I've had an obsession with Nepenthes veitchii ever since I first was introduced to carnivorous plants. So when I finally had the means to travel, I set out on a quest to study as many locations as possible in order to understand the variation and habitat preferences of this incredible species. I'll dive into veitchii's cultivation and the differences of the many forms in a later blog post. However, here I want to share the ultimate veitchii experience, the Maliau Basin. Though most forms of veitchii will hug or cling to trees (except the prostate forms from around Bareo), there are a few locations where the trees are just the right shape for the veitchii to climb them.
In the Maliau Basin some plants have climbed over 10 meters tall!
Two Nepenthes lunatics crazy enough to hike miles into the jungle with a ladder just to get the perfect shot... oh and third to take their photo (thanks Ulrike Bauer!)
In nearly every veitchii population, you find a very diverse morphology of pitcher shape, size and color.
Here's a closeup of the tree grasping geometry of the leaves and stem. Though I anticipated finding roots attaching the stem to the tree, I didn't find any. It seems the majority of the holding force is the friction created by the leaves, tendrils and pitchers. In some cases the pitcher peristomes are even formed into the shape of the trunk. It did also occur to me that veitchii is a particularly hirsute species of Nepenthes. Perhaps the hair density (especially on the bottom of the leaves and peristome) is to create addition friction when wrapped?