Plant Spotlight: Nepenthes densiflora x spectabilis “Giant”

I will be periodically featuring outstanding plants from our collection and the collections of our friends in “spotlight” posts. These spotlights will have information on the plant, its history, growing advice, trivia, and probably most importantly: lots of pictures. What better way to get started than with an absolute MONSTER?

This is Nepenthes densiflora x spectabilis “Giant”:

We received this seed-grown plant from Borneo Exotics in February of 2011 and it has been happily growing in our California greenhouse ever since.

This plant stands head-and-shoulders above everything around it. Without fail, every person who sees this plant knows that it’s something special, even if they have never seen a Nepenthes before.

The lower pitchers are deep purple and brown and are covered in a velvety fur. The peristome is probably the most richly colored of any Nepenthes we have seen, with a burgundy background and almost black stripes. The spur on these pitchers is also very irregular, as it can be over 3 inches long. The tendrils are massively thick and also covered in hair, and the leaf-span is nearly 3 feet!

Unopened lower pitcher. Notice the “fur” & super long spur!

The upper pitchers can be just as stunning as the lower pitchers. They are more lightly colored, and are extremely elongated. Their peristomes exhibit a more vivid striping pattern:

Even the flowers of this beast set it apart. Like the pitchers, they are deep purple and are covered in brown fur. The petals of the female flower drool a thick, resinous sap from visible nectar glands:

So far we have crossed this female with N. aristolochioides, N. ventricosa, N. mira and N. talangensis. Keep a lookout for these seed-grown releases in the coming years.

Some interesting trivia: this particular specimen might end up being responsible for the very future of this hybrid in cultivation! I made a post about this plant on a forum last year. The pictures generated a lot of interest, including from Rob Cantley, the owner of Borneo Exotics and the man responsible for the hybrid. He sadly informed us that no more of these plants would be available because the tissue culture stock had been lost due to contamination. However, after taking another look, he discovered a few “lost” backup jars of this very cross in another location! This means that there should be more of these plants on the market in the near future. The full forum thread can be seen HERE. Obviously, I will be eagerly awaiting my royalty check for all future sales.

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