Monday, October 1, 2012

(Bad iphone photos of) Nepenthes at the Sydney Botanic Gardens Tropical Centre

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney were the location of the International Carnivorous Plant Society Conference way back in 2008. Located in the heart of Sydney, right on the harbour, it provides a welcome escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

RSBG_tropical centre

My favourite part of the gardens is the tropical centre, which has two large greenhouses divided into tropical highland and lowland gardens, and an Australian tropical rainforest garden. The tropical highland greenhouse contains a large number of very nice (and some very large) Nepenthes, and is a must visit for anyone visiting Sydney who is interested in CPs.


Here is the interior of the tropical highland greenhouse. How many Nepenthes can you see in this picture?

N_truncata x lowii

One of the most spectacular plants in the greenhouse is an extremely large N. lowii x ventricosa. Its pitchers are somewhat hidden away in the undergrowth, but as you can see, they are magnificently coloured and over a foot in length.


Another large Nepenthes hangs directly above the N. lowii x ventricosa – an N. truncata. The pitchers on this plant are the size of 2L Coke bottles! I have a slightly smaller N. truncata at my parent’s in Queensland that produces similar sized pitchers and is 15-16 years old. Until we get a polycarbonate greenhouse with enough thermal mass buffering to avoid disasters and minimise heating bills, it will be staying up in Queensland. Thermal mass alone has allowed some Canberra orchid growers to keep bubble-wrap insulated glass greenhouses above 5*C on –8*C mornings! A twinwall polycarbonate house with thermal mass should be even more efficient again.


Anyway, I digress. Back to the Neps.. The largest whole plant (as opposed to just pitchers) is this N. copelandi, which has vined its way up the support cables for a palm tree. It is liberally covered in upper pitchers, most of which are now spent.


This large plant (N. alata or N. eustachya – could not see the tag) was is also dripping with pitchers.


And here is a beautiful looking N. veitchii. I have always admired this species, and would love to growing it one day.


My favourite Nepenthes is the humble N. alata. This finely coloured plant (at least it was in life – this photo is really poor) is close to N. alata var. boschiana that I also have up in Queensland, but this clone is much richer in colour. One day when we have a polycarbonate greenhouse…


And to close up, some other inhabitants of the tropical highlands greenhouse.