Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Official: Protect rare pitcher plants

Official: Protect rare pitcher plants

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Environment officials inspect Bompong kralom flowers at Monivong Bokor National Park on July 8. Environment Ministry

Official: Protect rare pitcher plants

A senior environment official called on holidaymakers to Cambodia’s pristine tropical forest tourist destinations to avoid plucking, collecting or breaking vulnerable plant species – especially the exotic carnivorous pitcher plants of the Nepenthes genus – to conserve the beauty and scenic value of nature, and to save populations.

Just five species of these pitcher plants grow in the wild in the Kingdom, some with heightened levels of exposure to extinction risk, Ministry of Environment secretary of state Neth Pheaktra cautioned in a Facebook post.

He pointed out that Nepenthes comprises 129 reported species, the number provided in a 2010 study by Francois Sockhom Mey.

More species have been reported since then, with Maarten J M Christenhusz and James W Byng updating the figure to “about 170” in a 2016 report.

Pheaktra said Nepenthes bokorensis grows in Bokor National Park’s Popok Vil, Veal Sre 100 and Veal Sre 500 areas; and Nepenthes holdenii is found in mountainous regions in the Kingdom’s southwest, such as the Cardamom Mountains.

Nepenthes kampotiana Lecomte is native to Kampot province, Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary and the Cardamom Mountains, he said.

Nepenthes mirabilis (Loureiro) Druce grows in Kampot, Kep and Preah Sihanouk provinces; and Nepenthes smilesii Hemsley can be found in Kampot province and Kampong Speu province’s Kirirom National Park, he added.

The environment official noted that more Cambodians have been making excursions into nature reserves over recent years, as the national population swells.

He called on would-be sightseers to “work together to conserve biodiversity, and especially to refrain from plucking wild plants that are in danger of extinction, to save the species and preserve the grandeur of natural landscapes for the viewing pleasure of other nature-loving excursionists”.

Pheaktra called out to visitors who disrespect the tenets of environmental cleanliness, or who uproot flowers – especially those of the pitcher plants – to snap pictures as a way to express romantic feelings.

“If you love these plants and cherish them for their beauty, you must also conserve them – on their stems – so other visitors can witness the rich pulchritude of these biodiversities,” he said.

He pointed out that experts still know very little of Cambodia’s Nepenthes pitcher plants.

The pitcher-like structures release secretions that attract insects, which fall in and drown in small pools of liquid contained within, he said.

The prey is then digested and converted into mineral nutrition for the plant to develop, he added.

He noted that the five Nepenthes species in the Kingdom are protected by Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites), which heavily restricts trade.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Education’ a priority traffic-law penalty

    A top National Police official on June 21 neither rejected nor confirmed the authenticity of a leaked audio message, which has gone viral on social media, on a waiver of fines for a number of road traffic-related offences. General Him Yan, deputy National Police chief in

  • Pursat Ford assembly plant opens

    The Kingdom’s first Ford assembly plant was inaugurated on June 16 in Pursat province amid rising demand for brand-new vehicles among Cambodians. The facility is seen as a game changer for the domestic automobile industry, which could bring a wave of investors seeking to cash

  • Siem Reap’s $18M zoo said to educate public, help wildlife

    Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium Co Ltd has invested $18 million in a zoo in Siem Reap province, which will be opened in October to educate and promote animal conservation as well as attract national and international tourists. Currently, the Angkor Wildlife and Aquarium is building the

  • Volunteer scheme to foster ‘virtuous’ humanitarian spirit

    A senior education official said volunteer work contributes to solidarity and promotes a virtuous humanitarian spirit among the youth and communities. Serei Chumneas, undersecretary of state at the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, made the comment during the opening of a training programme called “

  • $50B infrastructure plan en route

    The government’s upcoming $50 billion,10-year infrastructure master plan will provide tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign entities, transport experts and economists say. Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol revealed the plan to Japanese ambassador to Cambodia Masahiro Mikami on June 15. At

  • Chinese firms unveil preliminary results on metro, monorail for capital

    Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol and representatives from China Road and Bridge Corp (CRBC) and its parent company, the state-owned China Communications Construction Co Ltd (CCCC), met on June 24 for talks on results of the firms’ preliminary study on a potential metro