Explorers have discovered a new species of giant rodent-eating carnivorous plant and have named it after legendary TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough.
Nepenthes attenboroughii, a previously unknown variety of pitcher plant discovered on a remote mountain in the Philippines, is so big that small rodents could be trapped inside and slowly dissolved by flesh-eating enzymes.
It is thought that only a few hundred of the plants exist, growing only on one mountain on the island of Palawan. The species was discovered by a team of scientists who had heard reports from missionaries who got lost in the dense jungle.
Stewart McPherson, Alastair Robinson and Volker Heinrich decided to name the plant after Sir David as an “expression of gratitude” for his decades of work celebrating the natural world.
"He has inspired a generation into protecting the world and developing greater understanding diversity of the planet,” Mr McPherson said.
Nepenthes rajah, the only species of pitcher plant bigger than N. attenboroughii, has been known to digest rodents since the British naturalist Spencer St John was astonished to discover a drowned rat in a specimen in Borneo in 1862.