Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’

Nepenthes 'Red Leopard' (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), cutting1, smiling at its own reflection

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima) cutting1, smiling at its own reflection

UPDATE: This plant is actually a mislabelled Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima). See footnote for details.

This one’s a curious beast: a plant and its scions with so much variability in the pitchers — and similarities too!

Cutting2

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima) upper pitcher, cutting2

The cuttings are actually fully established now, and between 1 and 2 years old.

N. 'Red Leopard' (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima) , cutting1

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (a.k.a. N. ventricosa-squat x maxima)

I can say with some hesitancy that the parent plant was labelled N. maxima x thorelii x khasiana when I acquired it some years ago.

The hesitation arises because although the old label still exists in a mostly-unreadable form, there is the slight possibility that it got switched with another plant’s when I reorganized the old shadehouse; by that I mean I took the whole thing apart and rebuilt/expanded it after spending too much time untwining — or just giving up and cutting off — all the multiple 5m+ Nepenthes vines that had been growing in it for years.

At least when I took the cuttings I ensured that they all came from the same vine and and labelled them with the same name, which is a good thing, hmm?

N. 'Red Leopard' (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima) , cutting1

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), cutting1. Note the vestigial wings.

The plant’s parentage caused no end of frustration also: N. maxima x (thorelii x khasiana) or N. (maxima x thorelii) x khasiana? For some reason it was hard to find khasiana hybrids on the web, until I discovered that Japanese growers had at one time created many khasiana hybrids and given them names. N. ‘Adorable Fuso’ – (F) N. thorelii (Ikeda) x (M) N. khasiana was bred in 1983 by Koshiro Kawase at Kosobe Conservatory, Kyoto University. Here’s another picture.

Using a lot of imagination I can sort of see how N. maxima can contribute a great deal of chunkyness and colouration to a max/Adorable Fuso (or different thorelii/khasiana hybrid) combination. But I don’t know.

N. 'Red Leopard' (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima) , cutting2

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), cutting2

As for the other option? Well, here’s a photo of N. maxima x thorelii upper and lower pitchers. I really don’t see it.

Nepenthes 'Red Leopard' (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima) , cutting2

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), cutting2. The pitcher lid is the same colour as the leaf.

Also: I’m not going to go into that big old N. thorelii controversy right now. It’s complicated.

Nepenthes 'Red Leopard' (a.k.a. N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), cutting3

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (a.k.a. N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), cutting3

Cutting 3’s pitchers have wings! But turn the pot around you’ll encounter a juvenile pitcher without any.

Nepenthes 'Red Leopard' (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima) , cutting3

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), cutting3

Nepenthes 'Red Leopard' (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), cutting3

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), cutting3

Nepenthes 'Red Leopard' (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), parent. Note the similarity of the distorted pitcher with that of cutting3

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), parent. Note the similarity of the distorted pitcher with that of cutting3

I didn’t take the parent plant out of the shadehouse for photography because it was lovingly entwined with N. maxima x fusca. It’s time to take cuttings!

Nepenthes 'Red Leopard' (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima) , parent. Tiny new growing point, tiny pitcher.

Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ (N. ventricosa-squat x maxima), parent. Tiny growing point, tiny pitcher.

So, anyway. For now I’ll continue to call it N. maxima x (thorelii x khasiana), unless and until someone more knowledgeable comes along with a positive identification.

Update: 29 March 2017
Geoff Mansell of Exotica Plants has positively identified the plant as Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’, a.k.a. Nepenthes ventricosa-squat x maxima. All photo captions have been updated to reflect this, but the original article text will remain unchanged.

Geoff and Andrea Mansell specialise in the creation of beautiful, large and vigorous Nepenthes hybrids. Nepenthes ‘Red Leopard’ is one of their early works.


Date: 26 March 2017
Camera: Pentax K-5
Lens 1: Pentax smc PENTAX-DA 18-270mm F3.5-6.3 ED SDM
Ambient light only.
Conditions: Sunny, late afternoon.
Hand-held only.
Cropping and resizing in Irfanview.
All excursions are self-funded.

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