Rarely do we here at Dangerous Minds get a chance to report on the fast-paced (?) world of botany, but rarely is a gorgeous new cultivar of carnivorous plant named for H.R. Giger! This beautiful (if a little monstrously vaginal) specimen of Nepenthes—or “pitcher plant”—was only recently registered with the International Carnivorous Plant Society by photographer and horticulturist, Matthew M Kaelin, who explains the plant’s name in his submission:
I named this plant Nepenthes ‘H.R. Giger’ in October 2014 in memory of the recently passed Surrealist Artist from Switzerland who is perhaps best-known for creating the Alien creature for director Ridley Scott’s 1979 film “Alien”, which earned him an Academy Award for the Best Achievement in Visual Effects for his designs of the film’s title character, the stages of its lifecycle, and the film’s extraterrestrial environments. As the innovator of the nightmarish “Biomechanical” style, he had a long and well-respected career as a globally influential fine artist in the disciplines of painting, sculpture, industrial design, and interior design. When viewed extremely close and at an angle, the intersection of the peristome teeth and the lid spikes of the cultivar create a frightening alien landscape akin to those imagined by the late H.R. Giger (Fig. 6). This, and because the plant is darkly colored and has such a nightmarish appearance, I feel that it would be a fitting tribute to name the cultivar for the late visionary genius Hans Ruedi Giger.
For your scientific edification: pitcher plants are vines, and tend to climb up trees or sprawl close to the ground—the H.R. Giger cultivar has grown over six feet long, but could grow up to 30. Pitcher plants normally eat insects, but can also consume small vertebrates. Kaelin also notes that the flowers smell “like a pile of dirty sweatsocks”—charming!
And a fitting dedication to a master of body horror brilliance!
More after the jump…