KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Cambodia's Department of Environment is appealing to the people to stop picking the 'carnivorous penis plant' fearing it might be driven to extinction.
The ministry was responding to a video showing three women picking the plant and taking pictures with it at Bokor Mountain in Kampot, Daily Mail reported.
The women were seen gathering the plants and holding them up to their faces, while comparing their likeness to different penis shapes and sizes.
Scientifically known as Nepenthes bokorensis, the tropical pitcher plant endemic to Cambodia, has a long shaft-like tube that it uses to drown insects in and a curved lid that looks much like the head of the male genitalia.
In a post on its Facebook page, the ministry said what the women were doing was wrong and it should not be done again in the future.
"Thank you for loving natural resources, but do not pick the flowers, or they will be ruined," the ministry said in a statement translated from Khmer to English.
Botanical illustrator François Mey was quoted by Live Science as saying that the plant has a long tube that resembles a pitcher, or a shaft of a penis, while a distinctive vaulted lid covers the tube, completing the phallic look.
Mey had said in a paper published in 2009 that the species is threatened by land clearing in Cambodia.
He described the plant as 'potentially vulnerable' to extinction, also due to the expanding tourism industry in Cambodia.