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Welcome To Nepenthes University!

Michael Catalani, owner of the CP Jungle, with Nepenthes truncata. (I'm the one on the left, with the bad hair.)

An easy to grow plant, N. truncata can have pitchers exceeding 2 feet in length. This pitcher is 15", and we've had truncatas to produce pitchers that were 24" in length from the base of the lid to the tendril connection. 




My first introduction to Nepenthes goes back to 1975.  I was reading through a set of encyclopedias and came across the Venus Flytrap, which was a really cool plant.  At the end of the section on the flytrap it said "see also sundews and pitcher plants."  They had a section on Drosera rotundifolia and Sarracenia flava.   Cool, I wonder where I could buy some of these plants?  

I looked for any info on CP I could find. But in those days there was not a lot of information to be had. One day, I was at my grandmothers house and I found another set of encyclopedias that dated back before 1950. So I looked through them for CP. There was the flytrap, and there was D. rotundifolia. But the pitcher plant was not S. flava. Instead, it was a plant growing over the side of an old log. It had long leaves, with dozens of pitchers dangling from tendrils. It was a Nepenthes, and it looked absolutely wicked.

I started growing CP's, unsuccessfully I might add, in 1976. I killed my fair share of flytraps, sundews, and Sarracenia. After a couple of years, and after reading Adrian Slacks and Don Schnells books a few million times, I started to get it right. I was able to grow the North American CP species, and was getting better and better at it. But there was no source for Nepenthes. (Actually, there were only a very few sources for CP's in general, and you had to perform research similar  to that required for a Phd thesis in order to find them.)

One day, I happened to gaze in the back of a science magazine and found an ad for World Insectivorous Plants (WIP).  I sent off for their mail order catalog. This place had a LOT of CP, and plenty of Nepenthes.  

So in 1979, as a sophomore in high school, I ordered my first Nepenthes from Bob Hanrahan's WIP. It was N. khasiana, and it could not have arrived at a better time.  School had just begun, and a young woman whom I shared a few classes with had been cleared by her doctor to return to school after being diagnosed with mononucleosis. His diagnosis was wrong. All it took was for me to be in the same class as her a few times one day, and I easily caught the virus she was actually inflicted with; Hepatitis "B". As in my case, Hepatitis "B" can passed from person to person if they are in "near proximity" to one another. So contagious is the disease that I had to be quarantined in my bedroom for about 3 weeks.

To be a teenager and to be quarantined for a few hours is pretty much not a good idea, 3 weeks about drove me insane.

Without being able to venture outside to see any of my other CP collection, the N. khasiana that I ordered from WIP became my roommate for the next 3 very long weeks.  I placed it in a large pickle jar aquarium, and it sat next to me the whole time. I really couldn't believe I had finally got my hands on one.

Over the next few months I recovered from the illness and continued in earnest to grow as many CP as I could. I became a pitcher plant fanatic. Soon I had every species of Sarracenia, a Cephalotus, and was trying my skills at Heliamphora. But I was always drawn heavily to the ever-so-many different looking species of Nepenthes. But the number of Nepenthes species I could attain were limited. WIP soon went to wholesale only. Other  nurseries like Orgels Orchids and Lee's botanical Gardens had Nepenthes as well, but they had more hybrids than species.

I built my first greenhouse in the late 80's.    Throughout the 80's and 90's my entire collection of CP grew.  I began hybridizing Sarracenias and was selectively breeding tens of thousands of flytraps. I continued to purchase ad trade for any Nepenthes species I could get my hands on. 

As of today, I have grown more than 90 of the currently recognized Nepenthes species.

I created this section of the CP Jungle as a resource library for the genus Nepenthes. Here I will give detailed cultivating methods, plant descriptions, photos, distribution, as well as some history on each plant. I will try to sort out  some of the confusion in plants which have been elevated or reduced from species status, and give some of my own thoughts on these controversial species. This will be an ever-growing project. I will attempt to bring together not only my own experience, but that of others as well. Contributions from other people will be gratefully received, and you will receive full credit for your ideas and photos. We would all love to hear from those who have been successful in growing a species of plant, or growing a plant into a large mature specimen.

Please email me if you find any errors, omissions, or other mistakes on this site. Also, email me with your photos and contributions. If I put forth a point of view on a subject (and I will make many here) that you disagree with, email me as well. I will gladly publish your thoughts as well. I want this to be an information sharing resource. Please send all correspondence to MCATALANI@AOL.COM.


                      * * *   C U R R I C U L U M   * * *

Cultivating                            History Of Nepenthes
Cultivating 101 - Adjusting Your Mindset                         History Of Nepenthes
Cultivating 201- Getting Started                                        Men & Women Of Nepenthes
Cultivation 301 - Species Cultivation

Species Analysis                                     Suggested Reading
Species and Descriptions                                                  Books And Other Material

Difficult Identification / Similar Species                         
Changes In Ranks
Plant Structure

Hybrid Analysis                                       
Hybrid History                                                                   
Species That May Have Once Been Hybrids
Popular Hybrids
Where To Buy Hybrids


Basal Stem Separation

Tissue Culture

Growing Mechanisms
Aquariums / Terrariums / Chambers

Greenhouse Coverings
Cooling and Evaporative Systems
Greenhouse Computers
Heating Equipment
Watering Equipment
Air Circulation Equipment

Which Nepenthes Produce The Largest Pitchers?
Abnormal Flowering Sequence In N. spathulata x maxima
Nepenthes Durability - Dead Plants Come Back To Life
A Comparison Between Burkei And Ventricosa
Using a Nepenthes truncata pitcher as a pot