Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nepenthes robcantleyi

N. robcantleyi is one of the most desired, discussed, and argued about plants I have ever seen! It's a privilege to be a part of it, since I bought one of the less than 3" seedlings back in 2010.

The plants were originally thought to be a form of N. truncata. I bought it under the name N. truncata 'Queen of Hearts' x 'King of Spades' (via CP Jungle) from Borneo Exotics in Sri Lanka. The plant's namesake, (Rob Cantley, owner of Borneo Exotics) helped discover this plant and was the sole propagator, introducing this plant into cultivation.

This plant may be extinct in the wild from what I've read. It is described as being "Critically Endangered." as there's always the possibility it exists in the wild elsewhere and no ones been able to find any yet. The original plants were found in the Philippine island of Mindanao. Seed was collected in 1997 to grow the parents of the plant that I have. No one has been able to find them again, as the area has since been logged. CITES restricts taking the plants, (even in the event that the area is set to be deforested) but a small amount of seed collection is one of the few things allowed. It's crazy to me that these are the laws we have to live under (I don't always agree with CITES restrictions), but I'm thrilled someone found them before they were gone forever.

N. robcantleyi will get stunningly large pitchers when mature. I can't add the photos I'd like to due to copyright, but a search for this plant will show you it's potential. Link:<Google Images Search N. robcantleyi

The plants currently being cultivated by those of us who purchased one will see some variation as you never can be 100% certain what characteristics of the parent plants the offspring will show when grown from seed. Nepenthes are either gynoecious (female plants) or androecious (male plants) so you need two to create seed as each flower will have only their sex respective flower parts.

Here is mine today, still a juvenile.
Immature pitcher, but you can see the coloration
I'm growing mine in intermediate conditions, which may be why it's a slow grower for me. It has at least tripled in size since I got it though (it was tiny!)  I put it outside for the summer, attempting to grow it in more highland conditions to see if it likes it any better. People have been growing them in all different temperature ranges, it seems to be a pretty adaptable species.

Older pitcher


  1. Interesting post, and it's a shame that its existence in habitat is under threat. The adult plants in google look quite extraordinary, but your little pitchers are showing some character too. Looking forward to seeing updates of this special plant. Good luck with it. No problems with pests at your place? :-)

  2. Ugh, pests! I get mostly aphids, mealy bugs, and mites being an issue here. I had to spray for mites on all my highland Nepenthes last week when I spotted one that was infested. The high humidity and warm temps really brought them out this summer. Hate mites, but thankfully they aren't too hard to get rid of.

  3. Very nice plants Melody!
    Keep up the good work!

    All the best,