RARE FLORA AND FAUNA IN MT. VICTORIA
Mt. Victoria or Victoria Peak is home to rare species of pitcher plants recently discovered and known to grow only at the top of the peak. For explorers, this is the place for you…
Nepenthes attenboroughii, a rare species of pitcher plant, was discovered in Mt. Victoria by Alastair S. Robinson, Stewart R. McPherson and Volker B. Heinrich in June 2007, during a 2 month research expedition to catalogue the different species of pitcher plants found across the Philippine Archipelago. The expedition was initiated after missionaries reported seeing giant Nepenthes on the mountain in 2000. The species is characterized by its large and distinctive bell-shaped lower and upper pitchers and narrow, upright lid.
This plant is known only from Mount Victoria where it is found on rocky slopes from 1,600 m to the summit. Three colonies are now known, but the total area occupied by the species comprises a few hundred square meters on each side of the summit region, and estimated below 10 square kilometers.
The pitchers of Neepenthes Attenboroughii are open to the elements and thus often completely filled with fluid. This fluid is viscous in the lower part of the pitcher and watery above, forming two fractions that do not mix. The upper fraction supports populations of pitcher infauna, particularly mosquito larvae, and the pitchers of this species may benefit from both the usual capture of prey as well as the debris produced by organisms living within the pitcher fluid.
In the latter half of 2009, this species received a great deal of publicity in the national press of various countries as a sensational new plant that catches and kills rats. It is the largest carnivorous plant ever discovered, and has been named after the famous naturalist and TV personality Sir David Attenborough. Another video shared by Stairs & Sparks…
The plant lures in the rats with the promise of sweet nectar. When the rat leans into the plant to drink the syrupy liquid, it slips on the pitcher’s waxy interior, and gets stuck in the sticky sap. Once it is trapped, acid-like digestive enzymes break down the still-living rodent.
Nepenthes Leonardoi is another tropical pitcher plant discovered in Mt. Victoria on November 18, 2010 by Greg Bourke, Jehson Cervancia, Mark Jaunzems, and Stewart McPherson, and named this species after a Filipino botanist Leonardo Co.
The four botanists/naturalists felt it fitting to name this plant, which is unique among Philippine Nepenthes in producing black pitchers, after Leonardo, in honour of his lifework and many accomplishments.
Nepenthes leonardoi is a climbing or scrambling plant. The stem, which is unbranched, reaches a maximum length of around 4 m. It is cylindrical and varies in diameter from 1.5–2.8 cm. Internodes are typically 1.5–18 cm long, becoming elongated in climbing specimens. Plants found under the shade of dense vegetation typically have longer internodes compared to those growing in more open areas, although the latter on average bear larger pitchers and inflorescences.
OTHER RARE FLORA AT MT VICTORIA