What are Cambodian 'Penis Plants' that are nearly extinct?

Aabha Gopan

Native to the tropical parts of West Cambodia, these rare 'Penis Plants' are on the verge of extinction due to the increase in agricultural activities and tourism. This plant is known by that name for its uncanny resemblance to the phallic shape of the male genitalia when seen from a particular angle. It's scientifically named 'Nepenthes holdenii' because some photos of women posing and plucking the plant went viral on the internet.

The Cambodian Government has urged the citizens and tourists not to pluck this rare plant. This news was reported by Khmer Times, after which the Cambodian Ministry of Environment shared the images on their Facebook page of women posing and plucking these pitcher plants stating, "Thank you for loving natural resources, but don’t harvest, so it goes to waste!"

Though they have no problem with tourists clicking pictures of this rare plant, they have requested them not to pluck the plant.

These carnivorous plants are known for their ability to survive in low-nutrient soil. They depend on insects to fulfill their nutritional requirements by using sweet nectar.

The insects get attracted to the sweet nectar and fall into the trap. Once they enter inside, they cannot come out as they get coated with the digestive juices of the plant. In this process, the plant gets its share of nutrients.

Though they appear funny, it has become a matter of concern as this rare plant is close to becoming extinct. According to freelance Wildlife photographer Jeremy Holden, this is closely related to a species dubbed Nepenthes bokorenis. They appear quite similar and are found in the same tropical region, but only a few botanists can differentiate between the two varieties. It has thus become important to save this rare pitcher plant from becoming extinct by being more responsible towards the environment.

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