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

Filipino species
Lowlanders Highlanders
N. bellii1
N. merrilliana1,2
N. philippinensis1
N. argentii4
N. attenboroughii4
N. burkei5
N. copelandii1,6
N. deaniana1
N. gantungensis4
N. hamiguitanensis1
N. leonardoi4
N. mantalingajanensis1
N. micramphora1
N. mira1
N. palawanensis4
N. petiolata1
N. robcantleyi1
N. saranganiensis1
N. sibuyanensis4
N. ventricosa5
Highland-lowland
N. alata 
N. mindanaoensis1
N. mirabilis3
N. peltata1
N. surigaoensis1
N. truncata1


1South Philippines.
2Danser (1928) also cites this species as occurring in
  Sulawesi, but Jebb & Cheek (1997) disagree.
3Also in Borneo, Sumatra, Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia,
  Sulawesi, Maluku, New Guinea, Australia, Java,
  Indo-China, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Palau.
4Central Philippines.
5North Philippines.
6Sometimes grouped with N. alata.

Q: Nepenthes: species of the Philippines

A: The Philippines is an autonomous island nation in Southeast Asia, northeast of Borneo. It is highly fragmented, and consists of more than 7000 separate islands. Very approximately, the Philippines can be divided into three portions--north, central, and south.

The northern Philippines are dominated by the large island of Luzon, which at about 105,000km2 represents 35% of all the Philippines land area. Many additional small islands are considered part of the administrative structure of the northern Philippines (although the political-administrative system is much more complicated than I care to delve into, as you might expect for such a geographically fragmented country). The southern portion of Luzon, in the Bicol region, is noteworthy for being the birthplace of Professor Max M. Pallen, noted martial arts expert who happens to be a grandmaster that your FAQ-author had the honor of training under! But I digress.

Southern Philippines mostly consists of the single large island Mindanao. At 98,000km2, it comprises another 33% of the Philippines.

The central Philippines consists of many smaller islands, which are grouped into the Visayas island groups. The major Visayan islands (from east to west) includes Samar, Leyte, Bohol, Cebu, Negros, Panay, and far off to the west, Palawan.

The Philippines is the only major center of Nepenthes diversity that has not been uniformly treated in the way that Charles Clarke did with his books on Sumatra, Borneo, and Peninsular Malaysia. This is a real pity since there are some fabulous species in the country. Indeed, looking at the table on this page you will notice that nearly all the species in the Philippines are endemic---the only ones that occur elsewhere are N. mirabilis, and possibly (but probably not) N. merrilliana.

Nepenthes alata--A species that is found throughout much of the nation, and that has many variant forms. The polymorphic nature of this species makes many people scratch their heads in confusion. I am quite fond of the intensely speckled or spotted forms.

Nepenthes argentii--This species grows in extremely exposed conditions on Mt. Guiting-Guiting, and has tiny pitchers.

Nepenthes attenboroughii--A huge-pitchered species known only from the ultramafic sumit of Mount Victoria, Palawan.

Nepenthes bellii--A small species, ideal for terraria, native to the Surigao provinces of Mindanao.

Nepenthes burkei--From what I understand, many of the N. burkei in collections are really specimens of the very similar N. ventricosa.

Nepenthes copelandii--Although I did not think it was separate from N. alata, Rob Cantley has told me that it probably is, so on his authority I will consider it as such. It is from Mt. Apo, and Mt. Pasian, on Mindanao.

Nepenthes deaniana--A species found in the Philippines (the type was collected on Mt. Pulgar).

Nepenthes gantungensis--A species found on Mt. Gantung, Palawan.

Nepenthes hamiguitanensis--A species found on Mindanao Island.

Nepenthes leonardoi--A species known only from Palawan.

Nepenthes mantalingajanensis--Only known from Palawan. This species is described from cultivated material, which is a bit dubious, but presumably the authors salted the description of cultivated material with opinions derived from observatins in the wild.

Nepenthes merrilliana--Only known from Surigao del Norte, and Dinagat Island in Mindanao.

Nepenthes mindanaoensis--A N. alata-like plant, that as you might expect, is from Mindanao.

Nepenthes mira--A species known only from Palawan.

Nepenthes palawanensis--A species found on Sultan Peak, Palawan.

Nepenthes peltata--From Mt. Hamiguitan Range, Mindanao, with peltate leaf tips, ovoid pitchers, a basal lid crest, and large nectar glands on the lid.

Nepenthes petiolata--A species known only from Mindanao.

Nepenthes philippinensis--Another N. alata-like plant, this one from Palawan.

Nepenthes robcantleyi--Formerly known as N. 'Queen of Hearts,' Cheek argues that this is not a hybrid, but rather a true species from an unspecified highland location in Mindanao,.

Nepenthes saranganiensis--A species known only from Sarangani Province, Mindanao.

Nepenthes sibuyanensis--A glossy plant (much like N. ventricosa in this regard) that is found only on Sibuyan.

Nepenthes truncata--The rounded or heartshaped leaves are remarkable. Many plants in cultivation in the USA have very tall, narrow pitchers. However, many other clones are much more squat and fat. It lives on Mindanao.

Nepenthes ventricosa--This species has very waxy, glossy pitchers that are red, green, or speckled. My favorite are so creamy and ghostly pale, they look almost fungal. Known only from Luzon.

Page citations: Cheek, M. 2011; Danser, B.H. 1928; Jebb, M.H.P., and Cheek, M. 1997; Kurata, S. 2008; McPherson, S. 2009b, 2010; McPherson, S. et al. 2011; Nerz, J., and Wistuba, A. 2007; Rice, B. 2006a; Robinson et al. 2009; Schlauer, J. 2002.

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Revised: March 2012
©Barry Rice, 2005