My current assignment took me to the Sungai Liang—Labi rainforest about 45 minutes away from where I live. It all started with an overseas client request for photographs of large pitcher plants known locally as Somboi-Somboi. Originally the idea was to photograph the ones found at Belalong in Temburong, three districts away. I approached a number of contacts who are botany experts residing locally and abroad who know more than a thing or two about the variety found in our backyard.
Waiting for my ride to Sungai Liang forest in search of "Samboi-Samboi" pitcher plants for a client in Japan. Good to be outdoor! #brunei
Note that in my anticipation of this assignment, I erroneously typed the local name as Samboi-Samboi when it should have been Somboi-Somboi. I want to take this opportunity to thank Hans Dols (Brunei Shell Petroleum), Dr Ulrike Bauer (University of Cambridge) for steering me in the right direction and also Neesa Johnlee (University Brunei Darussalam) for her “big blue sign” direction to where we eventually found these plants. She co-authored this BBC Earth News article with her lecturer. Last but not least, thanks Anthony for spending a precious afternoon away from commitments of sorts to photograph these pitcher plants with me.
Carnivory is an answer to the lack of nutrients. While plants get their energy from sunlight, air and water, they still need nitrogen and phosphor to grow. Usually these can be found in the soil but in some places they are so rare that it’s hard for plants to grow. Some plants have opened up another source: living animals. With sticky leaves, quick closing traps or slippery pitchers they catch insects and digest them to get the precious nutrients. — Nephenthes from Borneo
This ant (third and forth picture) appears to be the same type I photographed at the Sungai Liang Recreational Park earlier in the year though this one is entirely black, equally nimble and not camera shy. The relationship between ants and pitcher plants is a very special one. Read more about this on Nepenthes from Borneo.
Images captured with Canon 5D Mark II EF100mm Macro f/2.8 Hybrid IS and Canon Powershot G11
Live from Sungai Liang. A very productive shoot, lots of large pitcher plant photos in plain sight.