| Aiphanes (eh-FAHN-ehz) |
Southern Costa Rica. Garden of Puerto Golfito. Photo by Jose Maria Cornelis.
Habitat and DistributionCosta Rica. Panama; along the western slopes of Cordillera Occidental in Colombia,
Caespitose, with 1-8 (-20) stems, each (2-) 3-10 m tall, 2.5- 10 cm in diam., armed with black spines, to 12 (-25) cm long, distal half of stem rarely covered with persistent old leaf sheaths. Leaves 4-8, erect and arching; sheath 20-90 cm long, covered with brown spines, to 12 cm long; petiole 9-100 cm long, green, unarmed to densely armed with spinules and spines simiIar to those on sheath; rachis 86-194 cm long. with a grey to brown, scaly, caducous indument, unarmed to densely covered with black spinules, sometimes with many brown to black spines, to 4 cm long; pinnae 9-40 per side, inserted in dense to lax groups of (1-) 2-9 separated by 5-21 cm, in one plane or more often in different planes, more or less rigid, weakly to strongly plicate, linear to broadly cuneate. 1-14 times as long as wide, truncate to lobulate praemorse, or occasionally slightly incised praemorse at apex, with a 1-6 cm long finger-like projection on the distal margin, adaxial side glabrous, abaxial side rough, or both sides sparsely to densely covered with up to 5 mm long, yellow spinules; basal pinnae 17.5-45 x 1- 13 cm; middle pinnae 11-65 x 5-22 cm; apical pinnae 22-45 x 7-32 cm. Inflorescence erect or more often curving, branched to 1 order; prophyll 25-52 cm long. 1.5-4.5 cm wide; peduncular bract 70-133 cm long. 2.5-12 cm wide, with a brown, scaly, caducous indument, often covered with brown to black spinules, sometimes armed with brown to violet spines, to 2 cm long; peduncle (21-)43- 170 cm long, 2-9 mm in diam. at junction with rachis, minutely spinulose or sparsely to very densely armed with numerous short spinules and brown spines, to 3(-5) cm long; rachis 17-100 cm long, unarmed or armed like peduncle, spines fewer and shorter distally; rachillae 9-100, white to light brown at anthesis, densely covered with light brown, purple or black spinules, minute or to 2.5 mm long; basal rachillae 23-90 cm long, sometimes with an up to 18 cm long flowerless part, with triads for ½-? of the remaining length, in this part 2-5 mm in diam. at anthesis, often thicker in fruit, distally about 1-2 mm in diam., with staminate dyads; apical rachillae 11-40 cm long, staminate or in inflorescences with <30 rachillae often with a few triads at base; fruiting rachillae occasionally very thick and fastigiate; triads inserted in shallow depressions in the rachillae, subtended by a short rim-like bract covering the pistillate flower for about ? of its length; dyads slightly sunken, subtended by an up to 1 mm long narrow bract. Staminate flowers 1.5-3.4 mm long, purple to white, sometimes yellow in the center, with white to yellow anthers; sepals narrowly triangular, imbricate, keeled, 1- 3 mm long; petals almost free or basally connate, valvate, ovate to oblong, 2-3 mm long; filaments 0.7-1 mm long; anthers nearly square to linear, 0.5-1.2 x 0.4- 0.7 mm; pistillode 0.5-1 mm high, trifid. Pistillate flowers brown to violet, 3-7 mm long; sepals rounded to broadly ovate, almost enclosing the petals before anthesis, 4-6 mm long, often with scattered minute spinules adaxially; petals connate for ?-½ of their length, valvate distally, 3-8 mm long, basally with minute, pale, or yellowish spinules abaxially, lobes triangular, rounded-acute to acuminate, spreading to recurved at anthesis; staminodial cup 2-5 mm high, acutely lobed to nearly truncate, basal half adnate to corolla tube, distal part appressed to the pistil; pistil 3-7 mm high , glabrous, or more often spinulose especially at base. Fruits dark red to purple, or occasionally white, globose, 7-20 mm in diam., sometimes shortly rostrate, glabrous or with many minute, black spinules; endocarp 6-18 mm in diam., small endocarps finely pitted, especially distally, larger ones deeply pitted, sometimes longitudinally grooved and 3-lobed in x.s., more rarely without pits; seed globose to very irregular. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)/Palmweb.
One of the most complex and variable species in the genus. It includes a morphologically continuous series of forms through its distributional range, with a general tendency to increase in size of all structures toward the south. It is here divided into four subspecies. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)/Palmweb.
Cold Hardiness Zone: 10a firm.
Comments and Curiosities
A medium-sized palm with slender, densely clustering stems and spreading crowns of lightly plumose, dark green leaves with slightly wedge-shaped segments. The trunk and leafstalks are well armed with densely set spines. Aiphanes hirsuta is native to montane rainforests to 2000 m from Costa Rica to northwestern Ecuador. In cultivation it is virtually unknown but will make a nice and quick growing ornamental for the tropical or warm temperate garden. (RPS.com)
There are four subspecies;
1.) Aiphanes hirsuta subsp. fosteriorum: Western Andean slopes from the department of Valle in Colombia to northern Ecuador, at 900-1300 m. Premontane wet and pluvial forest in SW Colombia and NW Ecuador.
Understorey palm. Stems clustered, usually only one or a few large ones in each clone, to 10 m tall, 6-10 cm in diameter. Leaf blade 200-275 cm long; pinnae 15-25 on each side, inserted in groups of 3-4 and spreading in different planes, the central ones 35-60 cm long and 15-25 cm wide, rough below; pinna apex oblique, with a large blunt lobe around the midrib. Inflorescence 150-250 cm long, with 50-100 spreading, slender branches. Flowers pale violet. Fruits ca. 2 cm in diameter, pinkish red; endocarp deeply pitted. Stems 1-2 plus several suckers, to 10 m tall, 6?10 cm diam., armed with black, to 8 cm long spines, distally with old leaf sheaths. Leaves 4-6; sheath 60-80 cm long, armed with black, to 10 cm long spines; petiole 60-100 cm long, green, unarmed; rachis 210-260 cm long, unarmed; pinnae 17-24 per side, somewhat golden-green, in groups of (2-)3-4, in different planes, cuneate, 2.5-3 times as long as wide, lobulate praemorse at apex, glabrous adaxially, rough abaxially; middle pinnae 37-58 x 15-22 cm. Peduncle 110-170 cm long, 1-1.5 cm diam. at apex, with scattered brown, to 5 cm long spines; rachis 60-100 cm long, unarmed or with scattered spines like those on peduncle; rachillae 50-100, densely brown-spinulose; basal rachillae to 95 cm long, basally without flowers for up to 10 cm. 3-4 mm diam in the androgynous part. Staminate flowers pale violet, 1.5-2 mm long; anthers 0.6-0.8 mm long. Pistillate flowers 6-7 mm long; pistil glabrous. Fruit rose-red, globose, 16-22 mm diam; endocarp 15-19 mm diam., globose, deeply pitted.
Diagnosed by its large size and wedgeshaped, grouped pinnae with a blunt lobe around the midrib. Fruits have deeply pitted endocarp. This subspecies includes the largest plants in the species. with cuneate, lobulate praemorse pinnae and weakly armed inflorescences with up to 100 rachillae. It is set apart by several characters: glabrous pistil; large fruits, ca. 16-22 mm diam, with deeply pitted endocarp; and pollen with fusing, supratectal clavae giving a rugulate surface. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)/Palmweb.
2.) Aiphanes hirsuta subsp. hirsuta; Known from premontane forest in Panama at 600-1400 m, the eastern slopes of northern Cordillera Central in Colombia at 1600-1900 m, and western slopes of Cordillera Occidental at 100-1500 m.
Stems 2-8 (-20), each 4-10 m tall. Leaves 4-8; sheath 20-45 cm long; petiole 9-35 cm long, densely armed with spinules and spines; rachis 86-135 cm long, unarmed or spiny; pinnae 9-26 per side, in groups of 2-5, spaced by 15-21 cm, in different planes, narrowly to broadly cuneate, 1-6 times as long as wide, nearly glabrous to densely covered with yellow spinules, truncate to lobulate-praemorse at apex, rarely slightly incised-praemorse; middle pinnae 11-45 x 5-16 cm. Peduncle 43-120 cm long, 2-9 mm in diam. at apex, minutely spinulose or sparsely to densely covered with brown spines, to 3(-5) cm long; rachis 17-46 cm long, unarmed or spiny; rachillae 9-28, densely covered with brown to black spinules, 0.5-1.5 mm long; basal rachillae 23-40 cm long, basally without flowers for 0.5-2.5 cm, often strongly thickened in the androgynous part, with closely inserted triads. Staminate flowers 1.5-3.4 mm long; anthers rectangular to shortly linear, 0.5-0.7 x 0.4-0.5 mm. Pistillate flowers 4.5-7 mm long, often acuminate; pistil ca. 3 mm high, glabrous or with some minute spinules at base. Fruit red to purple, globose, about 7-11 mm in diam., glabrous to minutely spinulose; endocarp globose, 6-9.5 mm in diam., 0.5-1 mm thick, with numerous fine pits apically.
This subspecies is the most variable of the four. In Panama and the northern parts of Cordillera Central there is a strong tendency toward thickening of the rachillae, densely inserted triads, and pistillate flowers with conspicuously acuminate sepals and petals. In extreme cases inflorescences may approach those of A. gelatinosa in structure. On the western slopes of Cordillera Occidental these tendencies are less pronounced, and plants from the southern Chocó (Forero 7224) form a transition to subsp. fosteriorum differing only in size. Pollen of A. hirsuta subsp. hirsuta appear to be rather uniform, with tectate, perforate to rugulate exine with supratectal warts or spines. The confusion regarding typification of A. monostachys, A. leiospatha, and A. macroloba has been elucidated by Bernal (1986). Aiphanes monostachys Burret was based on a mixed collection including the leaves of A. monostachys and the misplaced inflorescence of what Burret described as A. macroloba; thus the misleading name. The real inflorescence of A. monostachys was probably associated with the leaves of a Geonomoid palm (Kalbreyer 1607) and described by Burret as a separate species, A.leiospatha (see "Doubtfull names and Excluded taxa"). (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)/Palmweb.
3.) Aiphanes hirsuta subsp. intermedia; Western slopes of Cordillera Occidental in the departments of Choco and Valle in central Colombia, 1300-2200 m, often left on pasture.
Stems 1-4, each 2-8 m tall, 6-10 cm in diam., densely armed. Leaves 5-7; sheath 40 cm long, densely armed; petiole 43-80 cm long; rachis 220-242 cm long, unarmed; pinnae 31-32 per side, in rather lax groups of 3-5 separated by 13-22 cm, narrowly cuneate to cuneate, 3.5-8 times as long as wide, finely plicate, glabrous adaxially, minutely spinulose abaxially, truncate to lobulate-praemorse at apex; middle pinnae 44-81 x 14-15 cm. Peduncle 15-85 cm long at flowering, to 120 cm in fruit, 8-25 mm in diam. at apex, covered with black spines, to 3 cm long; rachis 50-75 cm long, with numerous spines, to 1 cm long proximally, fewer and shorter distally; rachillae 60-108, densely covered with brown spinules, about 0.3 mm long, and with some short spines proximally; basal rachillae 40-84 cm long, without flowers for 2-8 cm, about 4 mm in diam. in the androgynous part, about 2 mm in diam. distally. Staminate flowers about 1.5 mm long (dry), violet to white, anthers purple, pollen orange. Pistillate flowers 4-5 mm long (dry), purple; sepals rounded; petals acute; pistil with whitish yellow spinules proximally. Fruit dark red, 11-13 mm in diam.; epicarp minutely spinulose; endocarp with 3 deep broad longitudinal furrows, almost without pits.
This subspecies includes plants with long, narrowly cuneate pinnae, spiny inflorescences with 60-90 rachillae, and small to medium-sized fruit with longitudinally grooved endocarp having few pits. In the north it forms a transition to subsp. kalbreyeri; in the south it forms a transition to subsp. fosteriorum, which has more broadly cuneate pinnae, less spiny inflorescences, larger, glabrous fruits, and a more globose endocarp with numerous deep pits. In the central Choco, subsp. intermedia occurs side by side with subsp. hirsuta, but at higher altitudes. Pollen of A. hirsuta subsp. intermedia has perforate, tectate exine and is spineless or provided with numerous supratectal warts or spines. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)/Palmweb.
4.) Aiphanes hirsuta subsp. kalbreyeri; Colombia. Known from the northeastern slopes of the Colombian Cordillera Central (type locality), and the western slopes of Cordillera Occidental between 1300 and 2000 m, often left over on pasture.
Stems up to 12, each 4-10 m tall, 5-8 cm in diam., densely armed with black, to 25 cm long spines. Leaves 4-6; sheath 70-90 cm long, densely armed; petiole 14-32 cm long, densely armed with black spines, to 7 cm long; rachis 125-194 cm long, yellow to brown spinulose, abaxially with few black spines, pinnae 30-40 per side, in lax groups of 3-9, nearly in one plane, linear, 10-14 times as long as wide, oblique to tabulate praemorse at apex, glabrous adax-ially, with short spinules abaxially; middle pinnae 48-65 x 3.5-5 cm. Peduncle 21-107 cm long, about 10 mm in diam. at junction with rachis, densely armed with brown, to 2 cm long spines; rachis 20-44 cm long, densely covered with crimped, to 1.5 cm long spines, becoming shorter toward apex; rachillae 22-38; basal rachillae 40-53 cm long, with an up to 10 cm long basal flowerless part, 2-3 mm in diam. in the androgynous part, covered between the flower groups with 0.5-1 cm long, crimped, black spines, distally very slender. Staminate flowers violet to white, with yellow anthers, 2.5-3 mm long; anthers linear, 0.9-1.2 x 0.5-0.7 mm. Pistillate flowers violet, 5-6 mm long; sepals rounded; petals acuminate; pistil sparsely covered with minute, applanate spinules. Fruit globose, 11-13 mm in diam.; epicarp with minute, black spinules; endocarp 10-12 mm in diam., with numerous shallow to deep pits, especially at apex.
This subspecies includes plants with linear pinnae held more or less in one plane, densely armed inflorescences with relatively few, long, slender rachillae, and small spinulose fruits with a globose endocarp. In the northern part of Cordillera Central it co-occurs with subsp. hirsuta, and the two give the impression of being distinct in this area. In Cordillera Occidental it occurs at higher altitudes than subsp. hirsuta. To the south, leaves and inflorescences show a gradual transition to subsp. intermedia, found in Choco and Valle. The subspecies is well characterized morphologically, but its pollen display a surprising variation in exine ornamentation. The neotype collected in Cordillera Central (Bernal & Tobon 1393) has pollen with rugu-late exine; pollen of Bernal et al. 958, collected in Cordillera Occidental, have perforate exine with numerous long, supratectal spines. (Borchsenius, F. and Bernal, R. 1996. Aiphanes (Palmae). Flora Neotropica 70. pp 1-95)/Palmweb.
Common Name: Cirquí (Antioquia).
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. 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.