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Nepenthes bicalcarata


Nepenthes bicalcarata Hook.f.

Family Name: Nepenthaceae
Common Name: Fanged Pitcher Plant

Nepenthes bicalcarata is a pitcher plant with two sharp thorns hanging downwards from the pitcher lid, resembling fangs. This tropical climber can grow up to 15 m tall, and found growing in peat-swamp forests in Borneo.


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names
Species Summary

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Angiosperms (Flowering Seed Plants) (Monocotyledon)
Plant Growth Form Climber, Vine & Liana
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Heterotrophic (Insectivorous / Carnivorous)
Maximum Height 15 m


Native Distribution Borneo
Native Habitat Terrestrial
Preferred Climate Zone Tropical

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form Large pitcher plant climbing to a height of 15 m
Foliage Leaves obovate-lanceolate up to 65 cm long by 14 cm wide, petioles (leaf stalks) up to 12cm long. The pitchers are modified parts of the leaves, they are greenish orange. The peristome (the collar around the opening) is green. The pitcher's lid is yellowish on the upper surface and has deep red or purple pattern on the under surface. Lower pitchers are up to 13 cm long by 6.5 cm wide with two fringed wings and swollen tendrils of 12 mm thick. Upper pitchers are up to 13 cm long by 6 cm wide with two ribs and lips of up to 4 cm x 10 cm, the tendrils are once-coiled.
Stems Circular stems about 2 cm in diameter.
Flowers Two separate male and female inflorescences with male flowers deep purple to blackish, up to 15 flowers on an inflorecence of up to 1 m long. The female inflorescences are shorter than male inflorescences.
Fruits Capsules. No seeds are recorded.
Habitat Found in peat-swamp forests.
Etymology The specific epithet bicalcarata is derived from the Latin which means two-spurred, with reference to the 2 fang-like structures on the pitcher's lid.

Landscaping Features

Landscaping A tropical climber that has fanged pitchers making it a great ornamental addition in tropical landscape.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Foliage
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Easy to Grow
Landscape Uses Small Gardens, Container Planting, Hanging Basket

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna) (Insects (Ant, Beetle, Fly, Thrip, Wasp))
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun, Semi-Shade
Water Preference Lots of Water, Moderate Water, Occasional Misting
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Pest(s) Sucking Insects
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Glossy / Shiny, Thin
Prominent Young Flush Colour(s) Green
Foliar Modification Pitcher Trap
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Spiral
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Lanceolate)
Foliar Margin Entire

Non - Foliar and Storage

Stem Type & Modification Climbing Tendril
Root Type Underground

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Dioecious
Flower Colour(s) Purple, Black
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Symmetry Radial
Individual Flower Shape Stellate / Star-shaped
Flower Size - Length 5 mm
Flower Size - Width 4 mm
Inflorescence Type Panicle
Inflorescence Size - Length 1
Inflorescence Size - Unit m
Flowering Habit Polycarpic

Fruit, Seed and Spore

Fruit Classification Simple Fruit
Fruit Type 1 Indehiscent Dry Fruit
Fruit Type 2 Capsule
Seed Description Not recorded

Image Repository



Master ID 30166
Species ID 4475
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 15 September 2023.