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Nepenthes aristolochioides (Sumatra)

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Product number: AW-N_arist.23
Product information "Nepenthes aristolochioides (Sumatra)"
Nepenthes aristolochioides is one of the most distinctive of all Nepenthes. While having an interesting history, it’s their gorgeous and uniquely shaped lantern-like pitchers that are the defining characteristic of this species, and which make them a ‘must have’ in every serious highland collection. Unfortunately this has also led to them being critically endangered due to over collecting in their natural habitat.

Small (7cm) balloon-like pitchers are produced, that are a light creamy-yellow in colour, heavily mottled with reddish-brown to almost purple blotches. These domed pitchers have an unusual round front facing opening, which leads horizontally into the pitcher. The dark red-orange to purple-brown peristome curves inwards forming an “entrance tunnel”, and translucent ‘windows’ on the back of the pitcher allow sunlight to illuminate the interior of the pitcher, thereby luring in both collector and flying insects alike. These traps function similarly to the ‘lobsterpot’ style traps used by Darlingtonia californica (Cobra lilies). Nepenthes klossii is the only other Nepenthes known to do this. While the waxy surface zone inside the pitchers is notably absent in this species, very viscous, syrupy pitcher fluid similar to that used by N. inermis, ensures any unfortunate insects that make their way into the trap are literally glued to the inner pitcher surfaces.

N. aristolochioides is a rapidly climbing species, with a short lived rosette stage, before plants rapidly vine, climbing high into the forest canopy. Vines can reach up to 8m in length with smaller rosettes being produced along older vines. Very little dimorphism is observed between upper and lower pitchers.


N. aristolochioides grows primarily terrestrially, but also as an epiphyte (rooted in mossy clumps), in high altitude Sphagnum-dominated mossy forests, As such this species needs cool night time temperatures, high humidity and an open, mossy, but well-draining substrate. A mix of high quality sphagnum moss with horticultural-grade Perlite, a bit of good quality peat-moss and pine bark works well.

Interesting features and facts

One of the most unique and unusual pitcher shapes in the genus.
In some ways reminiscent of the Aristolochia vines, from which this species gets its name.

Native Range: Endemic to Sumatra, Indonesia.
Altitudinal distribution: Highland, 1800–2500 m.
Light: Bright indirect or dappled light
Temperature: Requires cool night time temperatures typical of true highlanders.
Soil: An open, mossy but well-draining mix.
Extra notes on Cultivation: Appreciates high humidity levels.