Sunbelle Exotics, Inc.      

Specializing in Nepenthes and Sarracenia


What is a Nepenthes?

"Tropical Asian Pitcher Plant" GENUS NEPENTHES

Nepenthes are carnivorous plants.  They are native to Tropical Southeast Asia, and it is estimated there are ninety species, with new ones still being found.  They grow typically as a climbing vine producing insect luring, cup-like traps extending from the end of the leaf. 

These fancy and colorful traps are often mistaken for flowers, they are not flowers and have nothing to do with the reproduction of the plant.  You could think of these traps, or pitchers, almost as stomachs on the end of the leaf.  In these pitchers the insect prey are digested, providing the plant with nutrition.  The reason for the modified leaf is because they grow in nutrient poor soil.  This adaptation enables the pitcher plant to thrive where other plants are stunted.     

The trap works as a lure to insects, once the bug falls in, it is unable to escape.  The liquid inside the pitcher is digestive juices.  It is often assumed that the lid closes down on the pitcher, this is not the case, Nepenthes are passive carnivorous plants.  The lid on the trap is only a lure to insects and it does not close.

These spectacular tropical wonders can be enjoyed for their beauty and are rewarding to grow.