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Heliamphora nutans (Venezuelan marsh pitcher)

Venezuelan marsh pitcher is a carnivorous plant from the mountains of Venezuela and Guyana. It has short cone-shaped pitchers with a small lid and nodding white flowers.
Heliamphora nutans at Kew Gardens

Heliamphora nutans at Kew Gardens

Species information

Scientific name: 

Heliamphora nutans Benth.

Common name: 

Venezuelan marsh pitcher, sun pitcher (from a mistranslation of the name).

Conservation status: 

Not evaluated according to IUCN Red List criteria.


Marshy places, wet rock sheets, and amongst summit vegetation.

Key Uses: 


Known hazards: 

Devours small insects.


Genus: Heliamphora

About this species

There are around 18 species of carnivorous Heliamphora, all of which are endemic to Venezuela, Guyana and Brazil. Heliamphora nutans was the first species in the genus to be discovered. It was spotted by Robert and Richard Schomburgk on the slopes of Mount Roraima in October – November 1838. Robert Schomburgk was a German cartographer who had travelled to the region on behalf of the Royal Geographical Society in order to create the first detailed maps of British Guiana (now called Guyana), which was Britain’s only colony in mainland South America.

Schomburgk made an excellent drawing of the species and sent it to George Bentham at Kew, who described it in 1840 as belonging to a new genus Heliamphora, named after the Greek helos (marsh, not helio, sun), and amphoreo (jar). David Burke, a plant collector for Messrs Veitch of Chelsea, rediscovered the species in 1881 and introduced it to England.


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