In Australia, we have a tradition called Schoolies Week, which is a celebration of finishing high/senior school. It has a bad reputation because it usually involves 17 or 18 year olds heading to a part of southern Queensland called the Gold Coast, where they partake in large volume of alcohol and get up to mischief. Nerd that I am, I instead went to Malaysia and Singapore with my father to look at butterflies and Nepenthes. I got to see Nepenthes tentaculata on Mount Kinabalu (we only spent a day there – dammit!), Nepenthes macfarlanei, N. sanguinea and N. rampsina (plus hybrids of the latter two) in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia, and a variety of Nepethes in Singapore. A particular highlight was seeing Nepenthes rafflesiana growing on Sentosa Island in Singapore. We had no idea they were there at the time (noting this was pre- my family having internet); I spotted them from the monorail on the island. As it was getting dark, we did not take pictures at the time.
I had the opportunity to re-visit Singapore earlier this year, and went out specially to re-find N. rafflesiana on Sentosa. I first went and photographed Papilio (Achillides) gloss swallowtails in the Sentosa butterfly house, which is on the way – they were stunning, but the butterfly house itself has seen better days. This gloss swallowtail is P. daedalus from the Philippines.
Some friends and I make it a point of pronounce Achillides as Ahhh(!)… chil-ee-dees, because you have to say “ahhh!” at how beautiful they are! Above is a male P. peranthus transiens from Bali, Indonesia.
Then it was Nepenthes time. They are very easy to find; follow Imbiah Road from the Butterfly House down to the Shangri La resort, and they are about half-way along on your left, hiding in the banks of skeleton ferns.
There is a plant at bottom centre in this photo, and a few others twining their way through the ferns out of view.
Here’s another hiding under the cover of the ferns.
Habitus, showing upper pitchers.
And a more exposed plant.
Here’s a closeup of an upper pitcher and an undeveloped pitcher.
And detail of the unopened pitcher.
Most of the pitchers I saw were upper pitchers. They were a decent size, around 20 cm (9 inches).
I did luck upon one lower pitcher though – it was on the way out though.
Neps are protected in Singapore, and the Singaporeans take their nature conservation very seriously. I don’t have a reservation about saying how to access these particular plants, as there are a number of online guides describe how to access Nepenthes in Singapore anyway. These particular plants are very easy to see while on holiday without needing to go to extra effort just to see some Nepenthes. Bukit Timah is also a good place to see Nepenthes – I saw N. gracilis there and must have walked right past N. ampullaria – and it can be accessed easily via Singapore’s public transport system.
Another nice thing to do in Singapore is to visit Gardens By The Bay. They display some magnificent plants!
The Lego CPs and Rafflesia are cute!
My only tip with this place – try not to do it on a weekend during school holidays – our visit was spoiled by obnoxious children screaming as loud as possible to test the acoustics of the greenhouse.
Sadly, there was not enough time this trip to see any other Nepenthes – maybe another time!