Wednesday, December 23, 2020

[Botany • 2020] Nepenthes malayensis (Nepenthaceae) • A New Species of Carnivorous Pitcher Plant from Peninsular Malaysia

Nepenthes malayensis A.Amin, M.N.Faizal & Dome 

in Tamizi, Ghazalli, Nikong, Besi, ... et Shakri, 2020.

Nepenthes malayensis A.Amin, M.N.Faizal & Dome is described as a new species discovered from a montane forest in the eastern part of Peninsular Malaysia. The species is considered highly threatened since only a few individuals have been discovered within a limited area and almost all of them grow on humus-covered boulders scattered in the summit region. Due to a slight resemblance to N. sanguinea Lindl., it was initially thought to be of an allied form; however, anatomy, morphological and molecular analyses have established N. malayensis as a distinct taxon. A diagnosis, description, figures and preliminary conservation status of the species are provided in this article.

 Key Words: Insectivore, monkey cup, new taxon, phylogenetics, taxonomy, Terengganu

Lower pitchers of Nepenthes malayensis in situ;
A frontal and B side views showing red specks scattered on the exterior; C habit with lower pitchers growing from a basal stem; D, E lower pitchers from plants cultivated ex situ showing similar morphology compared to the ones growing in natural habitat.
Photos: A – D Dome Nikong; E Amin Asyraf Tamizi.

Nepenthes malayensis A.Amin, M.N.Faizal & Dome sp. nov. 

RECOGNITION. This species differs from Nepenthes sanguinea in having broadly angular, pubescent climbing stems (vs sharply three-angled and glabrous); pitchers contracted below peristome (vs cylindrical and widening towards mouth); cylindrical peristome (vs flattened or expanded); lower part of pitcher broadly ovoid (vs infundibular, narrowly ovoid). Overall, gross pitcher appearance of the new species is more robust and leathery compared to N. sanguinea, and contracted above hip — akin to the shape of an ‘hourglass’. Mature plants of N. malayensis sp. nov. tend to produce larger upper pitchers that can hold up to 500 – 700 mL of liquid to the brim (vs 200 – 400 mL). Both upper and lower pitchers of the new species have moderately to shortly acuminate rear mouth part (vs highly acuminate, often elongated into a neck) and are green throughout (Figs 1, 2 & 7). The new species is considered a facultative lithophyte as no individual has been observed to be terrestrial so far (N. sanguinea primarily terrestrial, occasionally epiphytic).

DISTRIBUTION AND ECOLOGY. Only known from Peninsular Malaysia: Terengganu, East Coast Range (Banjaran Pantai Timur).

ETYMOLOGY. The specific epithet malayensis is derived from the word Malaya — the classical name for Peninsular Malaysia — signifying that the species was discovered in Peninsular Malaysia and currently acknowledged to be endemic to the eastern part of this region.

Amin Asyraf Tamizi, Mohd Norfaizal Ghazalli, Dome Nikong, Edward Entalai Besi, Muhamad Ikhwanuddin Mat-Esa, Anuar Rasyidi Mohd-Nordin, A. Latiff and Mohamad Alias Shakri. 2020. Nepenthes malayensis (Nepenthaceae), A New Species of Carnivorous Pitcher Plant from Peninsular Malaysia. Kew Bulletin. 75, 63. DOI: 10.1007/s12225-020-09918-z