National Geographic : 1964 May
Forest ranger holds a mature Nepenthes lowii pitcher found on Kinabalu. Lacking the barbed, escape-proof rims of many spe cies, the plant depends on waxy walls to imprison insects. Tiny pitchers appearing on two-month-old Nepenthes gracilis seem ready to catch in sects. In this enlargement, a straight pin provides scale. Prof. T. L. Green of the Uni versity of Singapore and his wife grew the plant from seed in their living room. Male and female flowers of Nepenthes sanguinea grow on separate spikelike ra cemes. Female, on the left, has pistils; the male wears pollen-bearing anthers. (LIFE SIZE) Creamy pollen coats the tips of red an thers on a male Nepenthes raffiesiana. This pitcher plant, like the unrelated giant Raf flesia, honors Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the Englishman who founded Singapore. The author gave seeds of these and other rare pitchers to various botanic gardens. (3 TIMES LIFE SIZE) This dampened any hope Jim and I might have had of scaling the peak. So, having col lected a complete series of villosa pitchers, carefully wrapped in moss, as well as a stock of flowers and seeds, we began the descent. Foot-long Pitchers Wear Bright Collars By day's end our trail had emerged onto the jeep track that runs through the foothills between Jesselton and Ranau. There Jim was met by friends and given a lift back to Ranau. The carriers and I trudged five miles down the road to a shelter maintained by the Gov ernment Forestry Department. I worked two days there on my collection, then returned to coastal Jesselton, and from there flew to Ku ching, in Sarawak, North Borneo's friendly neighbor to the south (map, page 684). 698 In that former land of white rajas, I spent several days in the pleasant and instructive company of Conservator of Forests B. E. Smythies, who showed me the habitats of local Nepenthes, including the seldom seen veitchii and northiana.Their pitchers, wear ing high collars of bright scarlet, were nearly a foot long. Then, by plane I crossed the South China Sea, back to Singapore, ready to wrap up nine weeks of work, which had ranged not only into North Borneo and Sarawak but also Penang and the highlands of Malaya. "Glad to see you still have your head," said Professor T. L. Green of the University of Singapore, when I dropped in to deliver seeds fresh from the heights of Kinabalu. He and Mrs. Green study the seedling phases of vari ous Nepenthes. I owed a special debt to the Greens, for on my arrival in Singapore two months earlier they, along with Director H. M. Burkill of the Singapore Botanic Gar dens and the well-known local naturalist Mrs. Christina Loke, had personally shown me places within earshot of the city's bustle where pitchers grow in abundance.