Nepenthes Garden

This 20 minute walk (one way) involves a 10 minute hike to West Mesilau River and another 10 to reach the top of the trail. From the Crocker Range Lodge the trail passes Mesilau Cave down a low ridge above a stream.

The landscape is lush with ferns, liverworts and orchids amidst mossy rocks and boulders. After crossing a suspension bridge over Mesilau River, the trail rises steeply on the opposite bank. Shrubby grasses, rhododendrons and orchids are in abundance. Many are unique to the ultramafic soil.

Mesilau is known for the easy access to its carnivorous pitcher plants that trap insects for food. Attracted to the plant's nectar, insects fall into pitchers which are formed from leaves. An enzyme-rich digestive fluid drowns the victims which are digested and absorbed.

Pitchers found in Mesilau include the rare Nepenthes rajah, the largest pitcher plant in the world. Thriving in ultramafic soil, this has a large magenta coloured pitcher with up to 2 litre capacity.

Frogs, centipedes and even rats have been found in its pitchers. Some pitchers are mini ecosystems supporting life forms immune to the enzymes. These include spiders, crabs ants, tadpoles, larvae and others forming a food chain. Reaching the top, the trail enters lush vegetation with small trees and a range of outstanding pitcher plants including the giant Nepenthes rajah, the tall Nepenthes lowii and tiny Nepenthes tentaculata.

The way back offers spectacular views of the montane forest canopy along Mesilau River, jagged rock faces, cascading waterfalls, and the Mesilau Pinnacles.

To protect the rare pitcher species and to prevent illegal collecting, visitors are not allowed in unless accompanied by an official guide.