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Nepenthes diabolica (="Red Hairy Hamata" = "RHH")

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Product number: AW-N_RHH.13
Product information "Nepenthes diabolica (="Red Hairy Hamata" = "RHH")"

Nepenthes diabolica! Discovered in 2004, and long known as “Red Hairy Hamata” (“RHH”), this incredibly rare and beautiful species is finally both formally named and available for addition to your collection! Arguably the most exciting and sought after addition since Nepenthes edwardsiana. Known from only a single small and isolated population on an undisclosed mountain in Central Sulawesi, N. diabolica grows towards the summit (2200-2300m) in high-montane mossy forest, primarily as a low-epiphyte in moss attached to the base of tall trees. It is a true highlander/ultrahighlander.

Resembling the famous N. hamata, N. diabolica (Latin for "diabolical" or "devilish" ) takes the evil and ominous look to the next level. While easily differentiated from the former by stem and leaves alone, it is really the red colouration and enlarged, hooked peristome teeth that give this species it’s terrifying appearance and name. The pitchers are beautiful! Most striking relative to N. hamata are their smaller size, red hue and hairy coat.

The lower pitchers are diminutive and tubby, and are orangy-red to almost deep maroon-purple in colour. The entire outer pitcher surface is covered in a dense layer of short, fine reddish-brown hairs (indumentum) which give them an unmistakable look and from which the coloquial name “Red Hairy Hamata” was derived. These are accompanied by bold, matching wings that run the length of the pitchers. The peristome can range from a pale creamy-yellow, through an almost luminous yellow-green (which creates a striking contrast with the dark pitchers), to the bright and glossy ruby red colour of the prominent and highly developed sickle-shaped ‘teeth’ we know so well from N. hamata. These wicked looking ‘teeth’ line the peristome forming a row of inward pointing hooks, gradually angling forward as the peristome neck rises to meet the pitcher lid. Combined, all these features create a bold and striking image that cannot be mistaken for anything else. They are incredibly unique and striking.

Once vining, N. diabolica produces larger linear leaves and large, more elongated upper pitchers. Upper pitchers are cylindrical and, unlike in N. hamata, prominent wings are retained and the peristome ‘teeth’ become reduced in size, rather than more exagerated. The red colouration is also retained, with upper pitchers being beautifully mottled in varying degrees of yellow-greens, oranges and reds, some plants being entirely a uniform red. In many ways the uppers are much more stunning and painterly than those of N. hamata, with colouration at times reministent of a poorly painted N. glabrata. They really are gorgeous!

Cultivation Guidelines:

Indirect or dappled light. Seems to prefer more shaded positions. Leaves redden easily.
Temperature: True highland/ultrahighland conditions. Requires cool night time temperatures. Will not tolerate high temperatures!
Growing medium: An open, mossy but well-draining mix. A mix of high quality sphagnum moss with horticultural-grade perlite, a bit of good quality peat-moss and pine bark works well. The proportion of Sphagnum in the mix should ideally be quite high. Ensure good drainage!
Extra notes on Cultivation: Requires high humidity levels.
Difficulty: This species appears to be a finicky and fragile grower, requiring rather specific ultrahighland conditions, and even then grows rather slowly, especially when young. Not an easy species to cultivate well. It is therefore recommended for more experienced growers.