Heliamphora parva (Cerro Neblina)
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H. parva was discovered during the initial ascent of the Neblina Massif in 1954, though it was at first considered a subspecies of H. neblinae (the name parva-small refers to its comparatively small size). Additional field studies conducted later revealed significant differences between the two, and in 2011 it was elevated to specific rank. Plants are found at elevations between 1750-2200m in open, upland meadows and clearings with Bonnetia scrub.
Pitchers are upright, up to 35cm tall, and have a low to mid-height waist with a drainage hole. They are typically yellow or yellow-green. Sometimes the upper portion of the pitchers has faint red veins on the interior and/or red flashed exterior. A dense covering of small hairs is often present on the outside of the pitchers.
A distinguishing feature of the species is its tendency to form a creeping stems up to 70cm long that scrambles over rocks and allow the plant to find new habitat. Very rarely, the stem can be erect. Dead pitchers remain on the stem and effectively collect water which slowly leaks down and allows the plant to survive drought and wildfires that sometimes sweep its habitat. Even if the lead growth is killed during these fires, the plant is usually able to re-sprout from the stem! Ants are also known to colonize the dead pitchers, and- in return for the shelter- protect the living parts by swarming them if they’re disturbed. They also appear able to regularly collect nectar from the spoon and yet rarely get trapped. Fascinating!
Curiously Heliamphora parva also has the largest flowers in the genus which is up to 80mm (rarely even more). A real stunner!
(Maguire) S. McPherson, A. Fleischm, Wistuba & Nerz, 2011