest the calcium-heavy bones. Nepenthes truncata is [...]