August 20, 2022

‘What they are doing is wrong’

People in Cambodia have been asked by the government to stop picking a rare carnivorous plant that looks a lot like part of the male anatomy.

The Cambodian Ministry of Environment made a plea on Facebook earlier this month for people to stop picking the pitcher plants, which are officially called Nepenthes bokorensis.

The ministry shared images of three women snatching up pitcher plants and posing with them.

“What they are doing is wrong and please don’t do it again in the future! “Thank you for loving natural resources, but don’t harvest so it goes to waste!” the post read.

Nepenthes bokorensis is closely related to another species called Nepenthes holdenii, LiveScience reports.

The government in Cambodia has previously had to ask tourists not to pick both of these plants, releasing a statement in July 2021 saying doing so could drive the plants towards extinction.

Botanical illustrator François Mey said that bokorensis pitchers smell “sweet – just like candy” so that they can attract flies, who then fall into a pool of digestive fluids.

Mey told LiveScience that although they do admittedly have a funny shape, picking them could jeopardise the species’ survival.

“If people are interested, even in a funny way, to pose, to make selfies with the plants, it’s fine,” he said. “Just do not pick the pitchers because it weakens the plant, because the plant needs these pitchers to feed.”

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