A gorgeous Nepenthes with a mysterious past, N. maxima come in many forms, but this one is by far my favorite - very large, beautifully dark speckled pitchers with extremely wide flaring peristomes that never roll back completely!
"Today, in cultivation, an unusual female Nepenthes clone is going by the name of N. curtisii as well as N. spectabilis (not to be confused with the true Sumatran species). Where did it come from? What do we really know about it? Well, in 1883-84, on Curtis' second mission to Malaysia, he collected and sent home two species previously unknown. One was a variety after himself, Nepenthes curtisii, the other which was similar and supposed to be a variety of N. curtisii was later given specific rank as a species by Dr. Masters who described it to be stenophylla. Later, Danser wrote that N. curtisii was simply a form of N. maxima, to which I do not agree at all. Almost everyone then, as well as today, fail to notice, both in the upper and lower pitchers, when they first open, a clear, well-defined, solid white band that encircles the peristome. As the peristome matures, it folds down over the white band, completely hiding it. This, as well as the fine hairy texture to the leaves, seem to indicate the plant is a natural hybrid between N. maxima and N. albo-marginata. No plants resembling this clone have ever again been found, indicating it was scarce then. Perhaps it was one of a few hybrids maintaining a small population now extinct. Since the N. albo-marginata and N. maxima rarely share the same local, this natural hybrid has not been found again and a good example of this situation is N. x cincta. Nepenthes x cincta was a natural hybrid between N. northiana and N. albo-marginata found only once, and now extinct from cultivation.