A group of scientists from the Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (Mardi) has discovered a new variety of the nepenthes rafflesiana, a type of pitcher plant, in the Rompin State Park, in Pahang. and Setiu Wetlands, in Terengganu, about two months ago.

MARDI Director-General Datuk Dr Mohamad Zabawi Abdul Ghani said the latest variety of the pitcher plant, which has an ear-like shape pitcher with yellowish green to reddish-green in colour, is known as 'zabawiana'.

It has not been registered or published in any documentation, journal or report that has been verified by Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia botanist Professor Emeritus Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Mohamad, he told a press conference after the World Biodiversity Day celebration by Mardi here today.

According to Mohamad Zabawi, the new variety of pitcher plants is able to thrive in lowland areas, is hardy and easily planted using stem cuttings, as well as has the potential to be commercialised as an ornamental plant.

“Mardi will conduct further research on the enzymes found at the bottom of the pitcher structure...the potential use of the pitcher enzymes for medical and agricultural purposes," he added.

He said there are currently 14 species of pitcher plants in Malaysia.

These pitcher plants, scientifically referred to as nepenthes, are among the carnivorous plants in Malaysia, he said, adding that they are a unique national treasure that needs to be preserved.

In his speech at the event, Mohamad Zabawi announced that Mardi won three gold medals and one silver medal at the 2023 Malaysia Technology Expo (MTE) Competition last March.

Mardi also won the Special Award from the Chinese Innovation and Invention Society, Taiwan, through the innovation of “Ayam Saga” and the formulation of chicken feed using local ingredients.

Mardi also won seven gold and three silver medals in the International Invention, Innovation and Technology Exhibition (ITEX) 2023 competition held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre last month.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency