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Cambodian Government Asks People To Stop Picking Rare 'Penis Plant'

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Cambodian Government Asks People To Stop Picking Rare 'Penis Plant'

The Cambodian government has asked the public to stop picking the ‘carnivorous penis plant’ over fears it may be wiped out. 

Officials from the country’s Ministry of Environment warned the plant, called Nepenthes bokorensis, is vulnerable to extinction.

This issue has been exacerbated by the numerous social media users who have filmed themselves picking the plant and joking about its phallus-like appearance.

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One clip in particular doing the rounds online shows a group of women laughing as they gather up the pitcher plants and compare the various sizes on show. Check it out:

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Sharing a number of screenshots from the video, Cambodia's Ministry of Environment wrote on Facebook: “What they are doing is wrong and they should not do it again in the future. Thank you for loving natural resources, but do not pick the flowers, or they will be ruined.”

Numerous people have commented on the post, with one writing: “Why they cannot just take pictures without picking the flowers!?”

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Credit: Cambodia Ministry of Environment/Facebook
Credit: Cambodia Ministry of Environment/Facebook

Another said, “It's good that the Ministry of Environment created this page to educate the general people.”

The species itself, Nepenthes bokorensis, is a tropical pitcher plant native to Cambodia. It’s a carnivorous plant with a long shaft-like body containing acidic fluid used to kill its prey, consisting primarily of ants. 

A curved lid is formed at the top of the plant, which later opens in order for it to catch its prey. However, before this process it makes the plant look even more penis-like. 

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Credit: Cambodia Ministry of Environment/Facebook
Credit: Cambodia Ministry of Environment/Facebook

Speaking to Snopes about the unusual species, Clinton Morse, the living plant collections manager at the University of Connecticut’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, previously said: “All Nepenthes have a similar passive pitfall trap that develops with a closed trap, and as the trap matures the ‘lid’ opens up. 

“The pitchers in the attached image are just starting to open thus giving them a rather penile appearance. I’ve never heard of them being called ‘penis fly trap’, but it is a rather accurate descriptive name.”

Credit: Cambodia Ministry of Environment/Facebook
Credit: Cambodia Ministry of Environment/Facebook
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In a conversation with Live Science, botanical instructor François Mey added that the plant smells sweet like candy, another feature that attracts its prey. 

But it is also vulnerable to extinction, so if you ever find yourself face-to-face with one of these phallus-shaped plants, don’t pick it - no matter how many views it might get you on TikTok.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected] 

Featured Image Credit: Cambodia Ministry of Environment/Facebook

Topics: News, Weird, World News

Daisy Phillipson
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