| Aiphanes (ah-ee-FAHN-ehz) |
Habitat and DistributionEndemic to the dry forest zone in W Ecuador and adjacent NW Peru.
Caespitose, with up to 10 stems, each 1-6 m tall, 7-8 cm diam., light grey, armed with black or grey, flat, to 10 cm long spines at the internodes. Leaves 7-10, erect and arching, older leaves recurving; sheath 40-75 cm long, with a thick, white tomentum, armed with black or grey, flat spines, to 10 cm long; petiole 0-10 cm long, similar to the sheath; rachis 115-205 cm long, with a white, caducous tomentum, armed with many black spines, to 5 cm long; pinnae (30-)50-65 per side, inserted in groups of (2-)4- 10(-14), in different planes, groups occupying 10-20 cm along the rachis, separated by 7-12 cm, pinnae narrowly trumpet-shaped, abruptly widening near apex, 3-7 times as long as wide, inrolled in vivo, irregularly praemorse at apex, glabrous or spinulose on both sides, adaxially often with a row of slender spines on the midrib, abaxially with 1 to several black spines basally on the midrib; basal pinnae 13-34 x 0.5-3 cm; middle pinnae 20-45 x 4-9 cm; apical pinnae 6-8 ribbed, 14-22 x 10-17 cm. Inflorescence erect or curving, pendulous in fruit, branched to 1 order; prophyll, peduncular bract, and peduncle with a thick white indument; prophyll 19-45 cm long, 3-6 cm wide; peduncular bract inserted 5-23 cm above prophyll, 80-145 cm long, 6-10 cm wide, woody, almost unarmed to densely armed; peduncle 42-137 cm long, 6-15 mm diam. at junction with rachis, densely armed with black spines, to 2 cm long; rachis 35-48 cm long, unarmed or basally armed like the peduncle; rachillae 35-75, unarmed, with a sparse, peltate indument; basal rachillae 20-35 cm long, with triads for ½ of their length, staminate distally; apical rachillae 5-10 cm long, staminate; each flower group subtended by a minute, inconspicuous bract. Staminate flowers yellow, superficial; sepals 1-2 mm long, never exceeding ?4 of the petals; petals 3-3.5 mm long; filaments 1-1.5 mm long, anthers 1.2-1.8 mm long, 0.8-1.1 mm wide; pistillode ca. 0.5 mm high, trifid. Pistillate flowers yellow with brown sepals, sunken into shallow pits in the rachillae; sepals ovate, 2.5- 3 mm long; petals connate for half their length, valvate distally, acute, ca. 4 mm long, opening to ca. 45° at anthesis; staminodial cup ca. 3 mm high, acuminately lobed to nearly truncate; pistil glabrous. Fruits bright red, globose, 18-20 mm diam.; endocarp 13-14 mm diam., shallowly pitted. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)/Palmweb. Editing by edric.
Closely related to Aiphanes aculeata, but different in its more numerous, narrower pinnae, and clustered habit. Aiphanes eggersii is closely related to A. acuieata from which it can be distinguished by its caespitose habit and its more numerous, narrower pinnae. Its leaf anatomy is very characteristic in that the non-vascualar fibers are arranged in a single layer of very thick bundles, a pattern otherwise found only in some specimens of A. lindeniana. The holotype of A. eggersii in B consists of a single staminate flower. The isotypes include only leaf fragments. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)/Palmweb.
Cold Hardiness Zone: 10b
Comments and Curiosities
Phenology: The flowers of A. eggersii produce small quantities of nectar, but lack a scent. Male flowers open once the inflorescence is freed from the bract in which it develops. They last eight to ten days. Female flowers open about a week after the male flowers, and last for another week. The flowers are visited by bees and wasps and contained micro-moth larvae; they are believed to be pollinated by bees, with a possible contribution from the wind.
Etymology: Aiphanes eggersii was described by Burret in 1932 based on collections made by Danish botanist Henrik Franz Alexander von Eggers in February 1897. The generic epithet, Aiphanes, coined by German botanist Carl Ludwig Willdenow in 1801, derives from Greek ai, meaning "always" and phaneros, meaning "evident", "visible" or "conspicuous". The specific epithet, eggersii, honours Eggers.
Mesocarp and endosperm edible.
Aiphanes eggersii is a small, multi-stemmed palm 1 to 6 metres (3.3 to 19.7 ft) tall with up to 10 stems. Stems are 7 to 8 cm (2.8 to 3.1 in) in diameter. Stems are covered with black or grey spines up to 10 cm (3.9 in) long. Individuals have between 7 and 10 leaves which consists of a leaf sheath, a petiole and a rachis. Leaf sheaths, which wrap around the stem, are about 40 to 75 cm (16 to 30 in) long and are covered with black or grey spines up to 10 cm (3.9 in) long. Petioles are 0 to 10 cm (0.0 to 3.9 in) long and spiny. Rachises are 115 to 205 cm (45 to 81 in) with 50 to 65 pairs of leaflets (or more rarely as few as 30 pairs).
Inflorescences consist of a peduncle 42 to 137 cm (17 to 54 in) and a rachis 35 to 48 cm (14 to 19 in) long. The rachis bears 35 to 75 rachillae, which are the smaller branches which themselves bear the flowers. Flowers are borne in groups consisting of one female and two male flowers. The male flowers are yellow, while the female flowers are yellow with brown sepals. The ripe fruit is bright red, spherical, and 18 to 22 millimetres (0.71 to 0.87 in) in diameter.
A small to medium-sized, clustering palm native to the understorey of seasonally dry forests on the Pacific coast in Ecuador. If forms slender stems to 8 cm in diameter. The slightly plumouse leaves hold up to 65 wedge-shaped leaflets that are attractively clustered in small groups. The stem, leafsheath and rachis are covered in black spines. An attractive and easily grown palm for the tropics that resembles A. horrida (= A. aculeata) but is readily told apart by its clustering habit. (RPS.com)
- Glossary of Palm Terms
- MODERN BOTANICAL LATIN
- "Just To Be Clear"
Phonetic spelling of Latin names by edric.
Special thanks to Geoff Stein, (Palmbob) for his hundreds of photos.
Special thanks to Palmweb.org, Dr. John Dransfield, Dr. Bill Baker & team, for their volumes of information and photos.
Glossary of Palm Terms; Based on the glossary in Dransfield, J., N.W. Uhl, C.B. Asmussen-Lange, W.J. Baker, M.M. Harley & C.E. Lewis. 2008. Genera Palmarum - Evolution and Classification of the Palms. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. All images copyright of the artists and photographers (see images for credits).
Borchsenius F., Borgtoft-Pedersen H. and Baslev H. 1998. Manual to the Palms of Ecuador. AAU Reports 37. Department of Systematic Botany, University of Aarhus, Denmark in collaboration with Pontificia Universidad Catalica del Ecuador
Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95
Many Special Thanks to Ed Vaile for his long hours of tireless editing and numerous contributions.