Posted by: Loren Coleman on January 22nd, 2008
Here is another one for your cryptobotany file!
A rare new species of plant that eats small rats has been discovered at the tip of Cape York.
Pitcher plants, otherwise known as flesh-eating plants, grow throughout Cape York but now a new, larger species that grows like a vine has been discovered.
The new species has been called “Tenax”.
James Cook University ecologist Charles Clarke and a colleague found the new species at a swamp near the Jardine River, but exactly where is a secret.
“They are quite vulnerable,” he said.
“They are only found in a few small areas and if we broadcast the location then there are people out there who would take advantage of that.
“There’s a lot of interest in pitcher plants from Australia, even from people outside of Australia.
“And while people often associate these things with New Guinea or Borneo or Sumatra, the fact that there’s more species here is actually very exciting.”“Rat-eating plant discovered in Cape York,” Australian Broadcasting Corporation, January 22, 2008.
Nepenthes tenax (Latin: tenax = tenacious) is a lowland species of tropical pitcher plant native to northern Queensland, Australia. It is the third Nepenthes species recorded from the continent, and its second endemic species. N. tenax is closely related to the two other Australian Nepenthes species: N. mirabilis and N. rowanae.
N. tenax grows to a height of around 100 cm with pitchers rarely exceeding 15 cm. The stem is usually self-supporting. In its natural habitat, it is sympatric with N. mirabilis and N. rowanae. Two natural hybrids involving these species have been found.
Clarke, C.M & R. Kruger 2006. “Nepenthes tenax C.Clarke and R.Kruger (Nepenthaceae), a new species from Cape York Peninsula, Queensland.” Austrobaileya 7(2): 319–324.
Not a tenax but certainly an example of how beautiful pitcher plants can be.