Family Nepenthaceae Dumortier 1829 nom conserv the East Indian Pitcherplant Family
Physical description: The family Nepen-thaceae consists of the single genus Nepenthes, with about 75 species of carnivorous, dioecious, tanniferous, erect or prostrate, often epiphytic herbs, which are thought to have originated from the order Theales. Nepenthaceae really stand apart in the Magnolopsida with their leaves which have evolved into pitchers used to trap insects as a source of nitrogen. The inflorescences are racemose or paniculate. The flowers are small, actinomorphic, hypogynous and unisexual. The calyx consists of 3-4 sepals which are imbricate, free, persistent, and glandular within. The andrecium comprises of 4-25 stamens, the filaments of which are united into a column, and the anthers of which are tetraspo-rangiate, open lengthwise and dithecal. The gynecium consists of 4 carpels facing the sepals which are united into a compound, 4-locular ovary, each locule containing numerous ovules attached to an axile placenta. The fruits are loculicidal capsules containing numerous seeds.
Pharmaceutical interest: Nepenthaceae are interesting because they produce naphthoquinones of pharmacological interest (these substances justify the regroupment of Nepenthaceae with the Sarraceni-aceae and Droseraceae in the order Nepenthales instead of within the order Aristolochiales where they are absent). One such naphthoquinone is plumba-gin, which is cytotoxic, irritating and antimicrobial. In the Asia-Pacific, Nepenthes ampullaria Jack and Nepenthes boschiana Korth. are used for medicinal and magic purposes. Little is yet known about the pharmacological potential of the family Nepenthaceae.
Continue reading here: Nepenthes ampullaria Jack
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