After a video of a group of women holding “penis plants” went viral, the Cambodian government urged people to stop picking them, as they may go extinct.
The Ministry of Environment released a statement on Wednesday warning people against picking the plants, along with photos of the women from the video.
“What they are doing is wrong and do not do it again in the future! Thank you for loving natural resources, but do not pick, (or) they will be ruined!” the statement said.
In the viral one-minute video, the three women are seen excitedly screaming as they approach the phallic-looking flowers. One woman holds two of the flowers in her hands as she coos towards the camera, while another holds a shorter one and makes a joke in reference to small penises.
The Nepenthes holdenii is a protected species and is included under the Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). They are carnivorous tropical pitcher plants that are often found in the mountains of western Cambodia.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, Neth Pheaktra, explained that five of 129 species of pitcher plants grow in regions of Cambodia.
The department’s website also urged people to not pick any wildflowers to maintain biodiversity.
“As more and more Cambodians travel to nature reserves, both for recreation and adventure, senior officials of the Ministry of Environment call on tourists to take care of the environment by properly packing and storing solid waste,” the website states. “And especially to take care of biodiversity, do not pick wild flowers that are protected to keep the seeds and maintain the beauty of the area for other tourists who love nature to visit.”
An official complaint against the three women has not been filed.