The Carnivorous Plant FAQ v. 11.5
- courtesy of -
The International Carnivorous Plant Society

Sumatran species
Lowlanders Highlanders
N. beccariana1
N. sumatrana 
N. angasanensis9
N. aristolochioides 
N. bongso 
N. densiflora 
N. diatas 
N. dubia 
N. flava 
N. inermis 
N. izumiae 
N. jacquelineae 
N. jamban 
N. lavicola 
N. lingulata 
N. mikei 
N. naga 
N. ovata 
N. rhombicaulis 
N. rigidifolia 
N. singalana 
N. spathulata 
N. spectabilis 
N. talangensis 
N. tenuis 
Highland-lowland
N. adnata 
N. albomarginata2
N. ampullaria3
N. eustachya 
N. gracilis4
N. gymnamphora5
N. longifolia 
N. mirabilis6
N. rafflesiana7
N. reinwardtiana8
N. tobaica 










1On the offshore Sumatran island called Nias.
2Also in Borneo, Peninsular Malaysia.
3Also in Borneo, Maluku, New Guinea, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore,
  Thailand.
4Also in Borneo, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, Sulawesi, Thailand.
5Also in Java; includes N. pectinata and N. xiphioides.
6Also in Borneo, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indo-China, Java, Macau,
  Maluku, New Guinea, Palau, Peninsular Malaysia, Philippines, Sulawesi,
  Thailand.
7Also in Borneo, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore.
8Also in Borneo.
9Sometimes lumped with N. mikei.

Q: Nepenthes: species of Sumatra

A: Sumatra is a large island to the west of Borneo. Like Borneo, Sumatra is enormous--475,000 km2. It is very long (1700 km) but narrow (about 350 wide), and is oriented northwest to southeast. Most of Sumatra is below 500m elevation, but the entire western coast is edged by a long mountain range called Bukit Barisan. This range includes more than 130 peaks that exceed 2000m elevation; the tallest is Gunung Kerinci at 3800m. The small island Nias lies about 150 km west of mainland Sumatra.

Sumatra is owned by Indonesia. Like Borneo, oil and logging are major components of its economy. It is divided into eight provinces, which from north to south (more or less) are: Aceh, Sumatra Utara, Riau, Sumatra Barat, Jambi, Sumatra Selatan, Bengkulu, and Lampung.

While Nepenthes are usually most strongly connected to Borneo, Sumatra has just about as many recorded species, and possibly even more! As is common for Nepenthes, a number of the lowland species are found elsewhere. Most of the highland species, however, are endemic to Sumatra. The Barisan mountain range is the center of diversity for Sumatran Nepenthes, and they are grouped into two regions---the Aceh and Danau Toba areas, and the highlands from Padan to Jambi.

As on the previous page, I am not going to describe in detail all the different Nepenthes of Sumatra but below I do have a few comments about the ones not already mentioned on the Bornean species page. If you want to know more about these species, get copies of Stew McPherson's books and of course Charles Clarke's book, Nepenthes of Sumatra and Peninsular Malaysia.

Nepenthes adnata--A small species known only from Sumatra Barat.

Nepenthes angasanensis--A pretty species that occurs in west portion of the Alas Valley and the Goh Lembuh Massif in Aceh.

Nepenthes aristolochioides--A bizarrely hump-backed pitcher that seems to be partly a lobster-pot type of carnivorous plant trap, found only on Gunung Tujuh in Jambi. Collections have been made, apparently from Gunung Kerinci, but the plants have not been verified there. Despite the fact they occur in a protected area, enthusiasts have been poaching plants and the wild populations are greatly threatened.

Nepenthes beccariana--Known only from the original collection in 1886. Its habitat is unknown, but I list it as a lowlander since the highest point on the island of Nias is only about 885 m!

Nepenthes bongso--Apparently rarely seen because it is an epiphyte that hides high up in trees. A spectacular plant with a huge peristome on lower pitchers. Found in the mountains of central Sumatra.

Nepenthes densiflora--A plant with elongate, graceful pitchers and a spiny peristome (where it meets the lid). Known only from three Aceh sites: Gunung Kemiri, Goh Lembuh, and an area betwen Pucuk Angasan and Gunung Leuser.

Nepenthes diatas--Known only from Gunung Bandahara massif in Aceh. Very similar to N. singalana.

Nepenthes dubia--Beautifully elegant, goblet-shaped pitchers with a little strap-like lid that looks like it is not very good at anything. Known only from Gunung Talamau in Sumatra Barat.

Nepenthes eustachya--Very much like a Sumatran version of N. alata. Found at sites in two widely separated regions in Sumatra Utara and Sumatra Barat.

Nepenthes gymnamphora--This species, defined as in Clarke (2001), occurs in the mountains along nearly the entire spine of Sumatra.

Nepenthes inermis--This has many of the characteristics that make N. dubia so odd (some authors lump them together), but they are even more weird in N. inermis. The gooey pitcher interior makes some think this may actually be a flypaper carnivore, and not just a pitfall trap! Restricted to the central mountains of the Sumatran range, i.e. Sumatra Barat and Jambi.

Nepenthes izumiae--A species from Bukit Barison, West Sumatra, and named after Troy Davis' wife. Treated in Clarke (2001) as " Nepenthes species B."

Nepenthes jacquelineae--A spectacular species with a broadly flaring peristome, named after Charles Clarke's wife. It is restricted to the mountains of the Bukit Barisan.

Nepenthes jamban--Similar to N. jacquelineae but without the broad peristome, currently known only from the original collection location in Bukit Barisan. It's name means "toilet." Don't believe me? Read the paper.

Nepenthes lavicola--A variable plant, currently known only from Gunung Geureudong massif in far northern Sumatra.

Nepenthes lingulata--Similar to N. izumiae, but with a madly long, descending glandular crest on the lid, which is the source of the specific name ("tongue-like"). This appendage is covered with nectar glands, and apparently functions as a dangerous supping site for insects, much like the thorns on the pitchers of N. bicalcarata. Apparently only known from Bukit Barisan.

Nepenthes longifolia--Similar to N. sumatrana (and lumped with it by some botanists). Like N. eustachya it is found in sites from two separated regions---Sumatra Barat and Sumatra Utara.

Nepenthes mikei--A plant with green and black pitchers that are quite pretty. It is found only on Gunung Pangulubao in Sumatra Utara, and Gunung Bandahara in Aceh.

Nepenthes naga--I have not reviewed the original publication for this species to my satisfaction, but I am tentatively accepting this 2009 species description. Native to Bukit Barisan of North Sumatra, the key characters are a forked appendage (like a snake's tongue) on the undersurface of the lid (near the lid tip), and an undulate lid margin.

Nepenthes ovata--This species has lower pitchers with a marvelously expanded peristome that make it look very much like N. veitchii. This is closely related to N. bongso. Found at sites in northern Sumatra, especially the Danau Toba region.

Nepenthes rhombicaulis--A fairly unremarkable species that occurs in a number of mountains in northern Sumatra, especially in the Danau Toba area and possibly on Gunung Bandahara (Aceh).

Nepenthes rigidifolia--Similar to N. bongso, and found only in a small area in Sumatra Utara. Treated in Clarke (2001) as " Nepenthes species A."

Nepenthes singalana--A very pretty plant with large, often terrifying peristomes. Found in the mountains in central Sumatra (Sumatra Barat and Jambi).

Nepenthes spathulata--A pretty plant that occurs in central to southern Sumatra.

Nepenthes spectabilis--A fabulous plant, with greenish pitchers heavily mottled black or dark red. It occurs in northern Sumatra, i.e. Sumatra Utara and Aceh.

Nepenthes sumatrana--A spectacular plant with a marvelously striped peristome and fat lower pitchers that are similar to those of N. bicalcarata (but without the teeth). Mostly known from central Sumatra, near Sibolga, where it is heavily threatened because of deforestation. Specimens may have been detected in Sumatra Barat to the south, suggesting the range may be larger than previously suspected.

Nepenthes talangensis--A pretty little species with a vertical peristome (think "N. ampullaria") that has only been detected on Gunung Talang in Sumatra Barat.

Nepenthes tenuis--A source of endless argument, it is known only from the type collection from Sumatra Barat, and a single, rather nasty and blurry photograph. This species is the sasquatch of the genus.

Nepenthes tobaica--Clearly related to N. reinwardtiana, and can often have eye-spots just like that latter species. It has a wide range in Sumatra.

Page citations: Akhriadi et al. 2009; Clarke, C. 1997, 2001; Danser, B.H. 1928; Jebb, M.H.P., and Cheek, M. 1997; Lee, C. et al. 2006; McPherson, S. 2009b; Rice, B. 2006a; Schlauer, J. 2002; Wistuba, A. et al. 2007.

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Revised: May 2010
©Barry Rice, 2005